The New York Times leads with the U.S. and other powers agreeing on U.N. sanctions against North Korea. The Washington Post leads with former Virginia governor and likely Democratic front-runner Mark Warner saying he won't run for president in 2008. The Los Angeles Times leads locally but off-leads the fallout from Warner's decision. USA Today leads with the large number of ballot initiatives that voters will confront this fall, including six states that have proposals to raise the minimum wage. The Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox leads with a political catchall, including Warner's announcement and President Bush's endorsement of Dennis Hastert.
Earlier Thursday, the U.S. had submitted a resolution on North Korea that included wide-ranging sanctions and the possibility of military enforcement. The new proposal, reached later at night, removes language suggesting military action; China and Russia, who were iffy on the earlier plan, are now on board. Curiously, the NYT headline doesn't seem to have caught up to the evening's developments: "CHINA AND RUSSIA STALL SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA." The LAT reports that a Security Council vote could come today or Saturday.
The LAT stuffs the diplomatic to-and-fro but fronts a good analysis of China's role in the North Korea crisis and why it seems to have adopted a "go-slow stance" over the past week. China doesn't see North Korea as a geopolitical danger as much as a local one, does not think that Pyongyang having nukes really threatens it much, and wants the stability that the current government provides.
Warner had raised $9 million, made many visits to Iowa and New Hampshire and a presidential run was "as certain as anything can be in American politics," as the NYT puts it. But— seriously, he says—he wants to spend more time with his family. (Slate's John Dickerson takes him at his word on that.) Most everyone agrees that Evan Bayh, who is also a centrist from a Republican-leaning state, benefits from Warner leaving him that niche. The LAT says his move also helps the other centrists in the race, like Tom Vilsack and Bill Richardson. The NYT, somewhat more convincingly to TP, instead says the loss of one of the probable front-runners instead boosts the big names like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.
In shorter-term election news, the Post says national Republican officials are pulling funding out of several House races they now deem unwinnable, and are concentrating resources in Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee in an effort to hold on to those Senate seats. And Democrats are getting personal in their attacks on Republican rivals, the paper notes in a separate story.
Everyone notes that President Bush appeared at a fund-raiser with embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert. It was the first time the two have been seen together since Hastert became the target of criticism that he dropped the ball on the congressional page scandal. "I am proud to be standing with the current speaker of the House who is going to be the future speaker of the House," Bush said.
The Post fronts a report from Democratic Senate staffers that says lobbyist Jack Abramoff bought off five conservative nonprofits, which in turn wrote ostensibly independent newspaper op-eds pushing issues that Abramoff's clients cared about. The big name among the five nonprofits is Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.
Attackers in police uniforms and police cars stormed a Baghdad TV station and executed 11 employees. The LAT puts the attack in some context: Violence in Baghdad has shot up since Ramadan began three weeks ago. Apparently some are seeing the holy month as a chance to show their piety by killing their enemies.
Garbage collectors have one of the most dangerous jobs in Baghdad, the NYT reports on the front page. Not only do they inadvertently stumble upon roadside bombs that insurgents hide in trash on the road, but the insurgents will even kill the trash collectors so they don't find the bombs. Predictably, this has led to massive piles of rancid garbage in even the fanciest Baghdad neighborhoods.
Is it any wonder, then, that the "ABILITY OF NEW IRAQI LEADERS [IS] DOUBTED," as the Post reports inside? The doubt is coming from members of a high-level panel meant to examine U.S. policy in Iraq, which is apparently coming to conclusions that differ from what the Bush administration is pushing.
Everyone notes that the E. Coli outbreak has been traced back to a single ranch in California; TP recommends you finish breakfast before getting into the details.
Anti-gay protests in Sacramento are dominated by evangelicals from Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, reports in the LAT in a fascinating dispatch.
The NYT and LAT both front news that Turkey's Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Everyone observes that there appears to be some political dimension to the award; Pamuk was charged last year with "public denigrating of Turkish identity" for talking about the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century and has challenged Islamists. The NYT notes that the politicization of the award may be a trend: Last year's winner, Harold Pinter, has made news as an outspoken critic of U.S. and British foreign policy. The Post notes that, by coincidence, the French parliament passed a bill that would make it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide.
And early-morning reports say that the Bangladeshi inventor of microcredit loans has won the Nobel Peace Prize.