Cablevision Is Winner of Newsday
The owners of The New York Post and The Daily News lost out to Cablevision in the battle for Newsday, the Long Island daily, on Monday, but the tabloid war may be far from over. Either paper could still strike a deal to share operations with Newsday, according to bankers and analysts.
A Cablevision executive, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that his company might be receptive to such an arrangement.
The $650 million deal for Newsday, announced on Monday by Cablevision and the Tribune Co., which owns Newsday, settles one big question about the future of New York-area newspapers at a time of financial strain for the industry. But it raises many more questions, including what the new owners will do about an outdated Newsday printing plant, who will run the paper, and how The Daily News and The Post, the two New York City tabloids, will respond to losing the bidding war.
Rupert Murdoch and the media conglomerate he controls, the News Corp., owner of The Post, and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, owner of The Daily News, saw merging with Newsday as a golden opportunity to cut costs — particularly by printing some or all of Newsday on one of the other paper’s presses. And each of the moguls wanted dearly to keep Newsday, a tabloid based in Melville, N.Y., out of the hands of the other.
“There’s nothing to keep Cablevision from making some kind of deal with either News Corporation or The Daily News on production, maybe distribution, even ad sales,” said John Morton, a newspaper industry analyst.
Putin Bolsters Power With Cabinet Choices
Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin announced the formation of a new Russian government on Monday, reappointing several top ministers and maintaining the power and prominent roles of members of his inner circle.
Putin, who was barred by the constitution from a third consecutive term as president, became prime minister last week one day after yielding the presidency to Dmitri A. Medvedev, a longtime aide and protege.
Putin presented the names of his team to the president, who promptly approved them.
The announcements reinforced the image that Putin will retain a grip on power and the direction of policy in Russia. Official Russian business is often presented to Russia’s citizens by the state-controlled news media, taking the form of scripted conversations between Putin and other government officials.
In announcing the Cabinet, Putin sat at the same place at a table that he used as president for these performances. Medvedev sat in a chair that viewers have come to regard as for subordinates. The news itself had the same effect, as the team that had governed during Putin’s final term was left largely intact.
Court Hears More Claims of Vaccine-Autism Link
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims began another hearing on Monday to decide whether a vaccine additive led thousands of children to become autistic.
The hearing is the second in a series of three in which the court is considering whether the government should pay millions of dollars to the parents of some 4,800 autistic children. In this hearing, parents are claiming that thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, damaged their children’s brains. Thimerosal was removed from all routinely administered childhood vaccines by 2001.
Every major study and scientific organization to examine the issue has found no link between vaccination and autism, but the parents and their advocates have persisted.
The claims are being heard in a special court set up by Congress 20 years ago when a series of scares nearly crippled the vaccine industry. The hearing is expected to last two weeks to three weeks, and a decision is not expected until next year.
Almost absent from this hearing and the others in the series is any discussion of the case of Hannah Poling, an autistic 9-year-old from Athens, Ga., who the government conceded last year might have been injured by vaccines. Vaccine critics say the concession gives strong evidence that vaccines cause autism, but government officials say the case proves nothing regarding the safety of vaccines.
Menthol Gets Special Treatment From Congress
Some public health experts are questioning why menthol, the most widely used cigarette flavoring and the most popular cigarette choice of African-American smokers, is receiving special protection as Congress attempts to regulate tobacco for the first time.
The legislation, which would give the Food and Drug Administration oversight of tobacco products, would ban most flavored cigarettes, including clove and cinnamon, but exempt menthol, the pungent compound derived from mint oils that triggers cold-sensation receptors when applied to the skin, eaten, or inhaled.
The reason menthol is seen as politically off limits, despite those concerns, is that mentholated brands make up more than one-fourth of the $70 billion American cigarette market and are becoming increasingly important to the industry leader, Philip Morris USA, without whose lobbying support the legislation might have no chance of passage.
Even the head of the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, a non-profit group that has been adamantly against menthol, acknowledges that the ingredient needed to be off the bargaining table — for now — because he does not want to imperil the bill’s chances.