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  • Mail Call: A New World Order

    Our exclusive excerpt of Fareed Zakaria's book, "The Post-American World," prompted applause and new critical thinking worldwide. One reader described "jet-setting Asian urbanites" now apathetic to America. Another warned that the newly "enriched" are not necessarily "ennobled." ...
  • Assault On The Law

    In a further sign of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's descent into tyranny, his lackeys are terrorizing the country's lawyers with death threats and physical harm.Until recently, lawyers were the last line of defense against Mugabe's excesses, long after the country's judiciary capitulated to his power. But in 2006, the state-run newspaper, The Herald, began painting lawyers as tools of the opposition, and in May 2007, the regime began imprisoning members of the legal profession. Others started to get harassed by security forces. "It was a new type of warfare," says Arnold Tsunga, the International Association of Jurists' director for Africa.Now lawyers are joining Zimbabwe's fleeing millions to escape Mugabe's escalating war against them. Those who remain have taken to sleeping in different locations each night or hiding in safe houses. Some have had their vehicles torched or been threatened with execution. "The impact is to clearly say, if you think that lawyers protect you,...
  • Ten Cent Solution

    The Copenhagen consensus Center, a Danish group that seeks the most cost-effective solutions to the planet's biggest problems, has come out with its new top-30 list of global challenges. Guess what didn't make the cut? Terror. The panel of economists (including several Nobel laure-ates) that creates the list didn't include the War on Terror in its ranking, as the research around the topic is relatively new compared with issues like trade, education and malnutrition.But even if more research existed, it's unlikely the current U.S. approach to fighting terror would have been included. "If you look at the global cost-benefit analysis, every dollar spent on the war on terror only yields 10 cents of security benefits," says Bjorn Lomborg, the organization's director. Rather, the study recommends information sharing via cross-border crime-fighting entities like Interpol, and giving the IMF more resources to fight money laundering—moves that it says would result in $10 worth of security...
  • Travel: Getting High on Champagne

    The champagne-maker Krug is now taking its bubbly to new heights, offering the world's most expensive hot-air-balloon rides. For €50,000, eight passengers can ride and dine in total luxury while enjoying spectacular views of such sites as the Arizona desert and Somerset, England. Those with a fear of heights needn't worry; the unique adventure starts with a reception at the launch site, where passengers sit in cane-and-wood deck chairs and enjoy appetizers and champagne to ease any last-minute jitters. Then they board the lavish balloon, which features deep-cushioned, white leather lining and compartments for lunch canteens, champagne flutes and cutlery. Once airborne, an onboard butler serves a freshly prepared Michelin three-course lunch consisting of such dishes as bluefin tuna with sesame crème, while passengers take in stunning 360-degree views through complimentary binoculars. An hour or so later, guests are welcomed at the landing site with another reception, where they are...
  • Music: New-Time Rock and Roll

    Falling in love with a guitar is easy to do. B. B. King named his Lucille. Elvis Presley affectionately dressed his in an embroidered leather jacket. Now a new crop of topnotch acoustic guitars revives the feel and sound of such classic models. With its curly-maple body and spruce top, the Small Jumbo by Collings Guitars of Austin, Texas, harks back to the storied instrument preferred by 1950s blues guitarists: the Gibson J-185 ($4,500; collingsguitars.com). For a more subtle approach, Collings's 0-1 is made of understated mahogany ($3,550), though it can be ordered with a sunburst finish for an extra $600. The Taylor 910 jazzes up the company's 1970s trademark instrument: the dreadnought-shaped frame is made of India rosewood with a Sitka-spruce top and decorative floral inlays ($4,398; taylor guitars.com).Presley was famous for pounding out rhythms on his workhorse Martin D-28. Celebrating 175 years, Martin has issued an environmentally correct remake: the D-28M. International...
  • 4 Hours in Dumbo, Brooklyn

    Formerly a manufacturing district, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) is now a community proud to be home to some of New York's best restaurants, art galleries and neighborhood flair. ...
  • Justice For Our Justice

    The whole of Pakistan, a nation known for its violent differences, came together to push for a single lesson.
  • The Summer Of Sarkozy

    Don't get distracted by the whirlwind and noise. It's all part of his plan—and it just might work.
  • Fashion: Made in The Shade

    Fade in: ombré (meaning "shaded") is washing over the fashion world. A close cousin of tie-dye, the process involves dip-dyeing fabrics so that single or multiple hues bleed into each other, usually gradating from light to dark. Prada's striking swim trunks blend from white to blue ($295; barneys.com). A billowy short-sleeved dress by L.A.-based Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji runs from pale sea-foam green on top to bold aquamarine on bottom, conjuring images of the Caribbean ($1,110; tadashicollection.com). Wunderkind Thakoon makes a raspberry ombré peacoat ($1,650; nordstrom.com). And Shanghai Tang takes prints resembling henna tattoos and overlays them on a black and caramel jacquard coat ($915; shanghaitang.com).Designers are beginning to experiment with the direction of the gradations. Rather than shade top to bottom, up-and-comer Christian Cota makes one diaphanous shell nearly black on one side, elephant gray in the middle and mocha on the other end ($810; christiancota.com)....
  • Hot Spot: Frégate Island, Private Seychelles

    A mere dot in the Indian Ocean archipelago, this luxury private island is the region's most exclusive eco-retreat. From the main island, Mahé, guests arrive by helicopter or light aircraft, landing between powder-white beaches and lush peaks brimming with wildlife. ...
  • Mail Call: Green-Challenged

    Our cover story on green initiatives by world leaders didn't assuage fears for the environment. One reader lamented the "fraction of American voters who cite the environment as an issue." Another chided politicians for looking for "a quick fix." A third called for policymakers to "lead by example." ...
  • Time Of The Tough Guys

    A global leadership poll finds a crisis of confidence—and real support for strongmen.
  • Journeys to the Edge of Science

    "Panic in Level 4," a collection of essays by New Yorker writer Richard Preston, is sure to please science fanatics, or anyone else obsessed with nature's murkier mysteries. Preston roves through darkly fascinating terrain, from the Congolese rain forest—home to the Ebola virus and its unidentified animal host—to the smallest chromosomes of DNA, where one wrong letter can spell a lifetime of misery for sufferers of Lesch-Nyhan, a syndrome that causes a person to self-cannibalize.Along the way, the author meets many colorful types: the tree climbers of the Cataloochee valley, intent upon measuring the dying Eastern hemlocks; the Belgian doctor who gives a choking newborn an "Ebola kiss." But the undisputed heroes of Preston's world are the Chudnovsky brothers. Russian-born prodigies who fancy themselves one mathematician divided into two bodies, the brothers build a supercomputer out of special-order parts in their New York apartment. The machine has the herculean purpose of...
  • Database for the Dead

    With 18,000 still missing after China's quake, Beijing is organizing a massive campaign to log corpses and establish a DNA database that will help survivors learn the fate of disappeared relatives.The work holds none of the glitz of America's "CSI" television series, which portrays forensics as a glamorous job. In Yingxiu, near the epicenter, DNA collectors wear gas masks and protective gear in order to prevent contamination from the bodies. They use basic tools, including what look like rusty wire-cutters, to pry away rubble. Nearby, bulldozers root through debris, and damaged buildings are blasted with dynamite to reveal the dead trapped underneath. It's a postapocalyptic scene, and a heartbreaking one: on a recent shift, three CSI police recovered a woman from the ruins of a shop. They sprayed disinfectant on her decomposing body, searched for documents that would identify her and removed a necklace that family members might recognize. Then they started on the task of taking...
  • By The Numbers

    Venezuela President Hugo Chavez recently declared that South American guerilla groups are passe. Someone should tell the rebels—they may be down, but they're certainly not out. ...
  • Behind The Beef Spat

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took power in February as one of the most enthusiastically global leaders the world has ever seen. The well-traveled former Hyundai CEO vowed to repair relations with America, open doors to foreign multinationals, promote the teaching of English and welcome foreigners into his cabinet. (Can you imagine a proudly cosmopolitan European nation even entertaining such a thought?) It was clear Lee would be a test of South Korea's dueling impulses for embracing internal reform and wariness of outsiders. Now the results are in, and South Korea has failed the global test.Hundreds of thousands are protesting Lee's opening to supposedly unsafe U.S. beef imports, but are really boycotting Lee and everything he stands for. As his approval rating dropped below 20 percent—from more than 70 four months ago—his whole cabinet and presidential staff offered to resign last week, and Lee signaled that he'd back away from further reform, including touching the beef...
  • From Russia With Love

    He has said he sees the letters KGB in Vladimir Putin's eyes and that he wants to kick Russia out of the G8. Yet Russians have a greater appreciation for GOP presidential candidate John McCain than citizens of the big European nations. A survey from British pollster YouGov shows that if Europeans could vote, they would choose McCain's Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, by double-digit margins. In Germany the spread was 61 points. But in Russia? Seven.Uniquely, Russians saw McCain as better equipped to lead the world economy. They tend to prefer right-leaning politicians and view McCain as a more powerful figure, says Boris Makarenko, a Moscow analyst. The Democrats are also associated with Russia's humiliation in the 1990s. After 20 years of turmoil, Obama's message of change is something Russians can do without.
  • Why China Is Becoming The ‘Black Hole’ Of Global Markets

    Is China the financial equivalent of the scariest celestial body in the universe? In a new report that crunches Beijing's opaque numbers, analysts at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong argue that the country's foreign reserves "seem to have turned into some kind of massive black hole for the world's liquidity." They calculate that China drew in a staggering $324 billion during the first four months of 2008, of which $119 billion was "unexplained" by either the country's yawning trade surplus or the inflow of legitimate foreign investment. The unexplained part—a sum just shy of Singapore's gross national income last year—is both mysterious and dangerous. The bank's widely respected head of research in China, Stephen Green, says a "hot-money vortex" is forming that could be capable of ravaging China's economy.Asians know well that hot money (typically invested by high-flying speculators searching the solar system for big, fast returns) can be a highly destabilizing force. When it...
  • Food: Sushi Worth Savoring

    With the arrival of Masa at New York's Time Warner Center in 2004, sushi reached new heights of originality—and cost. But Masa is not the only gourmet Japanese restaurant charging exorbitant prices for some of the world's most sought-after ingredients. The chefs at Wasabi, in Mumbai and New Delhi, train under famed "Iron Chef" Masaharu Morimoto before expertly preparing his signature dishes like New Zealand oysters with seared foie gras, and prized Waghu beef served teppanyaki style ($250; tajhotels.com). Taro's by Mikuni in Sacramento, California, makes a $200 Ferrari Jewel Bako roll with Kobe beef, Beluga caviar, smoked salmon and gold flakes (mikunisushi.com). But nothing can beat the Koi Las Vegas's Highroller sushi roll. Made from truffles, caviar, foie gras, langoustine, vanilla-bean butter and 100-year-old balsamic vinegar, the off-menu roll costs $1,000. It's best enjoyed in the Fountain Room, where diners can watch the Bellagio fountains through floor-to-ceiling glass ...
  • Technology: Where Brains Meet Beauty

    When it comes to laptops, appearance has never been able to match performance. Now consumers can have both. Singulum Handmade Masterpiece's wooden-cased, handcrafted laptop comes equipped with an ivory keyboard and gold applications ($62,000; singulum.com). Luvaglio requires prospective customers to make an online appointment to view its elegant machines. The laptop is secured by a removable diamond, which, when inserted properly, unlocks the computer. The 43cm LED backlit screen is also self-cleaning (estimated $1 million; luvaglio.com). And for women who like to go incognito, Ego-Lifestyles' signature laptop resembles a handbag when closed. It can be purchased with decorative diamonds and is available in several finishes including leather, chrome, titanium and lacquer (from $10,700; ego-lifestyle.com). Spreadsheets never looked so good.
  • 4 Hours In Bangkok

    In Thailand's capital, modern complexes overshadow some of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world, extravagant dance performances are as plentiful as gory kickboxing matches, and sports cars compete with rickshaws for road space. Which makes it all the more alluring for visitors. ...
  • Hot Spot: Mansion On Peachtree, Atlanta

    As the first lodging in the South to offer complimentary butler service to all guests, the 42-story Robert A.M. Stern-designed limestone is also the tallest tower in the posh enclave of Buckhead. ...
  • Design: All Booked Up

    With summer-reading season shifting into high gear, serious literature lovers are facing a tough existential question: where to store all the books? Fortunately, designers are making bookshelves that are as arresting as they are useful.The clean, stately Aldgate Etagere bookcase from Ralph Lauren Home is a luxurious take on the ski lodge, blending modernism with the rugged outdoors (€10,021 or $15,523; ralph laurenhome.com). For lakeside appeal, the Spinnaker by Christophe Delcourt and Jérôme Gauthier for Roche Bobois is a whimsical, W-shaped unit made from oak and hand-stitched leather (€7,072 or $10,955; rochebobois.com).German designer Werner Aisslinger has the answer to modern life's perpetual need for storage: the Endless Shelf for Porro is a bare-bones modular unit that grows with one's book collection (€6,596 or $10,217; www.porro.com).To set a playful, contemporary tone, Kast by Maarten Van Severen for Vitra is a colorful shelving unit with sliding doors made from a variety...
  • Don’t Follow The Momentum

    The ECB is talking about raising rates even as the Fed is committed to cutting. Markets don't like the lack of coordination.
  • The Limits Of Limited Editions

    Until recently, the term "limited edition" called to mind the kind of merchandise you'd find advertised in the back pages of The New Yorker: signed Ansel Adams poster prints, commemorative sets of gold coins, letterpress books (unglamorous, niche products with a dedicated, if slightly dorky, customer base). Then something strange began to happen. First, luxury-goods conglomerates and then mass retailers discovered that a little limited edition can go a long way, and it started to pop up in cooler pockets of the retail landscape. Now, creating limited-edition collections has become a widespread marketing strategy to capture consumer attention and reinvigorate brand identity while boosting the bottom line. All of a sudden, there seems to be no limit to the number of limited editions floating around, from €9 MAC lipsticks to Vertu's €200,000 ruby- and diamond-studded cell phone.The practice of releasing limited runs took off in the late '90s, when the luxury obsession was cresting and...
  • One Stray Kick

    How a moment of weakness helped cost my team a game—but made me a much stronger person.
  • The Model Megacity?

    A new book about Mexico City paints colorful portraits but fails to illuminate the big picture.