Newsweek

Stories by Newsweek

  • Airport Body Scans May Be Spooky, But at Least They're Safe

    By Olya Schechter  Security was stepped up a notch during this holiday season after a passenger on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit unsuccessfully tried to set off a bomb. The lines got longer and the rules stricter. Now, in addition to making us shoeless and beltless, U.S. law officials are seeking to install security body scanners throughout U.S. airports as an alternative to metal detectors and random searches. The machines are capable of producing X-ray-like images of a body's basic shape, but don't reveal one's bones and guts. Instead, they will reveal not only metallic and nonmetallic objects, including weapons or plastic explosives, but a silhouette of a passenger’s body, including outlines of underwear and possibly even colostomy bags and breast implants. Plans are being considered to install body scans in 20 U.S. cities this year at high-traffic airports such as John F. Kennedy in New York City and Los Angeles International Airport. Privacy experts, as one...
  • India Keeps It Together

    By Salil TripathiLast month India announced it was carving a new state out of an existing one. The decision, a response to blackmail by a local leader on a hunger strike, worried experts who said that having given in to one such demand, NewDelhi, long plagued by separatist insurgencies, would be besieged by others....
  • Fundraising Woes Could Hold Back the GOP in 2010

    By Suzy KhimmThere's been no shortage of warnings for congressional Democrats as both parties have begun gearing up for the 2010 midterm elections. With the pains of the recession still apparent across the country, anti-incumbency sentiment has steadily grown against the Democratic Congress and administration. Meanwhile, the GOP's unilateral opposition to the Democratic agenda has both united the GOP's lawmakers and encouraged the grassroots Tea Party movement that rallied against Obama's "government takeover" of America last November.In recent weeks, the Democrats' political vulnerabilities only seem to have multiplied, as the AP's Liz Sidoti points out. Four more House Dems from swing districts have said that they won't seek reelection─bringing the total number of Democratic House retirements to 11─and freshman Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama defected to the GOP during the holiday break. But there's at least one critical...
  • Newsverse: Person of the Year

    By Jerry AdlerThe numbers are entered, the data is crunchedOur panel of experts has met and has lunchedWith each of the candidates. Now they are hunchedOver their spreadsheets. Our board of consultantsIncludes Warren Buffett, Rick Warren and Oprah,Tom Brokaw, Bill Clinton and Deepak Chopra.He ranks all our candidates, based on their aura.After they’re analyzed by Dr. Laura. This is an honor we don’t give out lightly.Blackwater agents must follow them nightly.We don’t want someone who might even slightlyTarnish our brand with behavior unsightly.This is a process that clearly has paid offNever again will we pick Bernie Madoff.The less said the better re: Elliot Spitzer.We can’t help but wish that he’d lost to Wolf Blitzer.And last year we wish we had gotten the goodsA little bit sooner about Tiger Woods.This year, however, the system is working!Newsverse is proud to name . . . Gloria Firking!Of someplace or other. Wisconsin, we think.She’s in her mid fifties, smokes a bit, doesn’t...
  • Yemen Authorities Confirm Visits by Accused Underpants Bomber; Supposed Local Al Qaeda Affiliate Claims Credit

    By Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff Authorities in Yemen confirmed Thursday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to attack the flight with a bomb hidden in his underwear, spent the last several months in that country and apparently visited the country earlier as well. In a statement forwarded to the media by Yemen's Embassy in Washington, the Yemeni Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the government's Immigration and Passport Agency had confirmed that Abdulmutallab was in Yemen "from early August to December 2009." The statement said he was visiting Yemen on a visa to "study Arabic at a language institute," and that he had "previously studied" at the same institute, though no timeline for the previous study is given. The Yemeni official statement notes that Abdulmutallab's passport had a valid U.S. visa and unspecified additional foreign visas. The statements adds: "There was nothing suspicious about his intentions to...
  • The Coming Battles Over Green Trade

    By Mac MargolisIf you thought getting rich and poor countries to sit down at the same table to negotiate a new climate treaty was hell, just wait till the green trade wars begin. European and U.S. lawmakers are weighing bills to impose taxes on trade partners who fail to reduce their carbon footprint. These border tax adjustments are meant to eliminate the unfair trade advantage gained when states skimp on cutting greenhouse gases--and then sell to nations with costlier controls. The different standards can lead to "carbon leakage," when developing countries with lax standards lure companies away from stricter economies. The only solution, say advocates, is a tax....
  • Partisanship and Partying in the Senate

    By Suzy Khimm While most of Washington was still shrouded in darkness, the Senate gathered early this morning to pass its health-care-reform bill, split along partisan lines in a 60-39 vote. "This is a victory for the American people," Majority Leader Harry Reid said shortly after the 7 a.m. vote, which concluded a week of procedural votes─and 25 days of nonstop, frequently acrimonious, debate on the Senate floor.Politically speaking, the vote itself was a foregone conclusion: the Senate had voted last night to break the Republican filibuster, also split 60-39, and the passage of today's bill required only a simple majority. But in a mark of the vote's historic and legislative significance, the White House sent Vice President Joe Biden to preside over the Senate for the roll call.As the votes were cast, there was a celebratory, even festive air in the upper chamber this Christmas Eve, with many legislators and staffers bedecked in holiday colors. But the partisan...
  • China's Toxic Debts

    By Minxin PeiPundits agree: China was the winner of the Great Recession. While the U.S., Europe, and Japan stagnate, China's economy will expand by 9 percent in 2010 and is expected to soon become the world's second largest. Yet before declaring this the Chinese century, take another look at what's happened in the past year....
  • How Sweetheart Deals and a Sour Economy Could Derail the Dems

    By Suzy KhimmThe last-minute giveaways to individual legislators in the Senate health-care bill have become a ripe target for Republicans angry that fence sitters like Sens. Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu have finally decided to support the Democrats. By blasting provisions like Nelson’s “Cornhusker kickback” for exempting Nebraska from Medicaid cost sharing and Landrieu’s “Louisiana purchase” for bringing extra Medicaid money to her state, the GOP has certainly found new soundbites to fuel its ongoing effort to obstruct a bill that’s inching ever closer toward passage. But by zeroing in on these buy-offs, the Republicans are also tapping into growing concerns about ethical conduct in Washington that could gain traction among economically disaffected Americans well after the health-care debate is over.The GOP’s attack on the “sweetheart deals” in the Senate bill isn’t just another broadside against government spending—it asserts that officials are using public money to privilege some...
  • A Cure for Health Costs?

    By Mary CarmichaelWhat's the secret to improving public health while cutting costs? The question has consumed Washington, but it's being answered elsewhere, by doctors offering a new test for more than 100 rare recessive genes, some of which cause fatal diseases. The test, Counsyl, lets potential parents assess their genomes to see if their future kids are at risk. They can then decide, with in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), to carry only healthy embryos....
  • Why the Dems Shouldn't Overlook the Left-Wing Opposition on Health Care Reform

    By Suzy Khimm Taken at face value, the poll numbers on health-care reform still don’t look very good for Democrats. A poll released today by Quinnipiac University, conducted Dec 15 through 20, shows that 53 percent of voters disapprove of the Democrats’ plans to reform health care, while only 36 percent are in support. While Republicans have regularly trotted out these figures as evidence that the American public doesn’t approve of Obama’s health-care legislation, one pollster says that such numbers provide a distorted portrait of the public opposition to reform. As Mike Allen reports, Mark Mellman, CEO of the Mellman Group, has sent a strategy memo to Democratic Senators today explaining that a significant chunk of those who “oppose” the bill in such polls actually believe the proposals don’t go far enough:The individual elements of the legislation are very popular, as is the bill in total, when it is explained … public poll analyses often ignore the fact that a chunk of opposition...
  • Economic Exit Strategies

    by Daniel GrossAs cries of "socialism" rose to their shrillest levels this summer, a funny thing was happening: government agencies and corporations began disentangling themselves from one another. The healthiest big banks paid back their TARP funds in June; Treasury lifted its guarantee of the $3.4 trillion money-market industry in September; and in late 2009, erstwhile basket cases like Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo raised tens of billions of dollars to swap private capital for public. But those exits may be the easy ones. Big questions remain about the government's exit strategy in two major areas of macroeconomic policy....
  • The Culmination of Capitulation

    By Suzy KhimmThe Senate’s 60-40 procedural vote last night was indeed a historic milestone for Harry Reid, for the Obama administration, and for the Democratic Party. But in the end, the political maneuvering to corral the votes played out exactly as everyone had anticipated: the Senate leadership capitulated to the demands of a tiny number of moderate hold-outs and sacrificed major liberal provisions in the process. But while much has been made of the last-minute wheeling-and-dealing needed to get Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson on board, such capitulation was hardly unique to the last few weeks of the debate it has defined the process from the very beginning of the legislative process.Given the political makeup of the 111th Congress and the obtuse rules guiding Senate procedure the fate of health-care reform was always riding on the upper chamber. But it was Reid and the White House who essentially empowered Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus to set the tone for the...