• Richard Rosendale

    Hospitality MacGyver

    He calls it the War Room. Located behind 30-ton blast doors in a fallout shelter—built for Congress in the late 1950s and nicknamed “The Last Resort”—its walls are papered with plans, diagrams, and calendars that painstakingly plot out the minutes ’til the Big Day. Across the hall is a replica of the battle site, stocked with high-tech equipment and laid out inch-by-inch to resemble what he’ll find when he touches down on French soil.
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    Written Britain

    Katie Baker looks at a British Museum exhibit that explores the places intimately bound up with the literature of the United Kingdom.
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    Beautiful Liar?

    The case of dead toddler Caylee captivated America, and came to a surprise close last week.
  • Bina Agarwal on Women's Role in Conservation

    In early December, nations met for another round of climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, where a joint initiative was launched to make women more integral to the process known by the acronym REDD, which aims to compensate developing countries for protecting forests. NEWSWEEK’s Katie Baker and Tania Barnes spoke with noted Indian economist Bina Agarwal on how women are central to global conservation efforts. Excerpts:
  • Empowering Women and Saving the Environment

    Last year, in the run-up to Copenhagen’s climate summit, UNDP head and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark outlined how climate change will disproportionately affect the world’s poor. “Receding forests, expanding deserts, changing rainfall patterns, and rising sea levels will trap people in hardship,” she wrote.
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    How to Balance Economy and Environment?

    World leaders—including several female heads of state—now face a delicate balancing act: how to promote economic growth while still protecting the earth’s finite resources.
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    Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Madonna: History and Fame

    In his book "Fame," Tom Payne explores how our current celebrity obsession is in fact quite old, drawing parallels between the ancient Greeks and Romans and tabloid staples such as Britney Spears, Kate Winslet, and Princess Diana. Megastars like Lady Gaga, he argues, are elevated to the status of demigods—but we demand sacrifices from them in return.
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    Patti Stanger: Seven New Rules for the First Date

    Some 40 million Americans use online dating services, and just under half the country is single. That’s a lot of awkward first dates. Finding Mr. or Ms. Right is like shopping for a winter coat on Amazon. If it doesn’t work out, you can just send it back, and there are hundreds of replacements just a click away.
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    Memoirs of the Veil

    The meaning of the veil for women in Muslim societies has been much debated in the West. Is it, as European backers of its ban would argue, a symbol of repression? Or is it a political statement—a “rejection of the Western lifestyle,” as Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written? Two new memoirs by Western women tackle the issue from an insider’s vantage point.
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    'My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young'

    A few years ago, all-around hot chick Stephanie Dolgoff started to notice salespeople in trendy boutiques, the ones who "used to swirl around me like bees over a puddle of orange soda," no longer bothered to pitch her skinny jeans and spiky heels. Life was otherwise swell--good job, great husband, beautiful kids, loving friends--but she'd become, in her own estimation, "Formerly Hot."
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    Why Do Some Nations Have Lower IQ Scores?

    Global differences in intelligence is a sensitive topic, long fraught with controversy and still tinged by the disgraceful taint of pseudosciences such as craniometry that strove to prove the white “race” as the most clever of them all. But recent data, perplexingly, has indeed shown cognitive ability to be higher in some countries than in others.
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    The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage

    The publisher is marketing this memoir as “the rock and roll version of The Satanic Verses.” What’s so scandalous? In addition to the expected drugs-and-sex debauchery, Last Living Slut, for starters, makes a mockery of the author’s natal religion. This is the groupie tell-all gone disastrously wrong.
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    The Woman Who Fell From the Sky

    To most Westerners, Yemen is little more than another faraway terrorist haven. But Jennifer Steil’s memoir about taking the reins of a local newspaper—and seducing a British diplomat in the process—delivers an interesting, and at times inspiring, tale.
  • Anti-US Trade Deals Grow During Recession

    Last month, Latin American nations proposed a new regional bloc--­excluding the U.S. and ­Canada--to serve as an alternative to the Washington-dominated Organization of American States. Predictably, the leaders of Venezuela and Bolivia praised the step as an emancipation from U.S. "imperialism." But even moderate players such as Brazil and Mexico seemed to agree that the region's interests--especially its trade interests--might benefit from fewer ties to its big, recession-plagued neighbor to the north. Latin America is hardly alone in this epiphany. Asia has long toyed with the idea of a trade bloc, but for years the notion was hampered by Japanese and Chinese infighting, as well as Tokyo's and Seoul's eagerness to forge stronger ties to the American market. But experts say the recession has made Asia realize it can no longer rely on the U.S. to consume its exports. To counteract declining trade volume with the U.S., China and others have started engaging...
  • Asia Still Set for Robust Growth

    As the global financial downturn drags on, some investors have started to question the pre-recession storyline of robust BRIC growth. Analysts like Morgan Stanley's Ruchir Sharma are predicting that inflation will throw cold water on emerging-market recoveries; others, such as emerging-market fund manager Mark Mobius, claim that cracks within the BRICs will soon develop. Mobius recently declared, for instance, that Brazil's economy will be "more sustainable" than China's because of resource self-sufficiency.But a new study from Capital Economics suggests that, despite these hurdles, it's still going to be an Asian century. While the U.S. and Europe are expected to slog through a meager 3 percent and 1.5 percent GDP growth this year, respectively, emerging Asia's GDP is set to surge 8 percent on average in 2010 and 6 percent in 2011. Not surprisingly, the rebound will be led by China--slated to grow 10 percent in 2010--followed closely by India (8.5...
  • Japan Doesn't Get it

    One of the most striking turns in the fall of Toyota is how the recall scandal is playing with much of the Japanese public: as a bewildering American frenzy. Yes, they are concerned about the recall, but many assume Americans must have some malign reason for kicking up a fuss, when in fact recalls happen all the time. Some read the recommendation from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to Toyota drivers--"stop driving them"--as proof of a Japan-bashing Washington conspiracy. They are quick to point out that the faulty brake pedals were actually made in Indiana, not Japan. And until very recently, at least, they seemed convinced that the frenzy would fade away without lasting damage to Japan. Look at BMW: its 2008 recall of 200,000 cars for possible airbag failure left no marks on Germany's engineering reputation....
  • Seoul Kicks Off Its Year of Design

    Seoul has long been known for its daring, innovative business culture, but the look of the place, which was drab and generic, never matched this ambition. Now 2010 may be the year that changes. In early February the city is set to unveil the first of three artificial floating islands on the Han River that will serve as host to the Seoul International Business Advisory Council and the G20 meetings this fall. The $83 million project is the latest step in Mayor Oh Se-hoon's initiative to reshape the city and turn it into a mecca for design talent, all in time for Seoul's tenure as World Design Capital. The city beat out notable rivals such as Singapore and Dubai for the biennial title--unanimously bestowed by a jury at the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID)--and will celebrate the honor with a slate of competitions, and exhibitions culminating in a 21-day design Olympiad in September and October.  ...
  • Chinese See Environment As Biggest Security Threat

    What does China see as its greatest threat? Beijing may finger the U.S., but a new poll of Chinese public opinion shows that people on the ground are more worried about the environment and domestic woes than geopolitical enemies.Conducted by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the MacArthur Foundation, the study found that three quarters of Chinese pointed to environmental problems such as climate change as a major threat to China's security, while 67 percent cited water and food shortages, and 58 percent said internal separatists. Only half of respondents thought the U.S. posed a security threat, and 45 percent still worried about Japan (though the survey indicated that would change if Japan were to acquire nuclear weapons). The other big regional players—India, Russia, and South Korea—were seen as relatively negligible risks.Still, there is one area where foreign governments worry the Chinese: sovereign investment. Close to 80 percent opposed the idea of a Japanese...
  • Chinese See Environment As Biggest Security Threat

    What does China see as its greatest threat? Beijing may finger the U.S., but a new poll of Chinese public opinion shows that people on the ground are more worried about the environment and domestic woes than geopolitical ­enemies.  ...
  • Italy Scores Poorly On World Gender Gap Report

    Thanks to the antics of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi--his excursions with escorts, his insistence that beauty queens be included in his Parliament, his description of his country as a land of "beautiful secretaries"--Italy's getting slammed often these days for its culture of chauvinism. Now, the World Economic Forum's annual Gender Gap Report gives heft to those accusations. This year, Italy places a dismal number 79 (out of 134 ) on the ranking of nations by gender equality, falling five places from 2008. By contrast, the rest of Europe scored well: Scandinavian countries took the first four spots again this year, and eight other European nations placed in the top 20. Even Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan bested Italy, by 32 and 21 places, respectively. ...
  • Foreign Oil May Be Next Target of Iraq's Violence

    Bombings in Baghdad last week--the latest in a spate of deadly attacks around the country--spell trouble for Iraq's tenuous peace. For now, the resurgent violence has been aimed mainly at government ministries. But some worry that the next target could be foreign oil companies--a move that would be disastrous for the country's economic development. A recent memo from PFC Energy warned that a new round of civil violence in Iraq could "seek to target international oil companies." So far, foreign oil has been a negligible presence in the country, says PFC analyst Raad Alkadiri. But an uptick in visits from oil executives earlier this year suggests that companies are starting to cautiously venture into Iraq. Now oil companies represent an increasingly high-profile target, and an attack on them would be a significant coup against the central government, which is looking to oil production to fill its coffers and prop up its power. Alkadiri draws the parallel with...