News

  • Fly In The Ointment

    When biotech firm Celera was attacked for its cockiness in vowing to sequence the human genome before university and government scientists did, the company had a powerful comeback: hey, we sequenced the fruit fly first, remember? Last year Celera and UC, Berkeley, finished sequencing the chemical "letters" (A's, T's, C's and G's) in the DNA of Drosophila. But when mathematician Samuel Karlin of Stanford University compared Celera's sequences with those worked out and corroborated in experiments, he found "significant discrepancies," he reports in Nature: 45 percent of the fly genes contained serious errors (like letters in the wrong place). Celera admits its sequence "is still a work in progress." And the human genome, which the public project and Celera were hellbent on finishing by this spring? It, too, may contain substantial errors. Oops.
  • Shades Of The'60s

    In many ways the cultural revolution we call the 1960s began in the Netherlands. There, on the streets of Amsterdam, an obscure and playful anarchist group called the Provos staged a number of "happenings" in the early years of the decade to poke fun at the hypocrisies of bourgeois life and to demand that laws regulating drug consumption and sexual activity be liberalized. The group disbanded within a decade, but its influence can still be felt by any visitor to that doll-house city who sniffs the cannabis in the air and strolls past the neon-lit sex shops.For American visitors in particular, this is all very confusing. The image we have of Europe in the '60s is of a continent in the midst of some kind of political revolution, with stenciled portraits of Che Guevara painted on ancient walls, terrorist bombings, kneecappings and the occasional assassination of political and business leaders. The upheavals on American campuses, which ceased soon after Richard Nixon's resignation and...
  • Japan's Next Generation

    The best Japanese videogame designers are not household names. Unless, that is, you're an avid player, in which case Tomonobu Itagaki, Shinji Mikami and Tetsuya Mizuguchi will rank with the likes of rock stars and movie icons. Itagaki, who produces games for Tecmo, is best known for his Dead or Alive series of fighting games. Mikami's Biohazard franchise, released by Capcom, introduced true horror to the console. And Mizuguchi, who founded the Sega subsidiary United Game Artists, has broken new ground with music-based games such as Space Channel 5 and his upcoming effort, the K-Project. NEWSWEEK's N'Gai Croal and Kay Itoi gathered the three in Tokyo to discuss their fast-changing industry. ...
  • Is Peace Possible?

    Peace is still possible in the Middle East-but Israel is only prepared to wait a few days for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to enforce his recently-declared ceasefire, Israeli President Moshe Katsav said Monday."Our tolerance is not an expression of weakness, it's not an expression of hesitation," Katsav told a media briefing in New York. "The expectation is that Yasir Arafat will implement his announcement. [He must] show his seriousness."Katsav was speaking three days after a suicide bomber claimed the lives of 20 young Israelis at a crowded Tel Aviv nightclub on Friday-the worst such attack in Israel for six years. The deaths prompted Arafat to call for a ceasefire and order his security chiefs to prevent all attacks on Israeli targets from Palestinian-ruled territory.However, while shooting incidents did drop over the weekend, the fragility of the ceasefire was underscored by a gun battle that erupted in the Gaza Strip on the same day Katsav was addressing New York journalists...
  • A Cardinal Call For Change

    The papacy is the last of Europe's Renaissance courts, a system that makes courtiers of the cardinals and straight talk a rare experience. And so, when Pope John Paul II summoned his cardinals to Rome last week for a three-day consistory, many of them spoke in obsequious sentences--often quoting the pope's own words--rather than giving him what he asked for: their own thoughts on issues affecting the future of the church. The remarkable thing is that a few cardinals found the courage to ask him to loosen the papal reins and treat his fellow bishops as genuine colleagues.Of the 155 cardinals at the secret sessions, several called for reform of the Roman Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy, including two members of the Curia itself. For at least six years, John Paul has left the daily business of running the Holy See to Curia officials, who often ignore the bishops around the world. For example, the Vatican official in charge of overseeing the translation of liturgical texts has refused...
  • A Town's Two Faces

    John Sampier first noticed his community's changing complexion on a balmy autumn day on the soccer field in 1994. The then mayor of Rogers, Ark., asked a coach if the Latino players gracefully kicking the ball around were a traveling team. No, the coach replied. They were the mayor's newest constituents. Drawn to jobs in the nearby poultry plants, immigrants were beginning to flock to Rogers, a town nestled in the heart of the Ozarks that was 98 percent white in 1990. It was an astonishing sight for Sampier, 54, who had never before met a Latino. His response: to form Arkansas's first Hispanic soccer league. The players were so thrilled that they invited him to their first awards banquet. When he addressed them in Spanish, they went wild, chanting, "¡Viva el alcalde!" ("Long live the mayor!").Not long after his day at the soccer field, Sampier hired Al Lopez as his special consultant. A big teddy bear of a guy from Puerto Rico, Lopez was a musician known as Papa Rap and an adviser...
  • Newsmakers

    Will They Take the Rap?A Man of InfluenceWhat a Girl WantsA Soprano Sings For His Supper
  • A Wedding's Wake

    Shortly before this picture was taken, a video showed newlywed Keren Dror dancing joyously with her new husband, surrounded by wedding guests. Seconds later they all disappeared in a cloud of smoke as the third floor of a Jerusalem catering hall collapsed. At least 23 people died and about 300 were injured in Israel's single worst civil disaster. Authorities blamed structural defects, not terrorism, for the catastrophe; the building's owners and contracters were arrested. The bride suffered pelvic injuries, and the groom was slightly injured.
  • Perspectives

    "Vermont has long been known for its independence." Jim Jeffords, the newly independent Vermont senator, announcing his departure from the Republican Party"We contemplated [naming him] king of the Senate, but we don't have that position yet." Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles, on the steps the Republican Party took to keep Jeffords in the fold, including offering him a seat at weekly leadership meetings"To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say, well done. And to the C students, I say to you: you, too, can be president of the United States." President George W. Bush, 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 HaguePeople started telling me I looked like Marilyn when I...
  • Zagat Goes Global

    Little Timmy Zagat was an ordinary Jewish boy in New York. His mother was no great cook. He had never heard of haute cuisine. Then he met Nina. "A revelation! She could cook! I married her!" Together, they have eaten out happily ever after--and the rest is guide-book history. For nearly a generation, the Zagats' guides have led savvy New Yorkers to the best meals and the best culinary deals in the restaurant capital of the world. With success came breadth. There are Zagat Surveys for every major city in America--and many foreign capitals. Now the Zagats are going truly global, expanding into new-media ventures and publishing a slew of international hotel and resort guides. They spoke with NEWSWEEK's Vibhuti Patel in New York: ...
  • The Perils Of Abundance

    The run on candles has begun, as Brazilians prepare for strict rationing rarely seen in peacetime. The government message is blunt: slash electricity consumption by 20 percent--or else face severe fines and worse. First-time offenders will have their power cut off for three days; six days for repeat violators. Even if they follow the rules, which go into effect June 1, Brazilians may face blackouts on a scale far worse than the rolling brownouts in California. The worst-case scenarios: epic traffic jams, soaring crime and recession with a nasty ripple effect throughout South America. "We are talking about blackouts for four, five, six hours a day," says electrical engineer Roberto D'Araujo, of Ilumina, a nongovernmental organization that monitors energy issues. "Tragedy is too timid a word to describe what might happen."Ever since the government owned up to the starkness of the situation in mid-May, Brazilians have fixed blame on just about everyone: the power companies, for failing...
  • Israelis And Palestinians Brace For The Worst

    It was the first cabinet meeting called on the Jewish Sabbath in years and it was a heated one. The hawks in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's cabinet wanted immediate round-the-clock air strikes on the West Bank and Gaza Strip to avenge the previous day's Palestinian suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv nightclub. The moderates, like Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, favored a diplomatic response to the attack, which killed 18 people. The dreadful pictures of teenage revelers stewing in their own blood offered a chance to corner Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, to mobilize international pressure for a truce, Peres told fellow cabinet ministers. But that meant Israel would have to hold its fire. After five hours of arguing, Sharon spoke up. A source in the meeting says it was clear from his remarks that he was siding with the hardliners.The worst Palestinian suicide attack on Israel in five years is threatening to push the region deeper into the hovel of violence and gloom. But in the vagaries...
  • The Reviewer Who Wasn't There

    David Manning of The Ridgefield Press is one of Columbia Pictures' most reliable reviewers, praising Heath Ledger of "A Knight's Tale" as "this year's hottest new star!" and saluting "The Animal" as "another winner!" The studio plastered Manning's raves over at least four different movie advertisements, including "Hollow Man" and "Vertical Limit." But Manning's own life story should be called "Charade," because he doesn't exist. Challenged last week by NEWSWEEK about the reviewer's authenticity, Columbia parent Sony Pictures Entertainment admitted that Manning is a fake, a product of the studio's advertising department.The Ridgefield Press (which was unaware of the deception) is a small Connecticut weekly, but that's where any verisimilitude ends. An unidentified Sony employee apparently concocted the Manning persona last July, using the name of a friend, and attributed fictional reviews to him. Supervisors using the quotes in movie ads didn't question Manning's legitimacy. "It was...
  • Sudan: 'Let Us Have Two Constitutions'

    John Garang is the American-educated leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). For the past 18 years, his group of Christians and animists has been fighting a guerrilla war against the Muslim-dominated government. The conflict has cost an estimated 2 million lives, mostly the result of war-induced famine.Peace efforts are currently underway in the region. The government announced a ceasefire on May 25 (though it seems to have been almost immediately violated when the government launched a new offensive in the Nuba Mountains last week). And both Garang and President Omar el-Bashir are scheduled to attend talks in Kenya on June 2. The United States is trying to lend a hand; last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced plans to appoint a special envoy to Sudan.Last Sunday, Garang spoke with NEWSWEEK's Roy Gutman in Nairobi:NEWSWEEK: What do you understand American policy to be in Sudan, and what do you think it should be?John Garang: Obviously, the United States can...
  • Random Access Online: Slashdot Debuts In Japan

    Hemos and CmdrTaco are staying at the Tokyo Hilton, a gleaming, modern monstrosity in Shinjuku, a district teeming with them. In fact, as we leave the brightly lit Hilton lobby, CmdrTaco points out a building across the street to me and asks if I know Sim City 3000. I instantly recognize the clean, white skyscraper that is the template for the artificial buildings in that classic computer game.Hemos and CmdrTaco are Jeff Bates and Rob Malda, respectively, the self-described nerds from Holland, Mich., who founded the wildly popular Slashdot.org Web site, which is the white-hot center of English-language technoid discussions.The two twentysomething wizards are enjoying the delights of Japan, like i-mode (they're swooning over the latest little Internet phones), Akihabara (where Jeff has scored a digital camera) and anime (Rob visited a studio earlier that day).But their main task is a presentation at LinuxWorld Japan, a show devoted to software utilizing open-source systems-that is,...
  • My Turn: A Survivor Of The Embassy Bombing In Kenya On Terrorism

    Nearly three years ago, at 10:34 a.m. on Aug. 7, 1998, amid the normal working bustle of our embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, I was thrown jarringly to the floor in darkness as the walls tumbled into rubble around me. Breathing cement dust, I screamed for my children, Caroline, 5, and Christopher, 8, who were in that room too, somewhere. It took us a few moments to realize that the embassy had been bombed. We, whom the U.S. State Department calls "dependents" of my husband, U.S. diplomat James Huskey, had been bombed. We were targets of terrorism.I gathered my children in the darkness that day, held tightly, and crawled out of the embassy through a scene of horror, fortunately to physical safety-at least for us. We lost many friends that day among the 224 people who died in the almost simultaneous attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. One of them, Louise Martin, was like me, a dependent. She had been a stellar diplomat for America, though she was never paid and never recognized...
  • Cyberscope

    With British elections coming next week, Web surfers have plenty of opportunity to sample the spectacle. They can get hard news from www.voxpolitics.com, or stage Space Invaders-style battles between the forces of Labour's Tony Blair and Conservative candidate William Hague www.friendlygiants.com. The parties are tripping over themselves to attract a Web audience: Labour recently mailed its Web-site address to first-time voters, and both parties have multiplatform news portals. ...
  • Sudan: Civilians Under Fire

    Even as it was announcing a May 25 ceasefire in its 18-year-old civil war, the government of Sudan was sending ground troops and helicopter gunships into the Nuba Mountains in a major operation against civilians, according to well-placed humanitarian-aid sources in the region. ...
  • Starr Gazing: The Greatest

    Here's the kind of sports tease that would certainly provoke some passionate talk-radio debate. Who's the world's greatest athlete? Several years ago there wouldn't have been much debate in this country. The overwhelming consensus would have been for Michael Jordan. (There may even be that same consensus again next year.) But what about at this very moment? Tiger Woods? Please. There's no doubt he has been the athlete of the year the past few years, but that's at least a Tiger three-wood from world's greatest athlete. Indeed, no golfer need ever apply. So, who else? In the thrall of the current NBA playoffs, folks might opt for Kobe Bryant or Allen Iverson. Or they might choose a rare two-sport star like Deion Sanders. ...
  • Between The Lines Online: Promises Unkept

    It's as if the president was Gilda Radner in that old "Saturday Night Live" skit, saying: "Nevermind." For anyone who heard George W. Bush's campaign stump speech last year, there was a big surprise buried in the tax bill he signed this week. The tax break he promised for charitable giving got left on the cutting-room floor-that's an estimated $90 billion that won't go to hospitals, kids' programs and whatever other charities Americans find worthy of support. ...
  • Mobile Macedonia

    Besnik uses his cellular phone to call journalists at least twice a day from his basement hideout in the Macedonian village of Vaksince. What does he want? First, news from the outside, and second, to plead the case for the thousands cowering under almost-daily bombardment from Macedonian forces attacking rebel forces in the area. ...
  • Arts Extra: High Anxiety

    We Tony Award fanatics are a rare breed, which is really a nice way of saying that there aren't very many of us losers around. Sure, there are a few (mostly gay) bars in New York that host Tony-watching parties, and you could probably hunt down a Tony-betting pool here and there. But let's face it: Barbara Walters has never lined up an interview special on the night of the telecast. Ricky Martin, despite his stint in "Les Miserables," will probably never shake his bon-bon on the program. The Tonys are the stepchildren of the entertainment-awards shows. Most people know that the first hour of the low-rated telecast has been shunted off to PBS in recent years. The fact is, demand for the Tonys is so weak that the show's producers have enough available seats to sell dozens of tickets to the public. Not even the producers of the lowly People's Choice Awards have space to invite the hoi polloi. ...
  • Molly's Journal: May 19, 2001

    We went to bed at 8 p.m., as usual, but only slept for five hours, until 1 a.m. That's when we had to get up to see the incredibly active Mount Merapi. We went in the middle of the night rather than in a more humane hour because the lava that gushes out of Merapi every 15 minutes is too far away to see in daylight. Actually, the lava shoots down the mountainside at an incredible speed: 200 kilometers per hour. ...
  • Indonesia: 'He's Finished'

    As thousands of militant supporters of Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid rallied outside parliament today in Jakarta, vowing to attack the building and stop the session inside, lawmakers didn't flinch. They voted overwhelmingly to call a special meeting of the country's supreme political body, the People's Consultative Assembly, or MPR, that has the power to-and probably will-remove him from office perhaps as early as August. ...
  • The Art Of Compromise

    Yesterday someone e-mailed us saying, "The immediate feeling when I look at the picture of your family and read about your vacations is that I admire your success. I am just wondering how you are managing your lives so well." It was ironic that I read this message just after Malcolm and I had one of our "summits" to discuss some issues that were festering between us. The first agenda item was my apparent preoccupation with money. It's true that I do write down every expense and tend not to order an entree at dinner so there won't be any leftover food. When I ask whether we really need to order two pizzas, Malcolm answers, "Charlie, it's only $1.50 more. So what if we have a few slices left over? Live a little." When I question whether we need to order an extra bed for the room, Malcolm barks, "It's an extra $2!" OK, OK, maybe I am too preoccupied, especially here in Indonesia, where our daily expenses rarely exceed $50. So I promised to try to calm down a bit about money although I...
  • West Wing Story: Bush In California, Finally

    Style matters in politics. That's especially true in style-setting California. So when President Bush stepped off Air Force One on Monday and plunked on a cowboy hat someone handed him, I had a feeling things weren't going to go so smoothly on his first trip to my home state. ...
  • Political Lives: California Vs. Texas

    The meeting between President George W. Bush of Texas and Gov. Gray Davis of California was billed as a discussion on energy. But it also was the perfect emblem for the defining conflict in American politics today: the Californian model vs. the Texan model. ...
  • Magma Hunting

    Here, near the Land of Krakatoa, with its eponymous volcano, Charlie wanted to see ejecta. So it was ejecta (liquid rock) we sought--alas, anew. ...

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