• Timing Is, Uh, Everything

    Bad timing continues to haunt the Polish musical extravaganza "Metro," which hit Broadway this month like a cross between "Hair" and a Blue Oyster Cult concert. Being too anachronistic even for B'way was bad enough. But after Now York Times critic Frank Rich suggested giving the actors "a steak dinner and maybe even tickets to a Broadway show," for enduring "a fiasco," the angered 50-member cast sent Rich 50 steaks and 50 tickets at the Times. Late again: they got there Saturday, when Rich was away.
  • Signing Off With Pomp A Circumstance

    Bill Cosby wanted the final episode to be "just another night" at the Huxtables. Aw, come on, Dad! This is, after all, the series that rescued NBC, revived the sitcom genre and was watched by more people than any comedy in television history. So when "The Cosby Show" bows out on April 30, it exits with a nostalgic, one-hour special that ties things up like the bow on a graduation gift. The graduate is Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), who gets his NYU diploma as all four generations of Huxtables hug, kiss and choke up. Conspicuously absent: married daughter Denise (Lisa Bonet), who vanished from the show after Bonet had a falling out with Cosby. But Denise does phone home to announce she's pregnant.Dr. Cosby is headed into a quiz-show remake of "You Bet Your Life." He's also producing a sitcom pilot starring Warner as a psychology student working in the inner city. Sounds heavy, but Cosby insists: "It is funny and it is going to be good." Awriiiiight, Dad!
  • In Japan, A Weighty Charge Of Racism

    Even many Japanese regard their society as one of the world's most intolerant though the subject of racism is virtually taboo. But last week a 576-pound, Hawaiian-born sumo wrestler slammed the race issue onto the nation's front pages. Salevaa Atisanoe, who took the name Konishiki when he came to Japan in 1982, had grappled his way toward the pinnacle of the most Japanese of sports. Since February, when he won his last tournament, his fans have waited anxiously to see if he would be promoted to its highest level: Yokozuna (grand champion). Finally, as it became apparent the fiercely conservative Sumo Association would balk, Konishiki went public. "Strictly speaking," he told a Tokyo newspaper, "this is racism."Three days later the wrestler retracted his own story. " It doesn't matter what color YOU are," he announced. "My job is to go out there and try really hard." It was the Japanese thing to say - however divorced from a far more complicated reality.
  • Paul Tsongas And His Spin Doctors

    Paul Tsongas's victory over cancer added an inspirational tone to his underdog presidential candidacy. His Boston doctors assured that he had been free of lymphoma since undergoing a 1986 bonemarrow transplant. One of them, Dr. Tak Takvorian, was an ardent supporter and campaigner for his patient. Now it appears that Tsongas's doctors were spin doctors as well. Last week they acknowledged to The New York Times that he was treated for an additional cancerous lymph node in 1987. ...
  • His Brother's Keeper

    Roger Clinton was furious. He felt betrayed. And no wonder: he had just been picked up in a sting operation for cocaine trafficking that was OK'd by his brother, the governor. Bill Clinton knew Roger was involved, and didn't tip him off. The younger Clinton, now 35, served a year in federal prison after the 1984 bust. At one point after his arrest, he contemplated suicide. "But Bill helped me discover that was no answer," he told NEWSWEEK. In family therapy sessions, the brothers made their peace. "Bill cried when I told him how angry and betrayed I felt," recalls Roger Clinton. "He, too, was devastated, torn up inside." Except for a brief relapse in '87, Roger Clinton has been free of drugs. He credits his brother's tough-love solution with setting him on the path to recovery. ...
  • 'I Am A Mad Beast'

    Testifying from inside a stool cage, former schoolteacher Andrei Chikatilo confessed in a Russian court to killing at least 55 people between 1978 and 1990-and eating parts of them. Chikatilo, 56, attributed his murderous rages to sexual inadequacy and the repressive Soviet system. He said his older brother had been eaten by starving peasants during a famine in the 1930s. "I am a mistake of nature, a mad beast:' said Chikatilo. If found guilty, he could be shot.
  • Pass The Perrier

    When your state needs water, you tend to hear suggestions like this one: Canada's Medusa Corp. wants to solve California's water crisis with floating, vinyl water balloons each the size of 20 football fields. Every $6 million storage bag-up to 2,400 feet long, 600 feet wide and 80 feet deep would hold a million tons of water from Alaska. Tugs would drag the balloons-mostly submerged, like icebergs-down the coast to California ports. The big bags would be held together with nylon and coated with a chemical to keep waves from destroying them, Medusa claims. Alas, Duane Georgeson of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California thinks this is "not viable." He says his region would need at least five balloons a day.
  • Is China Arming Libya?

    In what appears to be a slap at George Bush's go-easy policy toward Beijing, China has evaded the U.N. embargo against Libya with a huge shipment of small arms to Tripoli, NEWSWEEK has learned. U.S. satellites spotted a Chinese cargo ship, the San Jiang Kou, off-loading "tens of thousands" of rifles, machine guns and anti-aircraft weapons at a Libyan port on April 17, intelligence sources say. On March 31 the U.N. ordered a ban, effective April 15, on travel and arms sales to Libya after it refused to turn over agents charged in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. When confronted by State Department officials, U.S. sources say, Beijing claimed the ship was in Libyan waters-and technically under Libyan control-before April 15. "At best, they sneaked in at the deadline," says a U.S. official. "At worst it's an egregious violation of the embargo." The White House has resisted calls to tighten sanctions against China since the Tiananmen Square massacre.
  • 'Shadow World'

    Popular fiction can popularize ideas, so Michael Crichton's best-selling "Rising Sun" is dismaying as a symptom and reprehensible as an act. It is a crime novel well stocked with murder and other mayhem-or, as Crichton says, other Japanese business practices. It overflows with anti-Japanese passion, a peculiar blend of fear and loathing and admiration. ...
  • Women On The Run

    The GOP high command carefully chose Salt Lake City, a right-to-life bastion, as a friendly setting for its preliminary platform debate on abortion. But the atmosphere promises to be far from collegial when the committee convenes in Utah later this month. Ann Stone, founder of Republicans for Choice, vows to "shock the bejesus" out of party officials with a campaign of "prochoice terrorism." Everybody knows that George Bush, who flip-flopped once before, cannot abandon his anti-abortion stance now. But GOP women are not standing by their man: of the 46 Republican women now running for Congress, Stone knows of only one - Texan Donna Peterson - who is campaigning on a right-to-life platform. ...
  • The Court's Case Of Nerves

    It's been a bad term for people who cling to the myth that the Supreme Court is above the political pressures that rule the rest of Washington. First there were the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas. And last week, before a packed courtroom, were oral arguments in a case that could signal the end of Roe v. Wade. On the docket was a Pennsylvania law ordering a 24-hour waiting period, parental consent, husband notification and doctor efforts to discourage abortion. From their questions, some justices seem to want to uphold most of the regulations without overruling Roe. But charting such a politically safe course may be impossible. Arguing before the court were abortion-rights advocate Kathryn Kolbert, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Ernest Preate and U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr for the Pennsylvania law. NEWSWEEK'S Bob Cohn looks at what's behind Planned Parenthood v. Casey. ...
  • The Battle For Reagan's Mind

    It's an inside-the-Beltway spy thriller, a novel for the rare reader who thinks of the cold war as little more than a backdrop to the power games Washingtonians play. Its pages are populated with thinly disguised portraits of officials you barely remember from bureaucracies you'd like to forget. It rehashes disputes over U.S. policy toward Moscow that most Americans were unaware of in the hey-day of the Evil Empire and care even less about today. But for connoisseurs of Washington gossip, Richard Perle's forthcoming novel Hard Line (304 pages. Random House. $21) is a mother lode of raw ore. Implausible and flatly written, it nonetheless dishes up gobs of dirt on the incessant bickering among the pin-striped freedom fighters of the Reagan administration. ...
  • A Cheval Of A Different Color

    A razi is a little horse with a lot of dreams riding on him. Born in the United States but trained along the elegant forest lanes of France, the nimble 3year-old's seven effortless victories in eight races last year have drawn comparisons with the legendary Secretariat. Already this delicate stallion with a rakish stripe twisting across his face and three flashing white socks is being described as the thoroughbred of the decade, if not the century. ...
  • Mercurial Acts

    David Bowie, Elton John and George Michael - they're Freddie Mercury's kind of royalty. Last week they and nearly 100 other rockers saluted Queen's lead singer, who died of AIDS in November, at a London benefit concert. Weirdest sight: Annie Lennox, eyes so blackened with makeup one critic christened her "Queen of the Raccoons." Call it Mercury Theater.
  • A Folk Hero's Hot Odyssey

    Like Spike Lee in film, playwright-director George C. Wolfe has broken new stylistic ground in treating African-American experience. Shows like "The Colored Museum" and "Spunk" saw that experience through a prism of spiky angles and irreverent attitude. Joily's Last Jam holds that prism up to the life story of Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton (1890-1941), one of the giant figures in Afro-American music, the crucial link between ragtime and classic jazz. Wolfe treats Jelly (Gregory Hines) as a man of folk-hero dimensions, starting with his death, which sends him into a honky-tonk purgatory presided over by Chimney Man (Keith David), an engaging hybrid of Satan and saint who ushers Jelly back through his fantastic life. ...
  • No Father, And No Answers

    My father was not the sort of guy who comes to mind when most people think of a deadbeat dad. He was an attorney, a judge and a respected civic leader. He was president of the local NAACP and a church deacon. Above all, he was a good father to his three daughters. As he once told me, he was not "some little boy in the ghetto who makes babies and doesn't take responsibility for his actions." ...
  • A Cadillac With Smarts

    How small can a pothole be? An inch deep, let us say, and a foot in diameter. Now imagine a tire hitting the lip of that hole at 60 miles an hour. The tire is on a 1993 Cadillac Allante, which, since the base price is just under $60,000, chances are you'll never own - but if you did, here's what would happen. Instantaneously, the Road Sensing Suspension would detect a drop in the road surface and communicate it to the Electronic Control Module, which in turn would signal a small electric motor to firm the shock absorber for that particular wheel, and that wheel only-a process that can be completed in as little as 10 milliseconds, which means that by the time the tire hit the opposite lip of the hole, the car would have been braced and ready for it. And the lucky personal-injury lawyer or commodities trader at the wheel would never feel a thing. ...
  • Seeking New Solutions

    As Leslie Fernen and Jeffrey Smith took turns holding their newborn baby boy last week at Swedish Hospital Medical Center in Seattle, staffer Dorothy Mitchell handed them a brochure. Because they are not married, Mitchell explained, Smith would have to sign a paternity statement if he wanted his name on the birth certificate. This enables the state to "go after you if you were to break up," she added, "but we don't even want to think about that now."The proud parents may not want to think about it, but the state of Washington sure does. About one in every four children is born outside a marriage, and enforcing child support is most difficult In cases where paternity has not been established. So Washington decided to got men on the hook while they're most proud of fatherhood. In about 40 percent of out-of -wedlock births the father is now acknowledging paternity at the hospital. Smith was one who gladly signed.Washington's program is one of many innovative approaches states have...
  • Slavery

    Suleika mint Barka, 10, missed her mother. She was removed to Nouakchott, the capital, in her master's custody, leaving the rest of her family at a Bedouin camp deep in the Mauritanian desert. From there the master drove the girl to a remote oasis and sold her to another Bedan (white) named Muhammad for the price of four camels. There was nothing anyone could do about it. ...
  • Short Take

    The shake-ups continue at General Motors. In the latest sign that the board may be forcing chairman Robert Stempel's hand, GM announced it was reorganizing its moneylosing North American operations. And executives hinted that GM might drop several models. But the automaker, which had a 1991 record loss of $4.5 billion, won't comment on reports that the Chevrolet Caprice, Buick Regal or Pontiac Grand Prix might get axed.