Newsweek Staff

Stories by Newsweek Staff

  • An Idyllic Life Of Crime

    Dreamlike Fryburg, Calif., is America's bicycling capital. It's also home to a bunch of mobsters, plunked down in paradise by the federal witness-protection program. In "My Blue Heaven," due in July, Steve Martin is Vinnie Antonelli, a relocated crook who sets up shop in Fryburg without fear of prosecution. One crime he doesn't commit: dressing to kill. Vinnie clearly never saw Steve Martin's classic "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid."
  • Too Little And Too Late?

    Small flurries of panic buying began even before Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov delivered his speech. Then the flurries became a wave. Shoppers in Kiev raced from store to store last Friday, buying twice the usual amount of cooking oil, six times as much flour and eight times as much macaroni as they had purchased on an ordinary day. But those days ended abruptly when Ryzhkov made his announcement to the Soviet Parliament. The government proposed to double the price of food at the beginning of next year; bread prices would triple on the first of July. Angry miners spoke of a strike--possibly similar to the walkout that paralyzed Soviet industry last summer. Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitaly Masol vowed his republic would "stand in firm opposition" to the Moscow plan--and even Mikhail Gorbachev failed to give it much of an endorsement. Within a single day Ryzhkov was left vulnerably alone, pleading with the public for "restraint and calm." ...
  • Christo's Latest

    Some people are going to say Japan is living up to its picky, no-fun stereotype. Christo, the Bulgarian-born artist who wrapped in fabric Paris's landmark bridge, Pont Neuf, five years ago, is planning to string 1,300 blue umbrellas across a Japanese valley and 1,700 yellow ones in California. But Japan, unlike California, has taken a regulatory stance and is requiring enough documentation to fill a Yellow Page-size binder. Christo, no stranger to red tape, is finding the Japanese overly fussy. But then, maybe wind-testing a 450-pound umbrella isn't such a bad idea.
  • The Bad News Bears

    When the stock market talks, everybody listens--even the frowning bad-news bears. The Dow Jones industrial average hit a new high in May, and most of the pessimists beat a retreat. Individual investors have been piling into stocks since December by buying stock-owning mutual funds. That may be bad news. Market lore says the public is always wrong. ...
  • It's Not Boring, It's High Concept

    ABC gets credit for renewing "'Twin Peaks," but blew it by nixing "Anything But Love." This is especially true given the interesting plots of next year's shows, including:(Zzz) Cop Rock, ABC A musical. Imagine cops inhaling jelly donuts, then bursting into arias. Bochco's chutzpah is appreciated, but c'mon.(Zzzzzzzzzzz) Baby Talk, ABC This spinoff of the uniquely dumb movie "Look Who's Talking" also features that comic impresario, Tony Danza, as the baby's voice.(Zzzzzz) Going Places, ABC "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was funny, but it had Dick Van Dyke. This one's about comedy writers writing a comedy show.(Zz) Fresh Prince of Bel Air, NBC Rapper plays a poor Philly kid dumped in moneytown. Sounds like "The Famous Teddy Z" with less Yiddish, more rhyming.PHOTO (COLOR): "Baby Talk'PHOTO (COLOR): "Fresh Prince'Subject Terms: TELEVISION programs
  • How Do Planes Differ From Buses?

    Guaranteeing that small children ride in safety--whether by airliner or school bus--hardly sounds like a controversial cause. Yet efforts to translate that desire into federal regulations have raised two hotly debated questions. Who should pay for the extra safety measures and would their costs really be worth their presumed benefits? ...
  • A Deadline For A Divorce

    Canadian Prime Minister Pierre, Trudeau surveyed the results of Quebec's referendum on independence and pronounced the separatism movement in his native province dead. But on the night of that defeat a decade ago, Rene Levesque who had led the raucous rebellion that brought Quebec to the brink of secession, took a different view. "A la prochaine, " he said. Until the next time. ...
  • Another Weapons Fiasco

    A mysterious Israeli weapons shipment that ended up in a Colombian drug lord's arsenal may have links to an aborted secret State Department effort to oust Manuel Noriega before the invasion. The curious tale is being unraveled by government investigators in Antigua, where the 500 Israeli weapons stopped in April 1989 before being transshipped to Colombia. The Israeli behind the shipment, mercenary Yair Klein, claims he was arming and training anti-Noriega exiles on Antigua. American intelligence officials deny any connection to the weapons that were found on the ranch of slain cocaine kingpin Rodriguez Gacha. But in May of 1988 the then assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams ordered $1 million from a Panamanian escrow account given to the exiles. Antigua's defense chief says he checked about Klein's training school with the CIA and got clearance. One congressional source blames Abrams--who did not return NEWSWEEK'S calls--for failing to keep close tabs on the operation.
  • Boesky Washes His Dirty Linen In Public

    For four years Ivan Boesky has been Wall Street's unseen villain. Under wraps, then behind bars, the former takeover speculator implicated some of the biggest names in the financial markets by giving secret testimony before federal grand juries. Boesky's singing led to guilty pleas of securities violations by, among others, Drexel Burnham Lambert and junk-bond king Michael Milken. Finally last week Boesky, 53, materialized, testifying in public for the first time since he copped a plea to insider-trading schemes. ...
  • Holding A Bad Hand

    What's the matter with Mikhail Gorbachev? Never has a leader of the Soviet Union looked so weak coming to a summit with an American president. In Moscow, political upstarts to his right and left openly ridicule him. The Baltic States are trying to peel away; as many as four more Soviet republics may follow. After five years of tinkering with the economy, he has fixed too little, too late; but more radical reforms promise inflation and unemployment--and the danger of strikes and food riots. Gorbachev's opponents are too weak to topple him. Yet, even as he tightens his grip on the government, the government loses control over the country. ...
  • On Reform: Prime Time For Crime

    In the control room at Moscow police headquarters, lights on the wall map are flashing while Yuri Ivanov directs telephone traffic. "I used to be able to take naps on the night shift," says Ivanov, an operator on the night shift. "Not anymore." Tonight, there's only one murder: a report comes in about three women who buried a bloody 7-month-old infant by a creek in northeastern Moscow. Criminal investigator Vladimir Orlov and his team jump into a creaking old van and careen up to the site. "Democracy and all the changes in our society" are behind the current crime boom, says Orlov. "People don't i have any sense of control over themselves these days." ...
  • Keep Holding Your Breath

    For nine years, every time the Clean Air Act of 1970 came up for renewal, Congress managed to duck. It just couldn't resolve wrangles between lawmakers looking out for the interests of the automobile and other industries and those more concerned with cleaning up the muck that passes for urban air. While Congress contented itself with simply extending the old law, much of the nation's air got dirtier on several measures, and half the population now breathes unhealthy air. But even Congress can't ignore burning lungs forever, and last week the House voted overwhelmingly to strengthen the act. Besides mandating reductions in acid rain and airborne toxics, the bill will affect what's put into the tanks of America's 178 million vehicles. Trouble is, these provisions may not do enough to clear the air. ...
  • Togetherness

    For the record, the Kryptonite Corp. has not come out on either side of the abortion debate. But that hasn't stopped anti-abortion protesters from using the world's toughest bicycle locks to keep police from dragging them away during sit-down protests. The right-to-lifers are locking themselves to clinics, cars or anything else that will let them obstruct traffic longer. Kryptonite is reporting increased calls from police departments asking how to thwart the locks. The best solutions: get a locksmith to drill out the cylinders or employ gigantic Jaws of Life cutters used for auto wrecks.
  • Marla Is Feeling Blue (As In Jeans)

    For a while there, Marla Maples was a decidedly sympathetic character. But now that she's used her other-woman status with Donald Trump to make a big killing, all bets are off. The Marla will earn an estimated $600,000 as the latest huckster--and symbol of true womanhood--for No Excuses jeans, the "A Current Affair" of clothing manufacturers. The aspiring model, who had previously shown real class by turning down offers to sell her story, now joins Donna Rice in the great pantheon of spurned but quite wealthy dates.
  • Sit Down, Taxpayers

    It's official: the S&Ls are in even worse shape than the government told you. Last week Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady confirmed independent reports (NEWSWEEK, May 21) of ballooning bailout costs. He admitted to Congress that the taxpayers' tab for the thrift crisis could be as much as $130 billion--about 75 percent higher than estimates announced just last August. Budget director Richard Darman warned that the numbers were "just very, very much larger than the budget system is designed to handle." ...
  • Buzzwords

    Want to start your own van line? Movers pack their own special patios: Chowder: Odds and ends, usually thrown into one box. Movers hate this stuff, they'd rather move a piano.Sticks: Furniture.Bedbug haulers: Drivers who truck household goods cross-country.O.S.: Overstuffed.Lumpers: Beefy guys who lug items between the house and the truck.Straight house: A one-story house.Blackjack: An upright piano. Tesselation: The art of packing a truck to fill every nook and cranny.
  • Global Effort

    Margaret Thatcher is going to break ranks with the United States, Canada and the Soviet Union by calling for a stabilization of carbon-dioxide emissions at current levels by 2005. The British prime minister's decision came after she reviewed a report by the respected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which concluded that emissions resulting from human activities "are substantially increasing" concentrations of greenhouse gases, thus leading to increased global warming. Emissions would have to be reduced by more than 60 percent to stabilize concentrations in the atmosphere, the report says.
  • Lust And The Middle-Aged Lawyer

    You remember the narrator of Scott Turow's "Presumed Innocent"--he was a prosecutor who stood trial for the murder of a woman colleague--but do you remember the lawyer who defended him? Probably not. Alejandro Stern is fat and stuffy, a workaholic who chainsmokes cigars. Neglectful of his family, Stern also keeps his distance from the common way of speech: "I would probably never bother you," he explains to a cop, "were I not waylaid with a moment on my hands." Relegated to the margins of an ingenious story, so tedious a character can't cause much damage-- yet in his new novel, The Bur den of Proof (Farrar Straus Giroux. $22.95), Turow blunders. He's made Stern the central figure. ...
  • Out Of Bounds

    California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dianne Feinstein, for shamelessly and endlessly exploiting the Hillside Strangler murders to win votes. The most recent example came last week in a debate with her opponent John Van de Kamp, the former state attorney general who did not prosecute for murder in the case. "I know how those women were killed. And I have visions of them bound, their mouths taped, spread-eagled, choked to death," Feinstein said at one point.
  • This Is Big. Reeeeally Big.

    For years, the goal in computing has been to make things smaller, building down from early room-size monsters to today's palmtop PCs. Even computer terms--like "bit" and "microprocessor"--connote tininess. Now The Computer Museum, Boston's repository of vintage number-crunchers and intriguing interactive exhibits, has gone the other way: a really, really BIG computer, two stories tall. It boasts keys a foot across, six-foot-wide disks and--get ready for this oxymoron--the biggest microchip in the world, 7 1/2 feet square. The WalkThrough Computer, a new permanent exhibit modeled after such displays as the walkthrough human heart at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, will give visitors a chance to see the soul of a new machine close up. No wonder the museum is calling the June 21 unveiling "the biggest event in computer history." Steve Jobs, eat your heart out. ...
  • The Leaders Next Time

    "We have no order and we never will, because we walk on our heads and think with our bottoms," wrote Soviet citizen Vasily Yenot in Moscow News earlier this month. It was a pungent expression of a growing Soviet sentiment: true reform is beyond the competence of the present leadership. While few expect President Mikhail Gorbachev to leave power voluntarily or otherwise any time soon, Muscovites are beginning to gossip about possible successors. Following are sketches of some of the most prominent. They typically belong to the generation born just before or during the second world war: old enough to have been brought up in orthodox Communist Party folkways, yet young enough to be untainted by association with Stalinism. All are rising in influence All are people to watch: ...
  • The Death Of Democracy

    The pictures looked like Japanese atrocities against the Chinese in the '30s--or Goya's images of war. In fact, they were supposed to represent justice, the summary justice dealt to protesters across China after the Democracy Movement massacre. Apparently to discourage new protests, police commissioned Chinese photographers and TV crews in one university town to document a public execution. As the first anniversary of the massacre approached, a photographer smuggled his film of the shootings last year to Paris. His photos showed the killing fields where the movement died. ...
  • Autarky: A New Challenge

    Richer than Saudi Arabia: that's what people in the trans-Urals region of Tyumen say they could be if allowed to sell their oil themselves. It is worth about $37 billion a year, and Moscow takes virtually all of it. In Yakutia, Siberian diamond and gold prospectors are of a similar mind: they're agitating for control of their own mines. And in a move that provoked outcry in Moscow, the Uzbek Council of Ministers passed a law prohibiting consumer goods from being sold outside the republic. ...
  • Measles Mystery

    A mysterious outbreak of measles has already killed three children of Hmong immigrants in Minnesota. The deaths are the first since the last measles outbreak in 1980. Though there are only 15,000 Hmong in the state, the Laotian tribesmen have contracted almost half of the state's 489 measles cases. The disease is common in Southeast Asia and researchers are trying to determine whether the Hmong are more vulnerable than other ethnic groups. Public-health agencies are offering clinics and door-to-door nurse visits. But many Hmong can't read warning notices and fear shots will give them the disease.
  • Cabinet Edition

    The arrows on HHS chief Sullivan go up with each anti-smoking salvo; those of Attorney General Thornburgh and Education Sec. Cavazos are still headed downtown. ...
  • A Fine Mess

    The long census nightmare continues. As if census takers haven't already had enough difficulty getting people to cooperate, they now have a credibility problem. In Houston, con artists posing as census takers have been trying to fine people $50 for not turning in their forms. The scheme was discovered when a real census worker making routine checks of nonfilers was told by several people, "Oh, an enumerator already came by wanting to collect that fine." The Census Bureau, by the way, does not fine people for not reporting. Meanwhile, in Iowa, an overzealous census worker was suspended for violating confidentiality rules after he told police he smelled marijuana in a person's home.
  • Future Shock In The Old West

    Am I nuts, or is Michael J. Fox getting smaller? Maybe it's just the cowboy outfits that he wears in Back to the future Part 111: stick Fox under a ten-gallon hat (well, say, eight) and the whole Fox configuration seems to dwindle, like a male Alice in Wonderland. Or maybe the series itself is dwindling (creatively, that is, not at the box office). In a way the BTTF movies are a contemporary version of the Alice books, with Wonderland becoming a dimension in time rather than in pure imagination. The first BTTF (1985), however, was an act of imagination--sweet, charming, witty, even wise. The adventures of Marty McFly (Fox) and his adorably bananas scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), as they traveled back to Marty's past, put all sorts of spins on themes like kids, parents, pop culture, growing up and love. But BTTF II and now III are formula movies, whiz-bang rides in producer Steven Spielberg's titanically profitable amusement park. ...
  • If You Don't Mind Bad Vibes...

    For $219,000, Reading Real Estate outside Boston is shopping "an immaculate home on a quiet street" that features three bedrooms, a spacious country kitchen, a pool and a hot tub. The only catch is, the house belonged to Chuck and Carol Stuart before the infamous husband allegedly killed his wife, then jumped off a bridge. The realty company isn't commenting on who the house belongs to. Although the killing did not occur at home, it would be wise to note that a California real estate agent was recently held liable for not telling a buyer that a multiple murder had occurred in the house she bought. Reading's concern is understandable: the crime is such a sensitive subject in Boston that the TV movie about it is being filmed in Chicago.
  • 'Dear Mommy, How Are You Doing?'

    It is Mother's Day at the Lorton Correctional Complex outside Washington, D.C., and Michael, 10, is waiting impatiently as the women in camouflage pants file into the gym. Finally, Jennifer Nimmons, who is serving 18 months on a drug charge, arrives and Michael rushes into her arms. He has brought his mother a present: a cutout of a dancing bear with a letter on its stomach, which he reads aloud. "Dear Mommy, How are you doing in the hospital? Have a happy mother's day, this is a poem for you. 'Roses are red, Violets are blue, You are the best mother, I ever wrote to.'" Then he asks: "Is this a hospital?" ...