Twins: Sarkozy Is Looking More Like The 'French Rudy' Every Day
By Christopher Dickey
Rudy Giuliani has a dream. actually, the GOP presidential candidate says he's had it about five times and it's always the same: French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on a plane, and out over the Atlantic it almost crashes head-on into another one. As the planes pass one another, Sarkozy waves at the Democratic presidential front runners aboard the oncoming aircraft. As Giuliani tells it, Sarkozy is on his way to the United States to learn the virtues of a free economy, while the Democrats are headed to Paris "to see how they can take all the policies that failed in France."
This week, Sarkozy heads to Washington for real on a whirlwind visit that includes an address to a joint session of Congress and a state dinner at the White House. His aides say he won't be meeting—or waving to—any presidential candidates, but they note that as a government minister he encountered John McCain and Barack Obama. And he has met Giuliani at least three times since 2002. "They know each other well," says one close associate of Sarkozy. Part of their rapport is based on shared beliefs in the benefits of lower taxes. Both men cultivate tough law-and-order images. Giuliani recently said he would "give the death penalty to the death tax," adding with apparent pride that this was "the program of the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy." "I love France," Giuliani said recently, and not only because some French pundits have called Sarkozy "the French Rudy."
But now the similarities may be growing too close, at least for Sarkozy's comfort, in matters of personality. As New York's mayor, Giuliani underwent a high-profile divorce, and was known for a raging temper. Sarkozy, who just went through his own very public divorce, has a short fuse, too, and his critics say his manic energy is offset by dark moods and angry outbursts. The French president enjoys popular support, but his personal quirks are increasingly obvious. Indeed, some of his appearances are so weird, they're now staples of YouTube and its French variants. At a G8 meeting in June, Sarkozy was giddy, if not downright tipsy, at a press conference. During his August vacation, a couple of American photographers followed him out onto a New Hampshire lake, and he jumped on their boat to dress them down. Most recently, while taping a CBS "60 Minutes" interview, the president called his spokesman an "imbecile" and worse before storming out. "I hope there are no psychiatrists in the audience," Giuliani likes to joke when he starts to tell the story of his recurrent dream. Sarkozy might say the same thing to viewers at home and abroad.
The Debunker: My Sham Launderette
By Patrick Falby
The complex "structured investment vehicles" at the heart of the credit crisis are opaque by nature. So it's no surprise banks are targeting SIVs as a possible channel for money laundering. A July survey by KPMG said the boom in these investments is a major reason banks' anti-money-laundering spending rose by an average of 58 percent over the last three years. But banks still haven't caught anyone using SIVs to funnel ill-gotten gains, suggesting they may be just the latest money-laundering bogeyman. Newcastle Business School professor Jackie Harvey says most money launderers use vehicles a lot simpler than SIVs. But the bogeyman serves one purpose--advancing the interests of consultants and technology firms. Banks expect anti-money-laundering spending to increase by an average of 34 percent in each of the next three years.
What Goes Around: The New Hot Money
By Barrett Sheridan
Government investment funds, particularly in oil states, are the new giants of global finance. The biggest, from the United Arab Emirates, controls three quarters of a trillion dollars, which is why Westerners are scared. G7 Finance ministers have called on the IMF, World Bank and OECD to investigate the funds' transparency and accountability. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox warned the funds "call into question the adequacy" of current regulations and could torpedo investor confidence. Even the arch-capitalist Wall Street Journal is calling for tighter regulation. This brings to mind the crisis of 1997-98, which Asian leaders blamed on hot money originating from Western banks and hedge funds. Back then Western institutions generally defended the free movement of capital. What has changed, of course, is the direction of the potentially destabilizing flows.
The protectionist impulse grips America with increasing fervor. Members of the U.S. Congress have floated 45 antitrade or anti-China proposals in the last two sessions alone.
Politics Of Disease: Where Did AIDS Begin?
By Mary Carmichael
Last week Haiti's Ambassador to Washington, Raymond Joseph, was flooded with irate phone calls about Michael Worobey, a biologist at the University of Arizona. Worobey just published a paper showing that HIV first hitchhiked to America around 1969 in the body of a single person, who caught the disease in Haiti.
Worobey says he "in no way" places blame on Haitians, but they already feel persecuted because so many early cases were Haitian, and now they fear more discrimination. "How do we know," Joseph asks, "that a homosexual infected in America didn't bring HIV to Haiti instead?"
Not possible, says Worobey, who has constructed a family tree for the virus, which shows "with greater than 99 percent certainty" that HIV migrated from Africa to Haiti before 1966; then one person brought the "group M, subtype B" strain from Haiti to the United States around 1969. Almost all the strains found in the West today descend from that lone, unwitting patient.
The study has implications beyond Haiti. It means "Patient Zero"--Gaetan Dugas, who slept with more than 2,500 people before dying in 1980--may not have been the real Patient Zero. It also suggests, says Worobey, that presumed cases of AIDS in America that predate 1969 didn't actually have HIV. Or they had strains that died out, rather than spreading into a pandemic. If only the one from 1969 hadn't, either.
Antiquities: Less than a Full Deck
By Jesse Ellison
At the start of the Iraq War, U.S. troops were given decks of playing cards depicting Saddam Hussein and 54 other Baathist bad guys on the Pentagon's "most wanted" list. Now, new sets of cards illustrated with photographs of Iraq's wealth of ancient historical sites are being issued in hopes of teaching soldiers to respect the country's cultural treasures. Besides pictures of archeological landmarks and antiquities, the cards also offer basic lessons in historic preservation. The five of hearts shows a gun-toting soldier looking at a flattened desert expanse, and reminds troops to "Drive around--not over--archaeological sites." Other cards play to Bible-belt sensibilities. The two of clubs carries a picture of Mosul's Nabi Yunis Mosque and this message: "Ancient Iraqi heritage is part of your heritage. Old stories say that Jonah of the Bible was buried in this hill." The cards began arriving in Iraq and Afghanistan a few weeks ago, nearly two months later than the Army had intended, and perhaps four years later than they should have. Many of the sites shown on the cards have already been looted or blown up.
Quick Question: The Un-Diva
By Nicki Gostin
French Soprano Natalie Dessay has wowed European opera fans for years. Now, as Lucia in the Met's "Lucia di Lammermoor," she's won over New York's harsh critics too.
The critics raved about your Lucia. Is this a turning point in your career?
Yes, something's changed. And I'm very happy about that because for me it's a sort of revenge, even though I don't like this word. Four years ago I was thinking about quitting because I had problems with my voice; I had surgery on the cords and I thought I couldn't sing anymore.
Opera singers are famous for being divas. Are you one?
No, because I have no ego. I'm not that kind of person, but I have artistic demands. For example, I want my colleagues to be able to act. It's not always possible, but I ask that I want good directors, good conductors, good orchestras.
Did you really remove the "h" from your name because of Natalie Wood?
I was 12 or 13 and very fond of her. I thought it was simpler.
Film: A Punk Pilgrim's Progress
By John Sparks
In the 1980s when the Clash was the "only band that mattered," lead singer Joe Strummer was the rocker fans most wanted to know but couldn't. Strummer remained an enigma up to his 2002 death from a heart attack at 50. Now, with "The Future Is Unwritten"--newly released in theaters in the United States and on DVD in Europe--director Julien Temple sheds light on the contradictory figure known variously as Joe, John and Woody. Strummer reinvented himself constantly, through boarding school, squatting in West London, global stardom and a long search for purpose. Near the end, Strummer took to gathering friends around huge campfires, and Temple re-creates these scenes with former bandmates, friends and fans like Bono and Johnny Depp. While Temple does not solve the enigma, he does make you wish you'd been at one of Strummer's campfires.
By Jessica Bennett
With nearly 15 million users, LinkedIn may seem like a boon to ambitious professionals looking to build career-advancing contacts, but perils lurk. LinkedIn's social networks have also become powerful tools for potential clients and employers to check up on you without your knowledge by contacting people whom you know but you might not have chosen as references. One way to keep control of your contacts: don't accept invitations to join someone's network before looking at who's already linked in.