News

  • Powell's New War

    As he strode down the ramp from his Air Force plane in his blue tailored suit, Colin Powell projected a posture of engagement. In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, as everywhere he went, Powell's confident style amplified the impact of his presence at every meeting. Yet until he began the tour of Africa last week, something had been missing in the four months since he became Secretary of State: a sense of passion and focus, and a signature issue. ...
  • Gloria's Poverty Problem

    The faded proclamation pasted to a concrete wall is the only trace of her visit. Last February, shortly after she replaced Joseph Estrada as president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ventured into Project Four, a sprawling slum of 20,000 on the outskirts of Manila. It's a place filled with rotting garbage, rusty chicken cages and naked children. Arroyo stayed for a few minutes. Like her predecessors, she promised to help the squatters buy the land they occupy. But three months later, nothing has changed. And now someone has scrawled large question marks all over the proclamation. "The date is wrong," says Gil Modesto, a 37-year-old community organizer, pointing to the document. Shirtless men and small children gather around the wall. The date given on the proclamation is one year earlier, obviously a clerical error. But to the slum dwellers, it seems to verify the indifference of the government and its elite leaders. "This promise was made in a very rushed way for...
  • A Cure For Cancer?

    The war on cancer has taken a decisive turn. At the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) last week in San Francisco, researchers reported startling advances in treating forms of the disease that until recently have been incurable. Conventional chemotherapy and radiation kill good cells as well as bad. The new therapies attack only cancerous tissue. They have fewer side effects and are so promising that cancer might one day soon be as treatable as, say, a bacterial infection. NEWSWEEK's Claudia Kalb spoke with Dr. Larry Norton, the new head of ASCO, at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. ...
  • Thugs And Drugs

    Technically, bailesfunks, Rio's wildly popular funk-music balls, have nothing to do with the demimonde of drugs. Since the balls started 20 years ago as the mostly innocent pastime of the city's poorest residents, funk has become a national fever. Every weekend, hundreds of thousands of young people crowd into dimly lit halls, crumbling gymnasiums or under the stars to grind and gyrate to the infectious beat. Hyperkinetic DJs serve up funk, rap, samba and hip-hop--torqued to emergency decibels--to the delight of the galeras, the seething crowds. But no one is more delighted than the princes of powder. ...
  • Taking Family Too Far

    Tom Green says he was only doing God's will. "We held ourselves out to be celestially, eternally married," he told a Utah court, before being found guilty of polygamy for his relationship with five wives who have had 25 children by him. Green married the women when they were teens, divorced them to stay within the letter of the law and then continued living with them. In Utah, where prosecutors have long turned a blind eye toward bigamy, Green's unforgiveable sin may have been to brag about his lifestyle on national TV.
  • A James Bond Wanna-Be?

    The handshake is vicelike, the stare hard. He owns a Walther PPK pistol--the 1960s James Bond's handgun of choice--and practices martial arts. He smokes pre-Castro Cuban cigars and once, while scuba diving with some macho buddies, he says he punched a great white shark in the jaw, just to show that he could. A. B. (Buzzy) Krongard, the new executive director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is by all appearances a throwback to an earlier age, when spymasters were often Ivy Leaguers with a sense of elan and a streak of boldness--sometimes too much of it. ...
  • Technology Vs. Terror

    It was a busy Friday morning at the Sharon Center mall in downtown Netanya, and crowds of Israelis were rushing to finish their shopping before the Jewish Sabbath. At the mall's northern entrance, security guard Lior Kamisa was checking customers for weapons with a handheld metal detector. Suddenly, just before 12 o'clock, Kamisa noticed a young Palestinian in a smart blue blazer waiting in the throng. "The jacket was too big, and the guy just looked out of place," Kamisa says. As the 23-year-old guard radioed for assistance, "I locked eyes with the guy for what seemed a very long time," Kamisa says. "They were totally frozen. He showed no emotion." As they stared at each other, the Palestinian moved slowly, opening a front button, slipping his hand into his jacket, pressing a switch--and blowing himself to pieces. "He evaporated before my eyes," Kamisa says. "He just turned to dust." The guard sustained light injuries. Others weren't as lucky. Six Israelis were killed by the blast,...
  • A New Old Boys' Club?

    Has George W. Bush found a special relationship in Europe? It would hardly seem likely, with disagreements ranging from Kyoto to missiles. But Italy's newly elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is welcoming a newfound friendship. Bush and Berlusconi have much in common. Both like missile defense. Both say NATO comes first--not some newfangled EuroCorps. Both dream of "compassionate conservativism," as Berlusconi wrote in a letter to Bush during his campaign. Bush responded quickly, looking forward to furthering their shared visions together. ...
  • Tough-Love Ya To Death

    Paul O'Neill may not be telling us what he really thinks of the International Monetary Fund. The new Treasury secretary comes out of a camp of American conservatives, like George Shultz and Milton Friedman, who want to abolish the world's lender of last resort entirely. What O'Neill has said repeatedly and undiplomatically is that the IMF should stop playing fireman, rushing to help after a country's finances have burst into flames, and become a "fire marshal" instead. This means interfering early, advising countries exactly what's wrong and what reforms are needed, tracking results and then issuing public warnings when countries are heading for disaster. "If a country willfully follows bad policies that it's been talked to about," says O'Neill, "we can be more relaxed in saying to them, 'We're not going to be there when the chickens come home to roost'." ...
  • Attack Of The Battle Bots

    The dogs wander over first, intrigued but cautious. Then the neighbors emerge from their homes, drawn out by the low-pitched metallic drone that seems to be moving quickly around their communal parking lot. Then there's a flash of recognition: Jim Smentowski and his robot buddies are testing their battlebots again. ...
  • Books: Eye To Eye With A Cobra

    Ryszard Kapuscinski is sitting in a corner armchair in the book-lined Manhattan apartment of his editor and friend, Sonny Mehta. Mehta isn't home--no one is--but the "shy" Kapuscinski (his word) is filling up the still apartment with words. The Polish journalist and author is talking about his career as chronicler of the Third World; his new book on Africa, "The Shadow of the Sun" (325 pages. Knopf); Julius Nyerere ("a great intellectual"); Idi Amin ("a very stupid man"). Now he is talking about fear. "Fear is a feeling everyone has," he says in deliberate, accented English. "But the difference is, some can dominate fear and others can't." ...
  • Yes, 'Rouge' Can, Can, Can

    Baz Luhrmann's deliriously energetic, promiscuously postmodern, tragicomical musical "Moulin Rouge" starts at such a frenetic level I thought it was going to self-destruct before it even got started. Imagine a Ken Russell movie run at double speed. We are hurled into a make-believe, studio-constructed Paris in "the summer of love," 1899, a decadent bohemian paradise startlingly stocked with 20th-century cultural artifacts. Instead of Offenbach, we get "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) hums "The Sound of Music." In Luhrmann's Montmartre, the moon has a smiling face, lovers dance on clouds and a beautiful courtesan (Nicole Kidman) falls in love with a penniless poet (Ewan McGregor) when he serenades her with Elton John's "Your Song." ...
  • Why I Think I'm Still Right

    In 1992, I caused quite a stir by criticizing a television sitcom whose main character got pregnant by her ex-husband and then sent him packing. This was not an attack on single mothers, but a rallying cry for the role fathers should play. It just bothered me that the character didn't seem to care that there would be no father to help raise the child--fathers were presented as irrelevant. My concern has always been for the welfare of the child. Clearly, it is best to have a mother and a father, preferably in a happy monogamous relationship, actively involved in rearing and nurturing their child. ...
  • Letter From America

    A few weeks ago, I got called for jury duty in the New York State Supreme Court, our criminal and civil court. This daunting place could have been lifted, eerily, straight from my former life, deep behind the Iron Curtain: wires dangling from the gaping ceiling, forlorn dead-end corridors, lunch residue in creaky elevators. I fit in perfectly. One look at me--with my spikey heels and late-night pallor--and you would know I am not jury material. But it appears that in a fair judicial system there is a case for everyone.Mine involved stalking--a common enough crime in America, these days, but this was an only-in-New-York variety. The defense attorney, an enormous woman of attack-dog disposition, made that abundantly clear. "My client is a lesbian and an opera singer," she barked. "Does anyone here have a problem with this lifestyle?" Classic juror specimens--retired schoolteachers, born-again Christian bus drivers--were quickly winnowed from the pool of 40 or so prospects. "Have you...
  • For Love And Money

    Sen. Robert Torricelli likes glamorous women, and he has long enjoyed being seen in their company. While he was dating Patricia Duff, the high-profile ex-wife of Revlon mogul Ronald Perelman, the senator and his companion were photographed hobnobbing with the glitterati on Oscar night at Elaine's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A few months later a gossip columnist reported Torricelli "and gal pal" Duff "at Yankee Stadium... getting very cozy in one of [owner] George Steinbrenner's luxury boxes." Before he hooked up with Duff, the senator from New Jersey dated a beautiful model from Chicago; before the model, he jetted around the world with Bianca Jagger, the human-rights activist and ex-wife of the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. ...
  • Middle East: Inheriting The Storm

    When he succeeded his father, King Hussein, to the throne two years ago, Jordan's King Abdullah II was hailed as a thoroughly modern monarch. Oxford-educated and a fan of the Internet, the energetic young king courted potential investors from Silicon Valley and paid incognito visits to state-run hospitals to investigate reports of corruption. But when hundreds of marchers gathered in Amman last week to commemorate Nakba Day--the anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian expulsion from Israel--the monarchy presented a different face. Jordanian security forces set upon demonstrators with dogs and truncheons and arrested journalists who tried to photograph the melee. "Why won't the government allow us to express our feelings?" asked Hosam Mahmoud, 27, a Palestinian restaurant worker held for hours by police. "What is the king afraid of?" ...
  • Perspectives

    "It's good for young people to be angry about something." Ex-president Bill Clinton, after being hit with an egg thrown by an anti-globalization protester in Warsaw"Our first priority is to stop it." An Ohio Emergency Management Agency agent (and master of the obvious) on a runaway train last week"I tell people that they won't see the train leave so it won't be so sad." Jean-Luc Obadia, manager of Part-Dieu train station in Lyon, on the French rail authority's decision to reserve platforms for passengers, rendering lingering kisses and tearful farewells things of the past"I have a lot of manure. What I need is money." Russian surgeon Yuri Zotov, complaining about being paid in manure instead of money by patients in his local farming community of Vacha"They think that if you just melt the wax figure of a Palestinian then everything would be OK." Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, on the campaign by New York state legislators to remove Yasir...
  • Bush Bombs Out

    Suite S-407 is the secure hideaway high up in the U.S. Capitol where senators and their staffers retreat for a look at top-secret intelligence. It is here that they get briefed on dire threats to America's national security, on wars and spies, on terrorism and peace talks. Last week a top Pentagon official rode the hidden elevator to the bugproof fourth-floor hearing room to give a clas- sified briefing of a different sort. After a tour of major capitals from London to Moscow to Beijing to sell President George W. Bush's national-missile- defense program, this was the administration's first report on world reaction. ...
  • More Than Just Hot Air

    Except during hurricane season, folks in Greenville, S.C., don't worry much about power outages. But the current energy crisis has still had an impact on many of the city's 98,000 residents. That's because Greenville is home to a bustling General Electric factory that produces gas turbines. They're a key component in powering the 1,300 new power plants the Bush administration says need to be built over the next 20 years. Just a few years ago the GE plant--the only one of its kind in the nation--was a sleepy place; even the local paper rarely gave it a mention. Now, as GE scrambles to ramp up production, its work has taken on national importance--and every extra turbine it produces will help the cause. Says Mark Little, a GE vice president: "We're going to put more units online this spring than we did all last year." ...
  • A Family Drama To Die For

    Television can be torture to watch, but have you ever thought about what it's like for the poor people who write this stuff? Alan Ball's 1999 series, "Oh Grow Up," survived all of 11 episodes on ABC. "One critic said it was the first show that was actually physically painful to watch," Ball says. Before that, he spent three years tending to Cybill Shepherd's ego on "Cybill" and another season trying to make Brett Butler funny on "Grace Under Fire." "The stars basically looked at those shows as PR for their own lives," Ball says. "We'd get notes like, 'I would never do that. That makes me look stupid.' And we're like, 'Did Lucy care about looking stupid?' " Hollywood writers spend years trying to escape from this kind of sitcom hell. Ball, 43, actually succeeded. His 1999 screenplay for "American Beauty" won an Academy Award--a one-way ticket out of TV torture. So you can't help wondering if Ball isn't as nutty as some of his characters. On June 3, he debuts his first post-Oscar...
  • In California, Smoke And Fire Over Pot

    They smoke lots of marijuana. They're gravely ill and dying. And they've got a lot on their minds besides politics. But California proponents of medical marijuana also have plenty of fight in them, particularly when authorities threaten to take away their painkiller of choice. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the "medical necessity" defense in federal marijuana cases, which may open the way for the Feds to close down cooperatives distributing cannabis to people suffering from diseases like AIDS and cancer. "We have no way of knowing what actions the Feds will take," said Scott Imler, president of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, where 381 pot plants are under cultivation. "But we know we're going to stay and fight." ...
  • A Turning Point For Indonesia

    It's high noon in Jakarta. It looks as if the showdown between President Abdurrahman Wahid and the Indonesian Parliament may have come to a head. President Wahid--once hailed as a tolerant intellectual and spiritual leader--appears to have gone the way of Richard Nixon. The Indonesian president seems willing to cling to power at any price. Late last week he decided to make a pre-emptive strike against Parliament: to disband it before it impeaches him. In addition, he reportedly signed an order to fire the Army chief of staff, Gen. Endriartono Sutarto, and to impose a state of emergency. ...
  • Bringing The World With Us--Virtually

    At 9 degrees 30 minutes south latitude, 116 degrees 47 minutes west longitude, we are 1,318 nautical miles from land. Nothing but open ocean for more than two weeks; not a freighter, airplane or any sign of life besides the flying fish, dolphins and whales that roam these remote latitudes. The avocados my husband, Achim, and I picked weeks earlier in the Marquesas Islands are all ripening simultaneously. What more perfect time to write my sister for her guacamole recipe? And, by the way, how did she enjoy ''Angela's Ashes"? ...
  • Entertainment:Bonjour, Garbage Tv

    Americans do it. the Dutch do it. Even Australians do it. So why shouldn't the French do it? Reality TV, that is. Ever since "Loft Story," the Gallic version of "Big Brother," premiered last month, it has become one of the most popular--and profitable--shows in French television history. Last week some 10 million viewers--nearly a 40 percent share of the audience--tuned in to watch a group of strangers eat, sleep, shower, quarrel and flirt together. The rules: 11 people go into a sealed apartment. One by one, they're voted out until two "winners" (a man and a woman) are left alone (except for the 26 cameras and 55 microphones, of course). Then they move into a plush, $450,000 Paris apartment. If they can tough it out together for six more months, the place is theirs. ...
  • Unmarried, With Children

    Today's Single Mothers May Be Divorced Or Never-Wed, Rich Or Poor, Living With Men Or On Their Own. But With Traditional Households In Decline, They're The New Faces Of America's Family Album.
  • Media Trash

    ;The neat-freak Bushies are increasingly dismayed by the sloppy habits of the media. At the end of the day the White House press room is consistently littered with half-full cartons of Thai takeout, coffee spills and crumpled newspapers. The Bushies aren't the only ones who've noticed. After a recent tour of the briefing room, a 12-year-old girl wrote Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: "The press doesn't clean up after itself. The White House should consider not cleaning up after them." An "intriguing" idea, says Fleischer. PERI notes that NEWSWEEK's White House correspondent doesn't eat Thai food or spill her coffee.
  • Environment: Hitting A Handy Villain

    The campaign had all the essential ingredients of a high-visibility environmental crusade: a fashionable cause, an accessible villain and Bianca Jagger. Earlier this month, outside an Esso filling station in London, Jagger helped to launch a "Stop Esso" campaign. She urged consumers to shun Esso's products until its Texas-based parent company, Exxon Mobil, changes its position on global warming. "This is a way to tell Esso that it's not all right for them to be claiming that there is no connection between CO2 emissions and climate change," Jagger said as she unveiled a billboard proclaiming boycott esso. ...
  • Game Wars 5.0

    Last Christmas, anyone wanting the latest and greatest videogame console had just one choice: Sony's darn-near-impossible-to-get PlayStation 2. This fall the PS2 will get some unfriendly company on store shelves, with Nintendo's Gamecube going on sale Nov. 5 (price to be announced this month) and Microsoft's Xbox debuting just three days later ($299, same as the PS2). Each company may beat its chest and brag about the superiority of its hardware. Faster processor! More polygons! More accessories! But the truth of the matter is, it's all about the games, stupid. And while it has become an industry cliche to say that games aren't just for kids anymore, at last week's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles the software on display for Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's Gamecube confirmed that games now have enough visual impact and movielike action to engage a larger audience than ever. ...

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