Newswire

Newswire

  • The Century's Storyteller

    Isaac Bashevis Singer, who died last week at 87, was one of the great curiosities of modern letters. He believed in God but scorned orthodoxy, championed rationalism but accepted the supernatural. He wrote almost exclusively about the lives and concerns of Polish Jews, yet his writing spoke to a wide audience. And though he loved to pass himself off as nothing more than a storyteller--and contemptuously dismissed literary and psychological experimentation--few modern writers have given us characters as psychologically complex or plots as baroque as Singer's. ...
  • A Shakeout In Services

    The recession may be over, but its effects will linger. What made this slump different is that, along with the usual industries that suffer in a recession (autos and housing), large parts of the service sector were devastated. Airlines. Retail chains. Banks. Hotels. They all got clobbered. In an odd way, this could be the recession's silver lining: it could trigger a revitalization of the sprawling service sector that ultimately raises living standards and lowers inflation. ...
  • Mr. Peacemaker?

    Hafez Assad the Peacemaker? The role hardly squares with the Syrian leader's history of intrigue and terror, repression and war. Often he has been portrayed as a tyrant in the mold of Saddam Hussein, only more cunning. Yet last week Yitzhak Shamir was comparing Israel's most implacable enemy to Anwar Sadat. In fact, Assad is neither Saddam nor Sadat: the first was impulsive in war, the other in peace. Assad's every move is calculated. His game has a persistent logic, but its twists amaze even his own people. The latest gambit-accepting the U.S. plan for a Mideast conference-is the most striking yet. Assad even finds kind words for George Bush. In an interview last week with NEWSWEEK and The Washington Post, Assad praised the administration's "experience and enlightenment," adding: "It's good for the region and for the world." ...
  • Is A Tree Worth A Life?

    For most of the last decade, federal timberlands in the West have been held hostage in a bitter fight between environmental groups and the timber industry. The environmentalists want to save the forests and their wildlife occupants. The timber industry wants to cut trees and provide jobs in a depressed economy. Caught in the middle is the United States Forest Service, which must balance the conflicting concepts of sustained yield and multiple use of national forest land. ...
  • Trouble In The Trout Family

    When a Southern Pacific freight derailed near the town of Dunsmuir, Calif, on July 14, spilling nearly 20,000 gallons of a potent pesticide into the Sacramento River, it created an ecological blank slate: 45 miles of prime riverine habitat reduced to complete sterility. Unlike an oil spill, though, the chemical didn't linger, and by the end of last week the waters were clean enough to support fish. For state Fish and Game officials, that left the question of which fish. ...
  • No-Name Game

    Now that Operation Desert Storm is over, the U.S. military is in the middle of another battle-in California. School districts in L.A., San Francisco and Oakland have decided they will no longer give the armed forces automatic access to names of graduating seniors. The districts accuse military recruiters of such practices as falsely promising noncombat posts. Pro-military state legislators are threatening to cut some government funding to these districts and similar legislation has already been introduced in Pennsylvania-and Congress.
  • What Did They Know--And When?

    Last week the widening scandal at Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) erupted into a worldwide brawl. Angry demonstrations broke out in downtown Hong Kong as depositors learned they might never again see their savings. In the West--where reputations as well as money were at stake--there was genteel name-calling. British Prime Minister John Major and Labor's Neil Kinnock attacked each other on the floor of the House of Commons. The Manhattan district attorney's office accused the Justice Department of impeding its investigation. A former BCCI executive pointed a finger at a pillar of the Washington establishment: Clark Clifford, past adviser to Democratic presidents and current chairman of Washington-based First American Bankshares, a holding company secretly controlled by BCCI. The ex-BCCI official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, told NEWSWEEK that Clifford and his law partner Robert Altman advised BCCI as its counsel to conceal its acquisitions of U.S. banks...
  • Pulling The Plug

    Saying it wants to make the execution process less barbarous, Louisiana has decided to switch from the electric chair to lethal injection by Sept. 15. In preparation for the switch, Angola state prison wardens actually ordered inmates to construct the gurney on which condemned men will be injected. They refused-in part out of solidarity, in part out of fear of reprisal by other inmates. Last week hundreds of inmates throughout the prison protested with a work stoppage. Prison officials said they made a mistake and sent the job to an outside contractor.
  • Bias Begins At Home

    Growing up in the Roxbury section of Boston, Gloria Johnson-Powell's Gaunt used to call her "Aunt Carey's little white child," even though Johnson-Powell is an African-American. "Finally, one day I burst into tears; I didn't want to be white," says Johnson-Powell, now a child psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. Like most blacks, she grew up hearing: "Niggas just ain't no good"; "Black people can't keep nothing," and "Don't show your color." Not from racist whites, but from other blacks. "We have talked a great deal about what white people do to us, but not what we do to each other," she says. It's an open secret in "the community": a lot of African-Americans don't much like ... African-Americans. ...
  • Now Praying In Peoria

    Ordinarily, when a man becomes Roman Catholic bishop of Peoria, Ill., the news travels no farther than Chicago and Des Moines. But in the 18 month since John Myers, 50, replaced Edward O'Rourke at the head of the rambling farm belt diocese, his name--and reputation--have reverberated all the way to Rome. To the American church's truculent right wing, the youthful Myers is just what the times call for: a pious, energetic bishop who has made total faithfulness to the pope the test of a true Catholic. To his fearful liberal critics, however, Myers is a clerical autocrat whose naked ecclesiastical ambition hasn't been seen since a young Boston priest named Francis Joseph Spellman set out to dominate the American church. Both sides agree that Myers represents the new wave among American bishops, a prelate who is determined to eliminate doctrinal dissent and confusion--and to revive the idea of the priesthood as God's privileged clerical elite. ...
  • Obsession By The Sea

    Say a prayer for 'The Miracle.' This unhyped Irish gem--seductive, funny, filled with filmmaking artistry and passion--has to compete against the bully boys of summer, and it may take a small miracle for it to be heard above the din. Writer/director Neil ("Mona Lisa") Jordan's movie may be small, but it's a spellbinder. ...
  • The Accidental Bigamist

    By Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook. 206 pages. Duke University Press. $21.95Digging deep in some Spanish archives, two historians, Alexandra and Noble Cook, unearthed the outlines of a 16th-century potboiler that rivals a plot by Danielle Steele: a pile of court records and letters narrating the life of Francisco Noguerol de Ulloa, whose unwitting marriage to two women became a cause celebre in renaissance Spain. In "Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance," the Cooks have pieced together a remarkably juicy tale that opens a window onto daily life at the height of the conquest of the Americas.Like many young men living during Spain's age of discovery, Francisco sailed for the New World to do the king's work, and to get rich. But Noguerol, then 20, was also fleeing an arranged, unhappy marriage. In Peru, he so deftly shifted allegiance between the crown and the colonial power of the moment that he survived constant rebellions. He was rewarded for his loyalties with two estates...
  • A Stealthy Move

    Despite George Bush's commitment to a worldwide ban on chemical warfare, Washington is backing away from demands for "open invitation" inspection of all suspected CW plants. Instead, a U.S. proposal to a United Nations conference on chemical war last week would rely on less stringent measures-including aerial surveillance. One reason for the about-face, Pentagon sources say, is concern for the security of radar-evading Stealth technology. Stealth aircraft surfaces are made from cloth woven from fine graphite fibers, then drenched in special chemicals to harden. Even analysis of vapors picked up by CW inspectors could reveal secrets of Stealth construction.
  • Thomas's Homecoming

    NEWSWEEK has learned that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas will make a pilgrimage to his boyhood haunts in Georgia, as early as next weekend, as part of the White House strategy to keep the spotlight on his compelling personal story rather than his philosophy of the law. With reporters and photographers in tow, Thomas will stroll through Pin Point, his home until he was 7, visit his sister, Emma Mae Martin, and attend church with his mother, Leola. In Savannah, he'll stop in for a trim at his old barbershop. ...
  • Birthday Boogie

    Imelda Marcos: still a party animal. To celebrate her 62nd birthday on July 2, The Imelda's pals gathered at a swanky Manhattan apartment and boogied the night away. There was hot disco dancing-including glitter balls on one floor; on another, Imelda and friends crooned old standards by the piano. Guests included several jurors who helped acquit Imelda last year of fraud, racketeering and obstruction-of-justice charges. She gave each member a photo of herself and the jurors belted out "God Bless America." Imelda also announced she would be leaving America in October. And everybody ate cake, on which sat a single shoe.
  • Bush And Baker: A Lack Of Israeli Trust

    Secretary of State James Baker arrived in Jerusalem last week with a promising new formula for Mideast peace talks, but it did little to bolster his own tattered image among Israelis. Baker landed during Tisha Be-Av, a religious holiday marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Many Israelis regarded the timing as insensitive-one more callous gesture from an administration they don't trust. To a country accustomed to Washington's warm embrace, Baker and President George Bush represent an unnerving new brand of U.S. leadership: one with no special affinity for the Jewish state. "Bush and Baker simply don't ascribe to any romantic notion about Israel's special place in history," says a senior administration official. "That isn't hostility. It's just the absence of affection." ...
  • Knocking Down The Kings Of Beer

    On the night of Nov. 13,1983, August A. Busch IV, the 19-year-old heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune, drove his black Corvette off a mountain road in Tucson, killing a young woman passenger. When police found Busch at home hours later he was naked, covered in dried blood, dazed and glassy-eyed. Yet, after key evidence mysteriously disappeared, Busch was never charged with a crime. The denouement didn't surprise many Busch watchers. "We are awfully tired of reading about the Busch family and what they get away with," wrote a St. Louis woman to Pima County, Ariz., sheriffs during the investigation. ...
  • You Have To Join To Pay

    Becky Picard doesn't mind driving for a hard bargain. Picard, who runs a summer camp in Bellville, Texas, regularly makes a 90-mile trek to Houston to shop at a discount warehouse. Not just any warehouse, mind you, but the "members only" variety. Last week, during a trip to a Houston branch of Sam's Wholesale Club, a national chain of members-only warehouses, she picked up two pallets full of supplies for her campers. "We've probably spent $3,000 here in the last few weeks," Picard said as she hoisted a case of baked beans into the back of her pickup. ...
  • Rewriting Communism

    It seemed as if Mikhail Gorbachev was rewriting communism in order to save it. In an hour-long speech to the party's Central Committee last week, the Soviet leader called for a sweeping overhaul of party ideology, abandoning the central tenets of Marxism-Leninism that have dominated his nation since 1917. Rejecting what he called "outdated ideological dogmas," Gorbachev declared that the time had come for the party to embrace private ownership of property and a freemarket economy. It should denounce totalitarian methods and set individual freedoms above the collective good. The Soviet leader also said party members should no longer be required to avow atheism. Then Gorbachev pointedly warned diehard Marxists that "all those who stick to other views are free in their choice." Conservatives immediately interpreted that as a warning to approve the progressive new program or quit the party. For the moment anyway, they apparently preferred to swallow the changes than run. The 412-member...
  • The Cutting Edge

    If you heard that Houston talk-radio host Dan Patrick planned to undergo an on-air vasectomy, you'd probably think it was a first. Wrong. When Patrick's operation is broadcast live from his doctor's office next week, it'll be at least the fourth time a radio personality has entertained an audience with this most private moment. Why do it? Patrick wants to show the "wimps" not to fear this "harmless" procedure.