Jill Carroll released unharmed by Iraqi captors.

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
March 31 2006 4:59 AM

Free at Last

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USAT goes inside with news that the Army will prohibit its soldiers from using privately purchased body armor. Military officials say the directive will protect soldiers from using substandard equipment; GIs who've waited months to be outfitted counter that substandard armor is better than none at all. You go to war with the equipment you're assigned, not the equipment you order off the Internet.

The New York Times off-leads a feature that draws on documents made public in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial to compare al-Qaida and the federal government's respective management techniques. Al-Qaida is simply organized and relies on actively involved managers, while America's "large and lumbering bureaucracy," with its employees focused on not making mistakes, isn't built for rapid response. "It's like the elephant fighting the snake," one member of the Sept. 11 commission said.

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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor's war-crimes trial might take place at the International Criminal Court in The Hague instead of in Sierra Leone, everyone notes. Regional officials hope that a change of venue would preserve stability in the region while sparing Sierra Leonians the need to relive their painful recent history.

France's Constitutional Council upheld the proposed youth labor law that has provoked heavy protesting across the country. The bill now goes to President Jacques Chirac, who can theoretically send it back to Parliament—a move that would completely undermine Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

USAT teases a piece on 32 Wisconsin towns whose residents will vote next week on referendums calling for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Although the measures are entirely symbolic, many still feel compelled to take a stand. "The people have to lead the leaders out of this war," said one man.

A Matter of Faith: The NYT fronts and the WP and LAT go inside with a study finding that prayer doesn't materially affect the rate of healing in sick people. In fact, those people who were told they were being prayed for actually got worse. Next on the agenda: examining the truth behind the contention that the family that prays together stays together.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.