Anna Kuchment

Stories by Anna Kuchment

  • A Little Help From Our Friends

    It's no secret that a steady stream of international KLA volunteers has been flying into Albania's capital, virtually since the Kosovo crisis began. But NEWSWEEK has learned that hundreds of young ethnic Albanians from Western Europe have also been landing, unnoticed, in Skopje's international airport in Macedonia. Arriving on scheduled flights in groups of up to 100, they are slipped into Albania and on into Kosovo to join KLA forces there.Passengers receive superficial immigration and customs checks, raising suspicion that their arrivals are closely coordinated with Macedonian authorities. The country, which is 30 percent ethnic Albanian, has been careful to avoid stepping into the conflict, for fear of igniting ethnic tensions within its own borders.Most of the Skopje flights are operated by the Macedonian airline Avioimpex and originate in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. They are all booked by the same ethnic Albanian travel agents operating out of Western Europe.Both...
  • A Model Musician

    Four years ago Nina Kotova was an up-and-coming model, sashaying down runways in Fendi furs and pouting for the pages of French Glamour and Cosmo. But when a British management company offered her the chance to play a debut solo recital in London's Wigmore Hall, she promptly abandoned the catwalk. She hasn't looked back since. Last summer the Moscow-born cellist joined the prestigious roster of Columbia Artists Management. She recently signed an exclusive recording deal with Philips Classics for a CD due out next fall. And in October, she's scheduled to make her Carnegie Hall debut.Kotova hasn't always been so lucky. Her father, virtuoso double-bassist Ivan Kotov, died unexpectedly when she was 15. Four years later she left behind the prestigious Moscow Conservatory, and her mother, to study abroad. She traveled first to Cologne and then to the United States, where she won a scholarship to Yale University. Short of money and hoping to earn enough for a new cello (she'd had to return...
  • Murder And Mystery At Yosemite

    For four weeks police, family and volunteers have combed the rugged terrain in and near California's Yosemite National Park looking for three missing women: Carole Sund, a 42-year-old mother of four from Eureka, California, her cheerleader daughter Julie, 15, and a 16-year-old Argentine exchange student named Silvina Pelossa. Last week a passerby found their red car, a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix, charred an ugly yellow-brown from a fire. Inside the trunk were two bodies burned beyond recognition. (The FBI is searching for the third.) Sund's mother and father had offered $250,000 for information leading to the women's safe return.The FBI is shifting its manhunt to gold country west of Yosemite where the car was found, a three-hour drive from the Cedar Lodge in El Portal, where authorities had believed the women disappeared. The FBI now thinks that the killer knows that area well enough to hide the car off a spur road where locals dump old refrigerators, cars and washing machines.Several...
  • Chez Benito

    TO ESCAPE THE ILL WINDS OF war, Benito Mussolini and his mistress often relaxed aboard their 120-foot yacht, the Chryseis. If they could find comfort there, the ship's current owners are betting that a new generation of work-weary warriors will, too. Pat and Bonnie Hicks of Texas are renovating the two-masted schooner and turning it into a floating bed-and-breakfast due to open in March. They're restoring such historical details as the hull, masts and compass stand, and updating the boat's amenities to include private baths with whirlpool tubs, a sauna and massage therapy. But won't Americans feel haunted by the ghost of their former enemy? Apparently not. The Hickses claim they're nearly booked for '99 and sold out for New Year's Eve 2000. hip)
  • A New Giant

    EVEN IN THE MEGABUCKS world of mobile telephony, this one is big. Vodafone, Britain's largest and most successful cellular-phone company, is paying more than $60 billion for AirTouch, a leading U.S. concern. That trumps a bid by rival Bell Atlantic and makes the deal one of the biggest in corporate history. The new outfit will be the only truly global wireless operator--with coverage on five continents--and gives it the scale to challenge the giants among the fixed-line operators such as AT&T. The pool of potential customers is vast. Vodafone's chief executive, Chris Gent, has reportedly forecast that every other person in the developed world will soon have a mobile phone.
  • Still Concerned

    WHEN ISRAELI AUTHORITIES recently expelled members of the Denver, Colorado-based cult Concerned Christians their dragnets missed at least two key players. NEWSWEEK has learned that Gary and Sheryl Schmidt remain in the country, and Denver police believe that two other cult members are with them. The Schmidts are believed to be the only members who still hold property--they own a ranch in Colorado. Now at least one cult family has been seen at the ranch, and cult experts believe the members may eventually congregate there. Israeli authorities had no comment on their investigation.
  • Itic-Itis

    When the the Guangdong International Trust & Investment Corporation (GITIC) filed for bankruptcy early this month, it shook international confidence in the ""ITIC'' sector--corporations that serve as foreign-investment arms of local governments. The decision to let GITIC go under was as political as it was financial. NEWSWEEK has learned that the Guangdong provincial authorities had accumulated what one source called a ""slush fund'' to bail out GITIC, and the day before its collapse a high-level delegation was in Beijing arguing for its survival. ""The decision was made to send a strong message to the market,'' said one informed observer--especially to lenders who threw unsecured loans at ITICs.
  • Here Comes The Euro

    Not so fast. For now, the euro exists only electronically--that is, European consumers can make payments in euros by writing checks, charging their credit cards or making bank transfers. Starting this week European stock and bond trades will be conducted entirely in euros, as will bank transactions and much business-to-business activity. Euro notes and coins will go into circulation on Jan. 1, 2002. Francs, lire, Deutsche marks and other member states' local currencies will be museum relics by July 1, 2002.Two reasons: peace and power. Since the end of World War II, when Europe started its long march to the single market, the Continent has turned from one of the world's bloodiest parcels of real estate into one of its most peaceful. Euroland's champions also hope that monetary union will lead to new geopolitical and economic clout. The region is already the world's second largest economy--after the United States--and the largest trading power, accounting for 20 percent of the world...