Newswire

Newswire

  • Will Kosovo Be Next?

    The way some Serbs in Kosovo see it, Qefsere Uka committed a political act last week. The 27-year-old ethnic Albanian gave birth to a son and named him Granit, because, she says, "I want him to be strong." Granit's father was fired from his job at a wood-processing plant last year after refusing to sign a loyalty oath to the government of Serbia. Qefsere, who is also unemployed, could have used the free state maternity hospital in Pristina, capital of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo. Instead, her extended family chipped in a month's income of $14 so that Granit could be born in a private, Albanian-run maternity clinic. "It's safer for us here," says Qefsere, cradling her newborn son as she lies on a cot in the grimy clinic in Pristina's poorest neighborhood. "At the [state] hospital, they put Albanian baby boys in the garbage can." ...
  • Who Gets Credit?

    To nobody's surprise-it had been foreshadowed in a much-admired speech of resigning Secretary of State James Baker a week before-George Bush on acceptance night made much of the overthrow of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe on his watch. He took a lot of credit for it. The theory his friends and advisers were pushing in Houston had been that Bush's preoccupation with bringing about the liberation of these people, with the subsequent diminution of the nuclear threat, could serve as a justification for his alleged first-term inability to focus on the domestic economy. ...
  • Fergie Plays Footsie

    Definitely a Kodak moment: bare-breasted Fergie and her "financial adviser," Texan John Bryan, frolicking in St. Tropez with her two daughters. A scathing Buckingham Palace statement made it clear that the in-laws were not amused when the pictures turned up in British tabs. In one shot, Bryan nuzzles Fergie's foot; in another, she tries to hide her naked upper stories. Vacation photos have been bad news for Fergie before. She and Prince Andrew separated in March after the discovery of photos of her and Texas oil tycoon Steve Wyatt relaxing together. Maybe she should just send postcards.
  • Tales From The Self-Help Mill

    Most literary writers, I have it on good authority, are required to do something else besides write deathless prose in order to keep life and limb together. I myself would have become a waitress-or, better yet, a cocktail waitress-- as such a job would have afforded me rich glimpses of life while paying the rent. Unfortunately, I am incapable of carrying even a cup of coffee without sloshing half of it into the saucer, and I cringe to think what I would do to a trayful of martinis and Bloody Marys. So, by default, after I paid a couple of months' rent and went to Safeway twice on the proceeds from my first novel, I found a half-time job as an editor. Not just any sort of editor, mind you. Mine is the exalted title of acquisitions editor for a small company that specializes in the publication of self-help psychology books. ...
  • Blindsided By The Future

    On the streets of Boston, they're calling it Black Tuesday. The same day that basketball legend Larry Bird said he would end his career with the Boston Celtics, computer giant Wang Laboratories announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and lay off 5,000 of its 13,000 workers. In many ways, it seemed fitting that the Lowell, Mass.-based Wang, once a heroic player in the computer industry, bowed out during the same 24-hour period as Boston's beloved hoopster. Like Bird, the 41-year-old industry icon was an old-timer crippled by past injuries that had failed to heal; a pain-racked veteran, it could no longer compete in a world filled with fast-moving rookies. Calling the bankruptcy "a drastic step that I deeply regret," chairman Richard W. Miller said the company, which will continue to operate, had simply "run out of resources." ...
  • Little Lies And Big Whoppers

    The whole week was double-ply, wall-to-wall ugly. The tone was set early on. "We are America," Rich Bond, the Republican National Committee chairman, told NBC. "These other people are not America." This, of course, has been the battle cry of bigots since the founding of the republic-and a leading indicator of political catastrophe. ...
  • Welcome To Burger Heaven

    Some people will do anything to satisfy their spiritual hunger. Take the holy men of England's Salisbury Cathedral, who have signed a sponsorship deal with that decidedly secular body: McDonald's. For two months all cathedral visitors will receive a scroll filled with history about the building. The tape securing the scroll doubles as a voucher promising a free Big Mac or McChicken sandwich for every one bought. The cathedral will get a share of the profits. A cathedral spokesman says someone has to pay the $6,000 a day it takes to run the building. "If we have to indulge in a bit of honest commerce to make ends meet," he argues, "then I say amen to that."
  • A Rare Bird Bows Out

    In a close race, when a jockey drives his mount, he puts up the whip, lies far up on the neck and urges the horse on that way, trying as much as possible to meld with the animal, to drive him by joining with him. A hand ride is what it's called. And that is the image I always had of Larry Bird playing basketball. However much he might dominate a game, even overwhelm it at times, however much he might beautify basketball or wring from it shocks and surprises, the sense I always most had was of him hand-riding the sport, blending with basketball, so they could get the most out of it, together. ...
  • The Value Of College

    Few ideas are more entrenched in the American popular consciousness than the value of a college education. It's the key to success. By and large, economists agree: college graduates earn much more than high-school graduates, and the gap widened in the 1980s. The conclusions seem obvious. Stay in school. In a high-tech world-with specialized skills in acute shortage-we'd all be better off if more Americans went to college. ...
  • Not A Lot Of Texas

    To qualify as a legal resident of Texas, which has no personal-income tax, George Bush owns a tiny vacant lot in the fashionable Tanglewood section of Houston in addition to his rented hotel suite. On the eve of the GOP convention, the Independent Committee for Ethics, a largely Democratic group, will stage a media event to call attention to what it sees as Bush's bogus tax status. Among the activities: a mock sale of 50,000 square inches of a Bush neighbor's yard, one inch to a customer.
  • How Quayle Stayed On The Ticket-Campaign '

    Dan Quayle is standing in the aisle of Air Force Two, dressed for church. A slight paunch bulges under his starched white shirt; he is 45 years old now, and the golf game can't quite hold off the banquet circuit. This Sunday morning, he will attend a service at Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Ala., then court the down-market half of the Bubba vote in nearby Talladega, where he'll be honorary starter at the Die Hard 500 stock-car race. He's looking forward to it. "I've attended Indianapolis 500s since 1962," he says, ever the proud Hoosier. "That's Formula One, not stock car, but the idea is the same. You don't want to hit the wall. That's how you get killed. They tell me it's better to keep rolling, over and over, on the track. It looks awful, but you're more likely to survive that way." ...
  • The Mao Jones Industrial Average?

    Mao always said that capitalism was dangerous-but this probably wasn't what he had in mind. Last week,a million would-be Chinese investors converged in Shenzhen to grab up a new issue of stocks at one of the country's two nascent stock markets. When lottery applications for the stocks ran out, enthusiasm turned to fury. Riots erupted: hundreds of people were injured, and two were reported crushed to death.
  • A National Park Cries Wolf

    Deep in the Yellowstone backcountry, where grasslands and sagebrush unroll like a shag carpet toward the northern Rockies, a towering male grizzly bear and a hulking female tore into a bison carcass one morning earlier this month. Beside them, two cubs scampered around, trying to get a better fix on the possible leftovers. A few feet away, a coyote with an already distended belly gorged itself on a second bison, while dozens of ravens zipped in for occasional morsels. Just another dawn in America's first national park--with one big, black-haired, yellow-eyed, long-legged, large-pawed difference. Beside the coyote and grizzlies stood what looked for all the world like Canis lupus-a graywolf. ...
  • What's The Bigger Hazard?

    "Why does New York have the most lawyers and New Jersey have the most toxic-waste sites? Because New Jersey has first choice." An Edison, N.J., law firm put the old joke in a radio ad; Garden State officials, spending $2 million on an image-buffing campaign, are angry. "I mean, I don't know any Nebraska jokes," says a Commerce Commission spokesperson. No one has spoken up for lawyers yet.
  • In The Grip Of 'The Poor Man's War'

    The port in Mogadishu swarms with a thousand gunmen. The metallic sound of AK-47s being cocked is a familiar background noise, and shots frequently echo across the pavement, mixing with peals of laughter. The Somali gunmen are paid by relief agencies to guard food meant for their starving countrymen, but much of it gets stolen anyway. Tons of food have piled up in the port; there is no way to deliver all of it safely to the starvation belt, which begins a mile away. When Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews visited last week, he had to grope for words to describe what he had seen. Finally he muttered that Somalia was "the end of the world, a land that God has forgotten." ...
  • Now: The Brick Wall

    When investment manager Adela Cepeda decided she would never make managing partner, she took matters into her own hands. The Harvard-educated mother of three left her job at a Wall Street firm last year, hung out a shingle with two women partners and simply bestowed the title on herself-. Adela Cepeda, managing partner. But Cepeda soon realized she had traded one set of problems for another. When she inquired about financing, bank officials all but patted her on the head-and suggested she look to her family for money. Despite her firm's exemplary track record, male clients seemed hesitant to trust a woman with their investment decisions. Cepeda's company, Abacus Financial Group, now has $40 million in assets and is outperforming the bond-index average. But doing business in a male world has not proven easy. "Men associate their wives and daughters with spending money, not making it," she says. ...
  • There Is No Crater Love

    Susan Sontag's omnivorous intellect makes her an exhilarating essayist, but an exasperating novelist-especially because of her tantalizing stretches of brilliance. The Volcano Lover: A Romance (419 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux. $22), her first novel in 25 years, bristles with the speculative digressions that mark her much-admired essays on literature, photography, politics, AIDS and cancer. We get disquisitions on how every culture has its shiftless, passionate "southerners"; on what the classical sculpture of Laocoon and his sons says about the artistic depiction of suffering; on why women have trouble telling jokes. Great stuff-but not when we want story and characters. The Napoleonic-era love triangle of Sir William Hamilton, British envoy to Naples, his second wife, Emma, and Lord Nelson was meaty enough for the movies ("That Hamilton Woman," with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh). Yet Sontag never refers to these colorful people by name; it's always "the Cavaliere," "the...
  • A Conversation With The President

    As he prepared for the Republican convention, President George Bush met with NEWSWEEK's Ann McDaniel and Tom DeFrank to discuss what he has called a "screwy" campaign year. Sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office, he gulped down grapefruit juice and occasionally glanced at a laminated card his staff had made listing the accomplishments of his first term. Excerpts: ...
  • A World Without Noise Just Sounds

    At 22, John Cage studied counterpoint with the master of serial music, Arnold Schoenberg. "[He] said I would never be able to compose, because I had no ear for music," said Cage, who admitted that pitch eluded him. But he was undeterred. Through radical experimentation, including pioneering work in electronics, he became as significant a revolutionary as his teacher, if not his equal as a composer. Cage had a deceptively simple notion: "Everything we do is music." He died last week at 79, after suffering a stroke in New York City. ...