Yasir Arafat’s Underwear: What the PLO chairman carried with him on his way to die in France in 2004. These photographs are from the Swiss forensic report, posted by Al Jazeera, that suggests Arafat was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. I tell the back story of this alleged murder mystery on The Daily Beast.
Traces of urine in Arafat’s underwear were used to detect the polonium. The keffiyeh was his trademark. The little collection of pins juxtaposed the flag of Palestine with those of Canada, Italy, China and other countries. He carried two sets of worry beads. And he always traveled with a compass to make sure none of his supposed friends were kidnapping him.
This week’s cover: the Navy SEALs.
Ross Schneiderman’s cover story for the U.S. edition of Newsweek is a stunning look at the seedy but dangerous world of white supremacist extremism in America.
The whimsy defense in the face of global disaster: Nobody does that better than Tracy McNicoll, as her latest Kiosque suggests.
Sure, there’s a newspaper kiosque back there somewhere, but we got held up at the nougat kiosque this morning, near the Opéra Bastille.
Another dark day for the markets. Les Echos headlines on “Bourse: The Infernal Spiral,” above stark red graphs of key stock indexes over the past month. The CAC 40, it notes, is down 16 percent since the beginning of August. Ironically perhaps, Les Echos’s front page also points to a B section piece on Champagne, with the earliest harvest ever starting today after a hot, hot spring and a cool, rainy July. There are giddy rumblings about 2011 yielding a high-quality vintage. Reason to look harder for something to celebrate, then.
The other dailies are keenly aware of the ugly markets, but seem desperate to put something else on their front pages. Barack Obama dominates Libération’s “une” (page 1) in close-up, eating a soft-serve vanilla cone against the backdrop of a deep blue sky: “Un Parfum de Campagne,” A Campaign Flavor. The left-leaning daily says Obama has disappointed – “It’s the economy, species of idiot,” in Libé’s more evocative translation of the familiar phrase – but the paper seems fairly bullish on his chances for re-election, if only because of the “outrageousness” of his Republican opposition.
Le Figaro and Le Parisien page 1 photos are of Pope Benedict XVI visiting Madrid. Curiously, Le Parisien mentions the violent protests against the pontiff’s appearance on its cover, the mix of “anger and passion,” while Le Figaro’s front page notes only “Madrid: young people enthusiastically welcome the pope” (an editorial inside does take on the protesters, calling them “ridiculous”). Otherwise, above the fold, Le Figaro features “Terrorist Attacks in Israel: Eight Dead,” and notes IDF reprisals on Gaza last night.
Le Parisien, meanwhile, seems pleased with the debut of Paris Saint-Germain’s new, young, insanely expensive Argentine, Javier Pastore, showing promise in a 4-0 win last night over Luxembourg’s Differdange. That would be cause, perhaps, for a sip of that Champagne. Unless you’re a Differdange fan (and who isn’t?), and you’re off to console yourselves with some nougat. Mmmm, nougat.
Why Gaddafi will be a danger to the United States if he’s not completely removed from power … with some commentary from a bystander.
My latest column, harking back to the events that brought us to the current awkward and unpleasant situation at U.S. airports:
Shadowland: And You Thought TSA Pat-Downs Were Bad…, 24 November 2010
Terrorist bomb attempts could have resulted in much worse. http://bit.ly/f26vKO
The Arc de Triomphe on Sunday. Ever since a wave of attacks hit Paris 15 years ago, with some of the bombs placed in municipal trash cans, those bins have been off the streets. They’ve been replaced with transparent plastic bags that read “Vigilance and Cleanliness” on the side.
It may be too much to say that Europeans are used to terrorism, but tourists certainly seemed unperturbed by yesterday’s travel alert warning of the risk of new attacks in Europe.
For more photographs taken around the Arc yesterday, see http://ruesdeparadis.blogspot.com/2010/10/arc-de-triomphe-on-sunday-tourists.html
Want to know how the New York City Police Department fights terrorism? This video shot by Lee Wang and me for Newsweek around the time of the 2007 New Year’s Eve celebrations will give you a good idea.
And of course my 2009 book "Securing the City" will give you an even better idea.