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  • Ruchir Sharma: The Myth of the Asian Century

    In economic and financial circles, the mere mention of Asia these days typically conjures up images of booming growth, surging consumer spending, rapidly modernizing cities and buzzing entrepreneurial energy. However, the reality is that beyond the sensational growth stories of China and India, many other parts of the continent are struggling to regain lost glory and are under-performing their global peers. The most obvious case of disappointment is Japan. While it's popular to associate China's rise with a decline in U.S. economic power, America's share in the global economy has remained stable this decade at just under 30 percent. Japan's share, on the other hand, has fallen to less than 10 percent from more than 15 percent a decade ago. In statistical terms, China is barely making up for Japan's decline in the growth league tables, with Japanese growth averaging a measly 1 percent this decade compared with the global average of 3.5 percent over the same period. The fundamental...
  • China Learns The Power Play

    In China, history tends to get politicized. Visitors to a Tang-dynasty museum outside Xian, for example, are treated to a carefully controlled message. The Tang era (A.D. 618 to 907) is described as China's golden age, a heyday of elegance and commerce. A plaque in the exhibit states the theme bluntly: "The prosperity of Tang had [a] direct connection with its all-round open policy ... From here, the advanced culture of Tang spread out, and the gems of the outside civilization came in."The moral is unmistakable: China prospers when it reaches out to the world. The idea is dear to the country's current leaders, who have staked their reputations on furthering China's economic rise and smoothing out its rough edges. To that end, Beijing has been vigorously courting countries throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, promoting a "harmonious world" abroad while it pushes for a more equitable "harmonious society" at home.Sounds good, but there's a catch. Being...
  • Last Word: David Miliband

    It was a busy week for David Miliband, Great Britain's youthful new foreign secretary . On Tuesday, the 42-year-old addressed the Labour Party conference, acknowledging the successes and "scars" from 10 years of Labour government and saying that Britain must strengthen its links with the United States and the international community to address the worlds' problems. Europe, he added, should avoid institutional navel gazing and look "to the problems beyond its borders that define insecurity within our borders." Two days later he addressed the U.N. General Assembly, warning that rising inequality is both "morally offensive" and "dangerous" to global stability and prosperity. In a discussion with NEWSWEEK editors, he elaborated on his view that three key issues—inequality, terror and climate change—are threats the world must come to terms with. Excerpts: ...
  • An Emergency In Art

    An exhibit in Singapore reveals the different ways paintings can be used to promote a political cause.
  • A New Breed of CEOs

    Emerging-market CEOs used to play it quiet. Now some are embracing capitalist celebrity, flaunting their winnings in the public eye.
  • Burma: Rebels Plan Next Steps

    Rangoon may have quieted for now, but Burmese activists say the struggle against the junta is far from over. Are their goals realistic?
  • Tough Talk From the Top

    With leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, two very different presidents seek support for the changes they hope to bring to their homelands.
  • The Next Musharraf

    A Westernized, chain-smoking spy could soon become the most powerful man in Pakistan.
  • The Darkest Secret

    By revealing the painful story of her sexual abuse as a child, actress Teri Hatcher hopes to help other victims.
  • Burma: After Protests, Rebels Plot Comeback

    Burma's rebel fighters were conspicuously absent when monks and ordinary citizens took to the streets of Rangoon. But guerrilla leaders say the mass protests have helped unite their divided groups.
  • Blackwater: The Confidential Iraqi Incident Report

    An extensive evidence file assembled by the Iraqi National Police after the controversial Blackwater shooting suggests that the private contractors opened fire unprovoked from the ground and the sky.
  • At Burma-Thai Border, Citizens Keep Quiet

    Residents of a small Burmese city on the border with Thailand are mostly keeping quiet about the protests across Burma. And that's just the way the authorities want it.
  • Biofuel Forests

    Most of the world's palm oil comes from Southeast Asia, and now demand is skyrocketing—thanks in part to its use in biofuels. Global production went from 4.5 million tons in 1980 to 20.9 million tons in 2000, and is expected to rise to 30.4 million by 2010. But palm-oil plantations are wreaking environmental havoc by clearing large swaths of tropical forests. Conservation groups say this destruction of ancient rain forests could wipe out species like the orangutan, and have mounted campaigns to boycott palm-oil products. But many locals who depend on palm oil for their livelihood are unhappy about Western attacks on the industry. What to do? Environmental groups should buy shares in plantations and use profits to buy forested land for nature reserves, says Princeton ecologist Lian Pin Koh. Environmental groups, however, say ownership would undermine their credibility. They'd rather get industry to invest in conservation.
  • Where Are You?

    For only $2.99 a month, Sam Altman says he can "increase our depth of vision." Altman's Mountain View, California, company, loopt, recently inked a deal with the mobile-phone carrier Sprint that will enable a GPS cell phone to track the current location of all your friends. Once you download loopt mapping software to your phone, dots representing the current locations of your friends appear on a digital map. (The friends, of course, must first agree to be tracked.) You can zoom in and out to pinpoint their exact positions, and if one of them sends you an SMS, the message appears in a bubble connected to the corresponding dot. "This is the next level up" in social-networking sites, says Jordy Mont-Reynaud, a programmer in San Francisco. He has loopt alert him each time a buddy comes within a mile.The service is becoming available now largely because the hardware for determining a person's "geolocation" is getting cheaper. Many cell phones contain GPS chips. Loopt and other start-ups...
  • A Railroad Car Of One’s Own

    Reminiscent of a bygone era of cigar smoke and three-piece suits, vintage railroad cars have been restored to their former glory with art deco interiors, private bathrooms and five-star chefs. For about $7,000 a day, these cars can be hitched to passenger or freight trains for private charter through parts of the United States, Mexico and Canada (aaprco.com). The Hickory Creek, a fully restored 1948 Pullman car, once ferried movie stars and media from New York to Chicago along the 20th Century Limited line. Today the dining car uses heavy silver and original waiter uniforms to ensure that guests soak in "some of that Cary Grant feeling," says charter agent Scott Clauss (startrakinc.com). Riders on the opulent Metis Rail car, built in 1928 for Queen Elizabeth to tour Canada, can dine on lobster and truffles in the formal mahogany dining room (www.american.rail .com). They'll hope the trip never ends.
  • Maximalist

    Here's one laptop you won't want to leave on the train. Tulip Ego custom-designs its notebooks, using rare materials and plenty of jewels. This model is made of sharkskin, with 6.8 carats of diamonds and white-gold finishing—and sells for €50,000. But buyers can order whatever they want to satisfy their own, um, egos (tulip-ego.com).
  • Hot Spot: Selous Safari Camp, Tanzania

    For those stalking the Big Five—lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo—in the Selous Game Reserve, the Selous Safari Camp is ideal for roughing it in high style (selous.com). ...
  • Four Hours in Reims

    An hour's TGV ride east of Paris, the center of champagne also offers dazzling Gothic architecture and a lively café culture.VISIT the city's celebrated Gothic cathedral, St-Rémi, a UNESCO World Heritage site where 25 French kings—from Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825—were crowned.EAT the foie gras and smoked-duck salad at Café L'Apostrophe, a former printing house and local hangout in the town center (Place Drouet d'Erlon; restaurantlapostrophe.com).DRINK a sample glass of bubbly on a guided tour of any of the city's world-renowned champagne houses, including Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and Taittinger (champagne.world web.com/ReimsArea/Reims).STROLL through Verzy park, on the outskirts of town, where you'll find trees in curiously deformed shapes (www.parc-montagnedereims.fr).
  • Proud As A Peacock

    Talk about birds of a feather sticking together. This fall, ostrich, pheasant and even pigeon feathers are popping up on jackets, gowns, handbags and necklaces. The look can be bold and bright or sweetly ephemeral.Prada adorns a sleeveless knee-length coat with long, black beaded feathers. With a mohair faux fur vest on top and a wide orange felt band, it's one of the more whimsical takes on the trend ($6,550; prada.com).Nina Ricci sent her models down the runway with wispy ostrich feathers threaded through their hair like Shakespeare's midsummer fairies. The motif is repeated in her alpaca and mohair poncho, one of the easier pieces to weave into an existing wardrobe. In a soft light gray, the poncho's chunky knit and asymmetrical hem complement the delicate strands of feathers woven throughout ($1,215; eluxury.com).Fashion bad boy Alexander McQueen is enamored of ostrich feathers, too, using them to adorn the bottom of a short, sage green silkchiffon cocktail dress. The long...
  • How To Hedge Your Bets

    Long the subject of mystique on Wall Street, hedge funds have gotten plenty of ink in recent years thanks to both their spectacular returns and equally spectacular debacles (think Long-Term Capital Management and, more recently, high-profile subprime victims like Bear Stearns's hedge funds). They are almost always defined in the extreme, as either legendary producers of superior investment returns, or vultures and potential destabilizers of the financial system.The truth, of course, is somewhere in between—an important point to make, now that hedge funds are coming to Main Street. A growing number of funds are looking to issue shares to the public through IPOs. Baskets of funds are being marketed through "fund of funds" vehicles. And hedge-fund techniques are increasingly being offered by more-traditional asset managers; one form is called a 130/30 equity fund—i.e., a vehicle that can borrow money to leverage its bullish equity positions to 130 percent of its capital and, at the...
  • France Learns How To Say Yes

    We've already turned the page," Bernard Kouchner, France's popular new foreign minister, likes to say. The page in question concerns the tensions between France and the United States, a historic rivalry that reached a peak several years ago over the invasion of Iraq. Now, under the unabashedly pro-American President Nicolas Sarkozy, Paris seems to be signaling that France will no longer seek to constrain U.S. power as a matter of principle. Even as other European leaders keep their distance from the unpopular hyperpower, France is pursuing a revolution in foreign policy that could transform the transatlantic relationship.From the very start of his presidency last May, Sarkozy made clear that he would not be afraid of aligning himself with the United States when it was in France's interest to do so. In the past few weeks, it's become clear he meant what he said.The first and symbolically most important sign came when Kouchner unexpectedly visited Iraq in August. Prior to that trip,...
  • A Test Lab For China

    Hong Kong's iron lady is back. As deputy to the last British governor, Chris Patten, and then to Beijing-appointed chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, Anson Chan showed decisive leadership and candor—particularly on Hong Kong's need for democracy as promised in its mini-Constitution, or basic law. At odds with Tung, she exited the cabinet and retired in arly 2001. Now she is running for a seat on the Legislative Council in a December by-election. Chan is campaigning against current Chief Executive Donald Tsang's Green Paper on political reform, calling it "a big disappointment." Her aim: push Beijing to allow direct elections for the city's top leader when Tsang's term expires in 2012. NEWSWEEK's George Wehrfritz spoke with Chan last week. Excerpts: ...
  • So Much for a Mighty Europe

    How far down will the financial crisis drag Europe's newly resurgent economy? That's the trillion-euro question in continental capitals last week. It's a bitter moment: after decades of stagnation, Europe was suddenly looking more economically powerful than America.Growing at a stellar 3.1 percent in 2006, European Union countries soared past America in job creation. Unemployment across the 27-member bloc has plummeted to 6.9 percent, a level last seen a generation ago. The numbers have given Europe a new confidence about its place in a globalizing world. Now, as subprime-related troubles reverberate throughout Europe, the moment seems to be over before it's begun. The British government had to intervene to stop a bank run last week. Housing markets in the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland are headed downward, and more of Germany's poorly monitored Landesbanken may need government bailouts thanks to their hoarding of risky U.S. assets.The crisis comes at a moment when Europe's...
  • The Butterfly Effect

    China—the Other Growth Engine— was supposed to save the world from U.S. financial woes. It won't.
  • Sartre, Meet Sarkozy

    The French president is exhorting his countrymen to philosophize less and work more. But are the French really too cerebral? Hmm, let's give that some thought.
  • Houses of the Hidden

    North Korea's Christians face execution for the sin of believing. But their numbers are growing.
  • Mail Call: The Darfur Tragedy

    Readers of Mia Farrow's July 30 interview on Darfur were divided. One wrote, "Mia's cry of the heart must be heeded." Another said, "Darfur is tragic … but to boycott the Olympics would be unkind, a big mistake."
  • Blackwater Down

    A noonday shoot-out in Baghdad prompts angry calls for Western security contractors to be reined in.
  • Formula 1 Racing Scandal Lingers On

    Formula 1 racing fans are still chattering about the $100 million fine levied on the U.K.'s McLaren team this month. Was the punishment overly harsh?
  • Interview: On Being Gay in Iran

    A gay Iranian discusses Ahmadinejad's 'no gays' comment and what it's like to live in a country that refuses to accept homosexuality.
  • Troops and Tension in Rangoon

    Britain's ambassador to Burma discusses the situation in Rangoon as protestors continue to defy the military junta.
  • Liu: Can China Avert a Crisis in Burma?

    The junta is so illogical that it used numerology to schedule its last crackdown. That makes the outcome of the current violence impossible to predict and raises doubts about whether even China can influence the country's military rulers.
  • Diplomat: What We Should Do About Burma

    Is there still time to avert further bloodshed in Burma? A former ambassador to the country discusses the protests, the role of the monks and what the international community should do now.
  • Lebanon: Setbacks in Selecting a President

    Lebanon's efforts to select a new president are already facing fresh setbacks. But with a deadline looming, lawmakers risk even deeper chaos if they fail to make a choice.
  • Q&A: Iraq's Ambassador to U.S.

    Iraq's ambassador to the United States backs the Petraeus plan, calls for Iran to 'stop interfering' in his country's affairs—and expects a continued American presence there for a long time to come.