Melinda Liu

Stories by Melinda Liu

  • The Baby-Faced Buddha

    The Karmapa of Tibet is the first monk China's atheist rulers have ever recognized as a newly reincarnated "living Buddha." So he gets special respect, even if he is only 11 and a bit unpolished. When he was presented to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, the Karmapa allegedly blurted out: "Who is this man?" Chinese officials chose to ignore the remark, and last year they invited the Karmapa to tour China. Along the way they lavished the boy with publicity and gifts, including color TV sets, bolts of cloth and agate incense burners. Lest the boy's guardians miss the point of this largesse, Jiang expressed his hope that the Karmapa will grow up strong, healthy and patriotic." ...
  • China Invades Tibet--Again

    Chip...Chip that's the sound of Tibetan civilization being hacked away. Below Lhasa's imposing Potala palace, home of the exiled Dalai Lama, Chinese stonemasons chisel granite that will pave a vast new plaza with government monuments. The ancient downtown, some of it dating from the seventh century, has already suffered a terminal face-lift. The 1,000-room Potala is now surrounded by hairdressing salons. chain-smoking prostitutes and karaoke bars blaring Madonna music. Streets that once housed traditional Tibetan tea shops have given way to rows of greasy Chinese eateries run by recent arrivals from China's interior. just outside the capital, young Tibetan boys scavenge it a new open dump piled high with trash. "The Chinese keep coming," complains one Lhasa resident, "especially those who can't find jobs anywhere else." ...
  • Terror On The South Lawn

    Not since the British sacked Washington during the War of 1812 has the White House come under such a direct attack -- and last week, in what was either a daring kamikaze strike or the suicidal impulse of a deeply depressed hard-luck case, a 38-year-old Maryland man breached the secret air-defense system around the White House and crashed a stolen Cessna 150 into the building's south facade. The casualties, aside from the pilot himself, were a magnolia tree, a holly hedge and the myth that the U.S. government has any foolproof way of guarding the president's home. "Let's face it," one security expert said. "There's almost no way to stop a determined suicide bomber." ...
  • Inside The Anti-Abortion Underground

    The Rev. Matt Trewhella, co-founder of Missionaries to the Pre-Born, a Milwaukee anti-abortion group, was boasting to an audience last May about his 16-month-old son, Jeremiah. Trewhella said he already knew to raise his index finger when asked, "Which is your trigger finger?" The crowd at a Wisconsin state convention of the ultraconservative U.S. Taxpayers Party also heard this recommendation from Trewhella: "This Christmas, I want you to do the most loving thing. I want you to buy each of your children an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition." ...
  • Tracking The Second Storm

    TRACKING THE SECOND STORMBY GEOFFREY COWLEY WITH MARY HAGER AND MELINDA LIUMEDICINE: THE ILLS OF GULF WAR VETERANS INVITE MANY THEORIES, BUT THE CAUSES ARE STILL UNKNOWNAS AN ARMY PLATOON LEADER IN the Persian Gulf War, Troy Albuck thought nothing of doing 200 push-ups a day or leading his troops on eight-mile runs through the desert. But in 1992, a year after he returned home to Barrington, Ill., Albuck found his health eroding. The trouble started with spots on his shins, which soon spread to other parts of his body. Then. he says, his eves swelled shut and his lips bloated till the skin split. When his skin cleared up, his joints started to hurt. Today, at 26, Albuck feels like an arthritic codger. "I have to, like, unfold myself in the morning from how I slept," he says, "and I can't run at all. Literally a block and I'm done." Albuck's wife, Kelli, isn't feeling well, either. She complains of headaches, rashes and frequent vaginal infections. And the couple's 15-month-old son ...
  • What Damage Was Done?

    IT WAS QUITE A STASH OF TREASURES FBI agents carted away from the $540,000 home of Aldrich and Rosario Ames last week: designer gold bracelets, a wedding band studded with seven diamonds, 119 pieces of French Provincial silverware, a signed Marc Chagall print, the promise of a lakeside retirement dacha in Russia, a financial statement for $2.7 million stashed in 11 banks. What's more, his alleged nine-year adventure in espionage apparently didn't require much overhead-a few cameras, computers, a Russian dictionary, plus 10 sticks of chalk to mark "signal sites." ...
  • The Capture Of A Gang Leader

    THE VOICE ON THE TAPE WAS COOL and deliberate. "Do it," the reputed crime boss intoned, apparently ordering the murder of two of his trusted lieutenants. "Do a clean job." But there was one thing that 27-year-old Guo Liang Qi, one of the most wanted men in the United States, had not counted on: the phone call commissioning the hit had been recorded by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Guo, who was under FBI surveillance for allegedly transporting and enslaving hundreds of illegal Chinese immigrants, was arrested recently in Hong Kong. In the United States, 14 members of his Fuk Ching gang were nabbed as well. A suspect in this summer's Golden Venture smuggling operation, he was nailed instead on charges of murder and conspiracy to murder in connection with the slayings. ...
  • The Mysterious Informant

    He was tall, muscular and mysterious--an Egyptian Muslim who was fluent in Arabic and apparently well versed in the operational details of espionage and terrorism. He said he had been an officer in the Egyptian army and that he had been among those who guarded Anwar Sadat, Egypt's late president, when Sadat was assassinated by Muslim fundamentalists in 1981. And bit by bit, he insinuated himself into a select group of followers of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind Egyptian mullah, as they launched what the FBI now says was a conspiracy to bomb U.N. headquarters and other locations in New York. Who is Emad Salem and what exactly did he do? Salem is "one weird dude," says attorney William Kunstler, who represents one of the 11 defendants in the so-called Beta-cell case. "I trusted him," says Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, the alleged ringleader of the Beta cell. "He played his role so cunningly." ...
  • How To Play The Asylum Game

    Concerned by the seemingly endless line of foreign nationals who try to Center the United States on false or flimsy claims of political asylum, the Clinton administration this week is expected to send Congress a plan for streamlined procedures at U.S. ports of entry. The goal is to allow the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to quickly interview would-be immigrants and to reject those who do not seem to have a "credible fear of persecution" if they are returned to their native countries. Will these changes work? Maybe. But the asylum game is hideously complicated--a legal maze that simultaneously offers safe haven to the truly oppressed and a wide-open back door to many undocumented aliens. And nobody plays it better than the Chinese. ...
  • Taking The Sheik

    Surrounded by grim-faced followers and wearing his trademark red and white cap, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, 55, walked slowly out of a Brooklyn, N.Y., mosque last week and surrendered to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service-thus ending, at least for the moment, one of the stranger moments in the history of counterterrorism. The sheik, who is blind, diabetic and a fiery opponent of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, is widely believed to be somehow linked to last February's bombing of the World Trade Center and to the recent discovery of an alleged plot to place at least four powerful homemade bombs at locations in New York City. He denies it all, and federal authorities concede that they lack the evidence to arrest him in either of those cases. Instead, they said, Sheik Omar would be detained pending a decision on his immigration status-which, given his lurid image in the New York tabloids, was like arresting Al Capone for littering. ...
  • The New Slave Trade

    Chinese gangs are smuggling illegal immigrants by the thousands into America of ten forcing them into a life of servitude ...
  • The Reluctant Star

    Janet Reno arrived in Washington just two months ago, but already she is the most talked-about cabinet member in town. The attorney general walks to work, rides the subway and types memos into her computer herself Reno still hasn't found time to properly decorate her Washington apartment, but her offices on the fifth floor of the Justice Department are adorned with flowers she has received from people who admire her stand-up handling of the Waco affair. Last week Reno spoke with NEWSWEEK's Melinda Liu and Bob Cohn. Excerpts: ...
  • Hard Lessons In The Ashes

    Armed with machine guns, grenades and land mines, members of a violent white-supremacist group known as the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord hunkered down on a fortified commune in the Ozarks and defied the authorities to come and get them. The commune, whose inhabitants included dozens of women and children, was cordoned off by a massive federal task force drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. The siege turned into a four-day standoff while FBI negotiators tried to talk the cultists into giving up. "We steered them away from their vision of a violent ending," one agent said. "We argued that their picture of the coming Apocalypse was wrong." ...
  • The Father Of All Warlords

    When American troops arrived in Somalia last December, Robert Oakley automatically became the country's chief warlord. For two years, clan leaders had fought each other with artillery and gun-mounted light trucks called "technicals." Then the U.S. Marines landed, with overwhelming firepower and armored vehicles that the locals quickly dubbed "big technicals." Oakley, the special U.S. envoy to Somalia, became a kind of proconsul, alternately cajoling and threatening the factions in order to stop the fighting, deliver food to the hungry and start rebuilding a nation. Many Somalis would like him to stay indefinitely. But Oakley, 61, plans to leave his post next month and return to private business. Somalia is only the latest hot spot in which he has served, after tours of duty in Vietnam, Beirut and Afghanistan. The lessons he has learned might be applied to other strife-torn countries, such as Bosnia, for which a special U.S. envoy was named last week. Chief among Oakley's rules: don...
  • COUNTING THE GHOSTS

    Chilling, revealing and acrimonious by turns, last week's hearings before the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs was another bitter chapter in the history of the Vietnam War-and an attempt, as it were, to prove the existence of ghosts. There were various estimates: 67 ghosts, 133 ghosts, possibly as many as 478 ghosts. The ghosts had names, ranks and serial numbers and relatives who, nearly 20 years after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, followed the Senate hearings with anguished fascination. This was the moment when those who kept the secrets came forward to say in public what they had never said before. Yes, the U.S. government had reason to believe that at least some Americans were left behind when Richard Nixon announced in 1973 that all surviving U.S. POWs had returned from Vietnam. But no one could answer the all-important question: are any of the missing still alive? ...
  • On The Ground At Ground Zero

    Viewed from the air, the destruction in south Dade County looks like a fairground the day after a raucous rock concert. Trailer parks and transmission towers lie crushed, as if trampled by a crowd. Huge sheets of roofing metal are wadded up like tinfoil or wrapped around trees. Then comes a swarm of locusts-helicopters hovering above and military Humvees scuttling below-to help with the formidable task of rebuilding. ...
  • 'A Conspiracy Of Silence'

    "All our American POWs are on the way home," President Richard Nixon told the nation on March 29,1973, after a peace agreement in Paris formally ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. And for years afterward officials publicly scoffed at suggestions that U.S. servicemen might still be alive in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia. It was "at least a conspiracy of silence," says Sen. John Kerry. His select committee has questioned dozens of witnesses and forced the White House and Pentagon to declassify more than a million documents in an effort to put the issue to rest. In the most dramatic hearings yet, three Reagan administration officials testified last week that the government feared from the start that some live prisoners were left behind, although they had no proof. Called to testify under oath, former assistant defense secretary Richard Armitage, former National Security Council staffer Richard Childress and former Defense Intelligence Agency head Lt. Gen. Leonard Perroots repeated...
  • Take That, Fungus Face

    She once called a political rival "fungus face" and challenged him to a fistfight. When he declined, she dared him to measure his brainpower against hers in an IQ test. He ducked that challenge, too. Miriam Defensor Santiago would be the Ross Perot of Philippine politics if she hadn't already become the Don Rickles--a master of the outrageous insult. "I may not be a genius," she said during the recent presidential campaign, "but my opponents are certifiable idiots." In the early stages of an excruciatingly slow vote count last week, Santiago was at or near the top of a seven-candidate field. The outcome might be known this week, but win or lose, Santiago was by far the most interesting candidate in a turbulent political arena. ...
  • Apocalypse Near

    If the southern town of Suq al-Shuyukh is any indication, the crumbling of Iraq is on the verge of becoming an avalanche. The town, 185 miles from Kuwait City and just outside the allied forces' occupation zone, was "liberated" on March 2. Used as a staging area for rebel raids on the key city of Al-Nasiriya 18 miles away, it has been under heavy counterattack from loyalist Republican Guards. It also is filled with refugees from the merciless pounding of loyalist artillery farther forward, as Iraqis seek increasingly scarce medical treatment, food and water. ...

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