News

  • The Search For A Vaccine

    NEWSWEEK: How did the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative get started?Seth Berkley: The conceptual work for IAVI began in 1993-94, when I was still at the Rockefeller Foundation. We launched it officially in 1996, with one person and $100,000. We now have 30 full-time people and another 20 part-time. Our operating budget this year is $24 million. We've raised about $230 million, and our goal is to have $550 million by 2007. This is a unique organization in that we fully intend to go out of business. There's no attempt to build an endowment, no attempt to build a long-term career structure. The idea is to solve a problem.I gather that of the $20 billion the world spends on AIDS each year, only $350 million goes into vaccine research.That's probably high. Of the $350 million nominally spent on HIV vaccines, only about $50 million to $70 million goes into product development, and only $20 million is spent directly on the developing world.How fast is the science advancing? Are today's...
  • Starr Gazing: Watching Her Back

    One could hardly term it a shock when Olympic superstar Marion Jones announced this week that she had separated from her husband, C. J. Hunter, and would seek a divorce after almost three years of marriage. Even in a world of odd couples, Jones and Hunter stood out as among the oddest. The sprinter was gracious, blessed with a motherlode of charm and a megawatt smile that lit up a stadium like the explosion of flash cameras when she raced on the track. The shot-putter seemed to revel in rude, a scowl on his face which, on top of a 350-pound weightman's body, delivered more than a little hint of menace. The European press, which covers track and field with a fervency absent here in America, dubbed the couple, both world champions, "Beauty and the Beast."But Marion Jones always said she alone got to see a different C.J. Hunter, the Prince Charming version. "He's not as rough around the edges with me as with others," Jones explained to me one chilly afternoon after a workout at North...
  • Blockbuster At Sony

    Sony Pictures suspended Thursday two employees without pay for one month for their alleged role in the scandal over a manufactured movie critic who provided fictional quotes on four Sony movies.Sony did not identify the two employees, but four sources familiar with the investigation said the senior executive is Josh Goldstine, Sony's senior executive vice president for advertising. Goldstine did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. A studio spokeswoman declined comment.In a statement, Sony said it is "sanctioning the two advertising executives: one for his actions and the other for actions that occurred within the department he supervises." The studio also said it is creating "a new system of checks and balances involving both the publicity and advertising departments...to ensure the accuracy of quotes contained in future advertising campaigns and to prevent this from happening again."Challenged last week by Newsweek over the authenticity of critic David Manning...
  • Arts Extra: Books: Dispatches From The Fringe

    What happened to the great magazine article? The smart, idiosyncratic extended piece that said something, that was knowing, written without schtick but with great style (or complete rawness) and took chances with voice and subject? The kind you clip out (or save the entire issue) and remember? Is it dead? Who knows? (The novel's been pronounced dead how many times now?) But it seems to be petering out.Granted, such pieces are the hardest part of a magazine to bring alive, to come up with ideas not by raiding the pages of The New York Times, but out of the thin, zeitgeisty air, marrying subject to writer. With celebrity "journalism," powerful and strangulating, establishing itself for good in the 1990s, there was less room for editors to take chances.Today, good writers, even great ones, end up doing celebrity profiles. ("Mailer on Madonna" sounds like a joke but it was actually an Esquire cover story in 1995.) They're relatively easy, for the editor and writer, and they pay well. ...
  • Another Victim Of Bill Clinton?

    In the end, a letter was Antonio Villaraigosa's undoing. The son of a Mexican immigrant, Villaraigosa had hoped to become the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since 1872. Instead, the job went to James K. Hahn, 50, the scion of a local political family. When the final tally was announced in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Hahn had an eight-point lead over his opponent, with 54 percent of the vote to Villaraigosa's 46 percent.The ebullient Villaraigosa, a former union organizer and speaker of the California Assembly, had maintained a slight lead over the reserved (some say stiff) Hahn since the primary vote on April 10. Both Hahn and Villaraigosa are Democrats, there was little difference between the two on major issues; during debates, they often ended up agreeing with one and other. But Villaraigosa's mayoral bid had captured international attention, as well as the hopes of Latinos seeking to propel one of their own to the top job in a city governed for the last eight years by...
  • The Macphersons: Week 44: Looking For The 'Real Bali'

    I knew we'd get a reality check soon, but it's always a shock when it hits. My grip on the Third World was slipping. We had moved on from Java to Bali and I had booked us a room in advance over the phone. Throughout Indonesia we had been paying between 30,000R and 150,000R per night. That's roughly U.S. $3 to $15. So when the receptionist over the phone told me the room she was offering normally went for 200 and she would give it to us for 50 percent off, I thought great, 100,000R or U.S.$10 was a pretty good deal.We finished checking in, and the receptionist jotted down the rate in the lower left-hand corner of the registration card. The U.S. dollar sign was my first clue. And then after writing 100, no more zeros came. Uh oh, I thought. $100 a night! My heart sank.I apologized to everyone as we loaded our bags back into the same taxi and wandered from place to place, only to be quoted rates in U.S. dollars and nothing was in our price range. We felt like we were back in Miami...
  • Fraser's Journal Entry

    This house is so nice. Every morning Ilu comes and makes breakfast for us and cleans up. It has a pool that we go skinny dipping in every night after dinner. During the day we go to the beach where there are more toplesses than you need to see. Not that I need to see any. There are really annoying hawkers who sell plastic Rolexes and Omegas. We rented boogie boards for an hour. It is so much fun because the waves are 10 feet tall so if you're a ways ahead of them you can ride all the way to the shore.I thought today we were going to have a nice day, just lounging all day, maybe go to the beach. But I should have known. Right after breakfast I had to go sightseeing. When I heard the plan I was even less encouraged. It was rice-paddy trekking, which is walking through rice and you can't tell the difference between a weed and rice and then go to a dumb old temple.So first we went to a Balinese play. I didn't get any of it-a little, but not a lot. After that we went to a temple where...
  • Celebrating 'The Cowboy And His Elephant'

    We've been out of touch for so long with what's been happening back home that it surprised us the other day when we realized Malcolm's new book was being released for publication. Before we left on our trip Malcolm had always planned to return to New York for the publication of "The Cowboy and His Elephant" (St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunne Books), his nonfiction account of how an American cowboy adopted a baby African elephant and raised her on his cattle ranch in Colorado. But now, thousands of miles away, somehow it didn't seem necessary. There was nothing really Malcolm could do. The stars of the book, the cowboy, Bob Norris, and Amy, the elephant, were on hand for talk shows and other promotional activities.Malcolm's research on the book had led us to Zimbabwe where we spent a week with Buck DeVries, the man who had rescued Amy from a cull of her herd. Her mother and the rest of the family were slaughtered and Amy was saved by Buck and transported to America to be sold. There...
  • Living Politics: Bush's Place In The World

    Sen. Robert S. Byrd Jr. is a crusty old West Virginian given to long, stentorian speeches about the history of the Senate-the Roman Senate, that is. He's not the first senator you'd think President Bush, hardly a history buff, would have invited to dine upstairs in the White House's family quarters. But there was Byrd a few months back, enjoying an evening few people knew about or noticed at the time. They're noticing now: now that the Bush administration says it will seek to protect America's (and West Virginia's) beleaguered steel-manufacturing industry from foreign imports.Tip O'Neill was famous for saying that "all politics is local." But that was 25 years ago, and the aphorism needs updating. These days, all politics is global. It's a theory that Bush, on many fronts-from steel to the Balkans to the Middle East-is showing he understands as he prepares for his first overseas trip as president.First, let's connect the local-to-global steel dots. Weirton Steel is a legendary,...
  • Vote? What Vote?

    British election campaigns are usually mercifully short-they seldom last more than four weeks-and rousing good entertainment. And this year? Short, yes. Entertaining, hardly.Since day one of the campaign, the outcome of the June 7 vote was all but certain: no moving vans were going to be pulling up to Prime Minister Tony Blair's official residence at 10 Downing Street; Blair's Labour Party would stroll easily back into in power. So not surprisingly, it was the lack of suspense-and not the thrill of a raucous campaign-that colored the mood in London on the eve of the country's venture to the polls.On Oxford Street, one of the city's busiest shopping districts, electioneering was far from foremost in people's minds. Forget Labour leaflets or angry anti-Blair ads from the opposition Conservatives. On Oxford Street the placards were about pub-lunch specials and half-price theater tickets. "If I hadn't been watching television or reading newspapers, I wouldn't know that there was an...
  • The Borowitz Report: War Of Words Escalates Between Ford And Firestone

    The rhetorical battle between the Ford Motor Co. and the Firestone tire company reached a new level of acrimony today when a spokesman for Ford called Firestone "a bunch of egregious jerks.""When you look at how Firestone has been acting lately, it's really jerky," a spokesman for Ford told reporters. "They are, like, a bunch of egregious jerks."Firestone immediately fired back with a statement of its own. "Oh, so we're jerks?" a Firestone spokesman said. "I guess it takes one to know one!"Reporters asked the Firestone spokesman if he was surprised by the severity of the Ford spokesman's attack. "Nothing that butthead says surprises me anymore," the Firestone spokesman said.For his part, the Ford spokesman took issue with being called a "butthead" by the Firestone spokesman. "You tell him to come over here and say that to me," the Ford spokesman said. "I'll kick the crap out of him."The Firestone spokesman, however, was unfazed by the latest threat from the Ford spokesman. "Yeah,...
  • The State Of Affairs

    It's been quite a month for New York City's mayor. In early May, Donna Hanover (the estranged wife) sought to bar Judi Nathan (the loyal girlfriend) from Gracie Mansion (the official residence). And ever since, the New York Post and the New York Daily News (the hungry tabloids) have covered the high-profile threesome at full throttle. Of course, you can't just blame the journalists. Rudy, Judi and Donna's moves have provided plenty of material. Herewith, a timeline of highlights and lowlights from the scandal that's rocked the city:The opening salvo: On April 20, 2000, Donna Hanover announces she has accepted a role in "The Vagina Monologues." The play was written by Eve Ensler, a friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was at that point Giuliani's opponent for the New York Senate seat.The first big bombshell: On April 26, 2000, Giuliani admits that he has an early, treatable form of prostate cancer, the same disease that killed his father in 1981. The formerly hard-driving mayor...
  • A Year In The Life

    The statistics should scare every parent. The nation's public schools will need 2 million new teachers in the next decade, according to a recent government report. It'll be tough to recruit them and even tougher to keep them in the classroom. More than 20 percent of new teachers leave the profession in the first three years; after five years, more than a third have gone on to other careers. Money is the major reason. But rowdy kids, apathetic parents and long hours also push even idealistic teachers out. To find out more about what makes some stay and others leave, NEWSWEEK asked three first-year teachers to keep diaries. Here's how they did:Elizabeth Jackson looks so young that more than one parent has mistaken her for a student. And this is middle school. But her youth hasn't spared her from shouldering the responsibility of educating six classes a day at Nichols Middle School, and 120 students representing an amazing cross section of America: white and black, rich and poor. She...
  • Hot Property

    Hundreds of games were on display at the recent electronic entertainment Expo, held in Los Angeles. Though most of them won't appear in stores for months, we're giving a sneak peek at the five most impressive titles we saw. The buzz rating reflects how much hype each game generated at the show, not necessarily quality. ...
  • Peeling Apart

    The confrontation began as soon as the executives from both companies filed into the conference room at Firestone headquarters last Monday. Why, Firestone CEO John Lampe demanded, had Ford been leaking damaging information to the press about Firestone tires? And was the automaker about to go public with demands for another tire recall, one that would further tarnish Firestone's reputation? The Ford executives were circumspect, claiming they had not yet made such a decision. But for the next two hours, Ford's chief engineer presented page after page of data, arguing that millions of Firestone tires still on Ford Explorers were prone to shredding. Firestone fired back with its own carefully prepared documents that raised questions about the Explorer's stability. After four hours of tense finger-pointing, neither side would relent. Signaling an end to the meeting, Lampe pulled out a letter and handed it to Ford vice president Carlos Mazzorin. "I'm sorry to have to do this," Lampe said....
  • To Bail Is To Fail: Stick With Stocks

    Here's how the Federal Reserve describes the stock-market outlook: "Investment in capital equipment... has continued to decline. The erosion in current and prospective profitability, in combination with considerable uncertainty about the business outlook, seems likely to hold down capital spending going forward." Translation: it's time to bail. With investors sweating over continuing volatility, the natural temptation is to shift your money to bonds, T-bills or even certificates of deposit--anything but stocks.Hot tip: don't move. Do nothing. Take a few deep breaths if you need to. Do not check on your portfolio. Do not look up gold prices. Do not try to figure out what zero-coupon bonds are. If you're truly investing in stocks--that is, if you're putting away money that you won't need for 10 years or longer--just keep doing what you're doing.Over history, stocks have been the best place to grow your long-term savings, returning on average 11 percent annually since 1926, as measured...
  • Your Brain On Poker

    You know the "high" that gamblers talk about when they fill an inside straight? It turns out to be more than a metaphor. In a new brain-imaging study, researchers led by Dr. Hans Breiter of Massachusetts General Hospital examined which regions of the brain became active when volunteers played a game of chance. After getting $50, each of 12 men flicked a spinner that landed on one of three amounts of money, which they won or lost. Meanwhile, the scientists tracked the men's brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Regions that responded to gambling wins overlapped with those that respond to cocaine. Money, in other words, excites much the same regions as a drug, they report in the journal Neuron. "Gambling produces a similar pattern of activity to cocaine in the cocaine addict," Breiter says. "The same set of brain regions process very different categories of reward." Gambling addiction, then, may have the same neural basis as drug addiction. Will compulsive...
  • Time To Crack The Books

    Mao Kurahashi wasn't sure whether she should get a job or stay in school. As an art-history major at Keio University, one of Japan's most prestigious private universities, Kurahashi, 23, was intrigued by historical ruins like those at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But she learned that her degree didn't have much practical value. She wanted to join a documentary-film company, but after nine failed interviews with production firms, Kurahashi came to a sobering conclusion: her art-history knowledge wasn't deep enough. So this spring she began a master's program (at a different university) in Southeast Asian art studies. "I am glad that I came here," Kurahashi says, sitting in a campus cafe. "I think I've found what I really want to do now, which is work for an international organization to preserve ruins."More and more Japanese students are opting to earn graduate degrees. Most are hoping to get ahead in a tight job market. But others just dawdle in academia, taking courses while working at...
  • Underground In Utah

    Americans can be shrill in their morality and selective about their history. They tend also to be blind to that fact, as I was reminded recently by the trial of Tom Green, a ex-Mormon allegedly married to five women at once. Green, the five women and their 25 children live in a clutch of mobile homes in the Utah desert, a landscape of sagebrush and salt flats 50 miles from the nearest gas station. Bearded as an old-time preacher, Green, 52, describes himself as a "fundamentalist Mormon" for whom plural marriage is a religious duty. Not minding the contradiction, he also claims he's innocent on charges of bigamy because he and his women aren't legally married. As for those girls he married as young as 14, well, sir, those were "relations among consenting adults." The jury convicted him anyway.Journalists as far away as London and Melbourne had a high time pawing over the strange family and gawking at the wives, who came to court covered from wrist to ankle in chaste frontier calico...
  • The Politics Of Post-Affluence

    It's been a rough election season for Britain's ruling Labour Party. On the day that it released its campaign manifesto, televisions were buzzing with a more vivid image: Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott punching out a protester who had thrown an egg at him. Then Tony Blair himself was accosted at one of his carefully choreographed photo ops by a woman who complained bitterly about the National Health Service. (More recently he squirmed through a tirade from a student about high tuition bills.) Another senior Labour minister, Jack Straw, was jeered while addressing a group of police officers. And after two weeks of these assorted embarrassments, the party's lead in the polls rose slightly.That the Labour Party is certain to be returned to power on June 7 is not surprising. A competent government presiding over peaceful and prosperous times is usually given a second term. What is striking about this election, and important beyond Britain, is the Conservative Party's utter...
  • How It Will Play In Tokyo

    From the very start, the makers of "Pearl Harbor" were worried about offending Japanese viewers. A line in the script describing--accurately--how the Japanese executed a couple of downed American pilots as war criminals was cut. And the "Pearl Harbor" that opens in Tokyo on July 14 will be a little different from the one that the rest of the world sees: the term "dirty Japs," heard in American theaters, has been shortened to just "Japs," and two other epithets have been softened. Indeed, in Japan the film is being marketed as a love story, not a war movie--no accident, considering the country accounted for 20 percent of "Titanic's" total profits. "That's what everybody feels will sell the picture," says producer Jerry Bruckheimer.Hollywood's angst over depicting the attack on Pearl Harbor for the Japanese is nothing compared with Tokyo's. For decades the country has agonized over how--and how much--to teach students about Japan's role in World War II. On one side of the debate are...
  • So Much For Civics Class

    When the good-old-days crowd get together over coffee in a diner, at the card table at home, one of the things they sometimes bemoan is the end of civics class in school. You remember civics: a kid with no more interest in the tripartite system of government than he has in couture clothes or chamber music gets to memorize the number of people on the Supreme Court, the two parts of Congress and the function of the Electoral College.People my age were probably the last to take civics as a free-standing course, and to learn the Pledge of Allegiance by heart, and this set some of us up for disappointment in later life. In learning about democracy vs. fascism, one-man-one-vote vs. oligarchy, we became idealistic. Unfortunately, civics gave way to politics, with its harsher lessons. And over time we realized that if our children were to study how government works, they would inevitably learn that ideals have become laughable, the people incidental, and democracy has become illusory. Those...
  • Perspectives

    "And to the C students, I say, you, too, can be president of the United States." President George W. Bush, a C student himself, receiving an honorary degree from Yale, his alma mater"It's more than a decade since I was in the front line of politics. That's why I'm back... And you knew I was coming. On my way here I passed a cinema with the sign THE MUMMY RETURNS." Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, helping campaign for Tory underdog William Hague"It looks like if you were to look at the skeleton of a rhino or a horse or a cow... It's lovely." Ralph Chapman, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, commenting on the newly posed triceratops at the museum after a computer simulation showed that the previous bone positioning was wrong"This does not mean that school trips should be stopped." Tony Kerridge, spokesman for health charity Marie Stopes International, reacting to its study's finding that one in three of the British...
  • The Sharper Image

    Francine Schwartz, 54, may be the perfect candidate for a new digital camera. She's comfortable with her computer and she understands the advantages of digital photography, having watched her husband, Martin, fiddle with his four filmless cameras over the past couple of years. The instant gratification of showing pictures right after you take them. Deleting the duds. Printing only the images you want to keep. Yeah, yeah. She knows all of this. So two weeks ago, Martin bought Francine a $279 point-and-shoot designed specifically for the first-time user, Kodak's new DX3500. How does she like it? "She still hasn't touched it," reports Martin. "She wants to take her time."You probably feel like Francine. Digital photography remains unknown territory for most of us; at the end of last year, only 13 percent of U.S. households had purchased a digital camera, according to a new survey by InfoTrends Research Group. But the picture is changing. Sales have doubled every year since 1997....
  • Tradition Down The Drain

    It's showtime at Showa Yokujo, a public bathhouse in central Tokyo. Wearing a brightly colored costume, Sumihiro Tajima shuffles and flips cards as part of his magic show. There is no stage; he performs in the bathhouse changing room among half-naked customers. The room is a little steamy, but no matter. Kids and grown-ups love the act. The 40-year-old Tajima owns the bathhouse, or sento, and performs for customers nearly every night.He needs the gimmick to bolster his business. Tokyo bathhouses flourished for centuries--from the start of the Edo period in the early 1600s until World War II. Most Japanese lacked private baths of their own, and the public facilities became popular places to socialize. But postwar modernization changed Japanese life-styles drastically, and the business has been in steady decline. In 1968 there were 2,687 sentos in Tokyo; today there are only 1,258. Likewise, the average number of bathers has fallen dramatically--from 500 a day in 1968 to 150 now.Sento...
  • Crashing Clones

    In the beginning there was only Nasdaq, the American mother of all high-flying tech markets. As the New York exchange took off, others would try to follow. Starting in 1996 with Easdaq in Belgium and Kosdaq in South Korea, a mania for cloning Nasdaq spread from Frankfurt to Tokyo and beyond. Whether indulged by the famously savvy (Singapore) or the merely wishful (Romania), the hope everywhere was to ignite an American-style boom by creating a market that allows small, unprofitable and unproved companies to sell stock directly to the public. Now some of these exchanges are as shaky as the dot-coms they were peddling. Since Nasdaq began to collapse in March 2000, many of its copycats have fallen into scandal, depression and disrepute on a scale that makes the New York original look calm by comparison. On its Web site, Romania Invest offers this blunt warning on the stillborn local market, Rasdaq: "We advise against investing."The shakeout is coming. At a time when investors are...
  • Even In The U.S.A.

    The first of my ancestors who came to North America, in the 17th century, were Dutch. They settled in a colony called New Amsterdam. Then the English took over. New Amsterdam became New York and New Jersey, and my ancestors had to put aside their Dutchness. Today, even Americans who live in old New Amsterdam no longer consider the Netherlands a mother country. When we think of the Dutch--which isn't often--we picture a small, oddball nation that permits many of the things we still regard as unlawful: euthanasia, prostitution, marijuana, same-sex marriages.Yet, without knowing it, we Americans are becoming a little more Dutch all the time--a society embroiled in rapid change, breaking down old structures and trying out new ways to live. The latest U.S. Census, conducted last year, shows that the presumed bedrock of our society, the nuclear family--Mom, Dad and 2.4 kids--is breaking down fast. Fewer than 25 percent of all U.S. households now consist of married couples raising children...
  • Perisccope

    Tony Blair brought "babes" to his last election--the 101 women M.P.s elected to Parliament in Labour's landslide victory. But this year they just haven't been as prominent. "Whatever happened to the women in this campaign?" wrote one columnist last week, echoing a national question.Has the Labour Party let its women down in 2001? Sheer numbers would suggest so. It has fielded fewer women--149, compared with 158 in 1997. And because not as many are fighting for winnable seats, fewer are likely to be elected this time around.But the future of parliamentary equality is not as bleak as those stats might suggest. Labour's recent constitutional reforms have given birth to the Welsh Assembly, 40 percent women, and the Scottish Parliament, 38 percent women. Only one in eight M.P.s in Westminster is a woman, but this is because British antidiscrimination laws bar the party from stacking its lists of parliamentary candidates in women's favor. Fair or not, Labour seeks to change that law after...
  • A War Against Intellectuals

    Searching for the Arabic word for "dissidence" a few years back, Egyptian writer Nawal el-Saadawi was stumped. In the end, she discarded al-ihtijaj (protest) and al-muarada (opposition), settling on al-nidal, struggle. The translation seems more apt by the day. Egyptian dissidents and intellectuals are under fire from two very different forces: the government and militant Islamists. In the 1990s, Parliament passed a series of laws cracking down on political activists. At the same time, fundamentalists launched a war on secular culture, agitating for censorship and prosecution of writers who criticize the Islamic status quo. Over the past decade, writers have been imprisoned for their political beliefs, and injured or killed for angering Islamic militants. Says Hisham Kassem of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights: "It's not safe to think in this part of the world."Saadawi knows the dangers. She's been writing for half a century, and her fierce critiques of Egypt's political...

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