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  • Periscope

    Progressive Dutch social attitudes on hot-button issues like drug legalization, euthanasia and gay rights may seem quirky to foreigners. But where the Dutch have boldly gone, other European countries seem to follow. Britain, Italy and Spain have all decriminalized the personal use of marijuana, and, like the Dutch, the Swiss have set up needle exchanges for heroin addicts. Spain now allows same-sex marriage. Berlin and Paris both have gay mayors. Doctor-assisted suicide is legal in Belgium.But now the Dutch have turned to the right, making one wonder where Europe is headed. For years, authorities have been cracking down on the nation's famed "coffee shops," where the purchase and use of small amounts of marijuana is permitted. But two weeks ago the government also banned hallucinogenic mushrooms. Beyond that, while euthanasia is allowed (though tightly regulated), abortion, legal since 1984, is now coming under scrutiny. In February, a new, more socially conservative government led...
  • The Sky Isn’t Falling—Yet

    Bubbles tend to peak when stock prices reach 50 to 60 times projected earnings. China's domestic market is around 35.
  • What You Like

    The goal of social search is to combine Facebook's personal touch with Google's speed.
  • When Movies Follow The Storm

    In the recently traumatized societies of Romania, Thailand and Nigeria, upheaval is inspiring a new wave of film.
  • The Golden Hordes

    China's surprisingly steely retail investors are snapping up billions of dollars of foreign assets.
  • Media Meccas

    Mideast nations eager to develop entertainment hubs are pouring money into Hollywood.
  • It’s Not About The West

    Turkey is risking ties to the U.S. and Europe for a simple reason: its eyes are on the eastern front.
  • Mail Call: Free to Be Gay?

    Our Sept. 17 cover story on gay rights led readers to share their nation's position on the issue. One wrote, "Israel's gays are protected under law as in Europe." Another opined, "The Western formula may be unfit for all." A third said, "When two adults commit to each other, that's their business." ...
  • HotSpot: The Collection, Shanghai

    This eclectic three-story nightspot is composed of Pure, a contemporary Japanese restaurant; Sugar, a dessert parlor, and Cube, a silver-black Bond-esque bar and terrace. Puritanical about making comestibles from scratch, it's also perhaps Shanghai's first establishment to ban smoking from eating areas. ...
  • Gone Fishing

    Fly-fishing holidays provide the perfect chance to cast away the stresses of daily life. But that doesn't mean anglers want to rough it. Hotels and travel companies are offering packages that allow guests to get back to the simpler things in life during the day while enjoying luxury dining and accommodations by night.For a regenerative experience, book the Blue Tower suite at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. Guests will receive a full Scottish breakfast, expert advice during two hours of trout fishing and a three-course table d'hôte dinner. And should your fishing foray be a success, the chef will happily cook up the catch of the day ($4,108 a night for two people; in November, Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand, will offer a new "Fly-Fishing—The Ultimate" package, which pairs anglers with expert guides who will share their knowledge of the local rivers and streams. The package also includes a helicopter ride to a secret location where the size...
  • Recliner Bicycles

    Comfort bikes let riders sit upright to ease lower-back strain, with raised handlebars to remove weight from the wrists and oversize seats to eliminate saddle soreness. Geared toward baby boomers, comfort bikes are ideal for cruising bike paths, commuting to the office and pedaling to the corner grocery store.The Lime by Trek features one of cycling's hot new gimmicks—an automatic three-speed shifter that changes gears as you speed up or slow down. With its pedal-operated brakes and puncture-resistant tires, the Lime is sweet on flat ground, but the auto-shift can make for some tough going on steep hills ($589; in 2008, the Amsterdam Balloon 8 has eight speeds, precision brakes and oversize, Kevlar-reinforced tires. Retro faux-leather seats and hand grips make this bike the boomer's answer to the midlife-crisis sports car ($650; EZ Sport AX's recumbent bike is like a cushy club chair on wheels. The reclined seating eliminates back...
  • The Power of Petroleum

    Record prices have made oil nations much more confident and less dependent on traditional powers.
  • A Terrorist Walks Free

    Cole bomber Jamal al-Badawi already escaped from jail once. This time the government opened the door.
  • Rendition: Judgment Day for CIA?

    In a real-life version of 'Rendition,' a determined Italian prosecutor is hunting down those charged as the Bush administration's contract kidnappers.
  • Darfur: Packaging a Tragedy

    What the Save Darfur movement did right, where it went wrong—and what its strategy can teach us about the future of political advocacy.
  • Syria's Nuclear Site

    A satellite image appears to show that Syria had a nuclear project that was a secret from the CIA
  • Q&A: U.N. Envoy on Darfur Talks

    The U.N.'s special envoy to Darfur discusses the difficulties of the Libya talks, the problem of peacekeeping without a peace agreement and whether Sudan can be healed.
  • Pakistan: New Sharif Tensions

    The Saudi king's apparent policy shift over Nawaz Sharif is threatening to deepen the dangerous polarization of pro-Western and Islamist factions in Pakistan.
  • Spike in Kurd-Turk Tension

    The Iraqi minister caught between the Turks and the Kurds discusses rising regional tensions—and the unexpected Syrian reaction—in the wake of a cross-border PKK raid.
  • How To Make The Cell Phone Into A Portable Scanner

    Florida lawyer Rick Georges, a self-described gadget guy, had what he calls a "eureka moment" about a year ago on a flight. "I was in a scrunchy little seat, and the jerk in front of me put his seat all the way back so I couldn't open my laptop completely," he says. Unable to work, Georges started leafing through articles in magazines and fiddling with his Treo. Suddenly he remembered a Web-based service he had read about,, which converts JPEG image files to electronic documents, such as PDFs or Word documents. He used the Treo to photograph an article he wanted to clip. When the plane landed he e-mailed the photographs from his phone to, which quickly e-mailed the images back as PDF attachments that could be searched, e-mailed to clients and colleagues, or filed away in his records. "I just thought, 'Wow. This is the future'." ...
  • Take A Literary Field Trip

    Those keen to combine their passion for travel with a love of reading are increasingly signing up for literary tours, which can range from the laid-back to the intellectually rigorous. On the laid-back end is British Tours Ltd.'s private one-day Jane Austen trip from London ($970 for four people; Travelers visit her home at Chawton, where she wrote "Emma" and "Mansfield Park"; Bath, which figured in many of her works, and the city of Winchester, where she is buried. On the more rigorous end is The Hours, a New York City-based company that mixes sumptuous tours of Europe with book discussions led by a literature professor. Henry James's Tuscany ($1,160 per person for six nights; the is set on an estate in Monterongriffoli, Italy, and includes cooking classes and truffle hunts. Madame Bovary's France, planned for next fall, will be set in Gascony and include visits to cheese and olive farms. Don't forget your book.
  • The Many Shades Of Jade

    Once considered old-fashioned, jade is making a colorful comeback. Using ice jade, lavender and even black jade—a rare inky stone that shows hints of green only when held over a bright light—designers are no longer confining their creations to Oriental-style pendants but are updating the look, often setting jade with precious stones to add sparkle. Baerjewels uses a new cutting technique on charcoal-gray jade to give it a translucent sheen and reveal unusual ink patterns ($12,000 for a pendant necklace). The company also has dangling fan-shaped earrings that mix lavender jade with diamonds ($7,900; www.baer Edward Chiu's black-and-white collection features white-gold jade rings in either white or black mixed with diamonds ($3,500; And for animal lovers, La Putri has a delicate ice-jade dragonfly brooch ($6,500; But no elephants.
  • Hot Spot: Hippo Point, Kenya

    Recently restored by socialite and conservationist Dodo Cunningham-Reid, this romantic Garden of Eden—named one of the world's most beautiful homes by Architectural Digest—has opened its doors to Africa's most exclusive visitors, from celebs to European royalty. ...
  • 4 Hours in Brasov

    An easy day trip from Bucharest, this charming city is the gateway to the castles, palaces and mountain villages that give Transylvania its spooky reputation. ...
  • Furnished By Ferrari

    For car aficionados, names like Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz conjure up images of speed, divine craftsmanship and impeccable style. But these traits need no longer be confined to the garage; some top luxury carmakers are now applying them to home furnishings.The Tonino Lamborghini home collection, produced by Formitalia, reflects the power and elegance of the cars, as well as the irresistible Italian style of the brand ( The six-seat Pista sofa (€20,550) is made of grayostrich and deer leather and looks dashing next to the black lacquered side table (€6,300); the Raceway chaise longue features white ostrich leather and nickel legs (€4,300). Their unusual shapes, crafted from exquisitely upholstered leather, mirror the high quality interiors of Lamborghini cars.Those looking to make a bold statement in the kitchen can add striking pieces in trademark racy colors, including a red ostrich-leather double-door fridge (€14,000) and a yellow ostrich...
  • How to Beat Inflation

    Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the federal reserve, in his new book and in the excerpt printed in newsweek, writes that he believes America is on the verge of a gradual rise in inflation to a trend-line rate of 4 to 5 percent or higher. This forecast has received virtually no atten tion in the media barrage that has been focused on "The Maestro," but if he is right, it has immense implications for everyone with some wealth and retirement funds.Greenspan writes that the long period of disinflation that began in the mid-1980s and that generated prosperity and a bull market in stocks and bonds is over. "To day's relative fiscal quiescence masks a pending tsunami. It will hit as a significant proportion of the nation's highly produc tive population retires to become recipients of our federal pay-as-you-go health and re tirement system, rather than contributors to it." Benefit funding for boomers is inade quate, and Greenspan is clearly not opti mistic that a dysfunctional,...
  • Toward The Point Of No Return

    If the Bush administration and Congress set out to deliberately undermine the Turkish government and its efforts to modernize the country, they couldn't have done a better job than they are doing already. Likewise if they wanted to push a democratic Muslim state and a vital NATO ally out of the American orbit. And to further destabilize Iraq.Under the ruling AK Party, which won reelection in July with a crushing mandate, Ankara had laid out an ambitious and contentious domestic reform program, which would have included a revamp of the current military-drafted Constitution and could have strengthened Turkey's pro-Western democracy by expanding freedom of expression and civil rights, addressing the Kurdish issue and asserting civilian control over the military. Washington's missteps have now forced Turkey to shift its focus toward foreign policy. A rare moment for change may have been lost.The United States' errors have been twofold. First, the House of Representatives has come...
  • Lessons In English

    Ha Jin's new novel, 'A Free Life,' is his first book set in America. Like his main character, the Chinese-born author has really made himself at home there.
  • The Self-Absorbed Dragon

    China's growing military and economic power has become something of an American obsession. Recent books, like "Red Dragon" or "The China Threat," combined with warnings from Washington—like the Pentagon's designation of China as an emerging "peer competitor"—have contributed to an abiding sense of fear. Analysts such as Robert Kaplan, pointing to Beijing's rising defense spending, now caution that "the American military contest with China in the Pacific will define the 21st century."Yet inside China, things look very different. Far from being poised on the brink of expansion, the country remains extraordinarily insular—a place where people seem to know and care little about the outside world.In China, like everywhere, all politics are local—but when your constituency totals nearly a quarter of humanity, the local pressures are particularly acute. Despite 30 years of growth, China today is still just a generation away from poverty, with half its population mired in abject conditions....
  • The Inward East

    The Arab world's economies are getting ever less globalized.
  • The Price Of Suspicion

    The French are more distrustful than almost any other nation. A pair of economists tallies the costs.
  • Calculating to A Fault

    Angela Merkel once promised to rescue Germany from its torpor. But the country has had a change of heart about her reforms—and so has she.
  • Where the Jihad Lives Now

    Islamic militants have spread beyond their tribal bases, and have the run of an unstable, nuclear-armed nation.