Newswire

Newswire

  • Farms Across The Water

    His imports are not as famous as London Bridge, but a San Francisco antique dealer is doing a big business in bringing a bit of old Europe to America. Joachim Wolf of Annalisa Wolf Antiques recently imported a 9,000-square-foot 18th-century farmhouse from Lubeck, Germany. Wolf sold the five-bedroom house and stable for $350,000. Soon he'll have several more houses, including a burgher's cottage and a 17th-century Spanish hacienda, on the block. Each is disassembled, shipped to the United States and reassembled. "If I can ship 200 pieces of furniture, I can ship 800 beams, " says Wolf.
  • A New Face For An Old Nemesis

    Tuberculosis. The word conjures up faded images of 19th-century sanatoriums. Once America's leading cause of death, TB was subdued by potent new drugs during the 1950s and all but forgotten by 1980. Now, thanks to AIDS, poverty and a collapsing health-care system, the old scourge is returning in new attire. The caseload has exploded in some East Coast cities, and recent outbreaks have involved deadly new strains. Last summer health officials reported that drug-resistant TB had swept through four hospitals in New York and Miami, killing many of the 147 patients it struck. And New York prison officials disclosed last week that a new TB strain has caused 14 deaths at two state facilities. Patients and prisoners aren't the only ones in danger. As prison commissioner Thomas Coughlin observes, "Their health problems reflect those faced by the community at large." ...
  • In New Zealand, Good Reading And Writing Come 'Naturally'

    If reading is the cornerstone of learning, then the best foundations are built in New Zealand. The country's students have scored at the top of international literacy tests. And now their texts--and teachers--are regularly sought by educators around the world. Their success rests on an innovative curriculum that stresses comprehension over rote drills and allows children to learn at their own speed. In New Zealand, says Jan Duncan, a reading specialist at the Wellington College of Education, teachers believe "every child has got it in them to read successfully, no matter what their background." ...
  • New From At&T: Dialing For Dialects

    Oh, sure, you studied Spanish in high school. You can do a passable job ordering from a French menu. But if you're like most Americans, you're going to have a little trouble getting the meaning across to someone whose sole language is Wolof AT&T has come to the rescue with Language Line, which puts translators on the phone. Together they speak more than 140 languages--the usual European tongues, and less familiar ones like Wolof (spoken mainly in Senegal), Punjabi (Pakistan and India) and Tajiki (Afghanistan and some Soviet republics), too. In 1989, AT&T bought the service, started by a San Jose, Calif., company five years before. It has spent the time since lining up corporate and government clients, which now number in the thousands. AT&T has recently opened the service to anyone with a credit card; one-time users can simply dial an 800 number and set up a conference call with a translator; the company bills the $3.50-per minute call to the user's credit card. The company is also...
  • Coming Soon To A Planet Near You

    It's up in the sky, but it's not a bird, a plane or an alien spaceship (is it?). Spotted Nov. 6 by a Kitt Peak, Ariz., astronomer, the 6- to 36-foot-across object will pass within 290,000 miles of Earth on Dec. 5. This week astronomers are training their sights on it to figure out what it is. The betting: a lunar probe launched in 1959. Its orbit should bring it back toward Earth about now. If the object is spinning quickly, it's probably man-made.But if it's spinning very slowly, it is likely a new class of asteroid. Most of these rocky chunks, left from the formation of the solar system, circle between Mars and Jupiter or travel in a very elongated orbit. The object has a circular orbit.
  • It's A Naugahyde Thing

    It's standing room only at Kelbo's Coco Bowl in Los Angeles, where the drinks come in conch shells and the pillars look like palm trees. On the club's tiny stage, singer Joey Cheezhee belts out a tune that sounds like a collision between Jack Jones and Led Zeppelin: "Whole Lotta Love Boat." As always, Cheezhee is dressed to kill-himself Sequined rollerblades adorn his feet, and a gold-plated nasal-hair clipper hangs from a chain around his neck. A cheese grater is fastened to his waist, a tribute to Wayne Newton's escutcheon-size belt buckles. Cheezhee's repertoire moves readily from matters of the heart to those of the digestive tract. His song "Bile" salutes that underappreciated secretion: "You bring light to the intestines with your golden yellow glow / If I were a liver, I'd never let you go." He may be the Lounge Act from Hell, but the crowd of twenty-somethings roars its approval. ...
  • Surely For The Spirit, But Also For The Mind

    In a section of Pittsburgh it would be ambitious to call lower-middle class, Westinghouse High School's concert choir gears up to rip apart a tape of its own work. "What did you hear?" asks teacher Linda Ross-Broadus. "We took breaths where we weren't supposed to," says one student. "And the correction?" "We should stagger our breathing." After a couple of minutes of critique, they try again. The differences are audible: clearer tone, better rhythm and pronunciation. ...
  • All I Want For Christmas

    No matter what the leading economic indicators indicate, this is still the season to be jolly: even if we have to lower our expectations, we can still lift our voices. In fact, a lot more joyful noise could be made if carolers could call to mind all the verses of, say, "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and once-a-year piano players knew just how the chords go when you come to "Yet in thy dark streets shineth." Of all the songbooks around to help, few are more useful or handsome than And the Angels Sing: A Song Book of Classic Christmas Carols (Rizzoli. $12.95) produced by Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. It's got words, simple piano arrangements, chord symbols for guitarists, and illustrations from medieval and Renaissance art works. Almost as wonderful is what it doesn't have: "Little Drummer Boy," or anything to do with Rudolf or the Chipmunks. Have yourself a tasteful little Christmas.A mystery and a love story, Nick Bantock's unconventional novel Griffin & Sabine (Chronicle. $16.95...
  • Bring A Dish To Pass

    The Hollywood benefit dinner was designed to give the stars a taste of world hunger and last week Cybill Shepherd, Jackson Browne, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and 200 other luminaries showed up to take potluck. Assigned at random, 15 percent of the glitterati dined on stuffed chicken and almond truffles, 25 percent got tortillas and beans-and 60 percent sat on the floor and ate meager portions of rice with their fingers. But it was only make-believe: the luckier guests shared their wine and dessert with the have-nots. The event, along with dinners in five other cities, raised $750,000 for the antihunger group Oxfam America. Said Shepherd: "I haven't eaten much today. It's helped enlighten me."
  • Rejecting The Refugees

    Is Albert Auguste a freedom lover or a fortune seeker? Last week the U.S. Coast Guard returned the 31-year-old to Haiti after plucking him and 141 others from a homemade wooden boat bobbing off the coast of Florida. It was his second repatriation. The first time, Haiti, the poorest nation in the hemisphere, was ruled by dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier. Today Haiti is under the control of a violent group of military coup makers against whom the U.S. government has organized a trade embargo. To the Bush administration, however, Auguste is an economic refugee, lured northward by American opportunity; he must go home. To supporters of the boat people, the roughly 3,000 Haitians who have fled since the Sept. 29 coup are escaping military violence and deserve refuge, if not fullfledged political asylum. ...
  • Technical Foul, Red

    When your average businessman thinks Boston and MBA, what probably comes to mind is Harvard's illustrious business school. What doesn't come to mind at all is Red Auerbach, legendary guru of basketball's Boston Celtics, arguably modem sports' most successful professional team. ...
  • Faked Alaska

    For wildlife groups, it was adding injury to insult. Alaskan oil interests recently flew raw whale and seal meat along with Eskimo dancers and hunks of Arctic tundra to Washington for a Senate party to drum up support for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Federal law permits Eskimos to hunt certain endangered species when it is "necessary to maintain the life of the taker." The U.S. fisheries service ruled that no laws were broken. Said Defenders of Wildlife biologist Albert Manville: "I don't think serving bowhead whale to lobby for oil drilling is what the law had in mind." The Senate voted against the drilling.
  • A Tough Winter

    Newlywed--well, they were married a year and a half ago--and newly homeless, Linda and Ernie Russeau spend most of their day marking time at a neighborhood drop-in center on Cass Avenue in Detroit. Ernie is 20, an unemployed construction worker with an llth-grade education. Linda is 32 and three months pregnant. Like everyone else at the drop-in center, the Russeaus have a hard-luck story to tell: family problems, dead-end job hunts and dwindling hopes of making it on their own. They finally became homeless, Linda says, when Ernie lost his eligibility for Michigan's general-assistance program. The date was Oct. 1, 1991--the day that Ernie Russeau and nearly 90,000 other Michigan residents became test cases in a much-debated social experiment that is aimed, according to the state's welfare director, at breaking "this cycle of dependence." ...
  • Backlash In Dubuque

    Dubuque, Iowa, isn't the kind of place where you'd expect to see blazing crosses. But since last summer, when the city council adopted plans to promote minority immigration to the mostly white city, there have been 10 cross burnings. Residents angered by the racism are fighting back, passing out multihued ribbons to show support for integration. Citizens have held rallies; new members have swamped the local NAACP. "Whites want to show their disgust," says city human-rights official Karla Braig. "It's the whitest NAACP chapter on the planet."
  • Cube On Thin Ice

    Tough talk in pop music is old hat, but a hit album that advocates the murder of specific individuals is something new. "Death Certificate," by the rapper Ice Cube, includes two songs that attack Koreans and call for the murder of a man identified only as a Jew. "Oriental one-penny motherf--rs," Ice Cube raps, "...Pay respect to the black fist/ Or we'll burn your store right down to a crisp." In another song, directed to his old group, N.W.A: "Get rid of that devil, real simple / Put a bullet in his temple /'Cause you can't be the nigger for life crew / With a white Jew telling you what to do"--a reference to N.W.A manager Jerry Heller. The song also urges N.W.A to lynch founding member Eazy-E. Ice Cube says he wants his raps to instill pride in "the kids in my community." Last week a phone caller claiming to represent the KKK thanked Ice Cube's record company for the good work. ...
  • Cap Your Own Card

    For one thrilling moment, America believed in Santa Claus. The Senate voted to chop the top interest rate charged on credit-card balances to 14 percent annually, down from an average of 19 percent. If you carry $2,500 in debt, you'd save $125. ...
  • Stripping Off The Straitjacket

    What do David Duke and lesbians have in common? Relax: this isn't a dumb joke, like the one that Sen. Bob Kerrey abjectly apologized for last week; and it certainly isn't meant to equate sexual orientation with the activities of a former neo-Nazi. The answer is that both Duke and gay and lesbian protests against Kerrey represent restraining devices on Democratic presidential candidates-straitjackets on the process, stitched and sewn by the media. Besides the heartburn Duke can cause George Bush, he could make it tougher for Democrats to talk candidly about welfare and crime. The joke about lesbians, stupid as it was for Kerrey to tell it, may render the Nebraska senator so sensitive to giving offense that he loses the unpolitical spontaneity that made him a fresh candidate in the first place. ...
  • What Would Proust Say?

    Pine trees, sea air, meadows--these are the smells people over 60 remember from their youth. But according to a new study, Americans born after 1950 have less organic olfactory memories--most notably, Vicks VapoRub, PlayDoh and Sweetarts candy. Dr. Alan Hirsch of Chicago's Smell & Taste Treatment Research Foundation also concluded that those with unhappy childhoods were twice as likely to remember "foul odors."
  • Retire Or Bust

    When Pan American World Airways flew into bankruptcy court last January, its biggest debt was a $914 million gap in its pension plans. Any day now, that bill will land at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the pensions of 40 million workers. The fund is already $2 billion in the red--and the need to pay benefits to retirees at companies like Pan Am is making things even worse. "Unless we find ways to stop the growth of our deficit," warns executive director James Lockhart, "the specter of ever-increasing premiums and ultimately an S&L-type bailout looms in our future." ...
  • By Our Writers

    By Evan Thomas. 587 pages. Simon & Schuster. $27.50.From Jimmy Hoffa to John Connally to Michael Milken, when the mighty got in trouble, they turned to Edward Bennett Williams. He was a great lawyer--even prosecutors studied his tactics--and a great character. His nights in Toots Shor's are as legendary as his days before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a driven man, devoted to what he called "contest living." The courtroom couldn't contain his energies; he was president of the Washington Redskins and owned the Baltimore Orioles. In a lively biography that doesn't spare its subject, NEWSWEEK'S Evan Thomas has captured Williams's many appetites.