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  • 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.
  • On-Scene at Columbia: Gasps, Cheers and Boos

    The Iranian president drew cheers and boos from his Ivy League audience. But the university's Lee Bollinger may have been the real scene-stealer during the controversial visit.
  • Q&A: U.S. Special Envoy on Somalia

    The U.S. Special Envoy to Somalia discusses the security situation in Mogadishu and the widespread 'lack of confidence' in the Somali government.
  • Sony’s PSP Loses Weight

    Like Nintendo's DS last year, Sony's PlayStation Portable is getting a much-needed nip and tuck. The new PSP is only 2cm thick, down from 2.3cm. And thanks in part to a slimmer battery, the device is shedding about 71g, down to 190g. Other upgrades include: ...
  • Autos: Maserati GranTurismo

    Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Prince Rainier III of Monaco ratcheted up their already glamorous images by driving a Maserati GranTurismo. It will surely do the same for anyone else who gets behind the wheel of this automotive beauty. Sixty years after the GT's debut, its glorious looks and nimble performance are as contemporary as ever, with exacting steering, confident handling and new smooth-shifting six-speed automatic gearbox. Its 0-to-60 time, 5.1 seconds, may not be ripping but it's thrilling enough.This four-seater rides on formidable 19-inch wheels, has LED taillights for excellent all-weather visibility and stops fast with racing-inspired Brembo brakes. And like any true fashion plate, the GranTurismo insists on custom flourish. There are 19 exterior colors to choose from and 10 interior leather hues. You could pay less for a comparably equipped car but you wouldn't cut nearly as dashing an image. –Tara Weingarten
  • Four Hours In Kunming

    Tucked in lush southwest China, the capital of Yunnan province boasts a mild climate, a relaxed pace and ethnic diversity. Yunnan Nationalities Village for an introduction to China's ethnic minority cultures, VISIT with sample "villages," crafts and guides in each tribe's traditional garb (ynmzc.com). CLIMB nearby Xishan mountain for a spectacular view of Lake Dianchi. Stop at one of the peaceful forest temples and visit the tomb of Nie Er, who composed China's national anthem. EAT at 1910 La Gare de Sud, a colonial-style holdover from when the French built a train line from Hanoi. Savor the fried goat cheese with sweet-and-sour sauce (86-871-316-9486). DRINK Yunnan ' s famed puer tea and relax at the All Four One café. The owners donate profits to charitable projects (86-871-656-7121 ).
  • Luxury Opera Packages

    The passing of Luciano Pavarotti has inspired much lamenting about the future of opera. Aficionados needn't worry; a number of companies are offering special opera tours that combine spectacular singing with unforgettable dining and accommodations.Euridice Opera organizes personalized trips that can include meeting a singer or even a private performance at, say, England's Glyndebourne Festival. On Dec. 7, the company will arrange for couples to see the performance of Puccini's "Turandot" at the famed Teatro La Fenice in Venice, followed by a formal ball inside the hall (from $3,500; euridice-opera.com).JMB Travel specializes in holidays among 28 European and North American houses. Visit a theater in a different country each night, including Cracow's Slowacki Theatre and Milan's La Scala; wine tastings are often included (from $700; jmbtravel.co.uk).The Hotel Imperial in Vienna offers a three-night stay and a performance of one's choice at the State Opera across the street (from $1...
  • Samuelson: The Catch-22 of Economics

    We are now in the "blame phase" of the economic cycle. As the housing slump deepens and swings in financial markets widen, we've embarked on the usual search for culprits. Our investigations will doubtlessly reveal much wishful thinking and miscalculation. They will also find incompetence, predatory behavior and some criminality. Though inevitable and necessary, this exercise is also simplistic and deceptive.It assumes that, absent mistakes and misdeeds, we might remain in a permanent paradise of powerful income and wealth growth. The reality, I think, is that the economy follows its own Catch-22: by taking prosperity for granted, people perversely subvert prosperity. The more we—business managers, investors, consumers—think that economic growth is guaranteed and that risk and uncertainty are receding, the more we act in ways that raise risk, magnify un-certainty and threaten economic growth. Prosperity destabilizes itself.This is not a new idea. Indeed, it explains why terms like ...
  • The Last Word: Aitzaz Ahsan

    Pakistani lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, 62, scored what he calls "the greatest victory of my life" when he successfully defended the Supreme Court's Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and won his reinstatement in July after President Pervez Musharraf had summarily dismissed him four months earlier. Ahsan, a former Interior minister under Benazir Bhutto and a stalwart of her Pakistan People's Party, also engineered the popular campaign in support of Chaudhry—which has developed into an anti-Musharraf movement—personally chauffeuring Chaudhry in popular processions across the country. Although he has recused himself from arguing cases before Chaudhry, he will present an opinion to the Supreme Court this week when it takes up petitions challenging the legality of Musharraf's election to another five-year term as president. In his book-lined law office in Islamabad, Ahsan spoke with NEWSWEEK's Ron Moreau about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's deportation, the upcoming court cases and...
  • Peter Galbraith: The Kurdish Border Poses an Explosive Threat

    Qandil Mountain is an unusual trouble spot. straddling the Iran-Iraq border in the Kurdish regions of both countries, it is inaccessible and inhospitable. When I drove up the mountain in 1992, valleys with scorching summer temperatures gave way to large snowfields. At the time, Qandil was home base for a Western-oriented Kurdish democratic movement that infiltrated political activists and guerrilla fighters into Iranian Kurdistan. Today that base is used by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist group on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations for attacks in Turkey, and PJAK, its Iranian branch. Though the Petraeus and Crocker testimony last week focused on violence in and around Baghdad, the Kurdish border regions pose an explosive threat that could embroil Iran, Turkey, Iraq and the United States.The PKK fought a 15-year war with Turkey that ended in 1999 with the capture of its leader Abdullah Ocalan. PKK remnants then fled to Qandil; ever since, Turkey...
  • Jorge Castaneda: Mexico's Fragile Democracy

    At long last Mexico has cobbled together tax and electoral reforms—but not the ones the country needed. Indeed the reforms passed by Congress last week might have been worse than none at all, and will likely make it more difficult to improve matters in the future. In part, this is because the legislation is the result of a peculiarly Mexican version of good old-fashioned horse trading. President Felipe Calderón's administration wanted more revenue but no new election laws; opposition leaders wanted electoral reform but no new taxes. Both got part of what they wanted. Mexico got a mess.For starters, the lawmakers proposed an alternative minimum tax along with a slight increase in gasoline taxes. But the two were so watered down that they barely added up, according to the government's figures, to a mere 1 percent of GDP—an insignificant increase. But the electoral reforms are likely to lead to even bigger problems, threatening the validity of future elections and placing democratic...
  • The Fight Over Online Casinos

    An unlikely trade dispute between the U.S. and Antigua over online gaming has turned into a David-and-Goliath battle, proving small nations can wield large digital sticks.
  • Mail Call: What Putin Wants

    Our July 23 story on the dictatorship in Russia drew varied responses from readers. One wrote, "Like all Russian leaders, Vladimir Putin seeks absolute power." Another said, "He wants respect for Russia." ...
  • In The Face Of Death

    The Iraqis who signed up to help the Americans are losing faith—and often their lives. One family's story.
  • Hard of Seeing

    Call it the contact lens of hearing aids. Researchers at Otologics, a Boulder, Colorado, firm, have come up with a hearing aid that is surgically implanted behind the ear, out of sight. The device consists of a microphone that picks up sound and transmits it to a piston implanted in the middle ear, which transfers the vibrations to the tiny bones of the inner ear. The device doesn't offer better hearing—it reproduces a narrower range of frequencies than conventional hearing aids, and users did slightly worse in word-comprehension tests. But subjects reported that the sound was more "natural." The device, which is available in Europe and in clinical trials in the United States, works in the shower or the pool and doesn't have to be taken off before bed. But the battery must be recharged nightly, via a transmitter strapped to the user's head, for 60 minutes or more. The implant requires general anesthesia and must be replaced in five to 20 years.The price: $19,000 (surgery included).
  • Schmooze Nation

    Geeks don't normally get to play the role of national hero, but Orkut Buyukkokten will not soon forget the trip he made to Brazil earlier this year. The 32-year-old creator of the social-networking site Orkut.com was mobbed by reporters, photographers and autograph seekers. In the United States or Europe, Orkut's name would probably draw a blank stare.Brazil, it seems, is emerging as a bellwether nation for Internet trends. Brazilians have been quick to check out new social-networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Fotolog. And they're largely responsible for the spectacular growth of Orkut's site—Brazilians account for 57 percent of its 44 million members. This is impressive, considering how badly the country is wired. Only a fifth of Brazilians have ever gone online, and fewer than 11 million have Web access at home. But they're a zealous minority. A recent Nielsen/Net Ratings poll showed that Brazilians spend almost 24 hours a month online on average—more than Net surfers from...
  • Mideast: Crossover Radio Opens New Channels

    A new Mideast radio station is attracting both Palestinians and Israelis. How a format created during South Africa's apartheid era is offering a fresh forum in a troubled region.
  • Water World

    The forecast just seems to get gloomier. Climate change may dramatically increase the risk of flooding across the globe, even far from shorelines, say scientists in the journal Nature. The reason: plants won't soak up as much moisture in a world with more greenhouse pollution. When plants are exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide, holes in their leaves, called stomata, react by getting smaller. The trouble is, smaller stomata also reduce the evaporation of water. Plants that retain more water don't need to soak up as much from the ground. Rain falling on water-saturated soil will run off into the rivers, causing floods. "There's a positive message to be taken from this, too," says co-author Richard Betts, a climate scientist at the U.K.'s Met Office Hadley Centre. The phenomenon could help regions that now suffer from drought.
  • Learning Game

    If you see someone on the Tokyo subway fiddling with a Nintendo DS handheld, chances are he's not just playing videogames, but engaged in self-improvement. In recent months millions of Japanese have been using their thumbs to sharpen their minds, thanks to new educational programs introduced for the Nintendo DS.The trend is all the more remarkable because educational software has always been the videogame version of spinach—good for you, but no second helpings, please. That changed two years ago with the success of Brain Age software, which offers mental drills. Nintendo and other software makers followed with dozens of programs for education, physical training and practical skills. The software is catching on among gamers and nongamers alike—from baby boomers and salarymen to housewives and students. The top-selling programs concentrate on cultural literacy, vocabulary building, math drills and English-language instruction. According to the latest figures from Enterbrain, a Tokyo...
  • Nick Foulkes: Luxury Can't Be Taught in Class

    The dawning of the new academic year reminds me of my distrust of vocational education. Of course, there are exceptions: medicine, say, or the piloting of large aircraft. However, I believe that the line should be drawn long before one gets to luxury. Don't get me wrong; craftsmen should be skilled in their disciplines. But it is the pernicious cult of the M.B.A. and its increasing influence on the world of luxury that concerns me.Luxury is not something you can pick up in a classroom. The appreciation of true luxury is a lifetime's work. I find the idea that one can be taught luxury—and the thought that the world's great brands are going to be run by a bunch of spreadsheet jockeys—really rather dispiriting. This sense of gloom was compounded by the death of British luxury-nightclub owner Mark Birley last month.I was privileged to count Mark as a friend. More than 40 years ago he founded the world's grandest nightclub, Annabel's, in Berkeley Square, and every decade or so thereafter...
  • Hi-End Decorative Drains

    Anyone can jazz up a bathroom with fancy tiles or a gleaming curvy faucet. But some high-end companies have come up with a way to add sparkle and luxury appeal even to waste water: by creating dazzling plugs and drain fittings. Murano House makes stunning handmade Venetian fixtures; its latest jeweled vanity range incorporates precious stones like emeralds, rubies, amber and amethysts set in glass on refined gilded silver, gold or platinum mountings (muranohouse.com). The company also features a more masculine sink fitting that doubles as a timepiece. The Watch Waste not only looks intriguing but will guarantee you'll never lose track of time while conducting your toilette.The Arizona-based company Linkasink also stocks an interesting range of decorative drain fittings, including beautiful beaded shell, carved stone and even cloisonné drains (linkasink.com). They're a welcome distraction from flossing.
  • Maximalist: The Locus Car

    Made entirely of carbon fiber, Canada's new Locus Plethore—also known as the Quebec Bomb—features a rip-roaring 8.2-liter V-8 engine but no subframe, making the chassis exceptionally rigid. This baby will set you back a cool $314,000, but you'll have to wait until next summer to get your hands on it.
  • Four Hours In…Macau

    The former Portuguese enclave may be small, but it's packed with history, beaches, fantastic food and a burgeoning gambling scene that may someday rival Las Vegas. Don't miss out. Wander through the cobblestone streets of the old city. Visit the Fortalezado Monte, which houses the Museum of Macau, showcasing the formercolony's origins (macaumuseum.gov.mo). Buy almond cookies, crunchy peanut candy and other treats at one of the eight Pastelaria Koi Kei locations (koikei.com). Eat at Restaurante Fernando, a Portuguese beachside joint serving oven-roasted suckling pig, clams and crab, among other delicacies (fernando-restaurant.com). Play a hand of blackjack at Wynn Macau(wynnmacau.com) or the newly opened Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel (venetianmacao.com).
  • Long Sweater-Coats for Fall

    When Coco Chanel decided to branch out from selling hats in her Paris boutique, she turned straight to sweaters. They're versatile and comfortable, and women can't seem to have too many. Since then, knits have become a Chanel mainstay.This season, they're hotter than ever. Belted, buttoned, zipped or tied, these knits can be worn as coats, dresses or in place of a blazer around the office. Chanel's current collection includes two sweater dresses, both elegantly subdued: a plum wool-jersey jacket and a stunningly sexy cashmere variation on the little black dress ($3,351 and $2,758; chanel.com).The world's largest cashmere manufacturer, Loro Piana, offers a wealth of sweater dresses and jackets, often pairing them. Its wool minidress and coat combine comfort and couture, in the true spirit of sweater chic ($1,595 and $2,500; loropiana.com).Other top designers are using some of the finest wools available to go bold and quirky. Stella McCartney makes her sweater-coats playful and...
  • Barton Biggs: Why Markets Are So Shaky

    Since mid-July, equity and fixed-income markets across the world have endured sickening declines and startling volatility. Major financial institutions have suffered grievous wounds, and numerous lesser bodies have drifted to the surface belly-up. On Aug. 28, a beautiful, relatively rumorless, late summer day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average abruptly collapsed 280 points,with the volume in falling stocks 10 times that of rising shares. Most of this rout came in the last two hours of trading. The next day there was a massive surge up of 247 points, again concentrated in the final hours. And so it has gone. The number of extreme days in the last six weeks is unprecedented, begging an explanation.First, volatility breeds fear and therefore more volatility. The giant hedge funds and proprietary trading desks are run by people who, like us, are susceptible to fear and greed. Most are not particularly intellectual, analytical or studious. They rely on their intuitions, and their basic...