What a Trip

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

In newly disclosed Senate financial records, Democrats and Republicans alike say they took trips to some luxurious locations last year — paid for by someone else. Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin (search) says he and his wife took a 15-day trip to Venice, so he could attend a 5-day conference on U.S.-Russian relations, courtesy of the non-profit Aspen Institute.

Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski (search) says the same group also paid for her to spend 20 days in Honolulu for a five-day conference. Indiana Republican Richard Lugar (search) says the Aspen Institute also paid for his visits to Barcelona and Cancun — where, according to The Washington Post, he stayed at the Ritz Carlton.

The records also show that Kentucky Republican and baseball hall-of-famer Jim Bunning (search) earned an extra $64,000 signing autographs at sports memorabilia shows.

Put It on Page Six

When The New York Times yesterday broke the story that a memo apparently linked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) to an U.N. Oil-for-Food contract awarded to his son's company, the Times put it on Page Six.

Later in the day it became an even bigger story when Oil-for-Food scandal investigators said they were "urgently" reviewing the new development. So where did the Times play that today? Why, on Page 10. The Washington Post put in on Page 12.

On Thin Ice?

Reuters reports that Canadian Eskimos, led by Inuit Circumpolar Conference chairwoman Sheila Watt-Cloutier (search), are threatening to file a petition with the Organization of American States, accusing the U.S. of violating their human rights by contributing to global warming.

Watt-Cloutier insists the U.S. with all its emissions is thinning the ice on which Inuit hunt, taking away their livelihood. But one wonders how many times Reuters will report this story with a straight face. Last year, they reported Watt-Cloutier's same accusation and same threat and they reported the same accusation and same threat a year before that.

Radioactive Toys?

The Palestinian government — which says it wants to make peace with Israel — is now claiming that Israelis are flooding the Palestinian market with carcinogenic juice and cancer-causing children's toys. Dr. Youssef Abu Safiyeh, the chairman of the Palestinian Environment Authority (search), told legislators in Ramallah this week that Palestinian security forces recently seized a number of shipments from Israel that included canned juice laced with a carcinogenic substance.

And, he said, in March Egyptian authorities intercepted two Israeli trucks carrying toys with radioactive substances. An Israeli official, quoted by the Jerusalem Post, says the Palestinian Authority is now "[resorting] to the same types of lies Yasser Arafat (search) used to spread."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report