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  • Political Partnerships: Hil Sans Bill: Brown Take Heed

    In recent weeks, world leaders of a certain age have watched the U.S. presidential primaries with rapt—perhaps nervous—attention. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in particular, has had reason to take note as the upstart Barack Obama steadily pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton. Brown, who turned 57 last week, must call an election of his own sometime in the next two years, and will face 41-year-old Tory leader David Cameron—pitting Brown's long experience in government against a youthful figure who's trying to brand himself as an agent of change. Sound familiar?In fact, the parallels between Brown's predicament and Clinton's don't end with their ages (she's 60) or those of their opponents. For years Hillary toiled under the shadow of her husband, as did Brown under that of his flamboyant predecessor, Tony Blair. Hil and Bill's unusual relationship was subject to relentless media scrutiny. So was the Blair-Brown partnership. And like the Clintons, Tony and Gordon's twosome suffered...
  • Fragrance Of The Pharaohs

    Anyone can smell like a modern celebrity: all it takes is a bottle of J. Lo or Paris Hilton perfume. But now women can bathe themselves in the scent once allegedly worn by Cleopatra. Nenufar, dubbed the ancient queen's sacred scent by the British perfumery Scents of Time, consists of a blue-lotus-flower fragrance with notes of nutmeg, angelica, patchouli, heliotrope and almond ($119; www.scents oftime.co.uk). Modern-day alchemist David Pybus has scoured the ruins of Egypt to re-create the range of lost fragrances, which also includes Ankh, a scent dedicated to King Tut. Using forensic science, Pybus develops the scents based on an "aromaprint" preserved in the sites that is embellished with modern notes. For the citrus-and-jasmine-infused Pyxis fragrance, he unearthed the formula of a Roman Empire-era perfumer named Sperato who was buried at Pompeii. Some folks, it seems, will travel through time just to smell good.
  • A Dutch Treat For the Home

    A group of imaginative Dutch designers are developing a range of everyday objects that move beyond the austere lines of modernism and incorporate a baroque and witty flair. Frozen Fountain (frozenfountain.nl) and Droog (droogdesign.nl), two of the most forward-thinking Amsterdam design galleries, exhibit a range of contemporary home furnishings including lighting fixtures and furniture. Frozen Fountain also has an exclusive arrangement with the textile artist Claudy Jongstra, whose one-of-a-kind wool felt carpets are made from the artist's own herd of rare European sheep ($1,465 per sq. ft.; claudyjongstra .com). Joris Laarman's ornamental Heat Wave radiator, set to go on display at New York's Cooper-Hewitt museum in March, is a curved, floral-patterned, reinforced-concrete home heating element ($8,570; jorislaarman.com). For a playful, candlelit atmosphere, Studio Job manufactures a funky, laser-cut chandelier that resembles a cross between a charm bracelet and a set of cookie...
  • 4 Hours In Montreal

    The focus of an ongoing gentrification effort, Quebec's cultural epicenter offers a wide range of delights worth perusing if you've got a free afternoon. ...
  • Hot Spot: D.O.M., São Paulo

    Set amid the lush hills of the elite Jardins district, D.O.M. stars Alex Atala, Brazil's top chef, who invents elegant French- inflected dishes with traditional Brazilian ingredients. ...
  • Lofty Views

    Paragliding, the most peaceful extreme sport, now has an exhilarating new edge. In the Alps, wings and skis come together for speed riding—essentially bounding downhill at high velocity. The skis get you from the chairlift to the slope, then give you the speed to take off. The wing—a lightweight rectangular parachute—hovers over the skier, providing lift and drag. As riders skim down the mountain, their skis periodically brush the ground and send them soaring back up. They clear cliffs, boulders and small trees by making subtle adjustments to the angle of the wing via controls in each hand.Several schools in the French Alps offer paragliding lessons year-round, along with introductions to speed riding. Les Ailes du Mont Blanc in prestigious Chamonix offers speedriding packages and daily lessons à la carte (€95 per day, lesailesdumontblanc.com). Prévol has been floating colorful canopies along the cliffs for more than 20 years, and in the winter offers speedriding training (€90 per...
  • Retire The Revolutionary Myth

    While strangling Cuba's economy, the United States lost its grip on the imagination of much of Latin America's youth.
  • Looking For A Legacy

    In the waning months of the Bush administration, Washington is headed to Pyongyang for a deal.
  • South Korea’s Sarkozy

    Lee wants to save his country by nudging it right and toward the U.S.—but his people may not cooperate.
  • Mapping A New World

    A provocative book on the rise of Asia highlights the need to move beyond old notions of East and West.
  • From A Mouse To A Tsar

    Dmitry Medvedev has toiled under Vladimir Putin's shadow. But the heir to the presidency will soon have to show his true colors.
  • Fidel’s Children

    Cuba's leader has resigned, and the nation's youth are starting to push back.
  • Mail Call: The Obama Appeal

    Readers of our Jan. 14 cover story on Barack Obama were inspired. "He's not like any other," said one. "He'll lead us to a new America." Another wrote, "His authenticity and sincerity trump opponents' Washington résumés." A young U.S. voter in China said he'd return to work on Obama's campaign. ...
  • ‘We Will Work Together’

    Musharraf's political opponents join forces against him. What it means for him—and the U.S. war on terror.
  • Russia’s Medvedev Woos Business

    Dmitry Medvedev, a shoo-in as Russia's next president, recently addressed a key constituency—business leaders—with a hopeful and comforting message.
  • How Will Raul Castro Govern?

    A noted Cuban expert says Raul Castro is his own man with his own ideas. But that doesn't mean major changes should be expected soon.
  • Pakistan's Democratic Moment

    The United States now has an opportunity to make good on its commitment to democracy in Pakistan. It can start by severing its ties with Musharraf.
  • The End of Musharraf?

    After humiliating election results, the U.S. ally may wield little power in Pakistan.
  • Why U.S. Likes Big Cars

    The small-car craze might be fine for Asia and Europe, but the land of the gas-guzzling behemoth SUV may never go along, says a leading anthropologist.
  • Can Independent Kosovo Survive?

    Kosovo's declaration of independence isn't likely to solve its many problems—or defuse tensions in the troubled Balkans
  • Pictures That Move In 3-D

    In 1947, Hungarian British scientist Dennis Gabor was tinkering with ways to improve the resolution of the electron microscope when he accidentally invented the hologram. The feat won him a Nobel, but since then nobody has been able to figure out how to make the holographic version of a motion picture—holograms have remained static. Recently, however, researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson wrote in the journal Nature that they have created an updatable holographic film, made of a unique blend of polymers that allows images to be stored, erased and replaced with new images every few minutes. That's too slow for Hollywood but fast enough for a host of new applications, says laser scientist and lead author Nasser Peyghambarian. Doctors could perform keyhole surgery guided by MRI images in 3-D. Soldiers could watch battlefield images from many different angles at once. The next step is to cut the time needed to refresh the 3-D image from minutes to milliseconds, leading to...
  • Periscope: The Islamist Tide In Pakistan Is Turning, And None Too Soon

    The Islamist politicians who have done so much to make Pakistan the world's most dangerous nation appear headed for defeat. In 2002, riding anti-American anger after the invasion of neighboring Afghanistan, the MMA candidates won an unprecedented 56 seats in the 342-member national assembly, and a power broker role they used in conniving ways to help keep President Pervez Musharraf in power. They also formed a government in the North-West Frontier province, turning it into a haven for Al Qaeda and other groups who have used the region to launch domestic and international attacks. Now, in a vote this Monday, the MMA may win no more than 10 seats, a development that could undermine both Musharraf and, ironically, the terrorists he's been fighting.The Islamists have played a double game. Even as they railed against Musharraf's security alliance with the United States, and his sporadic drives against extremists, they quietly worked with the increasingly unpopular general. The military...
  • Just A Little Drop Will Do You

    Travel-size bottles never last long enough, and airport security is likely to confiscate any container that holds more than 90 ml. But there is a way to get more anti-aging power out of a small jar: use a serum. The heavily concentrated liquids require just a few drops for full effect, so a 30 ml bottle can last for weeks. Created by a Nobel Prize-nominated scientist, Amatokin Intensive Skin-Rejuvenating Serum is designed to boost stem-cell production for a healthier complexion ($230; amatokin.com). AmorePacific's Time Response Pure Essence 100 Skin Renewal Serum is made with green tea to moisturize, prevent inflammation and stimulate collagen production ($500; amorepacific.com). And RéVive Intensité Volumizing Serum fights sagging skin and crow's feet by restoring volume to the face, noting that loss of fullness—not wrinkles—is the true enemy of youthful skin ($600; reviveskincare .com).
  • Watching Flowers Blossom

    As Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly snarkily put it in "The Devil Wears Prada," "Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking." Yet in today's downbeat economic climate, the abundance of bold, luxurious floral dresses and separates in top-end spring collections is a refreshing show of optimism. Dolce & Gabbana hand-painted buds amid swaths of paint on tulle ball gowns (price upon request; dolcegabbana.com). Christian Lacroix showed an exaggerated black-and-yellow floral short-sleeved coat ($4,284; christian-lacroix.com). Marc Jacobs incorporated a luscious deep blue floral print into his collection, including a body-skimming dress and a calf-length skirt bedecked with floor-length streaming ribbons, making it potentially dangerous ($2,500; marcjacobs.com). The youngest of the bunch, Thakoon, showed his teen spirit with several pieces done in a neon-on-white graffiti-inspired print that only upon close inspection reveals itself as flowered (from $595; thakoon.com). Even the Devil might...
  • The Death of Terror's Pioneer

    Hizbullah's Imad Mugniyah was responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on Americans on record. His death will likely spark more killings.
  • The Maximalist

    It may look more like an instrument of torture than a wine accessory, but this corkscrew from Sveid is definitely the one to use on that 1982 bottle of Château Mouton-Rothschild sitting in the cellar. Made of aviation-grade titanium and a fingertip lever of 18-karat gold (or platinum), the device uses 52 moving parts and a scissors motion to dislodge the cork. Only available made to order, the corkscrew and its handsome storage box can both be engraved with the owner's name. Prices start at €50,000, making finding a worthy bottle the biggest challenge (www.sveid.com).
  • Russia’s Mighty Mouse

    Vladimir Putin's handpicked successor seems like a loyal nobody. But he could turn out to be a welcome surprise.
  • Hit Me With Your Best Shot

    It's easy to find the perfect shot of espresso at a neighborhood café. But for those who prefer to drink their first cup of the day while wearing pajamas, home brewing is a bit iffier. Thankfully, a handful of luxury machines on the market can bring a slice of Starbucks into any kitchen.Espresso is made under pressure, and machines are rated by how many "bars" (think barometric pressure) they have. Melissa Niosi, coffee education manager for Saeco USA, a maker of quality coffee machines, says it takes only nine bars to make a great cup of espresso. Yet all top-shelf machines offer between 15 and 19 bars. The perfect espresso has a good dose of "crema" on top, that frothy, foamy brown skin—really an emulsification of the oils in coffee beans—that gives texture to your drink.The price of a machine depends on its ease of use and construction materials. Near the top end, Saeco's Primea Cappuccino Touch Plus prepares two cappuccinos or latte macchiatos at once, using a built-in ceramic...
  • Try Accounting For Taste

    Savoring Cheval Blanc 1982 in your cellar is far superior to guzzling champagne in a VIP lounge.
  • The Road Ahead

    The U.S. fleet won't look like the European one until fuel prices climb well over $10 per gallon.
  • Vanilla Option

    The next revolution in green cars is more likely to come from ordinary combustion engines than some exotic technology.
  • In The Slow Lane

    Plug-and-play electric cars for urban drivers are pushing the envelope on green. Just don't try gunning them—yet.
  • Small. It’s The New Big.

    Poor countries are getting rich, gas costs are rising and our planet is heating up. The result: a new breed of 21st-century cars that are cooler, cheaper and more compact than ever.
  • Mail Call: The Rising Dragon

    Readers of the China cover articles in our year-end double issue were delighted with the reportage. "Melinda Liu's presentation of China's recent history was fascinating," wrote one who "could not put it down." Another agreed, "it was excellent." A third faulted us for quoting Confucius out of context. ...