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  • The Blame Game

    It wasn't long after the World Trade Center had been toppled by a terrorist attack Tuesday morning that Osama Siblani received his first threatening phone call. "You had better pray to God that Arabs didn't have anything to do with this," hissed the unidentified caller, "or your ass will be next, Siblani." Siblani, editor of the Arab-American News in Dearborn, Mich., cursed at the caller and slammed down the phone. He would receive at least a dozen more calls throughout the day, many urging the native of Lebanon to "go back home."Now Siblani worries that Dearborn's large Arab population will be targeted for much worse than just phone threats. In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing-before it was found to be an act of domestic terrorism-Arab-American businesses were burning and homes in Dearborn's Arab enclaves were vandalized. The windows of Siblani's newspaper office have been smashed, and his tires have been slashed after past terrorism attacks around the world. "There are...
  • What Next?

    As a small army of fire fighters struggled to put out the flames at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington, federal law enforcement agencies had already begun marshaling agents, readying them for what promises to be the largest criminal investigation in the history of the nation.Whe the fires are out and the rubble has cooled, rescue personnel will begin searching for the injured trapped amid the concrete slabs and recovering the dead. At the same time, engineers will begin stabilizing the shifting wreckage in order to prevent further injuries-a difficult undertaking at the ruined section of the Pentagon but a mind-boggling one at the World Trade Center, which lies crumbled over three city blocks. Only after the debris has been stabilized will agents from federal agencies be allowed to step in.Then the difficult, painstaking search for physical evidence will begin. In the coming weeks and months, agents will begin sifting through mountains of rubble,...
  • London: 'We're Thinking Of You'

    The handwritten note was left, simply and elegantly, on our Victorian doorstep in Kew, London, on Tuesday night as my family and I tried to come to grips with what had happened back home. It was from our neighbors. "I can see the lights on in your house, but I don't want to disturb you-we are all shocked, more shocked than I can express, at today's events, and I want to say that we are thinking of you and of any friends and family you have in New York ... Be assured you are surrounded by friends here." It was signed, "With love, Sandy and David."I'm sure this lovely, very British note (the British are inveterate note writers), is typical of the sort of expressions of sympathy and affection that Americans abroad have been getting around the world this week. London seemed awash in them-in keeping with the "special relationship" that unites the United States and the United Kingdom, especially at times like these. Take the scene around London's deeply historic Grosvenor Square, a scene...
  • New York Voices

    On a day of such tragedy, few words can convey the horror. These comments from eyewitnesses, rescue workers, city officials and city residents tell just a part of the story of the attack on the World Trade Center-and how residents are reacting."Imagine the apocalypse. It's worse.""The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear." ...
  • New York Stories

    The devastation began at 8:48 a.m. when the first plane struck Tower One of the World Trade Center. Survivors, rescue workers and New Yorkers tell tales of the tragic day:Barbara Chandler was working on the 77th floor of 1 World Trade Center when the first plane struck the upper floors of her building. "It was a combination of sound and the building rocking. I saw flying glass and papers just showering down in front of my windows. Then our suite began to fill with toxic fumes and smoke. We grabbed paper towels and water to put over our faces, and walked down all 77 flights-there was better air in the stairwell, and it was very organized."Michael Hingson, 51, a sales manager on the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center, felt the 8:48 a.m. blast and immediately walked down the building's stairs, along with seven other staffers. He recalled wishing firefighters and other rescue personnel good luck as they raced upstairs, then paused to reflect on their likely demise. "They probably came...
  • The Economic Fallout

    With the linked global financial markets plunged into chaos following the horrific terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, nervous investors, seeking a safe haven, sent the price of gold skyrocketing in the aftermath of the attacks.While U.S. financial officials scrambled to assure the public that markets and money supplies would be protected, there was concern about the lasting impact of the attacks. With the U.S. economy already teetering on the edge of recession, some traders worried that the devastating assault would act as a negative catalyst, further depressing global markets and economic activity.The attacks destroyed one of the most prominent architectural symbols of global finance and trade. U.S. securities markets came to a complete halt on Tuesday, and stocks plunged across Europe. It's not clear when trading can resume; the rubble of the collapsed World Trade Center is located only a block or so from Wall Street, the epicenter of world finance, through which at...
  • What I Saw

    There had been a lot of construction in lower Manhattan this summer. I attributed that first explosion-which sounded as I was halfway down the stairs and to the street on my way to vote in the mayoral primaries-to the crashes, blasts and wallops that define morning in a boom town, which has been New York recently. It was the second explosion that made it all seem so normal, in fact, the one that pierced the stunning morning air. Single explosions can mean power-station trouble or rumbles from manholes, but in succession they almost always mean bedrock blasting.In front of the polls a crowd had formed around a stolid policeman. The news unspooled from the tall walkie-talkie on his belt. He stared frozen into the middle distance. They bent and listened at his waist. An ancient Puerto Rican woman in a blue dress held trembling fingers to her forehead. "Like 50 years ago," her companion told her, "like the Empire State Building." From where we stood the horizon seemed to turn an orange...
  • Letter From Lax

    For scores of passengers milling around the American Airlines terminal in Los Angeles this morning, the word "cancelled," illuminated over and over again in alarm red across the arrivals board, provided the first hint that something horrible had happened. With no TVs anywhere near the check-in counter, it was left to American attendants in Terminal 3 to inform annoyed passengers of what had just transpired. Then, around 9:30 a.m. (PDT) the families of the victims began to arrive at Terminal 3, and the personal magnitude of today's tragedies became abundantly clear. "Leave us alone," was all the two sobbing couples could say to the press as American personnel whisked them to a private lounge.Three of the four hijacked commercial flights involved in today's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were cross-country flights, full of jet fuel, bound for Los Angeles. Federal officials shut Los Angeles International Airport indefinitely Tuesday, rerouting flights and trying to...
  • A Scene Of Despair

    "This is not a blood donation center," a woman calls over a megaphone to the approaching sea of volunteers at Chelsea Piers, the enormous sports and entertainment complex alongside the Hudson River that has been designated a crisis headquarters."All food and clothing donations, down this path," she boomed. "Medical volunteers that way. But this is not a blood donation center, I'm sorry if someone told you it was." A line stretched from the sidewalk in front of Pier 61 right down 23rd Street, blocks and blocks of people carrying stethoscopes and hard hats and sandwiches and dry clothing for the rescue workers. Surgeons and social workers, priests and electricians, architects and specialists in trauma psychology-it has been a nonstop pilgrimage since the moment of the first blast. There was almost a jubilation among them: Whistles of appreciation for soldiers in uniform, applause for the tiny Tibetan monk carrying a stack of pizza boxes.But inside is a different story, inside is a...
  • Tv Comes Through

    Television has a way of burning the most horrifying images into our national psyche. Bodies lying along a road during the Vietnam War. A masked kidnapper waving a gun out a window at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The midair explosion of the Challenger.But television has never shown us anything like an airliner slamming into the tallest building in New York City-at the instant it happens. And then, almost before we could comprehend what we're seeing, images that were almost as terrifying: the Pentagon smashed and smoldering like a fallen souffle, terrified employees sprinting out of the White House, one building of the World Trade Center collapsing onto itself, followed by the second.Television doesn't always get tragedy right. A slow-speed chase will preoccupy it for hours, and it will morbidly linger over almost any murder scene. But the media's work on the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington did something we'd come to think was nearly impossible after the disastrous...
  • Did Encryption Empower These Terrorists?

    "Well, I guess this is the end now...." So wrote the first Netizen to address today's tragedy on the popular discussion group, sci.crypt. The posting was referring what seems like an inevitable reaction to the horrific terrorist act: an attempt to roll back recent relaxations on encryption tools, on the theory that cryptography helped cloak preparations for the deadly events.But the despondency reflected in the comment can be applied more generally. The destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon comes at a delicate time in the evolution of the technologies of surveillance and privacy. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, our attitude toward these tools may well take a turn that has profound implications for the way individuals are monitored and tracked, for decades to come.The first issue on the docket will be the fate of tools that enable citizens to encrypt their e-mail, documents and phone conversations as they zip through cyberspace and the ether....
  • Chicago: Helpless In The Heartland

    Inside the Tribune Tower, a gothic structure on Michigan Ave., newspaper editors scrambled to put out a special edition. Outside, a klatch of about 50 people craned their necks to watch the national news on a pair of television sets facing out toward the streets.One moment of anxiety came when Peter Jennings announced to the crowd that a plane was still missing en route from Boston to Los Angeles. The crowd, instinctively, looked up at the sky.The entire city seemed to shut down: all the major high rises, the airports, the Federal buildings. Even the suburban Old Orchard shopping mall, well north of the city center, had shut its doors. "It's been an interesting morning," said Larry Orr, 53, who drives a cab downtown. Usually his weekday trips are short ones, office building to office building. But today all the cab stands were closed. And all his fares have been going the same way: out. He drove one worried mom from the South Side up to pick up her young girl from day care. Another...
  • A Capital Under Siege

    Sen. Evan Bayh was giving a speech downtown when he heard the news of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His wife was in California on a business trip, so Bayh raced to his young sons' elementary school to pick them up early and reassure them. But once he had them in the car, the Capitol Police told him not to go home.Security officials were concerned that terrorists may have decided to target individual senators. For an hour, until he got an "all clear" from the police, Bayh drove his twin 5-year-old sons around the leafy-but no longer idyllic-neighborhoods of Northwest Washington.This is now a global capital under siege. At another elementary school (my own son's), kids on the playground hid under trees and behind bushes when they heard the news of the attack on the Pentagon. For kids, all terror is local, and they know the federal buildings best. They have no reason to think that what happened down the Potomac could not happen even closer to home.At the...
  • End Of Innocence

    It is too dangerous for the president to return to Washington.Remember this day, for on this day life in America changed forever, and not for better. We are at war, and the war may never end. The death toll is unimaginable, the worst (and almost the only) domestic war casualties in our history. But we've lost more than lives. We've lost what's left of our innocence. Remember what life was like before today: freedom to travel, the right to privacy, a sense of ease and security in our homes and in our cities and towns.All these freedoms are diminished now. We can and will get them back. We will win this war as we have won the others, including World War II. But victory will not be easy, and we may have to give up some measure of freedom to preserve what's best of the rest.We are lucky beyond imagining in America. In most of the rest of the world, you ignore politics at your peril, often literally at the risk of your life. But here, for most of our history, our citizens have had the...
  • Defending Bin Laden

    On the surface, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan remained calm as news of the terror attacks in Washington and New York filled the airwaves. But as more fingers pointed at Osama bin Laden, the regime moved fast to try to head off retaliatory strikes. The government's worry: a strike similar to the 1998 cruise-missile strikes against terrorist training camps at Jalalabad and Khost in retaliation for the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.Within four hours of the attacks on America's east coast, Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil strode into the faded Kabul Intercontinental hotel to address international media, on hand for the trial of eight foreign-aid workers accused of spreading Christianity. The urbane minister coolly played down the risk of U.S. retaliation. "We don't foresee any difficulties in this regard," he said. "There is no argument or no reason for it."His confidence may have been misplaced. Shortly after 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, Kabul was rocked by a...
  • And Around The World ...

    In Iraq, television stations played a patriotic sing that begins "Down with America" as it showed the World Trade Center's towers falling. In Moscow, Russians rushed to offer their blood. In Europe, Chris Patten, the European Union's External Relations Commissioner, described the attack as "one of those few days in life that one can actually say will change everything." And in Gaza, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat condemned a terrorist act that he described as "unbelievable."As shocked Americans entered into a state of national mourning, a range of reactions continued to pour in from across the globe. Most were sympathetic. But for some residents of the world's perennial trouble spots, there was a grim satisfaction in the knowledge that Americans, too, now understood the trauma of living with constant insecurity.NEWSWEEK correspondents recorded snapshots of the international responses. ...
  • No Safe Havens

    It was a date that will live in infamy. Just as Dec. 7, 1941, was the day upon which all Americans realized that they are not free from foreign attack, Sept. 11, 2001, will live on in the collective consciousness of the American people as the day they learned they were not safe from terrorism. Not just any kind of terrorism-but efficient, cold-blooded slaughter on a mass scale.The death tolls from the coordinated attacks on Washington and New York will surely rise into the hundreds and probably thousands. The psychic injury will be equally vast.Officials have long warned that America's borders are porous and its people mobile and free-wheeling-ideal conditions for terrorists who want to penetrate and kill. But despite the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing, and despite all the talk about Osama bin Laden's worldwide terror network, the message never really sunk in to ordinary Americans that they were vulnerable to attacks on a truly massive scale.Now...
  • Fun Ethic Vs. Work Ethic?

    The transformation of labor since the creation of Labor Day a century ago tells, in many ways, the story of modern America. Paid labor was then all-consuming, generally backbreaking, done mainly by men, often dangerous and, of course, endless--that is, most men worked until they couldn't. In 1880, 58 percent of men 75 or older worked; the figure today is 8 percent. The factory workweek averaged about 60 hours, spread over six days. Sunday was a day of rest and prayer, but not really recreation.Economic historian Stuart Bruchey has written: "By present standards the age of America's first Industrial Revolution must be regarded as callous in its relative indifference to the welfare and safety of workers. The unemployed worker was cast adrift. As a rule, there was no such thing as public relief, and private charity was either insufficient or offered only on demeaning terms. The risks of injury or death on the job were grievously high." From 1880 to 1900 about 35,000 workers died and...
  • The Berlin Question

    The sign doesn't mince words: EUROPE'S FASTEST ELEVATOR. And fast it is. It takes just 20 seconds to zip up to the top of the 25-story DaimlerChrysler building, one of a crop of brand-new sky-scrapers sprouting from the heart of the New Berlin. It's easy to see why the dramatic changes here have fired the world's imagination. Little more than a decade ago, Potsdamer Platz was a no man's land sundered by the Berlin wall. Now, as everyone knows, it's a showcase for the snazzy works of modern architects, from Renzo Piano to Helmut Jahn. But look past the bustling construction sites, toward a football-field-size vacant lot a stone's throw from the Brandenburg Gate. It's set to become the site of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, Germany's first real monument to the annihilation of European Jewry during World War II.As a symbol of the new Berlin, the contrast could not be more apt: past and future, in constant ferment. After a roller-coaster century of shattered imperial dreams and the...
  • Whip It!

    Flogging has long been an accepted punishment in Iran. Just swilling booze will get you 50 to 100 lashes. But some reformist government ministers argue that public whipping's bad PR--especially while Iran courts foreign investors. The conservative judiciary, which doles out the whippings, disagrees. Meetings were held last week: to flog or not to flog--that was the question. The answer will take a little longer.
  • Taking On The Machine

    The road to Osaki village skirts Aso Bay beneath hills blanketed with lush forest. Like most of Japan's remote Tsushima Island, the area is breathtakingly beautiful--until the undulating shoreline yields to a hideous construction site directly below the fishing hamlet. Though this area is sparsely inhabited and hardly short of open space, the government is spending millions to carve new lands out of the sea. A concrete sea wall contains a reclamation area the size of five football fields, all backfilled to a level three meters above the high-tide line. Soon construction crews will start work on this new patch of real estate, building a day-care center and a gateball field (Japanese croquet) for the elderly. The cost, before overruns: $5 million. Osaki's population is 282 and falling.The story of this pricey oceanfront playground is more than an isolated example of waste. Multiplied thousands of times over, it represents the folly of Japan's pave-and-build approach to economic...
  • Spin (Out Of) Control

    Last week British paratrooper Ian Collins, 22, was killed on the first day that NATO began collecting weapons from Albanian guerrillas in Macedonia. Officials blamed a gang of youths who threw a concrete slab off a bridge onto a British jeep. But there are indications that the attack was organized and premeditated, and may even have had tacit police support, according to NATO sources. It wasn't an encouraging start to a mission that has already violated many of the conditions NATO set for itself.Under the peace plan, Macedonia's Parliament has to respond to the weapons surrender by beginning a reform of the Constitution that would grant improved rights, official citizen status and more jobs to ethnic Albanian minorities, as well as give amnesty to demobilized rebels; a vote is expected this week. If it's voted down, the peace process will go down with it and NATO will presumably have to go home--providing yet another condition for the alliance to violate in order to stay in...
  • Fake Id

    Dominican Republic-born Danny Almonte was the talk of America last week, but not because he recently pitched a perfect (no hits or walks allowed) game in the Little League World Series. It's his age. After much speculation, an official from the Dominican Republic announced on Friday that Danny is 14--too old to play Little League ball. Danny's team will likely be stripped of its title for third place in the tournament. That's not the worst of it. While Danny has been a star baseball player, he's also been pretty good at playing truant--he reportedly has not attended school since moving to New York nearly two years ago. Worse still, a U.S. official claims that Danny and his father are in the country illegally. The scandal is hardly over, but one thing's certain. There isn't likely to be a perfect ending to what began as the perfect game.
  • It's Hip To Say 'Ich Bin Ein Berliner'

    The sign seems appropriate, somehow, to the spirit of the New Berlin: EUROPE'S FASTEST ELEVATOR. It takes just 20 seconds to zip to the top of the 25-story DaimlerChrysler building, one of a crop of brand-new skyscrapers sprouting from the heart of this city 10 years after the cold war. Look down from the viewing platform, and it immediately becomes apparent why the changes sweeping the city have been firing Germany's collective imagination. A little more than a decade ago Potsdamer Platz, the local Times Square, was a no man's land sundered by the Berlin wall. Now the city's center is a showcase for the snazzy works of some of the world's best architects. It is a place of green promenades and cafes, Rollerbladers and high-tech rickshaws, in a city vibrant with possibility.But peering down from the top of the DaimlerChrysler building, one can't help but spot something else: a giant scar in the earth. The vacant lot, just a stone's throw from the Brandenburg Gate, is a reminder that...
  • Notes From The Global Recession

    Whither the global economy? No one's quite sure, but it's getting messy. With neither rhyme nor reason, PERI offers the week's offbeat Recession Watch. ...
  • Periscope

    Aaliyah Haughton was buried Friday next to her grandmother in White Plains, N.Y., but the controversy surrounding her death is far from over. NEWSWEEK has learned that the 22-year-old double-platinum-selling R&B singer was hesitant to board the tiny twin-engine Cessna 402B that was supposed to take her from the Bahamas to Miami last week. Sources close to the singer say she was fearful of small planes and had been expecting a larger aircraft. "She was very upset at that plane the moment she saw it," said a friend who was with Aaliyah at the airport. Instinct, which produced the video the singer was shooting in the Bahamas, reportedly offered to charter a private jet instead, which would not have arrived for several hours. But Aaliyah just wanted to get home. It was to be her last weekend off before resuming a tough schedule that included the MTV awards, promotion of her album and continued physical training for her roles in "Matrix 2" and "3."Whereas the pilot, Luis Morales III,...
  • Letter From America: A Yuppie In Giuliani's New York

    A few weeks ago my mother called to say there was a warrant out for my arrest. She received the news from Gladys, her 85-year-old landlady, who barricaded herself inside her Brooklyn apartment and refused to come out and speak with the two plainclothes policemen banging on the door. I was mystified. I'd like to think myself dangerous. But sad to say, I'm a mild-mannered journalist, leading a pretty dull life. I live in a doorman building on the Upper East Side. One of my neighbors is a famous weatherman. I don't have a criminal record, though the address on my driver's license is my mother's--thus the "raid." I hadn't robbed any convenience stores lately, nor fled the scene after backing a Jeep into a crowd of people outside a nightclub, as celebrity publicist Lizzie Grubman did recently.But this is Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's New York, where it doesn't take much to draw the attention of cops. This is old news for New Yorkers. They know all about Hizzonor's banning homeless squeegee...
  • Dumb Deals 101

    It's the season that parents love and children hate--back-to-school time. First assignment: studying one of the biggest investment lessons we're likely to see for a generation. To wit, when investment madness grips the world, big, smart investors can succumb just like us not-so-big, not-so-smart types. The difference is that the big guys have lots more money to lose, and if they make big enough investments, they leave paper trails for all to see. Average people who bought dogs like ICG, Webvan and Teligent at their highs can weep in private. But big hitters like John Malone, Goldman Sachs or leveraged-buyout heavies Ted Forstmann and Tom Hicks operate on the public stage. And they can lose bets that are measured in the billions.You might think the biggest smart-money bets were lost from imploding stocks of well-known Internet companies like Priceline, Yahoo and Amazon. Not so. Most of the money was lost in telecommunications companies that were formed to provide spiffy "broadband"...