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  • Toys: Webkinz Craze Wanes

    The animal toys seemed destined to be this season's must-have gift. But something happened along the way.
  • Can Oprah Help Obama in Dixie?

    They bonded during a flight from Chicago to Houston, musing over their odd-sounding names that begin with "O." It was a light-hearted moment between Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama during an otherwise serious mission in 2005 to comfort victims of Hurricane Katrina. "I think she saw his giving spirit and that really touched her," says Winfrey's friend, music legend Quincy Jones. "You can't fake the funk in those horrible circumstances."There's no faking that things are a bit funky for Obama lately. The Illinois senator's numbers have improved in recent weeks—he's ahead in some Iowa polls—but he continues to trail Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and South Carolina. That's why Oprah is making a campaign swing through the three states: the hope is that her star power will attract female voters—especially black women in South Carolina, who are leaning toward Clinton, according to polls. "While Oprah's support doesn't guarantee anyone else's support, it's going to be a big turnout," says...
  • It’s Christmas Every Day

    In the mass-media age, news stories captivate us for a moment, then vanish. We revisit those stories to bring you the final chapter.
  • Wolfowitz Back in Govt.?

    The Bush administration has offered the former World Bank president a new public service position.
  • Exclusive: Drew Peterson Talks

    Under investigation for the disappearance of one wife and the death of another, former police sergeant Drew Peterson tells NEWSWEEK he's anxious for the case to wrap up.
  • Growing Up Giuliani

    Rudy Giuliani was raised to understand that fine, blurry line between saint and sinner. The making of his moral code.
  • Pregnant, or Just Plain Hip?

    Jennifer Lopez kept the tabloids abuzz with pregnancy rumors for months, in part because of an unlikely accomplice: high fashion. Baby-doll tops, smock dresses and other free-flowing styles that keep expanding bellies under wraps are a hit with fashionable pregnant and nonpregnant women alike. That's bad news for mommy merchants: many expectant mothers are simply buying their favorite looks a few sizes bigger at regular stores and avoiding the specialty market altogether. In the last fiscal year, Mothers Work Inc., the owner of A Pea in the Pod and other chains, has seen its sales tumble more than $20 million. The Gap is also facing slower sales in its maternity section as customers wise up to the options right across the aisle—often at a better price, and with the same roomy cuts. There is, however, hope for the industry: the approximately 4 million American woman with a bun in the oven spend more than $1 billion annually on clothes. When styles change to something newer, hipper...
  • Smile! You’re On Camera.

    The average American is caught on tape some 200 times a day, but for many of us the notion that we're being watched—at all times—has yet to sink in. That's what makes Adam Rifkin's acclaimed new film, "Look," so shocking. Shot entirely through the point of view of security cameras (and co-produced by Barry Schuler, the former head of AOL), the film is a glimpse into just how public our private lives have become. Its characters run the gamut: a high-school English teacher who has an affair with an underage student, a gas-station clerk who dreams of a music career, a department-store manager who uses his warehouse as a secret sex refuge. Yet all are connected by surveillance footage that, in the end, determines their destinies. Producer Schuler spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Jessica Bennett: ...
  • Girls Just Want A … Best Seller

    The dangerous book for boys," Conn and Hal Iggulden's take on classic British boys' periodicals, has been a fixture on the best-seller list for more than five months. So it's no surprise that the red clothbound repository of activities and advice is now joined by "The Daring Book for Girls." The book, by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz, mirrors the boys' volume, except for its light blue cover and glitter-adorned title. (The Igguldens don't receive any profits, though they share a publisher and gave their permission.) While "Girls" entered the best-seller list at No. 4, three places above "Boys," it raises the question: in such enlightened times, do we need two separate guides?The book's authors say that modern girls' and boys' interests can, and should, overlap, but there's a history of girls' activities—jump-rope chants, flower pressing—that they want to preserve. "It's so easy to dismiss girlish things and dismiss girls at the same time," says Buchanan. "It isn't fair if...
  • Let's Roll, Tide! (And See Our Coach Turn Crimson.)

    Index recidivist Heather Mills McCartney is back for labeling rich people "snobby" and "stingy"— even as she seeks millions in a divorce settlement from Paul. Score: 9Alabama football coach Nick Saban says his team needs to rally after three straight losses like the U.S. did after 9/11, Pearl Harbor. If they win, maybe he'll compare it to VE Day. Score: 30Sen. John McCain holds onto the top spot for failing to thump a supporter who called Hillary a "b––-h." His reply: "Excellent question." Way to take the high road. Score: 95
  • Bracing For the Gender Neutral Test

    For Hillary Clinton, a funny thing has happened on the way to the Democratic nomination: one of her biggest potential handicaps—her gender—has become her biggest strength. Seeking to "smash" what she calls "the highest glass ceiling," Clinton has secured a 20-point national lead among Democrats almost solely on the basis of her support among women, who favored her by 42 points over Barack Obama in the October ABC/Washington Post survey.But does Clinton's early advantage mean we're past gender when picking presidents? Not so fast, say experts. The Democratic primary is one thing—Dems are typically more comfortable than Republicans when it comes to voting for women. But the general election is a much different test. (Assuming Clinton gets that far: the latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows Obama ahead in Iowa, and tied among women there.) "The idea that gender won't matter in the general election is just insane," says unaffiliated Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal. "Gender brings...
  • Bankrolling Ali’s Asylum

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali stands at the nexus of forces shaping the 21st century—and it's a very dangerous place to be. The Somali-born author, who repudiated traditional Islam in her best-selling memoir, "Infidel," fled her adopted Netherlands for America this year in the face of threats from radical Muslims, thereby becoming, as Salman Rushdie and Sam Harris wrote in the Los Angeles Times, the first political refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. She also lost her Dutch bodyguards. Now Harris, author of "The End of Faith," is raising money to (putting it bluntly) keep Ali alive. It's an issue that unites Harris with evangelist Rick Warren, who offered to help after Harris e-mailed him. (The two debated religion in NEWSWEEK this year.) "Rick," Harris jokes, "may yet convince me that Christians are more moral and socially engaged than atheists."It's a matter of life and death to Ali, who has needed protection since Theo van Gogh—her collaborator on a documentary about the...
  • In The Mideast, Giving Peace (Another) Chance

    Israelis and Palestinians have always been better at making peace-deal promises than following through on them. As the latest peace conference gets underway this week in Annapolis, Md., Palestinians are pressing Washington to appoint a full-time monitor who would be tasked with assessing whether the two sides are living up to their promises on security and a settlement freeze in the West Bank, according to a Palestinian official involved in the process. The official, who did not want to be named discussing internal negotiations, said Palestinians wrote the issue into an early draft of a document that was to be approved in Annapolis. "The U.S. will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitments of both sides of the Roadmap [an American blueprint for reaching a peace deal between the Palestinian Authority and Israel]," the Palestinians wrote. But Israel balked at the idea, at least initially—just one of the disputes that prevented negotiators from agreeing on a joint declaration...
  • A New Shot At History

    The high court will soon examine D.C.'s handgun ban. In the meantime, life on the street carries on.
  • Barack Strikes Back

    He's still a little uneasy pursuing politics as a game, played to win. But Obama is suiting up now.
  • "Outrageous" Exaggerations

    McCain's ad revisits some oft-mentioned examples of pork, but is he really the one who rooted them out?
  • Can Catholics Root for Rudy?

    Rudy Giuliani has a Catholic problem and it's not, strangely enough, that he was raised as a Roman Catholic, considered becoming a priest, then dumped his second of three wives on television and has been photographed in a dress. Rudy's Catholic problem is this: he is pro-choice, and 63 percent of white Catholics who go to mass weekly are not. This is a small activist group, yet they are determined, it seems, to see the former mayor fail. Before the Iowa straw poll in August, Fidelis—a Chicago-based conservative Catholic group—ran anti-Giuliani ads in Iowa pointing to the candidate's longstanding pro-choice record. A month earlier, the group's president, Joe Cella, stepped down to go work for Giuliani opponent Fred Thompson. Thomas Melady, former ambassador to the Vatican, recently announced that he'll support Mitt Romney. The bottom line: "In the primary election, Catholics cannot vote for Giuliani," says Fidelis treasurer Brian Burch.Can these orthodox Catholics really sink Rudy?...
  • Dangerous Liaisons

    Nada Prouty worked for the FBI and CIA. Now there's worry she's not who they thought she was.
  • Giuliani's Loyalty Problem

    The posture of Rudy's inner circle (made up of the Yes-Rudys) is 'to hell with the critics! He's our guy!'
  • We’re Here, And We’re Also Queer

    If you drew up a list of gay-friendly states, Alabama, which still treats homosexual conduct as a crime, and Utah, home of a large, conservative Mormon community, probably wouldn't be near the top. But according to a new UCLA Law School study, the gay population is booming in both places. In the past 17 years, Utah's gay population has shot from the 38th largest in the country to 14th. Birmingham, Ala., meanwhile, is now home to all-night gay bars and pride parades; the South's gay tally has outpaced any other region. "What many of the bigger cities like New York were experiencing during the late '60s and '70s is happening here now, but quietly," says Danny Upton, the head of Equality Alabama.Growing acceptance of homosexuality is a big factor, says Gary Gates, the study's author, but so is money. Gay and lesbian travel accounts for $55 billion of the U.S. market, according to a survey last year, and the bigger the community, the more gay tourists will flock. That's why travel...
  • Ending the Era of the Starchitect

    For the last decade, American museums have been on a building binge. The "Bilbao effect"—the urgent desire to replicate the success of Frank Gehry's 1997 Guggenheim Museum in Spain—sent museum bigwigs scurrying to erect daring designs bearing the stamp of a big-name architect. But there are signs that the era of "starchitecture" is waning. The edgy old guard is giving way to a new generation of younger global architects—and the idea of what's hot is cooling down, as a more understated sensibility is emerging. In the last two months, two beautifully minimalist museums have opened: the Grand Rapids Art Museum designed by the Thai-born, Los Angeles-based Kulapat Yantrasast, 38; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver by David Adjaye, 41, an acclaimed Tanzanian-born architect based in London. And in New York, the most anticipated design project is the New Museum, a contemporary-art institution, which will open its quietly stunning new home on Dec. 1.Designed by the Tokyo firm SANAA...
  • Fine Dining In Sin City

    In the first Michelin Guide covering Las Vegas restaurants, the only three-star establishment is Joel Robuchon's eponymous eatery at the MGM Grand, which reviewers called "perfection on a plate." It's currently one of 58 restaurants worldwide with a three-star Michelin rating (and this week, when the Tokyo guide comes out, Robuchon's restaurant there may become No. 59). But how did the celebrated French chef end up in Las Vegas, the capital of cheap buffets? NEWSWEEK'S Tara Weingarten spoke with Robuchon about his new digs. ...
  • In Trouble For Show And Tell

    For Demarcus Blackwell, having the "sex talk" with his 15-year-old son was "kind of embarrassing." But that was nothing compared with the idea of explaining sexual harassment to his preschooler. "He doesn't have the slightest clue about sex anything," says Blackwell, of Waco, Texas, whose 4-year-old son Christopher was suspended last year for sexual harassment when a female school aide reported that the child buried his face in her chest when she hugged him. "How do you explain what's a better kind of hug?"Blackwell is one of a number of parents whose kindergartners and first graders are being suspended, often for days at a time, for sexual misconduct based on behavior like hugging, poking and pinching classmates or school staff. In Ohio, 74 first graders were suspended for "unwelcome sexual conduct" last year, up from 52 in 2005. In Virginia, at least 13 kindergartners have been suspended in each of the last three years for "sexual touching." Massachusetts and Maryland also note...
  • Good Question! I’m Glad I Asked You to Ask Me That.

    Interviewing Marie Osmond days after her father's death, Larry King startles her with a "gotcha" question about her teenage son's drug issues. You got the scoop, now get some class. Score: 22During a stop at Grinnell College, Sen. Hillary Clinton answers a softball question from an audience member planted by her campaign. How very FEMA of you, Senator. Score: 62Sen. John McCain replaces unlikely Sox fan Rudy Giuliani atop the index for letting a booster get away with calling Hillary a "b–––h." His reply: "Excellent question." Actually, it's not. Score: 95
  • Interpol Raises The Stakes

    With little fanfare, tension between Iran and the Bush administration escalated earlier this month when Interpol, the world police organization, voted to issue "red notices" for the arrest of three Iranian government officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. The three men have been charged in Argentina with conspiring alongside notorious Hizbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh to blow up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in July 1994— an attack that killed 85 people. Iranian delegates challenged the vote by Interpol's General Assembly, labeling it a "Zionist plot." Nevertheless, it was a key victory for the United States and Argentina. As a result, customs and border officials around the world will be notified that the Iranians are wanted on terrorism charges. "These people know that if they leave Iran, they run the risk of being arrested," said Interpol secretary-general Ronald Noble, who called the action "probably the most contested red-notice dispute in...
  • Trouble On The Takeoff

    Shortly after 9/11, the White House decided that the president needed a new helicopter. The current Marine One fleet was more than 30 years old and needed upgrades to its in-flight protection and communications gear. So when a contract for a new fleet was announced in January 2005, the Pentagon flagged it a top-priority rush project. But three years later, two industry sources involved with the project who did not want to be named because of its sensitivity, say that major tinkering with Lockheed Martin's winning design has left the new bird, the VH-71, some 2,000 pounds overweight. Efforts to fix the problem have required such a rethinking of its structure that, in the words of one source, "we're essentially designing a new helicopter."What went wrong? Lockheed won the bid by proposing changes to an existing model that has been flying the pope and NATO troops around Europe. But the Navy's goal was to build a flying Oval Office with communications rivaling those in Air Force One,...