News

News

More Articles

  • Where The Brainwashing Begins Early

    In North Korea, propaganda starts at a young age. Not only are toddlers taught the unparalleled glories of former dictator Kim Il Sung and his son and heir Kim Jong Il, but even math textbooks are written to emphasize their nation's might. Some sample questions:1. Our worker uncles made two tractors. They are making seven more tractors. How many tractors will there be in total? (first grade)2.Uncles of our People's Army smashed six tanks of the American imperialist wolves. Then they smashed two more. How many American tanks did our Army destroy altogether? (first grade)3. At a little village in South Korea which has been stamped on by the American imperialist wolves, 78 houses were washed away by the flood. You have to add 15 to get the number of destroyed houses. How many houses were destroyed? (second grade)4. People in South Korea had 238 fliers against the American imperialist wolves. They distributed some at a place where America's puppets were. They distributed the remaining...
  • Periscope

    How badly did the U.S. government bungle the investigation of Wen Ho Lee, the ex-Los Alamos scientist once suspected of turning over the country's most prized nuclear secrets to China? Last year federal prosecutors dropped most of the charges against Lee and permitted him to walk free after a federal judge said the government's case had "embarrassed our entire nation." But the most damning evidence about the Lee probe has been buried in a top-secret Justice Department report by federal prosecutor Randy Bellows. Some details of the report have begun to leak out. Last week NEWSWEEK obtained an exclusive copy of a 22-page (and recently declassified) executive summary. In it, the veteran prosecutor rips into top officials of both the FBI and Justice for what he describes as a "dysfunctional relationship" on counter-intelligence investigations. As for the Lee probe, Bellows writes, "in virtually every material respect" it was "deeply and fundamentally flawed."Bellows lambastes Energy...
  • Busting Hobbits

    Fuzzy-footed hobbits have beaten dragons and orcs in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels, but they may have come up against a force stronger than the magic of Middle Earth--Kazakh police. Translated widely in the former Soviet Union during the late '80s, the Tolkien series has skyrocketed in popularity with fans, or "Tolkienisti," organizing clubs and dressing up like Frodo, Gandalf and other favorites. The police in Kazakhstan have reportedly harassed, arrested and tortured them. Anyone need a Ring of Invisibility?
  • Perspectives

    "This is obviously a planted story." Dick Wadhams, spokesman for tough-on-drugs Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, whose yard contains a plant identified by botanical experts as marijuana"Things that should be bipartisan can turn partisan. Things that should bring people together divide them." John DiIulio, on resigning as director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives"He has never dated anybody without marrying them, or at least asking them to marry him." Brian Hunt, on his estranged father, Charles T. Hunt III, who omitted his three previous trips down the aisle from his sworn certificate to marry Massachusetts Acting Gov. Jane Swift"It's not censorship, it's just removing it from the library." Library advisory board member Eddie MacCausland, on his proposal to ban a sex-education book from the public library in Marion County, Fla."All the free sweat." Chicago Tribune reporter Bob Kemper, on his favorite part of covering President George W. Bush's vacation in Crawford,...
  • A Victorian Solution To A 21St-Century Problem

    You're running late for a job interview, but when you try to call, you realize that your mobile phone is dead and there's no electrical outlet in sight. Not to worry. You whip out a small box and turn a crank. Power is restored.This windup battery charger is brought to you by Freeplay Energy Group, the London-based company that gave the world the windup radio and the windup flashlight. Selling a few million of these gadgets since the mid-1990s has yielded annual revenues of $40 million, but the firm expects to sell a whopping 40 million mobile-phone chargers in the first year.While the other windup products used bulky springs, the phone charger has a tiny alternator that translates the mechanical (windup) energy into electricity, which it stores in its own lithium-ion battery. A 30-second burst of winding yields six minutes of talk time, the company claims. "It takes years to develop something that's small, efficient and comfortable for human beings to use," says technical director...
  • Maxed Out

    A Nation Of Shoppers, We Financed The Boom Of The '90S With A Heavy Reliance On Credit. Now, With The Economy Slowing, The Bill For Our Record Borrowing May Finally Be Coming Due
  • Alice's Wonderland

    Over the past 30 years, Alice Waters, creator and proprietor of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., has revolutionized the way Americans think about food. In an attempt to recreate the memorable dining experiences she had as a college student in France, the New Jersey-born Waters hit upon a simple formula: eat organically grown produce that's in season, and meats and fish that haven't been shot full of hormones and preservatives. Her message turned out to be the chef's equivalent of architect Mies van der Rohe's "less is more." Indeed, Waters, 57, is credited with bringing to the culinary mainstream her reverence for fresh, local ingredients in dishes with a Mediterranean sensibility. Many of the country's best chefs have trained in her kitchen, and a number of them will be among the 600 lining long outdoor tables at the University of California, Berkeley, next Sunday for a 30th-birthday bash. Proceeds from the $500-a-plate lunch will go to Waters's five-year-old Chez Panisse...
  • The Hard Sell

    In the middle of a 20-city book tour, E. Lynn Harris is getting just a mite frayed. At the Shrine of the Black Madonna bookstore in Atlanta, he has read from his new best seller, "Any Way the Wind Blows," his seventh novel full of racy bisexual romance. He has answered questions from the 300 adoring fans, some from as far away as Alabama and North Carolina. Now he is signing books, and he lays down a few ground rules for the customers who hold copies not just of the new book but of his previous novels as well. "I will sign all of your books," he says, "but I'll only put your name in one, you decide which one. And don't expect anything deep. I'm on tour, so I'm brain-dead. I'll do good if I get your name right."In the three days Harris spends in Atlanta in early August, he seems to be everywhere at once--up at 6 to make appearances on morning radio and television shows, reading and signing books at auditoriums and bookstores and then hitting more bookstores to visit with store...
  • A Summertime Porn Festival

    How are Europeans spending their generous summer-vacation time? Checking out porn on the Internet, in some cases. A study of eight European countries conducted in June shows that more than 17 million Europeans visited adult sites. The typical Euro-perv? Students and manual workers.
  • The Zeppelin Rises Again

    Germany is experiencing a zeppelin boom. And not the Hindenburg kind. For 64 years after the fiery disaster, airships seemed forever demoted to the lowly role of flying billboards. But now several companies are resurrecting them. Last week, one dirigible began commercial passenger service in the German town of Friedrichshafen, where the original zeppelins were built in the 1930s. Zeppelin Luftschiff-technik GmbH launched flights six times a day for 12 passengers to take a sightseeing tour around Lake Constance and back. At 75 meters long, the modern-day Hindenburg is much smaller than the 245-meter original. But the builders have learned from past mistakes: the new ships are filled with inert helium gas, not combustible hydrogen.
  • Africa: Now, A 'Quiet Revolution'

    Strive Masiyiwa is an entrepreneur on a mission. As earnest as his own first name, Masiyiwa, 42, wants to make the mobile telephone a communications tool for Africa's masses--as cheap and basic as the hand-cranked party line was for Americans early in the last century. "Yes, you can make a lot of money out of 10,000 very rich members of your society," says Masiyiwa, whose company, Econet, serves mobile-phone customers in six African nations, including his native Zimbabwe. "But you can have packages that bring down the cost and put mobile phones within the reach of ordinary men and women."A rich man's toy for most of the past decade, mobile phones are now transforming Africa, helping the continent to leapfrog one of the obstacles to its development. All of sub-Saharan Africa has fewer fixed telephone lines than Manhattan alone. That lack of infrastructure inhibits foreign investment and economic growth. Mobile-phone service is spreading because of fierce competition among...
  • American Beat: Bad Bee-Havior?

    Who is killing the great bees of Cuba? Why, the American government, of course. Cuban officials have blamed the United States over the years for everything from spreading dengue fever on the island to putting too much starch in Fidel's fatigues. Now they're insisting that our government is murdering millions of Cuban honeybees by secretly delivering a bee-killing parasite to the heroic island nation.According to the Communist Party newsmagazine Granma (which would be sort of like NEWSWEEK--if NEWSWEEK was edited by Leon Trotsky), America is simply doing what it does best: waging its ongoing "biological war against Cuba." (You have to love a government that can't feed all of its people, yet publishes an official magazine in five languages.)Since 1996, when America supposedly introduced the parasite, Cuba has lost 16,000 beehives and $2 million in honey output. Almost all of this year's export crop of Cuban honey-prized, according to Granma, for its "superior quality" and "low...
  • There's Gold In That Dirty Mess

    Now you've seen everything: a giant multinational getting credit for saving the rain forest. Prodded by an NGO called The Nature Conservancy, General Motors recently parted with $10 million to help rebuild a Brazilian forest that had been devastated by water-buffalo ranching. An altruistic move by a corporate behemoth? Yes and no. While GM says its aim was to "restore and preserve" the rain forest, national or international governing bodies may eventually award the company credits for the carbon dioxide that those trees will absorb over the next 40 years. GM might then be able to use those credits to help meet its own requirements for cutting emissions of CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. In this case, what's good for GM is good for the world's environment.GM is helping give shape to a new multinational business: trading in pollution. Under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, endorsed by 178 nations last month, many nations would have to...
  • Immigration: The New Americanos

    It wasn't the abduction of his 70- year-old grandmother that led Alberto Peisach to leave Colombia. Nor was it the 1997 murder of his brother-in-law during a botched kidnap attempt. It was the planned abduction of his 6-year-old son that finally persuaded the Ivy League-educated entrepreneur to pack his bags in less than 24 hours and head to Miami with his wife and kids. Peisach has carved out a niche for himself in south Florida as the head of a $100 million private equity fund. "A lot of my friends took bets on how soon I'd be back home, but 80 percent of them have left," says Peisach. "The Colombia that I grew up in doesn't exist anymore, and anybody who's had a choice has left."Alarmed by a slumping economy and the ever-present menace of kidnapping, Colombia's best and brightest are leaving in droves. Some have settled in Spain and nearby Latin American countries, but nowhere is the exodus quite as visible as in Miami. The city's 70,000 Colombians recently overtook Nicaraguans...
  • Bylines; An Economic Issue That Really Hits Home

    Medical reporters often worry whether they have the disease they're writing about. Business writers sometimes ask themselves the same question. Daniel McGinn, author of this week's cover story, lately has been paying more attention to his credit-card bills. "You can't help but wonder if you're handling your own situation the right way," he says. "It's an occupational hazard." For advice, McGinn (and you) can turn to our personal-finance guru, Jane Bryant Quinn, whose accompanying story offers seven tips to managing your finances. (Page 34) Covering a Crusade Late last year, Vern E. Smith noticed a flier announcing a meeting on reparations in Atlanta. He'd followed the grass-roots cause for years, but sensed the movement was gaining real momentum--and began digging into the story. Now the issue is getting hotter. "NEWSWEEK has a history of delving deeply into racial issues," Smith says. "Examining the push for reparations is the latest story in that tradition." (Page 20) On...
  • Mail Call

    Readers of our July 23 report on MIT's Richard Lindzen, who believes the global-warming threat may be overstated, were angry that we gave space to his theory. "Even though you acknowledge that most scientists disagree with Lindzen," wrote one, "there was no suggestion that NEWSWEEK is keeping an open mind." Said another: "Let's prevent global warming--just in case the effects are real." A third warned against George W. Bush's stance: "The long-term losers will be Americans and the environment." ...
  • Summer Camp

    "Wet Hot American Summer" is a parody of the teen-coming-of-age movies of the '70s and '80s (think "Hardbodies" et al.), hardly a subject that would seem to require urgent comic attention. But let's not leap to conclusions. We'll take a funny movie from wherever it comes, and this shamefully underpromoted, gloriously silly romp made me laugh harder than any other movie this summer. Make that this year.The creation of Michael Showalter and David Wain, of the MTV comedy troupe The State, "Wet Hot" transpires in 1981, on the closing day of Camp Firewood, a Jewish summer camp in Maine. A lot happens on this particular day, which will end, in time-honored tradition, with the camp talent show. The romantically clueless camp director (Janeane Garofalo) falls in love with a tightly wound astrophysics assistant professor (David Hyde Pierce), who happens to notice that a part of Skylab is hurtling dangerously toward camp. The tall, geeky counselor Coop (Showalter) falls for the bodacious...
  • Deutschland Sputters

    Finally it's official. Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has conceded that Germany has lapsed into a serious economic slump. The data is bleak indeed. Schroder had promised to cut unemployment to 3.5 million by the fall of 2002. Instead, the latest figures show joblessness rising to almost 3.9 million, about 9.3 percent of the work force. German exporters and manufacturers are getting clobbered, not only by the global downturn but also by fizzling domestic demand. Retailers report that sales fell 1.8 percent in June. (So much for a consumer-led recovery.) All told, things are likely to worsen before they get better.Ever the optimist, Schroder still talks of economic growth between 1.5 and 2.0 percent for the year. We'll know for sure with the release of next week's official GDP figures--but most banks and private-sector economists have cut their forecasts to 1 percent or less. The chancellor has returned from vacation pledging a "steady hand" in dealing with the downturn. (He's...
  • A Phatty Boom Batty Flick

    The first person you meet on the set of Kevin Smith's new movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," is a guy named Ratface. He is Smith's production designer, a job usually held by extravagant Italians or tasteful women. Ratface, ne Robert Holtzman, is just an old buddy of Smith's. Like everybody else here. In today's scene our heroes, played by Smith ("Chasing Amy," "Dogma") and childhood pal Jason Mewes, learn that a comic book based on their lives is being made into a movie--and the boys aren't seeing a dime. At the moment, the crew is on a break. Producer Scott Mosier (a film-school classmate) sips coffee while Smith smokes a cigarette and gripes about a nasty post he got on his Web site. Some guy blasted him for failing to include an actress from "Clerks," his cult-classic debut, in the cameo-heavy new film. Smith, his accuser claimed, was forgetting his roots. "Come on," says the director, 31. "You can say a lot of s--t about me, but that's gotta be the last thing. I mean, look...
  • Keeping The War Alive

    If the art of modern politics is triangulation--finding a middle ground between right and left--then Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni shrine last week was a study in failure. First, the Japanese prime minister tried to please right-wing nationalists by announcing he would visit the memorial to Japan's war dead on Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japanese surrender in World War II. Then, responding to criticism, he abruptly switched plans and dropped by two days earlier for a quick, private visit. The right was disappointed, the left hardly mollified; Japan's neighbors were furious, and the rest of the world was startled. Where is Dick Morris when you need him?But despite all the hype, there is actually very little danger of resurgent militarism in Japan. The country, still shellshocked by its legacy in World War II, is almost obsessively pacifist. Japanese diplomats are squeamish about even contemplating the use of force in places like Yugoslavia. The Army and Navy are relegated...
  • Money Notes

    Investors who worry about paying too much for stocks can start looking to the stars for guidance. Morningstar, the Chicago research firm whose widely followed rating service gives five stars to the best-performing mutual funds, will now apply the system to stocks, too. The firm will award as many as five stars to companies that are cheap relative to their cash flow and earnings prospects. Shares deemed overvalued will get one or two stars.Investors will have access to the ratings for $99 a year on the morningstar.com Web site. But bargain share prices are only as good as the analysts who peg them. "We'll be wrong about some valuations and right about others," says Pat Dorsey, who is directing the star system. ...
  • Cyberscope

    In NCAA football 2002 ($49.95; Electronic Arts, eagames.com) for the PlayStation 2, the line between live action and computer-animation gets fuzzier than ever. Every Division I-A college player is realistically modeled and animated in smooth, fluid splendor--even the guys on the sideline. Heads turn to follow a pass, runners stumble and career and quarterbacks readjust their helmets after getting sacked. Each college stadium is similarly realistic, with team-specific banners and band music. Looks aren't everything, of course: the game is fun and the AI makes for a tough opponent. ...
  • Six Degrees Of Alienation

    Elizabeth Benedict's new novel, "Almost," has a wonderfully blithe, carefree first sentence: "I have this boyfriend who comes to visit me--it's mostly a sex thing." That's also the last blithe, carefree sentence in the novel, incidentally. It's the last time our narrator, a middle-aged writer and recovering alcoholic named Sophy Chase, will ever believe that anything between two people can be simple--or even that anything can be between just two people. Early in "Almost," Sophy and her married lover are busily having their great sex ("The current surged through me and flooded my brain, and I thought, What would I give up for this? My first edition of 'To the Lighthouse'? My twelve Billie Holiday CDs? A husband who used to tell me how sweet it was to see my sheepskin slippers next to his on the floor of the closet?") when the phone rings. It's the police, informing Sophy that her depressed husband, Will, whom she'd finally walked out on a few months earlier, has been found dead in...
  • The Euro Strikes Back

    As E-Day approaches, Europe's weakling currency is finally gaining some muscle. Last week it rose to a five-month high of 91 cents against the dollar after the IMF issued a warning about America's faltering economy.Is this the beginning of a steady rise, or just another blip on the currency charts? American tourists, who've grown accustomed to lugging home suitcases full of bargain-priced Prada and Louis Vuitton, hope it's the latter. And in some cases, European politicians, who've found that a weak euro encourages rapid export growth and discourages import competition, are siding with the tourists.But as Jan. 1 approaches, financiers know the Germans won't be happy about trading their historically strong Deutsche mark for a sissy currency. So they have a trick up their sleeves. Collectively, Europe's banks hold $400 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds. Come December they could--and well may--dump them on foreign-exchange markets. That'll make the euro frog, at least temporarily, look...
  • Letter From America: Notes From The Underground

    One of the biggest surprises of my life in America is the New York City subway. I've actually come to enjoy it. When I first moved here in 1989, well-meaning friends warned me away from the already octogenarian underground railroad, notorious among both residents and visitors as the least pleasant and most dangerous means of getting around this City That Never Sleeps. Yet it was also the fastest and the most economical means of doing so.With that dilemma, I began my life as a New Yorker--and I've remained ambivalent ever since. The subway is the thing we love to hate. Schedules are unreliable. Trains come when they come, or not at all. Breakdowns are so frequent that women have been known to give birth, stuck in some tunnel. Staff are few and their announcements incomprehensible. The infrastructure is ancient and crumbling. From time to time, burst water pipes flood stations, paralyzing traffic. The city's homeless live on the platforms, sleeping on benches (or in the trains...
  • France: Chirac's Vacation Follies

    It's August. toute laFrance is on vacation. Time to kick back, relax and soak up some rays. Even picking up the newspaper requires a special effort this time of year.Especially if you're Jacques Chirac. The poor French president has been the butt of a merciless summer of political lampooning. And it's only gotten worse now that Chirac himself is en vacances. The media of all stripes and every political color are pitching in. None has been more biting than the investigative paper Le Canard Enchaine, which has been lighting into him week after week. One recent cartoon showed the president reclining forlornly in a beach chair, too weary to read the newspaper crumpled at his side. Another had him watching home movies of himself taken last summer in Mauritius, wishing he were there and not cooped up and bored, an unhappy prisoner of his official residence at Fort Bregancon on the French Riviera.Chirac's woes began a year ago when Paris Match glossed its pages with dish on his last...
  • There She Is, Your Ideal

    Modern medicine is a source of hope and comfort to more than the sickly. With Wall Street otherwise limping along, the health-care industry is making investment bankers feel better than they have since the tech bubble burst. The battered mar-ket in initial public offerings (IPOs) has gotten an especially powerful booster shot. "Health care is one of the only sectors that have worked this year," says Frank McGee, an IPO analyst with Dealogic CommScan, a research firm.So far this year, one of every five initial public offerings has been for a health-care company. Over the next three months, 12 more health-care concerns--one of every four IPOs--are scheduled to come to market. And these new issues are making money. So far this year, health-care IPOs are up 8 percent over their initial offering price--outshining well-established stocks, which are down 10 percent this year as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.Back in April, when Nasdaq stocks were hitting their lows, Select...