Newsweek

Stories by Newsweek

  • 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...
  • Iranians Say No to Nukes

    By Maziar BahariThe most important opposition to Iran's nuclear program in 2010 could come from inside the country. Before President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection in June, there was widespread consensus among Iranians that Iran had a right to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes--and if you scratched the surface, many also favored a nuclear deterrent. After all, they reasoned, Pakistan and Israel both have nuclear arsenals; why shouldn't Tehran be able to defend itself?...
  • Back in the Driver's Seat

    By Jean AlesiOver the past two years, formula one has put in place a slew of new rules to cope with the fact that the sport had become increasingly expensive, and that many fans thought it had become more about engineering bells and whistles than the skills of the driver. The idea was to increase the parity between the wealthiest teams--the perennial winners like McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, and Ferrari--and all the rest. This was a good idea, in general, but the economic crisis exacerbated all of the manufacturers' financial difficulties and, along with the rule changes, ensured that 2009 was tumultuous. Prior to the start of events, BMW and Honda dropped out. After the season ended, so did Toyota--a team that had never won a race despite the millions it poured into the sport. Renault is also reportedly considering dropping out. And Mercedes sold its interest in one team only to buy an interest in another. Meantime, newer teams have emerged, like Red Bull, which came in second...
  • By The Numbers: Green Shoots

    Global economic growth is expected to shake off its standstill in 2010, according to a new forecast from the U.S.-based research firm the Conference Board. That's good news, especially for developing nations, which will account for an increasingly bigger share of the global pie: 3.5: Percentage projected growth of the world economy in 2010.80: Percentage of that growth expected to be fueled by emerging or developing markets.66: Percentage contribution to world GDP by advanced economies in 2000.46.5: Percentage contribution to world GDP by advanced economies in 2009.
  • Newsverse: Faith-Based Health-Care Reform

    "Oral Roberts University estimated that Mr. Roberts, its founder and first president, had personally laid his hands on more than 1.5 million people during his career." The New York Times, Dec. 16, 2009Let not some bureaucrat come near my heart.If it stops beating, it's sure to restart.It was the promise of Oral's grand vision:We can be cured by that old-time religion.He had a health plan you can't filibuster.You just had to donate the most you could muster.There were no copays, no waits for appointments,When Oral cured you by prayer and anointments.There at the altar, among Oral's minions,No one was asking for second opinions.The deaf would grow hair and the bald ones would walk!Blind men would throw down their crutches and talk!They threw out their pills without fear or compunctions;Faith overcomes all erectile dysfunctionsWithout any taxes or fancy concoctionsOf Medicare buy-ins or government options!Here is reform from the heart, not the head!The...
  • India Starts a Water Fight

    By Maha AtalWashington has lately become concerned that Pakistan is dragging its feet in the fight against the Taliban because it sees the Islamists as a check on its archrival, India, whose influence in Afghanistan is growing. What alarms Pakistan most is the possibility that India will gain control over the water from two Afghan rivers that flow into the volatile Pakistan border regions, where water shortages could inflame local insurgencies. Indian investment in Afghanistan has doubled since 2006, to $1.2 billion, and up to 35 percent of that is going into canals for local irrigation, as well as hydroelectric dams that will supply power to Iran and Turkmenistan, India's gateways to Central Asia and the Gulf....
  • Why Public Opinion On Climate Change Has Lost Momentum

    By Jeneen InterlandiEd Kilgore has an interesting piece on TNR exploring some possible explanations for the recent Pew report, which found that the number of Americans who believe manmade global warming is real has dropped 14 percent from last year.  His three contenders: the current economic crisis, the radicalization of the Republican Party in the wake of Obama’s election and a “determined effort by the hard-core antenvironmental right to dominate the discussion and change its terms.” (This includes their seizing upon the so-called ‘climate-gate’ scandal.)  In the end, I think, all three probably play a role in the shifting opinion polls. But there’s another possible explanation that I think warrants some consideration: it’s not that we Americans don’t believe in global warming, it’s that we don’t really care about it. Kilgore gets at this a little bit when he discusses the obvious effect an economic downturn has on our priorities as a nation. Put simply: it’s a lot harder to care...
  • Headlines About Health Care You Can Expect to Read in the Next Few Days

    By Jerry Adler WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 16—Senate negotiators attempting to iron out details of a health-care reform bill acceded today to demands by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) that the legislation not cover Americans born in a month without an “r,” a provision the Congressional Budget Office said would “make America the laughingstock of the world” but save $7.6 trillion over the next 15 years. Lieberman, whose amendment requiring Americans to sign up for health insurance at their place of worship was reluctantly endorsed by the administration last week, made the new demand at a “tense” lunch meeting with leading Democrats, according to a Senate staffer who asked not to be identified because “the guy just kind of spooks me, you know?” Sources at the meeting said Lieberman became visibly angered when the only sandwiches left when he arrived were ham and Swiss, and he accused “the Moveon.org crowd” of stealing his tuna salad.  Republicans, while cautiously welcoming the new...
  • Put a Ring on It

    by Jessica Ramirez It's been a rough year for the $65 billion global diamond industry. Its two biggest markets, the U.S. and Japan, which together consume nearly two thirds of the world's diamonds, cut their imports of polished stones by 72 and 26 percent, respectively, in the first half of 2009. But some of the shortfall is being replaced by an emerging buyer: ­China, where polished-diamond imports rose nearly 13 percent through June. The country is poised to overtake Japan as the No. 2 diamond market by sales this month--evidence that Chinese consumers are spending more. "For us, exports for Hong Kong and China are now about equal to those to the U.S.," says Freddy Hanard, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.  ...
  • Police Report Says Five Americans Wanted to Pursue Jihad After Being Inspired by YouTube Videos

    By Mark Hosenball and Michael IsikoffA ringleader of the five Washington, D.C.-area men arrested in Pakistan this week was inspired to wage jihad by watching YouTube videos showing attacks on  U.S. Army and military installations, according to a Pakistani police report.  The “interrogation” report on the five Americans, obtained Friday by Declassified, sheds new light on what spurred the five Americans to leave their homes and fly to Pakistan, apparently on a mission to join forces with Islamic militant groups. After being rejected by two Qaeda-linked terror groups, the five Americans were headed to a Taliban sanctuary in northwest Pakistan on their way to Afghanistan when they were detained by Pakistani authorities.According to the Pakistani document, drawn up by a police official in Sargodha and based on interviews with the suspects, the Americans “had a deep interest in the religion and they were of the opinion that a Jihad must be waged against the infidels for the atrocities...
  • More Bad News for India's BJP

    By Jason Overdorf and Sudip Mazumdar This week india's Parliament will begin what promises to be its most pointless debate in history--though one not lacking for histrionics--as its members take aim at a handful of opposition leaders with the aid of a flabby report on a 17-year-old crime. But the manufactured controversy could still spell trouble for the now ­perennially beleaguered Bharatiya Janata Party. Once again raising the specter of the BJP's violent ­Hindu-nationalist roots, the report assesses responsibility for the 1992 destruction of the Babri mosque by Hindu radicals. It will likely be the last nail in the coffin of the BJP's Lal Krishna Advani, the party's prime-ministerial candidate in 2008 and the man whom everyone has blamed--or credited--for the event. ...
  • Why North Korea Will Return To Talks With The West

    By Takashi Yokota It's been a year since North Korea went AWOL from the six-party nuclear talks. Since then, it has test-launched a ballistic missile, detonated an experimental nuclear bomb, declared that it will enrich uranium, and increased its stash of weapons-grade plutonium. As U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth visits Pyongyang this week, skeptics doubt he can coax the recalcitrant North Koreans back to the table, but there are reasons to believe he can.  Pyongyang thinks its belligerence has strengthened its bargaining position. And according to a source close to the talks, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in October promised the North Koreans that Beijing will send "the largest amount of food and energy assistance since the 1950s" next year, should the North return to the negotiating table. Last month the Obama administration also said it is ready to offer normalized relations, a peace agreement to formally end the Korean War, and economic assistance if...
  • Iran's Price Wars

    By Rana Foroohar and Babak Dehghanpisheh The news last week that Iran may stop subsidizing gas, food, and other basic goods came as a surprise. While experts agree that Iran's subsidies distort the economy and encourage overconsumption, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not been known for his economic prowess before now. During his four years in office, his ill-conceived policies have created high inflation, and he's plundered Iran's sovereign wealth fund to reward cronies. ...