- Making News: More Civilian Hostages Taken in Iraq
Yesterday, a Filipino truck driver was released after his government agreed to withdraw all its 51 troops from Iraq. Today, six more truck drivers have been taken hostage, and a group called The Holders of the Black Banners is threatening to behead one of them every 72 hours. Vivian Walt is following events from Baghdad for Time magazine.
- Reporter's Notebook: Le Tour de Lance
One of the toughest legs of this year-s Tour de France is tougher than ever. It's still 9.6 miles almost straight up an Alpine mountain, but it-s an individual time trial with no support from teammates to block the wind or chase down a competitor. Not only did cyclist Lance Armstrong hold on to the yellow jersey today, he passed his nearest competitor, which is no small feat when he took off two minutes after Italy-s Ivan Basso. Jeremy Whittle is covering the race for the Times of London.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Since the days of Ronald Reagan, the federal payroll has been declining, and Bill Clinton famously announced that -the era of big government is over.- So, why is it that more people work for the US than ever before? The answer is privatization. In Iraq, contract security guards get $16,000 a month to look out for soldiers who get that much in a year. But bodyguards, interrogators and Halliburton in Iraq are just the tip of the iceberg, with 10 percent of the federal budget -- $275 billion -- going to goods and services from private contractors. Are they performing a public service or looking to make a buck? Is the federal government shrinking or just going private? Are taxpayers getting what they pay for? Warren Olney speaks with experts in budget and criminal justice research, a government procurement consultant and a former Commerce Department official.