Plan to Prevent Forest Fires

And now the most intriguing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:

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Have to Pay to Play
CBS News now says it, too, paid for the Al Qaeda training tapes it has been airing, which appear to be drawn from the same material CNN has been broadcasting this week. CBS paid an undisclosed sum to the photo agency Magnum for 30 of the four-year-old tapes. CNN paid $30,000 to an undisclosed source in Afghanistan for 64 tapes. CNN says the money did not go to Al Qaeda, but is now trying to explain its initial denials to both the New York Times and the AP that it paid for the tapes at all. In a statement, the network said, "CNN did not mean to leave the impression that it did not pay for the tapes. Though intermediaries were not paid, the network did pay a reasonable sum" to those who had the tapes.

Prevention Plan
President Bush is about to announce a new plan to make it easier for forest underbrush and scrub growth to be thinned in an effort to prevent the kinds of devastating fires that have occurred in overgrown Western forests this year. The Bush plan would ease regulations to allow timber companies to clear brush and smaller trees, which provided so much of the fuel for recent wildfires. Environmental groups have also been blamed for blocking clearing efforts with legal appeals, and they are already lining up against the Bush plan, though its details have not been made public. The Sierra Club told the AP the plan will "open the door to runaway logging."

See You in Court
Meanwhile, up in Canada, which has become a prime location for moviemaking, hookers, drug users and street beggars in Vancouver say they are being displaced from their places of business by the filmmakers and they want compensation. A group called the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, which has its own Web site, has sent a letter to 30 movie production companies saying, "Sex trade workers must be compensated for displacement they experience at your hands in the same manner you would compensate a business if you were to use their locale during operating hours. The same must hold true for homeless people you push from beneath a bridge, and drug users you move from a park." The group says it plans to pursue the matter in court.