News

  • Had All Your Shots?

    Think chickenpox is just a childhood disease? Think again. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells of a 23-year-old mother in good health. She had just helped her two preschoolers through a nasty bout of the pox. Two weeks later she developed the classic rash herself. Soon she was coughing up blood and having trouble breathing. She entered a hospital to start treatment for pneumonia, but her condition worsened, and she was transferred to a second facility. There, despite stepped-up care, her rash began bleeding uncontrollably and her kidneys shut down. One by one, her other systems failed, too. Within 10 days she was dead. Cells taken from her rash and her windpipe revealed varicella zoster, the chickenpox virus. ...
  • Perspectives

    "How could they have possibly made a mistake this huge?" Kathleen Treanor, who lost her 4-year-old daughter and her in-laws in the Oklahoma City bombing, on the FBI revelation that it had inadvertently withheld thousands of pages of evidence from Timothy McVeigh's lawyer. As a result, Attorney General John Ashcroft delayed the convicted murderer's execution by one month."It's been real. Thanks, buddy." Louisiana Sen. John Breaux, concluding his cell-phone conversation with President George W. Bush, who called to thank the senator for his help in passing the budget resolution"The administration has sort of told us to take a flying leap in a rolling doughnut." California energy adviser David Freeman, on the White House's hands-off approach to the state's energy crisis"Your Honor, let's be honest here. A woman should not be disposed to this matter. This should be between the male persons of the world." Eugene Holmes, of Cherryville, N.C., asking the judge to replace the female public...
  • The Canal From Hell

    When the rainy season starts this month, dozens of places in Mexico City will overflow with gray flood-water. Drivers will stall on the highways, subway riders will tiptoe through the muck and stores will sell loads of platform shoes. City workers will pump away massive quantities of water, but there is no stopping the inevitable. Since the Aztecs built Mexico City on a lakebed in a bowl of mountains nearly 700 years ago, its rulers have been struggling with the same problem: how to prevent residents from drowning in rainwater and their own effluent--much of it now swelling out of a canal of sewage in their midst. ...
  • The Illusion Of Knowledge

    The economy's slide has one familiar feature: few, if any, economists predicted it. We should not be surprised. Economists routinely miss the turning points of business cycles and, indeed, have missed most of the major economic transformations of the past half century, whether for good or ill. The great boom of the 1990s was barely anticipated. The same was true of other upheavals: sporadic "energy crises," the sharp rise of inflation in the 1970s, its dramatic fall in the 1980s and various shifts in productivity growth. ...
  • 'It's Nostalgia In The Future'

    Wearing a polo shirt and jeans, Wong Kar-wai is at work in his Hong Kong office, studying footage for his upcoming movie, "2046." Set in Hong Kong, Seoul and Thailand and featuring stars from Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan, it is a leading example of the emergence of Pan-Asian film productions. After taking a drag on his cigarette, the 42-year-old director, known for award-winning films including "In the Mood for Love" and "Fallen Angels," took time out to discuss the future of Asian film with NEWSWEEK's Gregory Beals. ...
  • Why The Mess Really Matters

    If not him, who? If not now, when? That's been the thinking on Timothy McVeigh and the death penalty, and it's understandable. The alternatives to "the needle" don't seem sufficient. I was chagrined to learn that solitary confinement is apparently passe in our prisons. During an earlier period of incarceration, McVeigh--sane, remorseless and guilty as hell--was given free cable TV and allowed plenty of time to socialize with both the Unabomber and the mastermind of the World Trade Center explosion during workout sessions. Next thing you know, mass murderers will get broadband Internet access. ...
  • Why Brussels Is Not So Scary

    For Americans in the past decade, thinking about Europe has meant thinking about the war in Bosnia or the occupation of Kosovo or NATO's enlargement. These are important issues, to be sure, but they are also familiar ones. Ethnic conflict, war, Russian expansion, deterrence. This is the Europe Americans have dealt with for decades and understand. This is the Europe with which we are comfortable. ...
  • Out Of The Attic, At Last

    The last time we see Anne Frank alive in the ABC miniseries "Anne Frank," she's sitting on the dirt floor inside the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp cradling her dying sister, Margot, in her arms. A woman sneaks up and yanks the socks off Margot's feet. "No! You'll wake her!" says Anne, but she's powerless to do anything. Her eyes are sunken and her hair is half gone. Scabs cover her face and lips. She's wearing only a filthy brown sack. It's clear that Anne will never escape from Bergen-Belsen either. We've known that from the beginning, of course. "The Diary of Anne Frank" is the most widely read nonfiction book in world, after the Bible. The story of Anne and her family's hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic for 25 months is among the most moving and tragic tales ever written. But neither the diary, which stops a few days before the Gestapo carts the Franks away, nor the numerous movies and plays it spawned ever showed us this: Anne Frank, arguably the most famous...
  • Mail Call

    Our April 16 cover story on U.S.-China relations elicited a wide range of heated opinions and emotions from numerous readers. Most took the United States to task: "China has a right to protect its secrets," insisted one. "America is a bully," accused another. Others blamed the Bush administration: "It provokes the Chinese," wrote one respondent, while another added, "They invent an imaginary enemy to further their own agenda." A Chinese reader simply declared, "The PRC, the PLA and Wang Wei have our total support." A Collision With China You are less than fair to China in your coverage of the spy-plane episode ("After the Showdown," SPECIAL REPORT, April 16). China has as much right as any other country to protect its secrets. American insistence on its "right" to conduct snooping operations stinks of neoimperialistic arrogance. Besides, the U.S. version of events can't be taken too seriously by those who remember the "mistaken" bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the...
  • Living La Vie En Rouge

    By 10 o' clock most nights, the boulevard de Clichy, at the foot of Montmartre, is choked with tour buses heading for the Moulin Rouge. They come from as far away as Poland and Scandinavia, honking and edging their way through traffic before disgorging their wide-eyed passengers into the bright lights and blur of the evening. This is Pigalle, Paris's red-light district, which has fueled the imagination of artists and poets--and emptied the wallets of soldiers and sailors--for more than 200 years. Visitors to Paris tend to as-sociate the city' s fame with the Eiffel Tower. But its sexier, slinkier infamy lies in the streets and alleyways that make up Pigalle, where sex shops are aglow with more neon than a Las Vegas truck stop. ...
  • Preschool Helps Poor Kids Do Better In Life

    Congress probably won't debate a Bush administration proposal to revamp Head Start until next year, but lawmakers could learn a lot from a study released last week on one of the nation's most comprehensive urban preschool systems. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study found that early-intervention programs like Head Start help poor kids stay in school and out of jail. Researchers compared 989 children enrolled in the Chicago Parent-Child Center program, very similar to Head Start, with 550 youngsters in less intensive early-childhood programs. Most of the children, born in 1980, came from families with incomes below the poverty level. The study found that 49.7 percent of preschool participants had graduated from high school, compared with 38.5 percent of those enrolled in other programs. Boys benefited more than girls--a significant result, since black males are at high risk of dropping out. Preschool graduates also had a much lower rate of arrests....
  • Healthnotes

    ALZHEIMER'SDon't-Forget VitaminsPut the Lid on Bottled WaterNew Cancer DrugWorse for Women
  • Hey, Buddy, Can I Bum A Cigalett?

    Candy lovers, beware. They may taste like your average breath mint, but Ariva "cigaletts"--Tic Tac-size pellets packed with powdered tobacco--deliver as much nicotine as a traditional cigarette. Virginia-based Star Scientific plans to test-market the product, which will cost about $3 for a pack of 20, in Dallas and Richmond, Va., starting this fall. Unlike Nicorette gum and other products designed to help you quit, Ariva makes no health claims. The only goal: to keep the country's 47 million smokers from having nic fits in situations where they can't light up. ...
  • Rumble In The Media Jungle

    Buffy the vampire slayer's latest moves have left her fans gasping for breath. In her five seasons on the WB network, the sultry agent of good has killed dozens of night stalkers and demons, and even managed to finish high school and matriculate at UC, Sunnydale. The show made Sarah Michelle Gellar a big star and gave the WB a hip edge over its archrival, UPN. So fans were stunned by last month's news that "Buffy" was decamping to UPN. Wailed Boyslayer, one groupie on the official "Buffy" Web site, "How could you WB guys let such a great show slip through your fingers and let it go to a loser network that only has sci-fi shows?" Here's the deal, Boyslayer. As part of an escalating rivalry, "the loser network" upped the ante for the hot series, offering "Buffy's" producer a whopping $2.3 million an episode, a cool half-million dollars more than WB's bid. ...
  • The Roots Of Evil

    Scanning the family photographs, we see images of an apparently normal child, as ordinary as Sunday dinner with Grandma. Timothy McVeigh stands proudly behind his sister, plays with a model airplane, frolics in the swimming pool. But what America yearns to see is something quite different: that the man the child has become--the killer with the angular face, the buzz cut, the hard and narrow eyes--is not a man at all, but a monster. We want to see Timothy McVeigh as evil incarnate, as Satan, as depravity in human form. He has willfully and gratuitously inflicted harm on others--the very definition of an evil act--through a cold, cruel calculation untouched by compassion. There is a reason we need to view McVeigh this way, say scientists who study the human mind and the depths it can fall to. Doing so allows us to place him in a category labeled Evil with a capital E, but also, more importantly, one labeled not us. The enormity of McVeigh's act and the yawning hole in his soul where...
  • What Scares Ceos

    Jeffrey E. Garten, Dean of the Yale School of Management, is author of a new book, "The Mind of the C.E.O." In our era of hypercompetitive globalization, he argues, few chief executives genuinely think globally. They had better start. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Michael Meyer: ...
  • Whitehead Hammers Out A Hit

    About 90 pages into "John Henry Days," Colson Whitehead tips his hand: this is going to be a big--as in epic--novel. Up to this point, we know this is a book about a 1996 West Virginia folk festival celebrating a new stamp in the Postal Service's "Folk Hero" series. We know we're going back and forth between the mythic story of John Henry's digging a tunnel through a mountain in 1872 and the modern story, which is all about press agentry and spin and a black freelance journalist named J. Sutter who's struggling to beat the record for the most consecutive days on the freebie junketeering gravy train. Whitehead ("The Intuitionist") wants us to see that while the tunnel killed John Henry, it made him immortal. But it's the all-devouring maw of pop culture that's destroying J. Sutter's soul. ...
  • Cyberscope

    If you're tired of playing the good guy in videogames, try playing a Caribbean dictator in Tropico ($40; Gathering of Developers), where you can impose martial law (at the expense of tourism) or violently fight off a coup (risking a U.S. invasion). You get the idea. ...
  • Overcoming Sin

    We are fascinated with evil because we are fascinated with ourselves. If the Bible is to be believed, alienation from God is the natural habitat of humanity and evil its full-blown manifestation. Indeed, the word "evil" appears more often in the Christian Scriptures than "good"--and with reason. From the Biblical perspective, our natural inclination is to serve ourselves rather than God--and in the case of a man like Timothy McVeigh, to mete out retribution as if he were God himself. In this view, evil acts are born of inordinate pride, a moral weakness that manifests itself as strength. Even saints must conquer festering self-regard. "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it," the Apostle Paul confesses. "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do." ...
  • I'll Have The Nuclear Gnocchi

    It seems mama's sauce isn't the only thing that puts the punch in Italian pasta. The German press piqued Italy's pride last week, claiming that much of the durum wheat used in the country's pasta is... radioactively mutated. Rubbish, retorted the Italians. "Those dour Germans are merely jealous of our superior cuisine", said one proud proponent of Italy's back-to- nature Slow Food movement. Noodle envy aside, the Germans happen to be right this time. Radiation is used to develop mutant strains and to improve production and resistance to natural hazards. This form of modification is common, says the International Atomic Energy Agency. And most of what we eat comes from these strains: Japanese pears, American grapefruit and, yes, several types of Italian durum wheat. But experts say that couldn't hurt a fruit fly, let alone humans. So let's all just simmer down and share a bowl of mutant noodles in peace.
  • Bylines

    Unfinished Business, Unanswered QuestionsNo Divas AllowedAthletes With Attitudetough
  • Daimler Thinks Small

    While she was vacationing in Italy last year, Judy Law stumbled on a curious thing: a tiny, Popsicle-blue, bubble-topped vehicle, wedged between two large cars in a medieval back alley. "Oh, it's adorable," thought Law, an Atherton, Calif., real- estate agent. Actually, it's Smart--DaimlerChrysler's Smart, the world's smallest car and Europe's latest rage. Soon Law noticed Smarts navigating the narrowest passageways and squeezing nose-first into impossibly small parking spaces. "I don't know if I'd want to drive it back home next to all those SUVs," she says. "But it'd come in handy for shopping in San Francisco." ...
  • Hoop Dreams, Chinese Reality

    Last Friday Chinese basketball star Yao Ming's shot at playing in the NBA bounced off the backboard. His club, the state-owned Shanghai Sharks, declared that Yao would not be eligible for the NBA draft in June. Don't blame the U.S.-China political game for this one, though. The Sharks say Yao must stay home for the greater good: to help the growth of Chinese basketball. But inside sources say it had more to do with capitalist greed. The Sharks, they say, are demanding 30 percent of Yao's future earnings and a large portion of his endorsements--an arrangement that his parents, so far, won't accept. "Yao is a slave to the team," says one of his advisers. "He has no individual rights." For now, it's goodbye NBA, hello filial piety.
  • Mega's Moment

    It's easy to underestimate Megawati Sukarnoputri. Don't. Her lifelong family friend Abdurrahman Wahid has repeatedly fallen into that trap during his 18 months as Indonesia's president. He and his advisers misinterpreted the vice president's tactful silences as a sign of her unquestioning support. Wahid would brag about her blind loyalty, adding that she wasn't smart enough to take his place. He publicly called her "stupid" at least once. And of all the president's many errors, his persistent misjudgment of Megawati is the one that will likely cost him his job--or at least most of his powers. Close friends say she is tired of the snide remarks and rude treatment. More than that, though, she is convinced that the man she has always addressed as "brother" can no longer be trusted to run the country. ...
  • A Date With Destiny

    Destiny's Child have just begun their daily four-hour makeover, an event that's become as commonplace as breakfast for this R&B supergroup. Primped and polished, Beyonce Knowles, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland will scarcely resemble the young women who, earlier in the day, might have tried to upstage one another in burping contests. The Houston trio are marvels of self-transformation, looking as fabulous in animal-fur bikinis and Grammy gowns as they do in army fatigues. They are players in a seeming fairy tale: the story of a band that rose up from legions of faceless girl groups and "Star Search" contestants to amass a following of millions. ...
  • Good Dogs, Bad Medicine?

    Marc Bluestone was devastated when his sandy-brown mutt, Shane, died on April 2, 1999. In January he'd taken her to a vet hospital in Fountain Valley, Calif., for treatment of chronic seizures. By the time Shane went home--more than two months and $21,000 later--she had suffered liver disease, internal bleeding and a failed immune system. The doctors at All-Care Animal Referral Center treated her with everything from a blood transfusion to radiation, says Bluestone. Four days after she was discharged, Shane took a turn for the worse and died in the car as he was rushing her back to the hospital. Bluestone consulted a lawyer and was stunned to learn that in the eyes of California law, Shane was worth $100, what he had paid for her at the local shelter. "The way I feel, she is part of me and I am a part of her," says Bluestone, who hopes the vet will have to pay millions if Bluestone wins a malpractice suit scheduled for September. ...
  • Looking Back In Dismay

    Kaleil Isaza Tuzman has President Bill Clinton in stitches. Halfway through the documentary film "Startup.com," the 28-year-old is seated next to the president at a White House conference on the New Economy, poking light fun at one of the other panelists, a Harvard graduate school dean. Afterward, Isaza Tuzman slips Clinton his business card, and later boasts to co-workers, "I told him that if he moved to New York, he should consider a job with us." Just one month later, in May 2000, Isaza Tuzman's cockiness has vanished as he explains to his teary-eyed childhood friend and business partner, Tom Herman, that the board of directors wants him out. They don't think he's up to the job of chief technology officer. Herman is later escorted from the building. ...
  • Lesson In Brotherly Love

    If sounding a note of hope is part of a pope's job, then John Paul II had four great days in Syria earlier this month. The young Syrian friends of my wife and me--Muslim and Christian--walk around with a warm glow of love and joy that they dare think might translate into a new hope of peace. Many here have faith that the pope's visit did exactly what they hoped it would: show the world who they really are. To be young and Syrian is to feel misrepresented by the media as a violent people breeding terrorists. As the pope followed in the footsteps of Saint Paul and reached out to people, some Syrians said, "This is the way I want to be seen--as a good neighbor." ...
  • Innovation Is Where You Find It

    People and businesses simply aren't pushing paper like they used to. Regular first-class mail is flattening out or declining in some countries, while e-document delivery, e-commerce and e-messaging are booming. The postal services are now competing against Internet providers, telecoms and mobile operators. Some of them have resoponded to their Net competitors with desperate gimmicks, like chocolate-scented stamps or postage with your picture on it. The savvier ones are trying to exploit their brand names, economies of scale and government monopolies.The result is a plethora of new services. Deutsche Post has become a leading Internet bank in Germany, with more than 1 million customers. The Dutch Royal PTT is getting into online billing--it already processes more than 10 million transactions a year. Britain's Royal Mail is conducting trials for personalized post codes specific to individuals, which would allow paper or electronic messages to find you wherever you happen to be....

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