Newswire

Newswire

  • The Latest Magical Mystery Tour

    Now, this is a class trip: over the continental shelf, through coral reefs, to deepsea vents where giant clams and tube worms live-all in a clunky yellow school bus. It's the latest adventure of Ms. Frizzle, the star of the Magic School Bus series of children's science books and it's nothing like the usual kiddie-science fare. "The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor," published this week, is the fifth in Scholastic's biggest-selling nonfiction series (5.5 million copies in print). And like the earlier books that took kids through the human body and the solar system, inside a waterworks and the earth, it makes science as whimsical as the bus that doubles as submarine or rocket ship. "They have taken a subject that can be very dry to kids and made it exciting," says Donna Pohl, a library consultant in Texas. ...
  • The Old Spy Network

    The CIA old-boy network is alive and well. Thanks to a hung jury, a mistrial was declared last week in the case of Clair George, the former CIA spymaster accused of lying to Congress and a federal grand jury. NEWSWEEK has learned that George's defense team owes part of its success to 10 former intelligence officers who-working as unpaid volunteers-analyzed close to a million pages of government documents prosecutors intended to use against George. The team may have saved George as much as $500,000 in legal fees-and provided expertise no civilian lawyer could have. Meanwhile, a network of former spies has raised $300,000 from 2,000 different contributors to help defray George's estimated $1 million legal bill. "None of these CIA chaps have anything more than a mortgaged house," says John Waller, one of the fund raisers. "We have to help them." They'd better keep hustling. Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh plans to retry George on Oct. 19.
  • An Iraqi Move

    As U.S. fighter jets flew over southern Iraq, Saddam Hussein decided last week to change his country's diplomatic team at the United Nations. NEWSWEEK has learned that Foreign Minister Nizar Hamdoon--one of Iraq's most popular and effective envoys during the 1980s Will soon become the new U.N. ambassador. Sources in Baghdad say Saddam has ordered Hamdoon to cultivate his many American contacts in order to open private channels to Washington. Iraq's current U.N. ambassador, Abdul Amir al-Anbari, will be moved to UNESCO in Paris, where he will try to improve relations with the EC countries.
  • The 'Homeless' Candidate

    If Bill Clinton becomes president, let's hope he really enjoys vacationing at Camp David. The Democratic nominee owns no substantial real estate-just a share of a modest Little Rock condo used by Hillary's parents. He and Hillary sold their Arkansas home in 1977 when Bill became state attorney general. When he became governor in 1979, the family moved into the governor's mansion, where they have remained-save for the term he was voted out of office in 1980 (they rented a home). Aside from trips to the Ozarks or Hilton Head, S.C., Clinton rarely vacations, so another home wasn't needed. A Clinton spokeswoman says house-hunting is "something he'll have to think of later."
  • Next, The Death Penalty Wing

    It's another gorgeous day in San Francisco, but forget Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. The town has a new tourist attraction-just over the Golden Gate and just this side of macabre. Bring the whole family, especially if your last name is Addams. Welcome to the museum at San Quentin State Prison. ...
  • Iraq: Try, Try Again

    The leaflets fluttered to earth around military bases in southern Iraq. The basic message: "Don't fly or you'll be shot down." Others told the Iraqis they would suffer the consequences if they aimed their antiaircraft radar at allied warplanes patrolling overhead. As the United States, Britain and France established a "no fly" zone below the 32nd parallel last week, Iraqi military men were forced to back down-for now, at least. Nearly all of Iraq's warplanes were withdrawn from the area before the deadline. In the early days of the ban, none came back. The only response from Baghdad was simmering resentment; Iraqi newspapers steadily fulminated against "the cursed Bush" and his "criminal plan." ...
  • The Dollar In Dumpsville

    The American dollar took it on the chin last week, and it wasn't just currency traders who were reeling. The greenback's glory has been fading ever since 1985, when it hit 3.4 7 German marks to the dollar. But last week the dollar sank to record postwar lows, hovering at 1.40 Deutsche marks. Stock markets stuttered, and U.S. economists did a little financial mudslinging, blaming the Germans for keeping their interest rates so high that investors deserted the dollar for the mark. American tourists abroad, drinking espresso at $5 a cup, were ready to choke. ...
  • Andrew's Wrath

    It took Hurricane Andrew only hours to cut its devastating swath through the Southeast, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. But could the worst of the suffering have been avoided?
  • Darman's Diary?

    Is White House budget director Richard Darman following that cardinal Beltway rule: when under fire, write a kiss-and-tell book? Sources say Darman recently penned "Adventures in Wonderland," a secret memoir about his government experience. The book, to be published after the November election, is said to he culled from Darman's daily diary. Sources say the manuscript is with Simon & Schuster editor Alice Mayhew, but Mayhew denies it. Darman didn't return calls.
  • The Booksellers' Art Of Persuasion

    Owners of small, nonchain bookstores are not immune to hype from the big New York publishers, but when it comes to matters of taste, nothing pleases them more than being able to create a hit with no help from Manhattan. When grass-roots dealers love a book, they go right into what they call their "handselling" mode. They clutch the book, they might even clutch the customer, and then they sincerely confide, " You've got to read this." ...
  • Bush: What Bounce?

    George Bush was eerily confident, even jovial. Presiding at a family dinner at The Houstonian on the eve of his acceptance speech, he offered needling toasts, gently teasing his grandson George P., who would have to shill for "Gampy" that night on national television. To hand-wringing Republican leaders who dropped by the president's condo, he offered a soothing mantra: read the new biography of Harry Truman. Just like Give 'Em Hell Harry, the president would come from behind and confound the pundits. He had a game plan, ancient but serviceable: he would savage Bill Clinton as yet another "out of the mainstream" liberal. His old buddy Jim Baker was back to run the show. Clinton wasn't so tough-"a mile wide and an inch deep," said a Bush family member. No need to worry. It would all work out. ...
  • Passing The Bucks

    Would a Bill Clinton victory in November kill off some of the liberal interest groups that have supported his cause? For the past 12 years, these Washington organizations have worked to put a Democrat in the White House. But if that actually happens, activists say, liberal groups won't have nearly as much to rail against. Already, past contributors are bypassing them and sending donations directly to the Clinton-Gore campaign. Shrinking donations led People for the American Way to suspend mail solicitations this summer (they resumed again this week). And the National Abortion Rights Action League has scaled back its media buys as money dries up. Some activists fear their days on the job are numbered. "We fought for change throughout the 1980s," said one. "Now what are we going to do?" Meanwhile, Democratic fund raisers got their own financial bounce from the GOP convention. "Pat Buchanan really helped us rake it in, especially from women," said one.
  • Nbc And Scud Stud Sling Mud

    Desert Storm was a skirmish compared with the war that NBC's "Scud Stud," Arthur Kent, fought with network brass last week. Suspended after refusing assignment in Croatia, Kent passed out an angry statement in front of NBC's New York offices. NBC then banned Kent from an appearance on Jay Leno's show. The final shot was on Friday, when Kent was fired. NBC says he's an insatiable primo don; Kent says NBC made him do stupid stories. In other words, they only wanted him for his body.
  • Did Gorbachev Control The Nuclear Button?

    Who had control of the Soviets' nuclear button? During the days of the coup there was probably no question more worrisome. The answers were contradictory. Just days after the coup, Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev, the Soviet chief of staff, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that "in those hours I was the only man who controlled the strategic nuclear forces. The president was cut out, Yazov too ... I ensured security and did it in a proper manner." But President Gorbachev later told French reporters, "Only I can start a nuclear war." ...
  • Spy Vs. Spy

    Actors Scott Glenn and Lou Diamond Phillips recently finished shooting a cop movie called "S.I.S." It's about the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Investigation Section, which in real life stands accused of police brutality and questionable surveillance techniques. Now the film's coproducer, Frank Sacks, says real SIS officers tapped his phones and were seen prowling around the set. An LAPD spokesman called Sacks's charges "wild."
  • Mickey's Secret Life

    A half-finished mansion on Creekside Drive in Youngstown, Ohio, is the last monument Mickey Monus built to himself The 14,000-square-foot behemoth, with grand curved staircase, indoor pool and basketball court, was to be home base for Michael I. Monus, president of the $3 billion Phar-Mor discount drug chain, partner in the Colorado Rockies expansion baseball team and up-and-coming icon in the American cult of the entrepreneur. ...
  • Hey Dude, Let's Catch Some Rapids

    Attention, water-sports fans: white-water rafting is for wimps. These days, the coolest way to get that adrenaline pumping is to catch a ride on a river bodyboard-a sleek, lightweight craft that sends you flying downstream at up to 25 miles per hour. With its body-hugging grooves and easy-to-grasp handles, the $224 river bodyboard makes it possible to ride big rapids safely without having to sit inside some confining raft or kayak. But make no mistake, daredevils: this is a rugged sport requiring even the best riders to wear wet suits, helmets, body padding and life jackets. All novices should be trained by an experienced rafter, and no one should ever ride alone. "It's like the hang gliding of water sports," says river-bodyboard enthusiast Erik Fair, sounding as if he's also spent some time surfing. "It's total connection with the river-your body is the boat." So far, the boards are available only in California, where you can now sign up for a river-bodyboard expedition with...
  • They Beat The Coup So Why The Gloom?

    OUR VICTORY IS OUR MEMORY, read one placard outside Russia's White House last week. Victory over last year's hard-line coup seemed like a faint memory indeed as only a couple of thousand Russians showed up to celebrate the first anniversary of the failed putsch. Where last year tens of thousands of defenders stood united in support of President Boris Yeltsin, this year the paltry crowd was strangely fragmented. Drunken teenagers belted out boisterous songs, World War II veterans played their accordions, Hare Krishnas beat drums, and Orthodox priests carried signs saying GOD SAVE RUSSIA. Perhaps the most dramatic change from a year ago was the lack of optimism. "There was a great euphoria last year," said Aleksandr Titenkov, a space researcher. "But now I have come here with a heavy heart." ...
  • When Justice Is Entangled With Love

    Rosellen Brown prefaces her new novel, Before and After (354 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux. $21), with the depiction of a home video: here are flickering shots of a little boy squinting in the bright sun, a little girl in her best clothes and two comfortable-looking parents smiling at each other. With this video scrapbook Brown sums up all we really know about our children's lives even as we raise them. The novel proper begins a decade or so later, on the day that Carolyn Reiser, a New Hampshire pediatrician with two teenage kids, gets called to the emergency room. A girl has been bludgeoned to death. The chief suspect is Carolyn's son, and he has disappeared. ...