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  • Technology: Will Japan Buy the iPhone?

    The Japanese mobile industry is on Apple alert. This is the year CEO Steve Jobs said Apple would launch the iPhone in Asia. So far, Apple isn't saying when the introduction will come to Japan. Despite expectations of news at the Macworld conference last month, Apple hasn't given any details. Japanese consumers, who revere Apple for its technology and elegant design, are full of anticipation.The iPod has captured more than 50 percent of the portable-music-player market, beating even Sony devices, and expectations for the iPhone are high. Scores of bloggers have pledged to buy the phone as soon as it comes out, and anecdotes abound of Japanese tourists buying iPhones abroad to use simply as an iPod.Despite the fan factor, whether Japanese consumers embrace the iPhone to the degree they snapped up iPods is an open question. The longer it takes for Apple to launch in Japan, some analysts say, the more challenging the battleground will become. Over the past year, Japanese handset makers...
  • Protecting Your Internet Reputation

    The growing threat that your good name will be unfairly besmirched online has given rise to a new industry: Internet reputation repair. Companies like ReputationHawk and Reputation Defender aim to push offending material down a few search pages, where most users won't see it. They do it by creating multiple links to positive data about you, crowding out the negative, for $4,000 to $30,000. For clients not yet tarnished, they recommend creating a "preemptive wall" of positive online content, to ward off future attacks. Jeff Henderson of DONE! SEO calls this "the next generation of public relations." Of course, the same trick could work for bad guys, but the services say they refuse clients who might do harm to others.
  • Film Explores Iran's Transsexuals

    Transsexuals aren't a cultural marker typically associated with religiously inflexible dictatorships, but they are common in Iran—by some estimates, there are 150,000 Iranian transsexuals, and the country hosts more sex-change operations per year than any country outside Thailand. Iranian-American director Tanaz Eshaghian's new film, "Be Like Others," offers a fascinating look at how this subculture can exist.Explaining the apparent paradox, one Muslim cleric says that while homosexuality is explicitly outlawed in the Qur'an, sex-change operations are not. They are no more an affront to God's will than, for example, turning wheat into flour and flour into bread. So while homosexuality is punishable by death, sex-change operations are presented as an acceptable alternative—as a way to live within a set of strict gender binaries, as a way to, well, live like others. The tragic aspect comes through in discussions with patients and their reluctant parents in the waiting room of Tehran's...
  • Female-Only Transportation

    When Ariadna Montiel was a student in the 1990s and rode Mexico City's subways during peak hours, she shunned skirts in the hope of sparing herself the groping hands of a male passenger. Now the 33-year-old architect—who took charge of the capital's bus system a year ago—has devised a novel solution to the dilemma of leering lotharios: women-only bus service. Coaches bearing pink LADIES ONLY signs on their windshields made their debut on four Mexico City bus routes last month, and Montiel plans to extend the service to 11 more routes in coming weeks. "We've had to increase the original number of vehicles exclusively for women by 20 percent because there has been so much demand," says Montiel.There was a time not long ago when such segregation would have been deemed unacceptable, if not unlawful. But women-only public transit is catching on. The Tokyo subway network began setting aside cars exclusively for women more than two years ago, and Rio de Janeiro did the same with its subway...
  • After Super Tuesday

    The big primary day brought intense media coverage around the world, but with Democrats still split, much of it focused on McCain, pro and con. Samples: Israel: Haaretz rates them from one to nine on friendliness to Israel—McCain (7.75), Clinton (7.5), Obama (5.12)Cuba: Granma zings McCain as anti-Cuba; Havana hasn't forgotten he served in the U.S. Navy during Cuban missile crisis.Germany: Der Spiegel doesn't like McCain either; denounces Democrat infighting as a boon to McCain in November.Britain: The Guardian predicts that Huckabee, with appeal limited to the south, will become McCain's running mate.
  • Italy: Berlusconi, Take Three

    When Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called for new elections on April 13, he set the stage for another episode of the Silvio Berlusconi show. If the 71-year-old former prime minister wins again—he's the front runner—he faces a new world, in which his reputation for sexist (he once invited foreign investors to consider Italy because of the beautiful secretaries) and racist (he called a German European Parliament member "kapo," slang for concentration-camp prisoner) comments could play badly with key allies. France has a new president whose new wife, Italian-born Carla Bruni, has denounced Il Cavaliere as an embarrassment to her native country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel shows little tolerance for Berlusconi's political buffoonery. Berlusconi may also have some bridge building to do with George W. Bush's successor, who could well be a woman or a black man. His trademark bravura won't help him here.
  • Warming Trend in China, Taiwan Relations

    For decades, Taiwan kept ahead of rival China through dollar diplomacy, luring allies with cash and aid. Then China's economy roared, and it started winning the global contest to buy friends. Malawi, the latest target, switched allegiance to Beijing last month, and has given Taiwan until the end of this week to withdraw all embassy staff. Left with only 23 official allies, down from 30 in 2000, Taiwan accused Beijing of "buying" Malawi with $6 billion; China's Foreign Ministry rejected the charge. More important, the losses have Taiwan reconsidering what Antonio Chiang, a former official in Taiwan's National Security Council, calls "a stupid war."This signals a warming trend on one of the world's most dangerous fronts. On March 22 Taiwan will choose a successor to independence-minded President Chen Shui-bian. Both candidates plan to curtail dollar diplomacy and tone down Chen's brash approach to Beijing, which still claims Taiwan as a renegade province. The Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou...
  • Perspectives: Quotes in the News

    "With this launch, Iran has joined the world's top 11 countries possessing space technology."—Iran's PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad, announcing that his country has developed and launched a rocket with the capacity to support space satellite technology"We're delighted that Nauru finally will have no more refugees on it from now on."—Richard Towle, regional head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, on Australia's decision to end the practice of sending asylum seekers to live on nearby Pacific islands"The bride was wearing white and was ravishing, as usual … the bridegroom wasn't bad either."—Francois Lebel, mayor of Paris's eighth arrondissement, who married French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his model turned bride Carla Bruni in a private civil ceremony last Sunday"Almost by stealth, we have ended up drinking much more than we used to in the past."—British lawmakerNorman Lamb, lamenting an increase in the size of wine goblets in the country's pubs"Certain...
  • Blackberry Brings On The Bling

    A Blackberry may be a status symbol, but as the high-tech devices become ever more ubiquitous, users are increasingly looking for ways to make theirs stand out. Besides, although pretty resilient, the handhelds do have a nasty habit of sliding out of pockets and briefcases. So some top designers are creating luxury BlackBerry cases that protect in high style. For the pragmatic, Otter Box makes cases featuring durable rubber and polycarbonate that look cool and provide great cushioning ($100; Louis Vuitton has developed the Okapi Case GM, a spacious carrier made of the company's iconic Damier canvas ($420; www.louisvuitton. com). Just in time for Valentine's Day, Goldstriker International is unveiling a line of luxury leather and gold- or platinum-plated cases ($1,560; uk). For women, Violet May in London makes a stylish gold python-print BlackBerry purse, with a deep inner sleeve for the device, plus room for money, business cards and even a...
  • The General’s New Mission

    Pakistan's latest Army chief holds the key to next week's vote, and to the future of his unstable nation.
  • Four Hours In ... Udaipur

    This lakeside city of labyrinthine streets and temples is known as the most romantic city in Rajasthan, India's largest state. It rose to stardom as the setting for the 1983 James Bond film, "Octopussy." ...
  • Fashion: Fringe Is In for Fall

    Brazil's fashion capital, São Paulo, hosted more than 40 fashion shows last month. If they're any indication, this fall-winter season will definitely have a lot of fringe appeal. From flared suede pants to urban-cowboy ensembles, tassels took the runway by storm.Tereza Santos, respected for her modern collections that incorporate experimental knitwear, wove fringe into minidresses and dangled it from bags, coats, shawls and skirts. She also used multicolored tufts to accent sexy sheath dresses ($502; www.tereza The avant-garde design duo Amapo left their loose ends mostly on accessories, with slices of suede swaying from wrist gauntlets and fanny packs. Their beige belt bag ($187) trailed more than 30cm of fringe.Reinaldo Lourenço, one of Brazil's most accomplished couturiers, built boned '50s-style strapless dresses entirely out of shredded silk. The red sleeveless version featured a retro-style, full-skirted silhouette ($3,300; reinaldolourenco But the...
  • The Fight for Iran’s Freedom

    It is easy to criticize U.S. policy toward the Middle East today: Washington's militaristic approach has contributed to the growth of fundamentalism and helped strengthen dictatorial regimes. Still, Iran's fundamentalist rulers often use such criticism as a way of disguising their own ineptitude and their responsibility for Iran's deplorable conditions— including the suppression of civil society, which is undergoing another severe crackdown as I write.The mullahs' strategy is simple. To retain power, they need an enemy. They thus seek to keep their country on a perpetual war footing by playing up the notion that the Bush administration is conspiring to overthrow them, destroy the Islamic republic and undermine Islam itself. Nonviolent activists, human-rights defenders and intellectuals are labeled enemy agents. And Iran's deteriorating economic conditions are attributed to U.S. sanctions rather than to Tehran's chronic mismanagement.Internationally, Iran calls on the great powers to...
  • ‘A Good Anchor’

    Turkey's top tycoons speak out on ties to Europe, headscarves, the military and other controversies.
  • A Turkey Europe Can't Deny

    Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan just won't take no for an answer. In 2002 he and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power promising to get Turkey into the European Union. Under the banner of the EU's "Copenhagen criteria" for new members, the AKP made an impressive start: it abolished the death penalty, curbed the backroom political power of the military and eased restrictions on Kurdish language and culture. But instead of recognizing just how far Turkey had come, European leaders recoiled, rebuffing Erdogan and his country at virtually every turn. French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he opposes Turkish membership in the EU because it's "an Asian country," suggesting instead that maybe one day it could be part of a proposed Mediterranean Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns that "Turkey's membership is going to constrain the EU." She offers "privileged partnership" instead of full membership.Erdogan is undeterred. Instead of...
  • Mail Call: A Bullish Report

    Readers of our Dec. 24 cover story on the world economy's bright future were divided over our coverage. "Well done, NEWSWEEK!" cheered one. But another reminded us, "The world's largest economy has been badly bashed." Two were disappointed that Bangladesh made the cover picture but not the story.
  • U.S.-U.K. Relations on Terror

    British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is visiting Washington to discuss antiterror initiatives. What she thinks about President Bush, Guantánamo and the next American president.
  • Report: Head Injury Killed Bhutto

    Scotland Yard concludes that the former Pakistani prime minister died from head injuries. But some Bhutto supporters still believe she was slain by gunfire.
  • Coelho Gives Away His Books

    Literary lion Paul Coelho reveals a passion for promoting the online piracy of his own books. He thinks publishers should follow suit.
  • Kenya’s Rift Valley Tragedy

    With Kenya's crisis showing no signs of easing, the Rift Valley is bearing the brunt of the destruction. An on-scene report.
  • Q&A: Sierra Leone’s President

    The president of Sierra Leone discusses his country's move from civil war to democracy, and from 'blood diamonds' to a business-friendly nation.
  • A French Take on Sushi

    A top French chef defends his nation's culinary status ('French chefs are more creative') against the rise of Japanese cuisine.
  • Afghan Prison Blues

    Why are so few Taliban in jail? Hundreds are buying their way out for cash.
  • France’s New Anti-Hero

    When a rogue bank trader loses a record $7 billion, he is embraced as a star by the French, exposing the deep Gallic suspicion of capitalism.
  • Up, Up And Ka-Ching!

    In a time of tight budgets and earthly priorities, the space business is getting a rejuvenating jolt from entrepreneurs who do the right stuff on the cheap.
  • A Fight To The Death

    Sony has beaten Toshiba in the battle over high-definition DVD formats, but both sides lost the war.
  • In The Populist Corner

    Germany's elections signal a rise of the left, and a shift from anti-immigrant to economic populism.
  • Pakistan’s Forgotten Man

    If we lock up our judges and subvert the law, those who believe in a more brutal kind of justice will triumph.
  • The Imperfect Storm

    After China's leadership warns of 'a most difficult year' to come, the world may need to take shelter.
  • The New Food Capital Of The World

    Toru Okuda was in trouble. He'd slaved away for years to realize his dream of opening a gourmet restaurant in Tokyo, and by 2003 he had finally pulled it off. He'd even managed to land an address for his place, dubbed Koju, in the high-rent district of Ginza—quite an achievement for a thirtysomething from provincial Shizuoka. But just a few months after opening, Okuda realized that one critical ingredient was still missing: customers. "On some days we only had two or three," he recalls. "My cooks and I had to eat all the food. I should have enjoyed it, but it was sticking in my throat." Bankruptcy threatened.But Okuda persevered, serving impeccably prepared delicacies like charcoal-grilled blowfish and fresh snow crab topped with roe. And this past November he received his reward. Paris-based Michelin, publisher of the world's most authoritative restaurant guides, announced it was awarding him and seven other Tokyo restaurateurs its highest distinction, three stars, rocketing them...
  • Hot Spot: Hotel Boscolo Aleph, Rome

    A few steps from Via Veneto, this sleek hotel was transformed from an old bank by New York architect Adam Tihany. Inspired by Dante's "Divine Comedy," the themes of saints and sinners make it the perfect place for being naughty or nice this Valentine's Day. ...
  • 4 Hours In: Florence

    Little has changed in Florence in the last 500 years, which makes visiting this medieval city so romantic. But to make the most of four hours, you'll have to skip some of the city's top destinations, like the Uffizi and Accademia museums. Focus your time on these intimate spots instead. ...
  • The Maximalist

    Anyone can give diamond earrings for Valentine's Day. But what about diamond earphones? Norwegian jeweler Thomas Heyerdahl has created the iDiamond Ear, hewn from 18-karat white and rose gold and encrusted with 206 brilliant cut diamonds—about 1.65 carats' worth. One thousand numbered pairs are being manufactured and sold for $6,400 apiece. Too bad a matching iPod is not included (
  • Fashion: Following The Tracks Of Her Tiers

    Tiered dresses in luxe fabrics and whimsical layers skirt the line between sweet and saucy, making them perfect for a romantic night out on the town. Andrew Gn's empire-waisted vermillion silk tiered gown features a plunging neckline of handcrafted ruffles; it's finished with a silky side bow and a waterfall of flowing fabric ($7,950; Valentino has welcomed the season of love with a flirty one-shoulder sky-blue gown made from layers of gravity-defying taffeta ($23,850; Luella's form-fitting ruffle minidress, in midnight-blue organza, demands to be admired over a candlelit dinner ($670; Notte by Marchesa mixes foxy with romantic in a stunning black metallic lace baby-doll dress with a scalloped, tiered skirt ($735; For a more modern love affair, Chanel's art deco-inspired silver and white sequined minidress blends structure with a touch of sweetness, adding 18-karat-gold accents and a shell-encrusted gold...
  • Motorcycles: Faster Than a Speeding Heretic

    The best way to a man's heart is through his wheels. And the Ecosse Heretic Titanium motorcycle is about as palpitation-inducing as they come. The first bike made with an all-titanium chassis, it marries high-tech engineering with old-style design. Built for speed, the handmade engine is composed of solid aluminum and is fuel-injected and supercharged. But thanks to a radial braking system with 12 individual brake pads in front, it's easy to stop, too. Made with a carbon-fiber body, the Heretic Titanium is also shockingly lightweight, tipping the scales at about 192kg. And it's comfortable, with an adjustable, ergonomically correct gel-padded seat. As the world's most expensive bike, perhaps it's only fitting that it comes with a matching timepiece ($275,000; www But with this baby, he'll never be late.
  • Leader Watch: How Medvedev Got More Popular Than His Boss, Putin

    It could be called the vodka index, and it is perhaps as reliable an indicator of the popularity of Russian leaders as any opinion poll. In 2003, Moscow's Kristall distillery began producing Putinka vodka, and it shot up in popularity almost as quickly as its near-namesake, Vladimir Putin. By the end of 2007, it was the country's second-best-selling brand, with 2.7 percent of the $11 billion vodka market. But within weeks of Putin's endorsement of Dmitry Medvedev as his successor, the Perekrestok supermarket chain cut Putinka prices by 25 percent. At the same time, Rospatent, Russia's trademark registry, was swamped with applications to register brand names containing the word "Medved"—Russian for "bear"—for vodka and other products.Chances are good Russians will take to them with the same enthusiasm as the Putin paraphernalia. A poll last month by the Moscow-based Levada Center showed Medvedev's approval rating at a staggering 82 percent—up from around 24 percent when he was...
  • Picking Out Faces In The Crowd

    Cameras may be everywhere, but recognizing faces in the images is difficult for both people and machines alike. Test subjects do well at recognizing the faces of people they know in photographs. (Tony Blair is as easy to spot in a profile taken in a dark room as in a full frontal shot under the sun's glare.) But they do poorly at matching images of an unfamiliar person taken in varying light conditions, resolution, quality and camera angle. Computers have the same problem. The face-recognition system used by the Australian Customs Service, for instance, scored a poor 54 percent hit rate in a test by University of Glasgow psychologist Rob Jenkins, which he published recently in the journal Science. However, Jenkins was able to improve that score markedly by feeding the system a digital blend of several different images, rather than any particular one. Blended images pushed up the hit rate to an astonishing 100 percent. When Jenkins repeated the test using only those people whose...