• Look Who's Smiling Now

    If two-party democracy finally comes to the Soviet Union, Eduard Shevardnadze will reap much of the credit. The former foreign minister resigned last December in protest against Communist hardliners. His answer to the danger of creeping dictatorship: the Democratic Reform Movement. And last week eight other leading liberals joined Shevardnadze to launch the proposed nationwide union of progressive forces. The founders hope it will evolve into the most serious opposition force since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, able to beat the Communists in parliamentary and presidential elections as soon as next year. In short, it was time for faction action. ...
  • Refugees In A Twilight World

    Every so often the past coughs up something unexpected that's also first-rate. This book, for instance: a collection of six long stories written from the '30s to the '5Os by a Russian emige in Paris. Berberova, now 89 and living in this country, wrote about the twilight world of her fellow refugees, marginal survivors of a revolution that is never named or even alluded to. Her scene, for the most part, is Paris and its suburbs: a world of pawnshops, laundries, cheap restaurants and single-room apartments. Her theme is loneliness pushed to the point of desperation. Her characters have a past but no future; the best of them are just hanging on, marking time. In a typical statement, one of her narrators remarks: "And in that shattered, hungry, cold life, any light of memory, any ray of hope, died inside me." Like the ax blows heard in Chekhov's "Cherry Orchard," gunfire sounds at the city's perimeter: the Nazis are coming and all will be undone again.Like Chekhov, Berberova plies her...
  • Two Tales Of The Apocalypse

    It was simply a piece of fiction that Carolivia Herron began two decades ago, but her first novel, Thereafter Johnnie (243 pages. Random House. $18.95), is true to life in the way that dreams-or nightmares--can be. Set against the apocalyptic backdrop of worldwide race war in the year 2000, Herron's Gothic tale chronicles the terrible decline of a middle-class black Washington, D.C., family. A young woman is raped by her father, bears his child and is exiled by the family. After the anguished mother's suicide, her daughter Johnnie sets out to unravel the meaning of her past. Born a "tar baby warm and fat ... with clear white-blue eyes," Johnnie is a symbol of slave-era miscegenation as well as incest, of a nation's sins as well as a father's. ...
  • The Tanks Of July

    Yugoslavia took one step back from disaster last week, and still seemed poised for two steps forward. A momentary calm settled on the breakaway Republic of Slovenia after local militiamen armed with shoulder-fired missiles held off government tanks and MiGs. A cease-fire brokered by European leaders took hold, and Slovenia sent home more than 2,300 government prisoners captured during the battle for control of its border crossings into Austria, Italy and Hungary. But tension was rising in the neighboring Republic of Croatia, which also seeks to secede. If history is any guide, civil strife there could make Slovenia look like a sideshow. Said a senior U.S. official in Washington: "I'm afraid we're in for a bloody mess." ...
  • Say Sayonara To Nine-To-Five

    How do foreigners adjust to life in Japan? They work too much and resent it. In a recent poll, 500 gaijin businessmen said they put in about 29 overtime hours a month and work most holidays. Worse, their jobs leave the office with them: 87 percent go to karaoke bars, 79 percent to sake joints, 61 to sumo matches-all for work-related reasons. In sum, less than half think Japan is basically a good place to have a job.
  • You Need This Movie Like . . . ..Mr.-

    It was less than three years ago that Mike Nichols was celebrating a "Working Girl's" dizzy rise up the corporate ladder. Times have changed, and Nichols, nose to the Zeitgeist, has now brought forth Regarding Henry, one in a long line of kinder, gentler Hollywood products designed to show us the error of our greedy, win-at-any-cost Reagan-era ways (funny how no one in Hollywood noticed the problem at the time). This fable for our times, written by a "hot" young screenwriter named Jeffrey Abrams, is about a rich and powerful New York lawyer, Henry Turner (Harrison Ford), who comes to realize that his Yuppie lifestyle is a lie, his profession a dishonest scam, his values bankrupt. How does he come to this revelation? By getting shot in the head, losing his memory and re-entering his life as a blank slate. ...
  • The Army And The Dream Of Greater Serbia

    If cohesion at the top is an asset for an army, the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA) should be in prime fighting trim. The 138,000-man YPA is commanded by a predominantly Serbian officer corpsas much as 65 percent Serbian, by most estimates. It is what one Western diplomat in Belgrade calls "a very closed society," with a strong "sense of separateness." The senior command clings to the legacy of the late Communist leader Marshal Josip Broz Tito: "Officers of this generation were also the last true believers in the possibility of a Titoless Yugoslavia." ...
  • No, Thank You, Uncle Sam

    When the Boeing Co. set out to build a new passenger jet, it went for the latest in metals technology. The wing structure of its 777 will feature an aluminum alloy called 7055, which saves weight while adding strength. The fuselage will be wrapped in C-188, an alloy that reduces the chance of cracks. But while commercial planes will have those new metals by 1995, military craft will not: Alcoa, the aluminum giant that developed them, isn't eager to trade with the Pentagon. ...
  • Operation Deja Vu

    In Baghdad, the Iraqi propaganda machine cranked out fulsome video footage of Saddam Hussein being cheered by schoolchildren, while Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz played word games with Western diplomats. In New York the United Nations Security Council met privately to consider the building crisis. And in Kennebunkport, George Bush escalated his tough-guy rhetoric an hinted at the use of military force. Sound familiar? To the Bush administration, the continuing dispute over Iraq's nuclear-weapons program was a case of deja vu all over again-a depressing reminder of the six-month-long exercise in bluff, shuck and jive that made Operation Desert Storm inevitable. Saddam "may be testing us, testing the world community, trying to figure out whether we really take this seriously enough to use military force again," one U.S. official said last week. "And what disturbs me is, he's miscalculated before." ...
  • It's Di's Party

    Can Princess Diana be just 30? Is her anniversary on July 29 really just her 10th? Or does it only seem as if her marriage has been in trouble longer than she's been married? To kick off another decade of speculation, Charles passed his wife's birthday in Highgrove while Di celebrated in London "having a drink with the only man in my life, Prince Harry."
  • Divorce, Celebrity Style

    When football star Mark Gastineau broke his contract with the New York Jets three years ago in order to spend more time with his actress-girlfriend, Brigitte Nielsen, his disappointed fans figured his career choices were his own business. His wife thought differently and last week a New York Supreme Court judge agreed with her. He will have to pay $100,000 in alimony and child support, a figure based on his salary as a star defensive end and not as the amateurish boxer he has become. ...
  • Big Trouble

    Lyle Alzado had the best body money could buy. When he retired from football in 1985, he was spending about $30,000 a year on steroids and human-growth hormone. But that cocktail of chemicals may cost him much more. In last week's Sports Illustrated Alzado, 42, said he has inoperable brain cancer, which he believes was caused by his use of banned substances. Down 60 pounds, to 215, he is reportedly responding well to chemotherapy. But the NFL, he says, is "in dire need of testing athletes so they won't get sick like I am."
  • Fishin' Magician

    South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks officials swear it was just a coincidence. But the day before President Bush visited Mount Rushmore last week, they stocked nearby Horse Thief Lake with 2,600 rainbow trout. After attending a gala celebration, Bush and wife Barbara went to the lake. Casting from a lakeshore rock, Bush bagged five trout in an hour. During his 1989 vacation at Kennebunkport, Bush went out almost daily but didn't catch a fish until the last day. Of course, you can't stock the ocean.
  • Bush's 'Kkk' Campaign

    Although President Bush won't announce his intention to seek re-election until early next year, he has already chosen the broad themes of his campaign. The core issues he will focus on are Kuwait, Crime and Quotas-or what insiders call "the KKK strategy." "Those are three legitimate issues, but they won't be all of the campaign," says a top Bush adviser. Bush aides say the president will try to capitalize on his extraordinary post-gulf-war popularity and emphasize the liberation of Kuwait at every opportunity. And, they say, White House chief of staff John Sununu has carefully controlled Bush's opposition to Democratic civil-rights and crime bills to keep quotas and crime as campaign "wedge issues." Sununu has argued that Bush should not compromise-even if that's the only way to pass the bills-because their enactment would defuse ammunition for '92.
  • Buzzwords

    Baseball is full of slang, and each season brings a new lexicon. Some of the choicest lingo from the batboy's perspective: ..L1.- What batboys call themselves in relation to the players. Also, "grunts."Particularly ugly opposing ballplayer.Pine-tar stick used to rub on bats.People who constantly call looking for free tickets, autographs, souvenirs, etc.Foul ball lined into the dugout. Superstitiously believed to seek out homely ballplayers.Club-house crowd.Umpire.Candlestick Park.
  • Where The Boyz Are, Inner-City Style

    There are subtler, more polite movies around, but none made out of such a heart-stopping sense of urgency as John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood. Singleton, a 23-year-old writer/director who graduated a year ago from USC film school, grew up in gang-ridden south-central Los Angeles. His anxious report from the streets conveys in knowing, scary details the precariousness of getting through a day on his home turf, where police choppers circle overhead, corpses appear in the bushes, drugs take a daily toll and an insult can cost you your life. ...
  • Art Is Hell

    Call it the art of war. The Soviet Union's Bolshoi Opera, now on its first American tour since 1975, had a problem. During pretour preparations, set workers staged a work slowdown to press for better wages. So designer Valery Levental came up with an idea: contracting the work to the Soviet military. Now, in "Eugene Onegin," one set has steel frameworks crafted by a military supplier; another features fiber-glass tubes used in making missiles. The Soviet Air Force then shipped the sets to New York-one of the few times the Soviet military has been allowed to land there.
  • States Of Budget Confusion

    A new fiscal year dawned for many financially strapped state governments last week, and there was no cure for the summertime blues. Some states missed their July 1 budget deadline, as governors and legislators tried to work out budget compromises in marathon sessions. While they haggled, some governments all but shut down. Scenes from the states of confusion: ...
  • Keeping Teens Off The Street

    Edna Pemberton decided she had seen enough. Five teenagers-two of them 14-attacked a 25-year-old woman near Pemberton's home in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. With the victim's four young children looking on, she was gangraped and shot at least three times, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. The brutality of the late-night assault, and the ages of the assailants, appalled Pemberton. She formed a grass-roots anticrime group and lobbied the city for a law to keep teens off the streets at night. Later this month Dallas will become one of at least 14 major cities (including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and Indianapolis) to institute a teen curfew. In Dallas, kids under 17 must be inside by 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on the weekend or risk detainment. Adults can get into trouble as well: Parents or proprietors of businesses who allow teens to break curfew can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500. ...
  • C'est La Vie En Remake

    When in Hollywood, think French. That's the operative credo now that at least a dozen French films are being remade by American studios. Warner Bros. has bought the rights to the popular "La Femme Nikita," about a female contract killer. Universal will soon release "Pure Luck," a Danny Glover vehicle based on the comedy "La Chevre," starring Gerard Depardieu. And Buena Vista has just wrapped "Paradise," a remake of "Le Grand Chemin"; it will star Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. The next possible trend: remakes of Spanish films. Jane Fonda is working on a new version of Pedro Almodevar's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."