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  • The Global Poverty Trap

    Without the proper cultural catalysts, those trying to escape from poverty face long odds.
  • Media Meccas

    Mideast nations eager to develop entertainment hubs are pouring money into Hollywood.
  • A Mission Of Her Own

    Gynecologist Hilda Hutcherson is fighting to help women combat the constant pressure to be perfect.
  • Foxy Business News

    Rupert Murdoch serves Wall Street to the masses with banter, beer and breasts. Watch out, CNBC.
  • Making Sense of Health Savings Accounts

    It's going to take Washington a while to figure out the future of health insurance. In the meantime, anyone with a high-deductible health-insurance plan, and a health-care savings account to go with it, can make some hay. They're ever more popular: some 4.5 million people were covered by these plans in 2007. That's more than doubled from the previous year. But folks flocking to these plans have yet to figure out the best way to capitalize on them. Their real worth is not in saving a fast buck on Band-Aids. They're really a back-door way to save for retirement. Here's how.
  • A Rail Car Of One’s Own

    Reminiscent of an era of cigar smoke and three-piece suits, vintage railroad cars are being restored with art deco interiors, private bathrooms and five-star chefs. For about $7,000 a day, these cars can be hitched to passenger or freight trains for private charter in the United States, Mexico and Canada (aaprco.com). The Hickory Creek, a restored 1948 Pullman car, once ferried movie stars and media from New York to Chicago along the 20th Century Limited line. Today the dining car uses silver and original waiter uniforms to give guests "some of that Cary Grant feeling," says charter agent Scott Clauss (startrakinc. com). Riders on the opulent Metis rail car, built in 1928 for Queen Elizabeth to tour Canada, can dine on lobster and truffles in the mahogany dining room (americanrail. com). They may hope the trip never ends.
  • Quick Read

    Conference Board president Spector and consultant Libert have plenty of their own wisdom to draw on, but that didn't stop them from getting help in writing their book. Using wikis, they collected expertise from more than 4,000 people representing top B-schools and organizations. There's plenty of advice about cutting costs, raising capital and understanding the potential of social networking, but the tale of how the collaborators turned all this advice into a book may be the most interesting thing they have to offer.Belfort's improbable rise from anonymity in New York's outer boroughs to infamy as the drug-gobbling chieftain of a fraudulent stock brokerage has already been fodder for a cult movie, Ben Younger's 2000 "Boiler Room." But now after time in jail and rehab, Belfort gets to tell this sordid tale himself. The title misleads (Belfort's crew of scammers operated from Long Island, not Manhattan), and you may hate yourself for giving him $25 of your hard-earned money (even if...
  • Feather Fashion

    Birds of a feather do flock together. This autumn, ostrich, pheasant and even pigeon feathers are popping up on jackets, gowns, handbags and necklaces. The feathered look can be bold and bright, or sweetly ephemeral.Prada adorns a sleeveless knee-length coat with long, black beaded feathers. With a mohair faux-fur vest on top and an orange felt band, it's a whimsical take on the trend ($6,550; prada.com).Nina Ricci has her models wearing wispy ostrich feathers threaded through their hair, like Shakespeare's midsummer fairies. The motif is repeated in an alpaca and mohair poncho. In soft light gray, the poncho's chunky knit and asymmetrical hem complement the strands of feathers woven throughout ($1,215; eluxury.com).Alexander McQueen is enamored of ostrich feathers, too, using them to decorate a short sage-green silk-chiffon cocktail dress. The turtleneck top is woven in delicate gold beads in a deep V shape, and the feathers—surrounding the hips through midthigh in a pouf—add a...
  • Win Prizes Online At Work!

    Need a new way to motivate employees? Have them play Vegas-style games in their cubicles. Snowfly, a Laramie, Wyo., consulting company, is marketing a corporate-incentive system in which employees get game tokens when they hit performance objectives. They then use the tokens—actually electronic codes—in online games of chance that can yield bonuses of up to $50, or benefits like extra time off. Clients like Regence BlueCross BlueShield in Portland, Ore., say the quick-playing games have improved both the bottom line and their ability to retain good workers.Snowfly was founded by Brooks Mitchell, a University of Wyoming management professor and behavior scientist who says workers are motivated by frequent rewards. The elegance of the incentive system is that giving employees a few bucks each time they do something right might seem cheesy. But "10 chances to win hundreds!"—while you're on the job—is an incentive that any cubicle jockey can surely appreciate.
  • Dream House or Nightmare?

    For years Americans custom-built homes with pricey extras expecting high returns on their investment. They're in for a letdown.
  • Women Leaders' Success Secrets

    These 11 women came from many different backgrounds, but they all had big dreams. The path to power meant facing obstacles and their biggest fears.
  • Feeling Pinch, Americans Trade Down

    Average Americans were living like the Riches, thanks to easy credit and the real-estate bubble. Now they're trading down instead of trading up.
  • Prick Up Your Rabbit Ears

    When cable TV arrived in the ' 70s, rabbit ears seemed destined to go the way of the polyester pantsuit. So, too, the clunky outdoor antenna, a rooftop fixture that once upon a time signaled the rise of television in American life. But a funny thing happened on the way to the analog dust heap: it turns out that a new generation of rabbit ears and antennas can receive high-definition television broadcasts. And it's free.The irony is marvelous. Pushed into obsolescence by the technological advances of cable and satellite, antennas are re-emerging thanks to one of the most promising high-tech services of the digital age. High-def channels can be plucked out of thin air by antennas just like regular broadcast signals--no cable, no satellite dish, no monthly bill, no waiting for the cable man. It's like the old days, except this time antennas (which cost between $18 and $150) may offer the clearest picture. "More than 90 percent of our customers say they want the antennas for high-def,"...
  • The D Word Is Back

    They call it the "D Word." For more than a decade--ever since the bubble burst in the early 1990s, sending prices for basic goods and services plummeting--Japanese prime ministers have been dreaming of a day when they could announce the end of deflation, a rare and crippling syndrome in which falling prices sap a nation's buying energy and investing confidence. Yet they also feared it. And so came the odd day in January when Japan's central bank retreated from declaring victory and decided not to raise interest rates, after members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet warned that it was too soon. Deflation still looms.New data suggest that the politicians were right to worry. At the heart of the bad news is the cost of consumer goods. For most of 2006, Japan's consumer price index (CPI) had hovered just above zero. But the figure for December, released just days after the central bank's decision, showed a slight dip. The immediate reason: a drop in oil prices, which now seem...
  • China Lets Loose

    China's stock markets are smoking, and smart money is flooding into the country; last year foreign direct investment reached nearly $70 billion. Add to that a 2006 trade surplus of $177.5 billion, up 74 percent from the year before, and a tidal wave of hot money (or short-term speculative investments). Together, this ocean of cash has produced enormous reserves of foreign exchange within China--more than $1 trillion, a fat target for critics who say China's voracious appetites threaten the world economy.Until recently, largely all that money was stuck in the Middle Kingdom. For decades, communist China didn't allow money to go abroad, because it had so little at home. Once it opened up in the early 1980s, China was afraid volatile capital flows would turn its accelerating economic growth into a wild roller-coaster ride. And when Beijing saw capital flight undermine neighboring economies during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, it came to believe even more strongly in controlling...
  • College Costs: Studying Abroad

    With the dollar falling, the cost of studying abroad is rising for everything from meals to museums. How some students are coping.
  • Don't Forget To Fix Social Security

    Sometimes what people don't say about a topic is more interesting than what they do say. Consider, if you will, President Bush's State of the Union message. Social Security--the focus of his speech two years ago--got only a few fleeting mentions in last week's address. But if you delve into the low-profile details of Bush's high-profile health-care proposals, you discover that embedded in them is a plan that would effectively trim future Social Security retirement benefits for some people, while reducing their current Social Security tax payments to help pay for health insurance.I'm not attacking this idea the way I went after Bush's Social Security "reforms" of a few years ago. It's just that I'm a Social Security junkie, and that aspect of Bush's health proposals interests me--if only because it points out how high Social Security taxes are for many families, relative to the income tax.Here's the deal. Bush wants to let taxpayers who have health insurance exclude $7,500 (for...
  • China Finally Pays Off

    Almost as if to make the point that the Chinese growth miracle won't be complete until every skeptic stands converted, policymakers are on a reform blitzkrieg that has the stock market rolling. For the first time, China in 2006 had both the fastest-growing economy in the world and (finally) the fastest-growing stock market, too, according to the Morgan Stanley Capital International database. The MSCI China Index was up 78 percent, compared with the 32 percent average return for emerging markets, and the Shanghai-based A Share Index was up 138 percent. The way Chinese are buying stocks, more strong years could follow.There's certainly much scope for catch-up. China's economy and stock market spent much of this decade running in different directions. While China has been emerging as a leading manufacturing power faster than anyone expected, the mainland market based in Shanghai has been stagnant, even as rivals from Moscow to Mumbai boomed. Today, while China constitutes 5 percent of...
  • Now This Is Woman’s Work

    There are more female governors in office than ever before, and they are making their mark with a pragmatic, postpartisan approach to solving state problems.
  • Lessons From The 1987 Crash

    We used to think that financial panics were a thing of the past. Now we know that they are a clear and present economic danger.
  • What I Learned

    Whether they're running universities, political campaigns or major corporations, these 11 remarkable women have found their own ways of overcoming obstacles.
  • Women Leaders' Success Secrets

    These 11 women came from many different backgrounds, but they all had big dreams. The path to power meant facing obstacles and their biggest fears.
  • Out of Bounds

    Jimmy Dolan's sports empire is a humiliation. Does that make him unfit to run Daddy's cable company?