Newswire

Newswire

  • The New Killing Fields

    What do America's national parks have that Asian sex markets want? Seal penises, for one thing. Elk antlers for another. Roth are ground and ingested as aphrodisiacs. "Velvet" elk antler, still soft and filled with blood, can fetch $140 a pound. Bear gallbladder, sold in the Orient to fortify lagging spirits, brings the same price as heroin (up to $800 a gram). Other animal parts are exotic delicacies. "Chattanooga beluga," bluish-gray caviar from freshwater paddlefish, sells to restaurateurs for up to $500 a pound. ...
  • 12 Ring Circus

    It's well known that multiple phones are a status symbol in Moscow. But the perks are not without their pitfalls, even at the pinnacle of Soviet power. While meeting in Moscow with top Kremlin official Georgi Shakhnazarov, Iowa Rep. David Nagle noticed his host had 12 phones on his desk. Nagle also noticed there were no lights on the phones. When one rings, he thought, how does the guy know which one to pick up? He doesn't. Each time a phone rang during the meeting, Shakhnazarov picked up one receiver after another until he found the right one.
  • The S&L Firestorm

    Neil Bush faced a hard choice last January. Federal regulators had offered the president's son a deal. They would reduce the charges stemming from his involvement in Silverado, a failed savings and loan in Colorado. All Bush had to do was sign an agreement pledging never again to violate S&L rules. But in his mind the decree amounted to an admission of guilt that would likely haunt him if he followed his plan to enter politics someday. After days of deliberation, Bush announced to friends and family that he was going to fight. "To sign a piece of paper, even one as meaningless as this may be, would imply I did something wrong," he said. "I sleep soundly at night knowing I live an honest life." ...
  • The Soviets' Summer Of Discontent

    What a difference a year makes. Soviet coal miners went on strike last summer with traditional grievances: low pay, unsafe working conditions. This time around, their walkout was an angry, political act. At the height of the Communist Party Congress in Moscow last week, tens of thousands of miners from Siberia to the Ukraine downed tools for 24 hours, demanding the resignation of the Soviet governmert. To the horror of many delegates to the Party Congress, they also called for dismantling party cells at the mines. "Last year we still thought our government could do something for us," said Mikhail Asesorov, 40, who has spent nearly half his life in the shafts of the Pravda mines in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. "Now we've lost faith in everything." ...
  • End Of The Third World

    The Third World is gone. It has been vanishing for a long while, but now it has completely disappeared. Oh, the countries once assigned to the Third World are still there, but the concept of the Third World is no longer connected to any reality. ...
  • At Nasa, The Bad News Just Keeps Coming

    NASA isn't known for getting things right the first time, whether shuttles or orbiting telescopes. And officials have never pretended that their proposed manned space station would be perfect: they always knew that space-walking astronauts would have to make regular repairs. What the agency did not figure on was how many. According to a report by engineers at NASA and its contractors, scheduled for release as early as this week, the station might need 3,800 hours of maintenance every year. That compares to just over 200 hours ever logged by space-walking Americans. ...
  • Gentlemen, Start Your Rays

    Think of it as driving from Florida to Michigan, over hilly country roads, maintaining a steady 23 mph--and doing it with all the power of a hair dryer under the hood. That was the challenge facing students from 32 colleges in the United States and Canada last week. After days of grueling qualifying rounds, they accelerated out of Walt Disney's EPCOT Center at the start of the 1,641-mile "GM Sunrayce USA," the largest American rally ever held for cars powered by the energy of our nearest star. ...
  • Secrets From The Storeroom

    It might pass for your family garage sale. Over here a few goat-and-bee jugs, an aunt's misconceived notion of a wedding gift. Over there some old chairs which might bring a few dollars if they weren't so damned uncomfortable. And the fluorescent sculpture: what were you under the influence of when you popped for that? ...
  • Long Terms Of Endearment

    The brutal Nazi boot is stomping on Europe, and young Edwige, a French Jew, is cruelly torn from her lover Gabriel and thrown into a concentration camp. He is devastated, and assumes she has perished--but 60 years later, lo and behold, they find each other again in the south of France. In this French-flavored film, "A Star for Two," Edwige (Lauren Bacall) has survived the war to become a gerontologist; Gabriel (Anthony Quinn) is a renowned New York cancer researcher. True love bubbles back up between the septuagenarian sweethearts when they meet at a medical-awards dinner. The romantic tale, which recently finished shooting on location in Nice and should be released next year, flows like sparkling Vin de pays to a happy ending, reminding us all along the way that if the vintage is right, passion and tenderness know no age limits.
  • Still Shocking After A Year

    The color photographs displayed in a Manhattan courtroom last week were unsparingly graphic. Jurors were clearly stunned as prosecutors displayed images of the Central Park jogger's battered face, her bloody torso, her bruised legs. It was the third week of testimony in the trial of three youths accused of raping and beating the 30-year-old investment banker. Despite more than a year of sometimes lurid news coverage, the case still has the power to shock. That's why defense lawyers objected strenuously to the pictures. "I think the photos have a definite effect on [the jurors]," says Michael Joseph, who is representing 16-year-old Antron McCray. "The question is whether they can put aside the effect and weigh the evidence." ...
  • New Help For Alice In Groceryland

    laden with saturated fat, "lite" cheesecake just as caloric as its regular counterpart, soup with 800 milligrams of sodium per serving but as many as three "servings" per can--no wonder shoppers nowadays feel like Alice in Groceryland, where words mean exactly what food companies want them to mean. Last week, however, the Food and Drug: Administration proposed tough guidelines designed to clear up the confusion. For the first time, nutrition labeling would be mandatory on most packaged foods, fresh produce and seafood. (Meats are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.) Terms such as "low cholesterol" would be strictly defined (less than 20 milligrams per serving), and they could not be used on products with more than five grams of fat per serving--in other words, if the bad news outweighed the good. Serving sizes would be standardized, so that a soft drink typically serving one could not be labeled otherwise to reduce the nutritional insult. Later this year, the FDA will...
  • Greenspan's Lips Finally Move

    President Bush to stock pickers have been urging Alan Greenspan to loosen the nation's money supply. But the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board stood firm, insisting that the nation had more to fear from inflation than from a possible recession. Last week Greenspan abruptly changed his mind and announced that the Fed would cut interest rates to keep the economy moving. The news gave a shot to Wall Street. Investors pushed the Dow Jones average above 3000 for the first time, before it settled Friday at 2980. ...
  • A Texas Chardonnay?

    Crosswoods Vineyards sits on top of a hill, postcard pretty with its pristine red-and-white-roofed winery overlooking lush green land that falls five miles to the sea. The winery is surrounded by 32 acres of grapes, half dedicated to the production of a fine Chardonnay. All in all, it appears to be a perfect patch of California wine country. But when the sun burns off the morning haze, the body of water visible is not the Pacific Ocean, but Long Island Sound. And the sign on the highway just a few miles away reads: WELCOME TO CONNECTICUT. ...
  • A Choice Of Chuckles

    As unpretentious summer entertainments, the comedies Quick Change and The Freshman and the comic horror film Arachnophobia all deliver what they promise. Each will make you laugh (and one squirm as well). What kind of laughter do you prefer: the consistent chuckles of "Quick Change," the wilder but more erratic guffaws of "The Freshman," or the anxiety-induced shrieks of Arachnophobia"? ...
  • Takes A Lickin'

    They're already stuck in the minds of millions of readers. But now Zonker, Mike, Duke and the gang have found a new place to hang out--on stamps. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau and his associate George Corsillo have come up with "The 1990 Doonesbury Stamp Album" as a way to raise money for the Literacy Volunteers of New York City, Inc. The stamps also mark 20 years of "Doonesbury" antics. But don't try to send mail with them. Like the strip, they're not for real.
  • How The 'West' Was Lost

    Every year around this time the Economic summit picture reappears: a bunch of guys in well-cut business suits, one woman in the middle wearing a prim but pricey outfit--nothing casual here. They fare posed in a long line, side by side and uniformly spaced, and they mostly wear suitably indecipherable quarter smiles, neither warm nor amused nor even ironic, just little turnups at the corner of the mouth. They always seem to me to have too many clothes on. I don't mean that in a lascivious sense, only that, like the coat-and-vest-andnecktied Nixon in those old incongruous shots from poolside at Key Biscayne, they look oddly inappropriate to the leafy summer setting in which they are pictured. ...
  • The New Mario Scenario

    It's that time again when Democrats start dreaming of the Mario scenario. The latest fantasy has the New York governor announcing for the presidency early next year, soon enough to clear the field of any other candidates (including Jesse Jackson). Then, in a triumphal march through the primaries, candidate Cuomo would subject George Bush to his verbal pyrotechnics. Voters would be dazzled by the contrast between Cuomo's soulful poetry and Bush's fractured syntax. "He's already made S&Ls sweet music for the Democrats," says Cuomo aide Brad Johnson. The fall election would be like old times, with the Democrats riding a populist wave of discontent against the GOP. Cuomo's running mate would be Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran with a Congressional Medal of Honor. Democrats are gleeful at the thought of Kerrey debating Dan Quayle, who served in the National Guard rather than go to Vietnam. ...
  • Who Really Won In Louisiana?

    Right-to-Lifers hoping the restrictive abortion bill just approved by the Louisiana Legislature will lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade are likely to be disappointed, legal experts say. If, as expected, Gov. Buddy Roemer lets the measure become law, prochoicers plan a quick appeal that would probably reach the Supreme Court. By a 5-4 vote, the justices recently rejected a Minnesota law requiring both parents be notified before a minor has an abortion. Court watchers say it's unlikely Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the pivot vote in that case, would accept the more restrictive Louisiana law.
  • An Abrupt Exodus From Albania

    Pressed against the guardrails, the ragged, sunken-eyed refugees cheered their escape from privation and repression. "Ciao Italia," they shouted from the upper decks as the ships steamed into the Adriatic harbor town of Brindisi. Reluctantly granted safe passage last week by Eastern Europe's last Stalinist state, they had swarmed aboard planes for Budapest, Warsaw and Prague. Trains carried them toward destinations in France and West Germany. Boats headed for Marseilles and the coast of Italy. The Brindisi-bound exodus alone ferried about 4,000 refugees. It was the final leg of their flight. After languishing for 12 long days behind foreign embassy walls in the capital of Tirana, thousands of dissident Albanians were free at last. ...