News

  • Claiming Another Win

    The day before he left Argentina for a whirlwind tour to sell international investors on Argentina's $29.5 billion debt swap, Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo spoke with NEWSWEEK's Joseph Contreras. Excerpts: ...
  • If Judas Told His Story ...

    If Napoleon had won the battle of Waterloo, the French emperor would have made peace with Britain, ensuring that France dominated the Continent, Russia stayed out and the Germans remained meek and loyal Napoleonic subjects. Or so suggested British historian George Trevelyan in his prize-winning essay "If Napoleon Had Won the Battle of Waterloo," written just before World War I. That was an early example of "what if" or "counterfactual" history, but now the genre is hotter than ever. In "What If?," a recent collection of essays, military historians not only revisit the possibility of a victorious Napoleon but also contemplate a successful Mongol invasion of Europe, and the failures of everything from the American Revolution to the Allied invasion on D-Day. "Virtual History," edited by British historian Niall Ferguson, examines an England without Cromwell and a United States without the assassination of John F. Kennedy.Academics aren't the only ones rewriting history these days. The...
  • 'Producers' Tickets Here!

    Did you hear the story about the empty seat in the fifth row for "The Producers"? A woman who saw the precious perch leaned over to the man sitting next to it. "Is that your seat?" she asked him. "Yes, it is," the man said. "My wife was supposed to come, but she couldn't make it." The woman was dumbfounded. "This is a very popular show. Couldn't you find a friend or a relative to take in your wife's place?" she asked. "I would have," the man replied, "but they're all at her funeral."This is an old joke, of course, but it's especially silly right now. Are there really people who would even let their own funeral keep them from seeing "The Producers"? Mel Brooks's nutsy Nazi musical sold $1.3 million in tickets in one day last week, that being the day after the show walked off with a record 12 Tony Awards. All told, "The Producers" has sold more than $33 million in tickets, with a new batch of seats now available to the end of 2002. The street, as theater people call Broadway, is...
  • Rain-Forest Opera

    It's a long way from Minsk to Manaus, but Igor Jouk is glad to have made the trip. Since the 36-year-old violinist came to this Brazilian river town from Belarus four years ago, he has built a career for himself in an exotic new land. Sure, the heat is oppressive and the food a little strange. But he gets to play Puccini and Mozart for adoring audiences every night--and he does so inside the magnificent Teatro Amazonas, the city's recently refurbished century-old opera house, replete with Carrara marble, wrought-iron balustrades, red velvet chairs and sweeping balconies. "I miss the change of seasons," says Jouk, who left his job with the Minsk Philharmonic. "And I would do anything for a fresh pear. But every place has its charms."Amazonia has many charms indeed, but classical music generally has not been considered among them. Until now. Thanks to Jouk and dozens of other musicians from Russia, Bulgaria and Belarus, the rain forest has a new repertoire. They are the new stars of...
  • 'And What Did You Do For Someone Today?'

    When I was a child, we observed Father's Day by walking to the local Methodist church and listening to my father preach. We didn't have a car--my dad believed he could not "support Mr. Ford" on a minister's salary and still see that all of his seven children went to college. While we understood it was a special day--my mother would have something exceptional like a roast or a turkey cooking in the oven--in many ways it was not all that different from any other day. As soon as my brothers and sisters and I got home, we'd all gather around the dining-room table, where we took turns answering our father's daily question: "And what did you do for someone today?"While that voice and those words always stuck in my mind, they often got pushed aside by more immediate concerns: long hours in medical school, building a career in medical research, getting married, raising children and acquiring the material accouterments every father wants for his family. All the hallmarks of a "successful"...
  • The Mouse That Roared

    Art works by 17th-century masters. Castles. Country estates and 430,000 acres of prime real estate. These are among the treasures confiscated by German forces occupying Czechoslovakia during World War II. Berlin wants to return them to their rightful owners, the Czechs, as war reparations. But there's one (very) small hitch: Liechtenstein, that eyeblink on the autobahn, haven for dodgy dollars and old European nobility. Many of the assets in question were owned by its citizens--and the tiny kingdom wants the wealth back.No way, a German court declared three years ago. The properties are most definitely German, it ruled, because the Liechtensteiners living in the Czech lands of yore were "ethnic Germans." Oh, the Sturm und Drang that has occasioned. Last week Liechtenstein filed suit against Germany in the International Court of Justice in The Hague claiming its "sovereignty" has been violated and demanding compensation, if not the contested assets themselves. Liechtenstein has...
  • Wanted: A Senate 'Solomon'

    Oceans and fisheries are riveting topics--if you're captain of a trawler fleet. If you're running for president, you'd like to travel more widely. So when the Senate switched to Democratic control last week, Sen. John Kerry expanded the name of his subcommittee. Now it's Oceans, Fisheries and the Environment. Global-warming hearings start soon. Sen. John Edwards, meanwhile, mulled an offer to join the Judiciary panel, which vets nominees to federal courts. As a trial lawyer, he found the offer enticing; as a presidential wanna-be, he saw it as something else: a chance to be a hero to his party's liberal base.The Senate always is a hatchery for presidential contenders. But this time the Great Mentioner is naming an extraordinarily large number of Democrats, from seven to nine in a late count. And for the first time since LBJ in 1960, the list includes the party's top dog. Asked by NEWSWEEK whether his new status as majority leader would lead him to rule out a presidential run in 2004...
  • 'I Thought I Was Going To Die'

    The wait was finally over. Last week Timothy McVeigh at last abandoned his final appeals, dismissed his lawyers and resigned himself to the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Ind. To many Americans, McVeigh's execution is the last act in a long, bitter drama. But for many in Oklahoma City, the anguish of April 19, 1995, will never recede. Paul Heath was working in room 522 of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building when McVeigh's devastating bomb ripped through nine stories of steel and concrete. "I thought, 'God, I don't want to die like this'," he remembers. Heath made it out alive; 168 men, women and children did not. Survivors and the families of those killed are still living through the aftershocks of the deadliest domestic terrorist attack in our history--battling addiction, finding faith, coping with loss. On the eve of McVeigh's scheduled execution, eight survivors shared their stories with NEWSWEEK. Together, their voices provide a harrowing timeline of that terrible day-...
  • Going From Bad To Worse

    Forty-two-year-old Hamdi Klenja knew it was bad when hundreds of men poured into Tsar Samuel Street in the southern Macedonian town of Bitola last Wednesday. The day before, Albanian guerrillas had ambushed and killed five Macedonian soldiers. Three of the dead came from Bitola, and now a mob was taking revenge on the town's ethnic-Albanian civilians. As they broke down his front door Klenja ran upstairs and passed his small children from the balcony to a neighbor next door. Then he jumped after them. Police stood by as looters ransacked his house, then threw in Molotov cocktails. Klenja tried to douse the blaze with a garden hose, but police ordered him to stop. "Let it burn," they said. And it did, along with dozens of other Albanian homes and shops in the city.When it comes to winning hearts and minds, Macedonians are doing a much better job on the diplomatic front than in their own streets and front lines. As evidence of widespread human-rights abuses mounted, NATO secretary...
  • Hot Property: Looking Back At An Epidemic

    Ten years ago magazine editor David Friend had an idea: a photographic retrospective of the AIDS epidemic. He put together some initial pages for Life magazine, where he was director of photography at the time, but it never ran. The project was shelved but not forgotten. This week "20 Years: AIDS & Photography" goes up at digitaljournalist.org to mark the AIDS anniversary. Friend, who produced the online exhibit on his own, says "the Internet is a perfect medium for getting something that's visual up fast." The retrospective includes famous images, such as the controversial 1990 Benetton ad that used a picture of AIDS victim David Kirby on his deathbed. In an interview at the site, photographer Herb Ritts says, "I just hope there's no 40-year reunion."
  • Bylines

    To get to the bottom of why Tiger Woods is the dominant force in golf--maybe in all of sports--Devin Gordon came up with a plan. "I thought that by interviewing other legends, we could get insight into what it's like to be Tiger," Gordon says. Wasn't there more to it than that, Devin? "Well, I also wanted to talk to some of my sports heroes." Gordon went to Wayne Gretzky, Martina Navratilova and (despite being a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan) Joe Montana. Meanwhile, Allison Samuels spoke with a different group of heroes: Tiger's inner circle, including Michael Jordan, to whom Tiger is less a legend and more a little brother. (Page 42) A Showbiz Scoop John Horn, who's covered Hollywood for 15 years, thought he'd heard everything. Then he unearthed a scandal at Sony Pictures that he says "shames all the others." The studio had fabricated a fictional movie critic named David Manning and used admiring quotes from him in ads for "The Animal" and three other movies. Last week Horn reported...
  • Getting Well On The Road

    The Donald Kraft tragedy offers a cautionary tale for travelers. Two years ago the 44-year-old San Diego man was driving in Baja California with his family when his Ford pickup collided with an oncoming car. Kraft's broken neck was by far the worst of the injuries. At a local hospital, Mexican surgeons urged his evacuation to a San Diego trauma center 60 miles away. But authorities balked. Under Mexican law, they wanted a $2,300 bond posted for the accident and $4,700 more for the helicopter and emergency care. Kraft's frantic wife contacted his brother, who raised the cash from neighbors. By the time he got to San Diego nearly 19 hours later, Kraft was paralyzed. He died within weeks, of complications from his injury.We put a lot of planning into our vacations and business trips, and with good reason. Travel foul-ups like missed connections are common enough that we know how to deal with them. But we're far less prepared for an illness or medical emergency on the road. Half of all...
  • The Shrek Effect

    For as long as anyone can remember, the word "animation" has been synonymous with the name Walt Disney. They have ruled this roost unchallenged ever since Mickey was a newborn mouse. Of the six highest-grossing animated films of all time, all are Disney. At the top of the heap roars "The Lion King," with $312.9 million in domestic grosses alone. But the movie's box-office revenue is only part of its remarkable success: add in merchandising, video, the stage spinoff and theme-park attractions, and "Lion King" has generated an estimated $1 billion in profits--not revenue, profits--for the Disney empire.Numbers like that can make the competition drool with envy. Into the breach rushed Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks, hoping to loosen Disney's stranglehold on the market. Last year, after the sci-fi fantasy "Titan A.E." crashed and burned at the box office, Fox retreated from the field in defeat, closing down its animation department. Warners, after the disappointment...
  • The Essence Of Blair's Revolution

    Tony Blair won only in Britain last week. but his victory--and its sheer scale--has Europe-wide implications. Blair is the first British prime minister for more than a quarter century to believe genuinely in Europe's great adventure. Moreover, his political philosophy may soon be a new European norm. Where Berlusconi leads, some Italians will follow. Where Blair leads, the whole continent is likely to.It is easy to overlook just how unusual Blair is. All of his predecessors since Edward Heath in the early 1970s--a line extendingfrom Harold Wilson and James Callaghan through Margaret Thatcher to John Major--have in their heart of hearts been Euroskeptics. None spoke a language other than English. All preferred to holiday at home. For them, Europe represented a business deal. Sentiment had no part in it--except for Thatcher's revulsion.Blair echoed such talk at times during the election campaign, often speaking of the need to "defend Britain's interests in Europe." But his instincts...
  • Letter From America: Apartment Living

    New York's tabloids are agog over Gotham's latest grisly murder. Three thugs burst into a man's apartment, beat him brainless with a baseball bat, strangled him, dumped him into a bathtub, drained his blood by slitting his wrists, then sawed him into bits. One of the suspects, it turns out, had strangled a neighbor only a few months before. The motive then, as now: they needed a place to live. Their likely plea? Insanity.Sure, the crimes were horrific, macabre, tragic. But insane? In a town where the average apartment now sells for $870,000, what could be more rational? Last week I viewed an $8 million apartment on Park Avenue. The real-estate broker had called me out of the blue, wanting to drum up publicity for her exclusive. "I want the building address and my name in the piece," she told me in no uncertain terms. Of course, I rushed right over. In New York, nothing seduces like real estate. It's all people talk about--at cocktail parties, over dinner, in bed. It drives...
  • See George. See George Learn Foreign Policy

    It was a private tutorial for the president, in the living room of the White House residence. Condoleezza Rice, the president's national-security adviser and chief tutor on foreign policy, had already trooped a procession of heads of state and foreign ministers through the Oval Office to contribute to the education of George W. Bush. Now, on May 31, she assembled a coterie of foreign-policy experts drawn from outside the administration, including her handpicked Russian expert, Michael McFaul of the Hoover Institution; Democratic investment banker Felix Rohatyn, who served as Bill Clinton's ambassador to France; British author and Europeanist Timothy Garton Ash, and journalist Lionel Barber, a European specialist at the Financial Times. The visitors were sworn to secrecy, in part to avoid the impression that Bush needed remedial training, but several participants described the meeting to NEWSWEEK.Over soft drinks, his visitors warned the president that the allies were complaining...
  • Slaves Of N.Y.

    David Schickler's collection, "Kissing in Manhattan," is a deft and entertaining debut, but it's got only a single truly memorable story that towers over everything else, like a city with one skyscraper. The story's called "The Smoker." It concerns a flappable young English teacher named Douglas, a comely A student named Nicole and the funny, creepy proposition that Nicole's parents make to Douglas over dinner. (Other reviews will give away the nature of the proposition. Don't read other reviews.) Shortly after "The Smoker" ran in The New Yorker last year, Schickler, 31, sold the film rights to producer Scott Rudin, and snagged a two-book deal in the very fancy neighborhood of $500,000.The stories in "Kissing in Manhattan" are intertwined enough to approximate a novel about a Gothic old apartment building. A sociopathic stockbroker rips dresses off women he picks up, and forces them to stare in a mirror until they realize how beautiful they are. A sexy travel writer is totally horny...
  • School's Out For Summer

    When the Ad Council convened focus groups not long ago to help prepare a series of public-service announcements on child hunger, there was a fairly unanimous response from the participants about the subject. Not here. Not in America. If there were, we would know about it. We would read about it in the paper, we would see it on the news. And of course we would stop it. In America.Is it any wonder that the slogan the advertising people came up with was "The sooner you believe it, the sooner we can end it"?It's the beginning of summer in America's cement cities, in the deep, hidden valleys of the country and the loop-de-loop sidewalkless streets of the suburbs. For many adults who are really closet kids, this means that their blood hums with a hint of freedom, the old beloved promise of long, aimless days of dirt and sweat and sunshine, T shirts stained with Kool-Aid and flip-flops gray with street grit or backyard dust.But that sort of summer has given way to something more difficult,...
  • The Dominator

    The world's greatest golfer seems to get better and better. How does he do it? Newsweek asked other greats like Montana, Gretzky, Navratilova and Jordan about what it takes to be on top of the world.
  • Bush And Blair: A New Affair?

    For Tony Blair, it was the end of the affair. On a farewell swing in the final days of his presidency, Bill Clinton returned to Britain last December to speak one last time, at Warwick University. As Blair's friend Clinton talked on internationalism, the 47-year-old British prime minister had tears in his eyes. For these two men--who had bonded over modernizing their political parties, over Kosovo and many other things--it was time to say goodbye.Clinton is, of course, history, but Blair is very much with us. Winning re-election last week--nearly duplicating the huge majority of 179 seats out of 657 in Parliament that he got in 1997--Blair has replaced Clinton as the premier center-left statesman on the world stage. Blair's huge victory affirmed the restoration of his Labour Party, which spent 18 years in the wilderness under the Tory rule of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. Blair's first term was hardly problem-free. Labour's left wing badgered him, urging him to use his mandate...
  • From The Desert

    The tiny Brazilian firm Aplicacoes Eletronicas Industria made a splash six years ago by beating out European giants for a contract to design a computerized messaging system for Rio de Janeiro's rail system. Now it supplies hardware and software for 54 of Brazil's 60 urban metro stations. Not bad for a firm from Campina Grande, a remote town sandwiched between a swamp and a semidesert. Apel got its start when geeks at the nearby University of Paraiba decided to create a hothouse for entrepreneurs. Apel is a star among 50 or so local high-tech firms. It shows what you can do with a bit of intellectual capital.
  • Blase At The Biennale

    The connecting flight from London to Venice is practically an art-world charter. It's filled with curators, dealers and a few art critics, and boasts a notable spike in all-black attire. Everyone on board is going to the Venice Biennale, the every-other-year art extravaganza established in 1895. (Just opened, it runs through Nov. 4.) In the interest of spotting art's next enfant terrible or an exhibition concept that might travel well, some of them may have subscribed to a free mobile-phone service, supplied by the art magazine Frieze, which promises to "text you 3 to 5 times a day between the 6th and 9th of June to let you know where you should be--the best show, the most splendid pavilion or party--and what's not worth bothering with." In today's fast, noisy world, art is apparently no longer material for quiet contemplation, let alone esthetic pleasure. It's breaking news.But like so much of the hype on round-the-clock radio stations, little of this news is genuinely breaking....
  • How Real Is The Placebo Effect?

    The medical establishment has long held that a substance can have a medicinal effect simply because a patient believes it will. The conventional wisdom about this placebo effect, which harks back to a paper published in 1955, has been that it works for one patient in three. That's not a bad ratio, especially for a treatment that has no side effects. Some doctors have even proposed using the placebo effect as a bona fide medical treatment. But many doctors are uncomfortable with the easygoing notion that mere belief can heal the body. Late last month a paper in the journal Science gave them some ammunition, suggesting that the power of placebo is a myth.The study certainly gores some oxen. A whole medical industry has sprung up based on the mind's presumed power over the body. The growing popularity of alternative medicines and treatments--everything from Chinese herbs and yoga to acupuncture and faith healing--has been fueled in part by the medical respectability of the placebo...
  • Newsmakers

    By any normal yardstick, Jennifer Capriati isn't old enough to stage a comeback. But if your career takes off when you're 14 and tanks when you're in your late teens, who's to say you can't come back when you're 25? Semantics aside, Capriati's marathon victory in the French Open last week was anybody's epitome of a comeback. The Australian Open champ, Capriati stormed past Serena Williams and Martina Hingis to confront Belgium's Kim Clijsters in the finals, where she won 1-6, 6-4, 12-10. This victory puts her halfway down the road to a Grand Slam, a four-tourney sweep (including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open) achieved by only three women, most recently by Steffi Graf in 1988. And this from a woman who was ranked No. 101 three years ago. But then, everything about Capriati has always veered between the extremes of nightmare and fairy tale. That made her unvarnished and very human response to her ragged but fiercely fought win on Saturday all the more poignant. "I was fighting until the...
  • A Father's Pain

    Bill McVeigh slumped in his chair -- weary, and resigned. The father of Timothy McVeigh was at his home in Pendleton, N.Y., watching TV with visitors, when the news came that the Oklahoma City bomber had given up his final legal appeals and was prepared to be executed in the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Ind. A man of few words, Bill McVeigh had long ago apologized for the horror inflicted that day. Now he was left with the certainty that nothing could save his son, either. "He's going to get executed sooner or later," he told a reporter. "Most people know he did it, so..."
  • A Brownout In Los Angeles

    Having done without a Latino mayor since 1872, Angelenos saw no reason to elect one last Tuesday. Many L.A. Latinos were disappointed, but they were not despairing. For though Antonio Villaraigosa lost, if demography is destiny, their time will come--not today, but soon, and inevitably. "What Antonio did is to open the doors... The next time you're going to see a lot more Latino faces, not only in city politics, but in state politics," said Antonia Hernandez, head of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.Only 8 percentage points separated the winner from the loser in a race that Villaraigosa--until the last few weeks--seemed poised to win. But for all his efforts to present himself as the face of the future, he fell victim to campaign tactics rooted in the past. His opponent, James Hahn, effectively portrayed him as untrustworthy and soft on crime--a task made easier by Villaraigosa's 1996 letter requesting presidential clemency for a convicted drug dealer. With an...
  • Finding Safety In Numbers

    Tracy Deon says she had decided never to talk publicly about her ordeal. "A police officer had humiliated me. I felt so much shame," she says. Then her girlfriend showed her a newspaper account of a woman who claimed a police officer had abused her in nearly the same way. "I knew in my heart it had to be the same guy. And when I saw he had done it to someone else, I couldn't keep silent."Why would one woman's complaint against a cop trigger another? Last January, after an indignant Angelina Torres, 27, publicly claimed a Suffolk County, N.Y., highway-patrol officer had forced her to strip and walk home wearing only underpants, it seemed to unleash a deluge of complaints against police officers there. Within a month six other women, including Deon, came forward claiming Frank Wright had abused them, too. Experts say the answer may lie in the way women victims view their assailant. When a woman is abused by a police officer, she usually thinks she has done something wrong, says Jerome...
  • 'Toe-To-Toe Over Taiwan'

    Admiral Dennis Blair is commander of United States forces in the Pacific, the largest of the nine U.S. unified military commands. As relations with China have heated up in recent months, Blair has found himself increasingly at odds with others in the Defense Department-including his boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld has been pushing for a more aggressive stance against China, including a virtual end to military-to-military exchanges. Blair opposes such moves, arguing that the U.S. needs to take a more balanced military posture towards Beijing. Recently, he spoke with NEWSWEEK Tokyo correspondent Gregory Beals about the role of the U.S. military in the Pacific region.NEWSWEEK: Can you describe the threat from China?Dennis Blair: Countries in Asia are worried about China becoming a bully in the region-whether it be their claims on the South China Sea, their claims on the disputed Indian border, as well as their attitudes about Taiwan and their stewardship of Hong...
  • American Beat: Boxers? Briefs? Pubic Lice?

    Consider, for a moment, the sweaty undergarments of a Disney World employee.You don't have to be Willard Scott to understand that when you're walking around the Magic Kingdom in a Mickey Mouse or a Cinderella costume, you get pretty hot and mighty sweaty.How do I know this? I'm married to The Frankster. Sure, you may know my wife as a mere social worker, but last July 4, she began a new career, donning a monstrous fleece hot-dog-and-bun costume in 100-degree temperatures at the Nathan's hot dog-eating contest at Coney Island.When it was over, my beloved processed beef mascot and I went home-and she was so stinky that she actually emancipated me from laundry duty that week.So if my wife is so repulsed by the thought of her own underwear, imagine how Disney workers feel. As per company policy, sweaty performers are required to hand in their disgusting undergarments-for the record, we're talking jockstraps and bike shorts, not the boxers, briefs, panties or thongs that actually lay on...

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