At the end of this century’s first decade, we can observe how the locus of power has shifted in world politics. The G20 is replacing the G7 as the overseer of the global economy. The need to restructure the U.N. Security Council to be more representative of the international order is profoundly pressing.
Angelina Jolie is to blame, really. Because of something she said to me in India four years ago, I have quit my 13-year career as an entertainment journalist, have given away almost everything I own, and at 43, have joined the Peace Corps.
The data would seem to be in: China is poised to become the world’s economic leader within the next few decades. But there are those under the impression that this will mean a sea change in the world’s linguistic terrain as well.
Though Jews and Arabs have been sharing Israel for more than 60 years, most Jewish Israelis tend to know little about the lives of Arabs, who make up 20 percent of the population. So when Arab Israeli novelist Sayed Kashua showed up at a trendy Tel Aviv bookstore for a reading recently, the crowd peppered him with questions.
Washington is a city that loves to tweet—more than 200 members of Congress are avid users of Twitter, obsessively sharing their real-time thoughts on every legislative decision to pass through the House or Senate these days. And now the rage has spread to D.C.’s foreign diplomats.
My father, Salmaan Taseer, governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab, was murdered on Jan. 4, shot dead in broad daylight by the policeman tasked to protect him. Acting out of a twisted piety, the man—Malik Mumtaz Qadri—shot my father because of his belief that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been misused to persecute religious minorities.
Miriam Fekry, a 22-year-old Egyptian, savored her life as she updated her Facebook page. “2010 is over. This year has the best memories of my life. Really enjoyed this year. I hope that 2011 is much better. Plz God stay beside me & help make it all true.”
Nearly a year ago, Pakistani security forces acting on U.S. intelligence arrested the Taliban’s senior leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, brother-in-law and No. 2 to the reclusive, one-eyed Mullah Mohammed Omar. Now the Taliban have finally anointed his successor.
Following a year of violent antigovernment protest and military backlash in Bangkok, and with elections likely soon, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva appears eager to show that Thailand is on the mend. In late December, the government lifted the state of emergency that had been in place in the capital for more than eight months.
Over the years, Iran’s theocracy has fearlessly thumbed its nose at Israel, the United States, and the United Nations. But now Tehran has taken its row with the West a disturbing degree further. This week the Iranian government reportedly banned all works by Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian mystic and author of international bestsellers such as "The Alchemist," "Diary of a Magus," and "Veronika Decides to Die."
After several extensions, the U.N. Mission in Nepal charged with overseeing the country’s postwar transition says it’s packing up for good. And its scheduled departure on Jan. 15 has cast further doubt over the fate of Maoist combatants, whose confinement had been one of the few stabilizing developments in an otherwise fractious, unfulfilled peace process.
At about the same time that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was meeting President Obama in Washington on Wednesday morning, trouble was brewing back home: Hizbullah and its allies withdrew 11 ministers from the cabinet, effectively causing Lebanon’s government to collapse. As political hardball goes, this is a pretty difficult move to top.
Haitians have little reason to feel optimistic about the process of rebuilding their lives and their nation. Only 5 percent of the debris has been cleared, and 1 million people remain displaced, scraping by in shacks made of sticks and tarps, many without access to proper hygiene, food, and drinking water. And even that unstable existence is now being threatened, as landlords begin to evict squatters in order to rebuild.
Hugo Chávez went on the offensive in Caracas following his party’s poor election showing this fall, pushing through a slate of measures that amounted to a sustained political power grab ahead of the swearing-in of the new Parliament last week. On the international scene, though, the famously combative Venezuelan president has been striking an unusually conciliatory tone.
After more than three years of self-imposed exile in Iran, the Shiite leader is back in the holy city of Najaf. Sadr kept a relatively low profile during his time in Iran, but he is unlikely to do the same in his home country.
Extremism associated with Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law appeared to claim another victim Tuesday, when the governor of Punjab, the country's wealthiest and most politically powerful province, was gunned down in Islamabad by a member of his own security detail. Here are excerpts from a recent NEWSWEEK Pakistan interview with the governor, Salmaan Taseer.
The White House is impatient for Chinese President Hu Jintao’s Jan. 19 state visit, but not to talk about China. Instead, the critical agenda item is North Korea. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg recently led a delegation to Beijing seeking help in persuading Pyongyang to cease its provocations. Publicly, Beijing has stood by its neighbor through it all, from the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in May to the lethal shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November. Privately, though, U.S. officials are convinced, China’s support is wearing thin.
Leave it to Hugo Chávez to turn natural calamity into political opportunity. As torrential rains left 130,000 Venezuelans homeless, the president leveraged the elements to his advantage. He won the legislature’s blessing to rule the country by decree for the next 18 months “on humanitarian grounds.” But his plans go way beyond aiding storm victims. Bundled into the package are measures that would allow confiscations of private property, higher taxes, state takeovers of banks and private companies, and cuts to foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations.
In early December, nations met for another round of climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, where a joint initiative was launched to make women more integral to the process known by the acronym REDD, which aims to compensate developing countries for protecting forests. NEWSWEEK’s Katie Baker and Tania Barnes spoke with noted Indian economist Bina Agarwal on how women are central to global conservation efforts. Excerpts:
As China’s economy roars into another year, analysts are keeping a wary eye on the country’s land and housing prices. Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics reported a 7.7 percent rise in those prices over the past year, and many experts believe that the actual increase was far more steep than that.