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  • A Riddle Wrapped In A Mystery Inside A Song

    Songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips has always been a strange bird. In 1994 the honey-voiced singer, then fronting the band Grant Lee Buffalo, appeared in a video dressed as a canary swinging on a perch. On one of the group's albums, the Los Angeles-based artist sang with starry-eyed sincerity about a love affair between incarcerated characters named Jupiter and Teardrop, and used his most sensitive falsetto to compliment a lover with the words "you're so fuzzy." Now on the cover of his highly awaited solo album, "Mobilize," the cherubic-looking singer wears a doe-eyed expression, yet dons a Napoleonic hat and jacket. "I've always had the feeling of being an enigma," says Phillips, 37. "But I say to myself, 'Hell, there must be a tiny corner of the universe for what I do.' I always entertain the idea that there's enough fringe for me to occupy."Phillips has done more than simply dangle from the fringe. The film-school dropout is now a cult-music hero of sorts, packing clubs from L.A. to...
  • Paris Is Burning

    The curfew begins each night at 11, but the streets of Colombes are unquiet. Police cars prowl through the sulfurous halos of the street lights and black shadows cast by soulless concrete housing projects. Here and there, the screens of mobile phones flash as hoodlums track the cops, watching where they aren't. "This part of the city has been lost," says Deputy Mayor Olivier Camps-Voqeur, as he wheels his Renault back toward the "safe" part of town and drops a visitor at the commuter train that will take him to Paris, only 10 miles away.The world of France's banlieues and cites--the grim ghettos on the fringes of the country's major towns--has never been more menacing to the society that for so long has ignored them. Outside Marseilles and Paris, gang wars rage and riot police are drawn into running battles. In Strasbourg, angry youths used to burn one or two cars a week. Now it's several a night. Beleaguered bus drivers are regularly assaulted. In the southeastern town of La Seyne...
  • Bolivar, Dictator Or Paladin?

    After Fidel Castro, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is the most controversial head of state in Latin America. At home, a fragmented opposition accuses Chavez--re-elected in 2000 with a record 60 percent of the vote--of "Cubanizing" Venezuela: gutting democratic institutions and amassing dictatorial power. Abroad, detractors have charged him with aiding leftist rebels in Colombia and harboring former Peruvian intelligence adviser Vladimiro Montesinos. (Montesinos was arrested in June in Caracas on charges of drug and arms trafficking, murder and torture. He's awaiting trial in Lima.) Chavez, 47, recently discussed the Montesinos affair and the "international conspiracy" against him with NEWSWEEK's Maria Amparo Lasso at the presidential palace in Caracas. Excerpts: ...
  • 'Apocalypse' Then And Now

    My film is not a movie," Francis Ford Coppola proclaimed of "Apocalypse Now" in 1979 at a press conference in Cannes. "My film is not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam." That may be the dumbest thing Coppola ever said in public, and anyone who actually fought or witnessed that war would be right to take offense. But the flagrant grandiosity is a testament to the mad ambition of the film and the tenor of the times in which it was made. Coming off his two "Godfather" triumphs, the director set the stakes as high as he could--no mere home run, this was going to be his esthetic grand slam. When the film was first released, its measure was taken against that promise, and most people deemed it a failure, albeit a dazzling, unforgettable one.Time has been good to Coppola's movie. The new "Apocalypse Now Redux" is 53 minutes longer; watching it in the same theater where I first saw it (the huge screen at the Ziegfeld in New York) was an exhilarating experience. As we follow Martin Sheen's...
  • Unplugged In America

    "What is this?" asked the teacher, holding up a picture of the well-known "thinking chair" from the popular preschoolers' TV show "Blue's Clues." My daughter's hand shot up. "An armchair," she declared confidently. "That's a very adult response," the teacher replied, as Jazzy's classmates triumphantly shouted the "correct" answer.Jazzy's brief moment of awkwardness grows from a decision that we, her parents, made a few years ago: not to watch television. But the teacher had assumed--logically--that all 20 of her students were "Blue's Clues" fans, like most young children in America. After all, every day a typical U.S. preteen views three hours and 14 minutes of TV. My husband and I didn't want that for our daughters, Jazzy, 4, and Gigi, 2. So when a babysitter asked whether Jazzy (then 18 months) could watch, my husband and I thought about it for a minute--and answered, "No."Research seems to confirm our intuition: children glued to the TV for more than 10 hours each week are more...
  • Busted By The Copyright Cops

    When FBI agents arrested him in the parking lot of a Las Vegas hotel on July 16, Dmitry Sklyarov thought it must have been some mistake. These men would ask him who he was and he would tell them: a benign 26-year-old computer programmer who'd come from his native Russia to give a technical talk, a graduate student of his nation's top engineering school, a family man about to return to his wife and two small children. And then they would realize their error and let him go. But he was indeed their intended target. For the next three weeks, this slim, soft-spoken programmer was sucked into an American gulag. Eleven days in a Las Vegas jail, unable to contact his family. Then moved, in handcuffs and shackles, to an Oklahoma federal prison. Finally transported to San Jose, Calif., where he was given an opportunity to post $50,000 bail.His alleged crime? Writing Advanced eBook Processor, a computer program sold by his Russian employer, ElcomSoft, that allows purchasers of Adobe e-books to...
  • What Can A Flawed Test Tell Us, Anyway?

    While monitoring a test in my high-school U.S.-history class last spring, I was a bit surprised to find one of my most conscientious students doodling on his paper rather than filling in answers. I was equally surprised when another of my honor-roll students completed a one-hour test section in a matter of minutes by answering every question with the letter c. Why would students who consistently score 95 percent or higher on my exams deliberately tank this one? Their answer was as simple as it was logical: "This one doesn't count."The test wasn't one of mine. It was part of the agonizing annual ritual that is mandated testing. Our school administration does an excellent job of working out the logistics of giving the six-day, multisubject test, and our teachers monitor it in a professional manner. We do everything we can to convince our students that the test is important. "Our scores will appear in the newspapers," we tell them. "The public will judge us by what it sees," we add....
  • Tune Out, Stay In

    In 1997 Haruo resigned from the gas company and stayed in his bedroom for three years. "I closed the rain shutters and listened to music," he says. "I didn't know if it was day or night." Another recluse, a chatty 29-year-old, passed the national bus driver's exam three times but can't muster the courage to sit for an interview. "How," he frets, "should I explain the five-year gap in my resume?"Both men, patients at a pioneering psychiatric hospital outside Tokyo, share a uniquely Japanese malady. Called hikikomori, or social withdrawal, the ill-defined but debilitating syndrome afflicts as many as 1.2 million young people--seven in 10 of them male. Symptoms include agoraphobia, paranoia, aversion to sunlight and severe anxiety; sufferers become antisocial in their teens or 20s and spend months or years holed up in their bedrooms. "They see themselves as ugly. They think they smell," says Tamaki Saito, who runs the outpatient program at Sasaki Hospital in Chiba. "They fear that they...
  • Escape To The Balkans

    The beaches are back, hotter than ever. Ten years after the wars began, five years since the last shots were fired in ethnic anger, that most timid of Homo sapiens, the Western tourist, has ventured in earnest back to the Balkans and the sublime eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. From the Istrian Peninsula, bordering Italy, down the 400-mile-long Dalmatian coast to Kotor, along the ruggedly beautiful shores of Montenegro to the Albanian border, there is hardly a hotel room to be found this month. And if there is, you can be sure it won't be air-conditioned.Marie Lafayette, a physical therapist from Venice Beach, California, can attest to that. She stepped off the ferry last Tuesday onto the island of Hvar to discover, to her sweaty horror, that there was no room at the inns. What to do except flash off an e-mail to friends from the nearest Internet cafe? "All of Italy is here. I don't know where I'm going to sleep!" Eventually a local family gave her a bed in a room shared with five...
  • Ahead Of The Curve

    In this era of 24/7 news, we at NEWSWEEK don't think it's enough just to cover big stories after they've happened. Whenever possible, we try to alert you to news and trends before everyone else is talking about them. Six weeks ago we decided to devote a cover story to the then still emerging issue of stem-cell research. We explained its vast medical promise for curing diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as the mounting political stakes for President George W. Bush as he weighed whether to allow federal funding over the objections of pro-life conservatives who view experimenting with human embryos as immoral. According to prominent media critics, our cover story not only was one of the best early primers on the debate; it also helped lift it to a level of national discussion that reached a turning point last week when Bush gave a prime-time address announcing his decision. This week we take another forward look at what Bush's approval of only limited further funding...
  • Perspectives

    "The Middle East is crossing a dangerous line." Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, after the Palestinian suicide bombing last week that killed 15 people, injured dozens and spurred an Israeli takeover of Orient House, the symbolic Palestinian government center in East Jerusalem"I have made this decision with great care, and I pray it is the right one." George W. Bush, announcing that he will allow limited federal funding for stem-cell research"It takes two hands to clap." Chinese president Jiang Zemin, on working with the Bush administration"We don't want the EU de Toilette to stink like sweaty hands." Perfumer Robert Jelinek, unveiling plans for a new fragrance named EU de Toilette, which will use the smell of the Austrian schilling, the German Deutsche mark and the French franc to ease the nasal transition to new euro notes"The majority said the king is the lion. If he is the lion he is the head of the country." Chief Mangaliso Dlamini, chairman of the Constitutional Review...
  • The Pressure To Hit Back

    For much of the meeting, hard-liners in Ariel Sharon's cabinet appeared to have the upper hand. A Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem hours earlier had killed 15 people, including seven children. The hawks told Sharon that his inaction two months ago, after a bomber killed 21 people in a Tel Aviv nightclub, had emboldened the guerrillas. At least one person at the meeting suggested aiming the reprisal directly at Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, to topple his regime. In the end, the cabinet agreed to seize nine buildings belonging to Arafat's political and security organizations, but it fell short of the hard-liners' proposals. "We must wage the struggle against the centers of terrorism," said Housing Minister Natan Sharansky. "And Arafat has to understand that sooner or later it will affect him."A growing number of Israelis are tired of waiting. With each new bombing, Sharon faces increasing pressure to hit at Arafat. Even Israel's security establishment--which long warned...
  • Mail Call

    Readers offered praise for both Katharine Graham and NEWSWEEK's July 30 tribute to her. "She was remarkably admired by people across the political and social spectrum," wrote one. "We should all strive to live our lives as she did, with dignity, strength, humor and humility." Said another: "Hers was by far the most candid autobiography I have ever read. She showed that a woman could be successful even while struggling with a severe lack of self-confidence." Mrs. Graham's strong stand during the Watergate crisis got high marks. "Because of her courage and conviction," declared one letter, "The Washington Post served as a lighthouse during those dark, somber days."Connecting With Mrs. Graham When I received the recent issue of NEWSWEEK with Katharine Graham on the cover ("Remembering Katharine Graham," SPECIAL REPORT, July 30), I assumed at first that I had nothing in common with this rich woman from the East Coast. But after reading the remembrances from her friends, I realized how...
  • Hard Knocks And Oligarchs

    Man marries woman, woman sacrifices career for man, man leaves wife and child for younger beauty. That's the life of a Russian oligarch's wife. One such castaway, Elena Mordashova, is fighting back. I've been left by my tycoon husband, Aleksei, with nothing but a beat-up car, a dilapidated apartment and a young son, she fumed last week in an open letter in the Moskovsky Komsomolets, a major Russian newspaper. She also called for more "civilized" divorce laws. Divorce Russian-style promises equal division of assets. Forget about Aleksei, no one follows the law anyway, says one Moscow lawyer. Besides, any oligarch worth his 10 percent would never put his Mercedes, five-floor dacha and villa under his own name.Elena probably won't get sympathy from most Russian women, who've never had to suffer the daily dizzying horror of choosing between Gucci and Prada. But maybe she could link up with Ivana Trump, another post-communist cookie once sampled and tossed aside. As Donald's ex once put...
  • A Dentist Takes The Stand

    When a 3-year-old girl named Christine Jackson was found raped and strangled near Brooksville, Miss., sheriff's investigators focused on Kennedy Brewer, 21. Brewer looked like the right guy. He was Christine's mother's boyfriend, and he was at home alone with Christine and his own two children on the night the little girl disappeared. But there was no hard evidence. Trace amounts of semen were recovered from Christine's body, but the sample was too small for a DNA match under the lab techniques available back in 1992. So prosecutors called Dr. Michael West, an affable and supremely confident forensic dentist from Hattiesburg. West testified that he had examined 19 mysterious wounds on Christine's body and decided they were bite marks. He also said five of the marks matched Brewer's teeth "with reasonable medical certainty." Jurors took only 95 minutes to convict Brewer, and they gave him the death penalty the next day. He is now on death row at Parchman State Penitentiary.West has...
  • Who's The New Ichiro?

    The Seibu Lions set only one ground rule for interviewing their superstar shortstop Kazuo Matsui: don't ask him whether he wants to come to the United States to become the next Ichiro. In the wake of the amazing success of Seattle's expatriate right fielder, the lords of Japanese baseball are more than a little worried about their all-stars' becoming our all-stars.But Matsui, breathing heavily in the Seibu Dome dugout after a workout, has no qualms about addressing the subject. He explains that in 2001, Japanese pro-baseball players--like their fans--are obsessive viewers of Seattle Mariners baseball games broadcast almost daily. "We have a big TV set and watch the games constantly," he says. Matsui recalls vividly the time he faced Pedro Martinez in an exhibition game, and he'd like another shot at him. Will he seek that opportunity next year, joining Ichiro, Hideo Nomo, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Tsuyoshi Shinjo in what threatens to be a Pacific airlift of prime baseball talent? "After...
  • Cyberscope; Airships To The Rescue?

    Last month the advanced technologies Group (ATG) in Britain launched a demonstration model of what it hopes will be the solution to burgeoning telecommunications traffic: unmanned stratospheric airships. ...
  • Not Their Mothers' Choices

    A young American couple honeymoons in London. At breakfast, I overhear their quiet conversation. "So what are you going to do when we get home?" the 27-year-old groom asks his wife. The slim brunette looks down at her plate."I'm not sure. I don't know," she says. There's a tinge of anxiety in her voice."But you're so smart," he says. "You were on the dean's list. I thought you wanted to go to law school."A pause. "I would be getting out of law school just at the moment I want my children. I certainly don't want to go work in an office. I saw my mother do that. I want to be with my children, not kill myself moving up the career ladder."I heard this theme again and again as I traveled all over America and Europe talking about my book "Great Dames: What I Learned from Older Women," a collection of biographical portraits of 10 enduring and enchanting women such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Kay Thompson (author of "Eloise") and civil-rights lawyer Constance Baker Motley, who made their...
  • The Sound Of The Fury

    "Stop it!" an opposing player yelled at Carolyn Ford. "You're pulling my skin!" "No I'm not," retorted the center fullback for the Bethesda (Md.) Fury, a girls' club soccer team, "I'm pulling your fat!" The referee gave Ford a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct, but Lisa Taverna, Carolyn's mother, approves of her daughter's aggressive play. "Our kids will give back. They're intimidated by nobody. When they step on the field, any friendship stops," says Taverna. "The beauty of it is, it teaches them professionalism."More than 3.5 million girls play club and high-school soccer in the United States. Some of the best play for the Bethesda Fury, a club or "travel" team of 17-year-olds. NEWSWEEK followed the Fury this spring and summer as the team campaigned toward the national championships, played in the last weekend in July in Indianapolis. Judging from the Fury's experience, it is fair to say that girls have achieved true equality with boys in the amateur-sports arena, though...
  • Going, Going...

    Just before dawn every summer day but Sunday, the Chesapeake Bay awakes to the throttled-down murmur of marine engines. It's the sound of watermen headed out for a living. Some will fish. Some will clam. But Bobby Abner's going crabbing, as he has for four decades. Time was, he says, you could set your pots any number of spots and catch yourself a right smart amount of crabs. No longer. These days, Abner may have to start the morning just offshore from his restaurant in Chesapeake Beach, Md., then work the afternoon up at Rock Hall 40 miles away. "You got to go where the product is," he says. And the product is getting scarce.Season by season, the Chesapeake crab catch is shrinking. Through the 1980s and early '90s, commercial harvests averaged nearly 90 million pounds, including a banner haul of 113 million in 1993. The numbers since then don't lie. Both 1998 and 1999 were about 30 percent below the levels of the '80s, and 2000 was worse: 49 million pounds. Scientists are gloomy...
  • Israel's Best Plan: Build More Walls

    In rejecting Ehud Barak's proposals at Camp David, Yasir Arafat did more than shatter the hopes for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He also shattered the Israeli left. For a decade the Labor Party had a solution to Israel's biggest problem: land for peace. It would give back much of the land conquered in the 1967 war and get a peace agreement in return. But the assumption that underlays it--that you could make a deal with Arafat--is now pretty wobbly. As a result, Israel has few doves left. About 70 percent of the population supports Ariel Sharon's tough strategy of reprisals and pre-emptive attacks.But once you get past the rhetoric, it becomes clear that the Israeli right has no solutions, either. The right in Israel held three core positions: first, that there could never be a Palestinian state (Jordan was the true Palestinian state). Second, that Arafat and the PLO were not legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and could never be negotiating partners....
  • Justice, Not Vengeance

    An avid golfer, Hun Sen prides himself on always knowing the right club to use at the right time. Recently he has tempered his opposition to trials of top Khmer Rouge leaders. But he continues to berate the United Nations for demanding that any tribunal have international input. Drinking green tea and chain-smoking cigarettes, the Cambodian prime minister recently spoke with NEWSWEEK's Brook Larmer and Joe Cochrane at his private residence in Phnom Penh. Excerpts: ...
  • A Thoroughly Modern Man

    A pastel former Methodist church in a manicured, upscale village on Long Island, New York, is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find the painter Malcolm Morley living. As a youth in England, he ran away from the boys' naval school he'd been sent to during World War II. After a disastrous stint as a tugboat galley boy (he broke his leg and was unceremoniously shipped home), he stole a few things and did time in a reform school and in the infamous Wormwood Scrubs prison. Then at art school in 1950s London, Morley recalls, "most of the instructors drank a lot and most of the education was for students privileged enough to go drinking with them." Fortunately, Morley was one of the privileged. Later, as a college art professor in the United States during the 1970s, he was notorious for showing up for class in, well, seriously altered states. For about 20 years he did "carbon-dioxide-inhalation therapy" (which, Morley says, provides weird visions revealing one's innermost self) under...
  • Letters

    Although there's no evidence linking Rep. Gary Condit to Chandra Levy's disappearance, readers of our July 23 cover story had few kind words for him. "If Chandra were my daughter, Condit would be hanging by his thumbs until he started talking," one declared. Others thought the Levy case was getting far too much attention: "It's unfortunate that it takes a political scandal in order for a missing person to become a top story." And a few readers said Condit has been taking too much heat. Wrote one: "If Gary Condit is guilty only of poor judgment, then the price he has already paid (in damage to his reputation and possibly the end of his political career) is punishment enough." ...
  • Made In The Usa, Used In The West Bank And Gaza

    It may have been no accident that Israel kept its helicopters out of sight during the latest track-and-kill operation against Palestinian militants. The U.S.-made Apaches hovered miles from the Nablus office of the Islamic militant group Hamas, firing laser-guided missiles that flew through its window and showered shrapnel inside. For the Israeli pilots, the success was only partial--the strike killed six men in the building, including two top Hamas activists, but also caused the death of two children on the street below. For the United States, it was another moment of regional embarrassment. Once again, Israel had employed high-profile U.S. weapons in an assassination policy Washington opposes.The Bush administration worries that Israel's use of Apaches in its targeted killings will backfire on the United States. The issue has already fed anti-American sentiment among Palestinians and angered U.S. allies in the region. And some analysts think it undermines the U.S. role as mediator...
  • Change That Tune

    Several Canadian women's groups want to change their national anthem. No more "true patriot love in all thy sons command," they protest. How about "all of us" or "all our hearts" instead? PERI surveys some recent calls for anthemic change around the world.Britain: Women refused to sing "that men should brothers be." Do they expect the National Health Service to pay for the sex-change ops, then?Russia: No words at all? Russians want the old Soviet lyrics instead of having to hum.Brazil: "If the mighty sword of justice is drawn forth, you will see your children... neither fear to fight, nor flee from death itself." Too warlike and aggressive for us, cry the sun- and samba-loving people.Australia: "Our home is girt by the sea"? Please. Change the whole anthem before "we all go to sleep singing it," they protest Down Under.