And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
U.S.-Issued Warning to Arafat
Just hours before Thursday's deadly suicide murder, which killed 17 Israelis, CIA Director George Tenet reportedly warned Yasser Arafat that if there were any more such attacks, the U.S. would not try to restrain the Israeli response.
The French news agency AFP quotes a senior Palestinian official as saying that Tenet told Arafat that if there were any further attacks "Sharon will have a free hand." But after the attack, the White House was quick to say that it was opposed to exiling Arafat.
Overblown Warnings of War?
India's military is said to have a war plan for an invasion of Kashmir ready to go by the middle of this month, and is only awaiting final authorization. The London Telegraph said the planned assault would be similar to the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan — air strikes backed up by ground attacks to destroy terrorist base camps on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.
Indian officials insist the warnings to U.S. and British citizens to evacuate are overblown, because "our intention is not to have an all-out war. It would be a limited action."
There's a reason American emissaries have not exactly rushed to the region to try to head off war. They are working with the Russians, the British and others, to string out the meetings and visits from peace-seeking countries as long as possible in the belief that neither side will attack while foreign visitors are still present.
First Britain's Jack Straw was there, then Vladimir Putin met with both sides over the weekend. Now Deputy Secretary of State Armitage is there, to be followed soon by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
Chimp, Human… It's All the Same!?
A Washington lawyer and animal rights advocate says "I don't see a difference between a chimpanzee and my 4 1/2-year-old son." Steven Wise, author of the book Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights said "chimps have 98 percent of DNA in common with humans."
At a bookstore Q&A session here in Washington, Wise was asked if an adult chicken has more rights than a human embryo. Wise said he hadn't studied chickens, but if a chicken had more "appreciation for life," the answer was yes… though he didn't think earthworms should have rights.