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  • Iraq: New Tactics of Terror

    Iraq's insurgents are adopting grim and gruesome ways to intimidate those who cooperate with American forces. An on-scene report from Diyala Province.
  • Putting A Robot In Your Guitar

    Few words in the English language deliver quite the frisson of robot— except, perhaps, guitar. Now those two words have come together, like chocolate and peanut butter, in Gibson's first-ever self-tuning Robot Guitar. Using technology from the German company Tronical, Gibson modified its classic Les Paul to adjust itself to one of six preset tunings. Pull out the "master control knob" and strum; the knob lights up as a computer embedded in the back of the guitar measures each string's pitch. The tuning pegs turn by themselves, making a robotic whirring sound that enhances the wow factor (and is, to be honest, a little creepy). Lights flash blue when the instrument is tuned. Retailing for $2,200 to $2,500 (a cool grand more than the robot-free Les Paul), the Robot Guitar is aimed at serious hobbyists and professionals who demand precision tuning, or frequently switch between different tunings and don't want to lug around many instruments. "It's a cool idea. Nobody likes tuning,"...
  • Middle East: The Other Christmas Rush Is Christians Fleeing Arabia

    Christmas is usually a time to celebrate the arrival of Christians in the Holy Land. But this year, as Patriarch Michel Sabbah of the Latin Rite Catholic Church revealed during his Christmas sermon in Bethlehem, local leaders are currently concerned with the opposite phenomenon: exodus. Speaking to the legions of Arab Christians fleeing the region, Sabbah said, "I say to you what Jesus told us: do not be afraid."But there's reason to be. Last year, dozens of Christians were slain in Iraq and a Syriac Orthodox priest was beheaded in Mosul. Two prominent Christian Palestinians were recently killed in Gaza. A political stalemate in Lebanon and the increased dominance of Shiite Hizbullah has made Maronites fear their traditional perks, like control of the presidency, are slipping. Even in Egypt, where religion has played little role in government, Christians now worry that the increasing popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood could lead to new restrictions.Thus many are voting with their...
  • There’s Always Diet And Exercise

    A week at a luxury boot camp can help you cross "lose weight" off your list of resolutions. At the five-star Blue Palace Resort & Spa on Crete, guests wake up to two hours of cardio, followed by two more kinds of exercise—maybe yoga and boxing. And it's all caffeine-free (from $3,950 per person for six nights; bluepalace.gr). Australia's Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia starts each morning with tai chi and deep-water running in the pool. Afternoons include healthy-eating seminars and team sports (from $2,315 per person for five nights; www.goldendoor .com.au). In Spain, Lisa Jean's spartan program mixes a raw-foods diet with forced six-hour hikes (from $3,450 per person for eight nights; thecomplete retreat.com). Feel the burn.
  • Al Qaeda’s Newest Triggerman

    Baitullah Mehsud is being blamed for most of the suicide bombings in Pakistan, including Benazir Bhutto's assassination. The rise of a militant leader.
  • The Maximalist

    In case being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth isn't quite good enough, the Italian company Sidra has created an 18-karat-gold pacifier inlaid with pav? diamonds, with a tiny diamond heart dangling from the pink model. After all, even babies deserve bling. But at $2,400, you'll want to make sure you don't leave it at the playground (sidragold.com).
  • Four Hours In: Utrecht

    With its tree-lined canals and candy-colored houses, this small, scenic city in the central Netherlands could be Amsterdam's little sister. It's also home to one of Europe's largest and best universities, giving it a distinctly hip, youthful feel. ...
  • Hot Spot: Murano Urban Resort, Paris

    When it comes to high-end hotels, the City of Lights tends more toward the stuffy than the streamlined. The Murano balances the equation, bringing a sleek, ultracontemporary option to the bourgeois elegance of the Marais. ...
  • A Happy New Year

    The gifts have all been returned, the champagne bottles recycled, and there is no longer any excuse for overindulging. Or is there? After all, nothing combats the postholiday blues like a little pampering. So put down the Wii remote and prepare to start 2008 in the right frame of mind—and body.For those who've seen the light, Christina Barton, a London immune-system wizard, uses pulsing lights and a magnetic-resonance mat—developed for cosmonauts returning to Earth—to simulate several hours of deep sleep (from $200; www.chrisbar.com).For a quick fix, book a stint in a futuristic flotation tank in London, where buoyant Epsom salts create a weightless, stress-free environment and give an instant energy lift ($100 an hour; float.co.uk).At the Golf Hotel's Mayr Clinic beside Lake Worth, Austria, a team of draconian doctors practices tough love with a selection of homeopathic pills designed to purge the body of holiday toxins ($2,386 per week; golfhotel.at).For a more traditional salve...
  • It’s All About Real Estate

    The real concern for the global economy in 2008 will continue to be fallout from the subprime-mortgage crisis in the U.S.
  • Come to the Cabaret

    Today's geopolitical climate has created the perfect conditions for a revival of the satiric musical genre. And it's no longer just dancing women in sequins.
  • If The World Could Vote

    The U.S. Presidential election may be the most undemocratic in the world. Only some 126 million Americans vote, yet the result is felt by 6.6 billion people. Indeed, in some ways it matters even more to non-Americans. The president is constrained domestically by many constitutional checks and balances, but this is far less true in foreign affairs.Nevertheless, the world has yet to pick its favorite. It is clear, however, whose election would have the most dramatic effect: Barack Obama's. In one fell swoop, an Obama victory would eliminate at least half the massive anti-Americanism now felt around the world. Eight hundred million Africans would get a tremendous boost to their self-esteem and cultural pride. A son of their soil would, for the first time, occupy the White House, and many would whisper, approvingly, "Only in America."Obama is not a Muslim, but the 1.2 billion Muslims around the world would take great interest in his middle name: Hussein. Indeed, the election of "H"...
  • The World’s Cheapest Wheels

    When Tata Motors set out to build a $2,500 car, people said it couldn't be done. This week the company will unveil its vehicle of the future.
  • When Greens Go Corporate

    They start wondering whether the gain to their wealth and clout is worth the tossing at night.
  • The Ghost Of Simón Bolívar

    Nearly 200 years ago Venezuelan patriot Simón Bolívar declared his country a free and sovereign state, and went on to liberate four other South American nations from Spanish colonial rule, envisioning a confederation of Andean republics that would stretch from the isthmus of Panama to the high plateau country of Bolivia. His dream inspired another, decades later, when a young Hugo Chávez, then an Army officer in his late 20s, gathered with some of his military colleagues in the Venezuelan city of Maracay on the anniversary of Bolívar's death and declared, "There is Bolívar in the sky of the Americas, watchful and frowning ... because what he left undone remains undone to this very day."Chávez has attempted to finish the job ever since. Already "the most influential head of state in Latin America," according to a critical biography by Venezuelan writers Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka, his guiding star has always been Bolívar, who at the apex of his career exerted an...
  • Mail Call: A Turbulent Time

    Readers of our Nov. 19 issue's coverage of 1968 were divided on how much that year still shapes the West. "We are who we are today in Europe thanks to the '68ers," one remarked. But another said, "I wonder if the true lesson of 1968 is that despite our efforts, we couldn't change our own shortcomings." ...
  • CFR: The Candidates on Immigration

    The rise of globalization, combined with growing concerns over security and terrorism, has transformed immigration into an issue with significant foreign policy implications. In the 2006 midterm elections, immigration emerged as a significant issue in a number of campaigns, although it is not clear how decisive a role it played. The importance of a reformed immigration policy in a broader homeland security strategy has made it a major subject of debate in the 2008 presidential election. This debate escalated recently surrounding the controversial immigration reform legislation that would have granted temporary guest status to millions of illegal immigrants. That bill stalled in the Senate June 7, 2007 after a cloture motion was rejected, although nearly all of the presidential candidates currently serving as senators voted for that motion. ...
  • CFR: The Candidates on U.S.-Pakistan Policy

    Instability in Pakistan has steadily escalated in the course of the U.S. presidential campaign. Given the country's geo-strategic importance to Washington, its deteriorating situation has served as a litmus test of sorts for candidates seeking to assert their foreign policy credentials and clarify their views on U.S. struggles against al-Qaeda. President Pervez Musharraf's temporary institution of martial law and the assassination in December 2007 of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto spurred U.S. candidates to revisit their positions on U.S.-Pakistan policy. Candidates of both parties have expressed worry about the tenuous state of Pakistani democracy at a time when the country is relied on as a bulwark against al-Qaeda. Some have espoused the realist posture of accepting a U.S. ally—Musharraf—who may not offer the best path to democracy. The United States provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the Musharraf government in military aid, mostly aimed at counterterrorism...
  • CFR: The Candidates on Iraq

    The foreign policy issue already framing the 2008 presidential election is the war in Iraq. The war's growing unpopularity among Americans, coupled with nightly images of civilian and soldier casualties, will only add to the candidates' need to craft a plan to win the war. On this issue, the candidates are divided between supporting the president's strategy to surge more troops into central Iraq versus establishing a timetable, complete with benchmarks, to eventually pull out U.S. forces and possibly withhold funding for the war effort. Further, there are sharp philosophical divisions among the candidates and their parties over whether Iraq symbolizes the central front in the larger war on terrorism, rather than an isolated civil war between sectarian factions with a long history of mutual animosity. ...
  • Pakistan: Election Postponed

    How will Musharraf's decision to postpone Pakistan's elections affect the fortunes of Benazir Bhutto's political party?
  • Don't Blame America

    Don't blame America. Cultural remix has been around since Roman times. It just happens a lot faster today.
  • Energy Burst

    Infused with new energy from the world's top architects, New York's skyline is soaring again.
  • Who Killed Bhutto?

    Pakistan's government was quick to blame Al Qaeda and the Taliban for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but U.S. officials caution that it's too early to pin the blame on any group in particular.
  • How Bhutto Died

    Musharraf's regime offers its version of what--and who--killed Bhutto.
  • Pakistan and America

    Rice's regional strategy may have died with Bhutto, endangering U.S. interests.
  • Can Musharraf Survive?

    Benazir Bhutto's assassination has diminished the Pakistani president's already low public standing. How her death could lead to his political demise.
  • Olympian Ambitions

    For Beijing, a smooth Games will take a lot of things—including winning more than anyone else.
  • Mao to Now

    China is thousands of years old but has been made anew in the last three decades, and my family with it.
  • We Need You To Disperse, Por Favor

    In May, Latino protesters at a rally in Los Angeles failed to heed warnings to disperse—warnings shouted at them in English from a noisy police helicopter. Hundreds were injured in the ensuing melee, which might have been prevented by the Phraselator, a handheld device that can translate 100,000 words or phrases, including crowd control messages like "We need you to move away." Created by Voxtec of Maryland, the Phraselator was designed for American cities where immigration is booming. Priced from $2,500, the device is cheaper than translators, but less effective because it works one way, like a bullhorn.Still, applications are spreading. In Lee County, Fla., corrections officers use the device to ask Spanish- and Creole-speaking prisoners yes-or-no booking questions. Rescue services are considering using the device in earthquakes, floods and wildfires. And in Los Angeles, police are programming Phraselators to translate into Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Japanese and, of course, Spanish.
  • Creating Product Buzz

    Plug "Shinkansen N700" into a search engine and back come scores of photos and comments about the smooth ride, dizzying speed and comfortable work areas of Japan's newest bullet train. The attention is not a coincidence. It's the result of a publicity campaign by Central Japan Railway Co. targeted at the blogosphere. This summer, the railway invited a dozen bloggers to a press preview, which included a first-class ride from Tokyo to Osaka. Most of the bloggers returned the favor by talking up the train and giving the railway an increasingly important type of publicity. "Their blogs are so precise, even more so than our own site, and are very interesting," says Hiroshi Shigeta, a railway spokesman. Ridership for the N700 model, which runs across the country, is up 12 percent over last year, compared with 5 percent overall, which Shigeta attributes in part to the attention of bloggers.Japanese firms that make automobiles, high-tech gadgets, game software and beauty products have begun...
  • Periscope: Panicked About Expensive Food And Oil? Don’t Be.

    Skyrocketing energy prices and food inflation have been held up as major threats to the global economy in 2008. Just last month, oil was in danger of surging past $100 a barrel, and U.N. sources say the price of food has risen an unprecedented 40 percent in the last year. Economists worry that the higher prices will bring back the scourge of inflation, a threat the world has not seen in almost 30 years. In fact, some economists argue that inflation is already here—it's just not counted in the "core" inflation figures (which exclude food and energy) most central banks use to control the money supply.But in the spirit of the holidays, let's look at the bright side. There are signs that oil and food prices may actually fall in 2008. If the United States is heading for a downturn, as many economists expect, slower growth would reduce demand for oil. Moreover, speculative money may have added $10 to $20 to the price per barrel in recent months, and speculators like hedge funds are...
  • Tony Blair: State Of Limbo

    It's been a long year for Tony Blair. After stepping down as British Prime Minister in June, under fire for his Iraq policy, he took on what many consider the hardest job in the Middle East: the representative of the Quartet—the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations—to the Palestinians. At least there was a bright spot in late December: at a donor conference in Paris, he secured pledges of $7.4 billion in aid. He spoke by phone with NEWSWEEK'S Kevin Peraino. Excerpts: ...