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  • Finding The Right Stuff

    The oft-exchanged phrase among tech journalists at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, "more of the same," was a fair assessment of the gadgets on display. But we did dig up some products worth highlighting. The Neonode N2 mobile phone features an infrared-based touchscreen, making it more rugged than an iPhone or Palm. Seagate's D.A.V.E., a Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled pocket-size hard drive , allows users to access audio or video files from such diverse devices as iPhones, laptops and car stereos. But our favorite was Jook, a hardware add-on for MP3 players that permits you to broadcast music wirelessly to other Jookenabled devices within 30 feet, or tag songs broadcast by other users for purchase the next time you sync your player with your PC. It's nice to share.
  • Dashing Through The Snow

    Forget that old Flexible Flyer hanging in the garage, or even the handcrafted wooden toboggan. Like vehicles of all sorts, sleds are now being made from a variety of lightweight, high-tech materials, drastically speeding them up in the process. For sheer speed, the Airboard Classic 130-X is a sleek, aerodynamic, blow-up board with lashings of street cred ($279; www.backcountry.com). Aspiring racers can gain status on the slopes with the svelte Super Tramp Snow Champion Deluxe ($200; www.toboggans.co.uk). The prestigious carmaker Porsche has gotten into the game, creating the Kinderland Bob, a slick silver snow bike for kids ($120; porsche.com). And for a supersmooth ride, the Alu High-Tech Sledge has built-in shock absorbers that help riders glide unruffled over uneven surfaces. The buckle-resistant, ergonomic aluminum frame even folds up into a chic carry-all, so you can sashay off the slope in style—or haul it up to the top for one last run ($640; bornrich.org).
  • 4 Hours In: San José

    Costa Rica's capital is also the coffee capital of Central America, and many—though certainly not all—of its economic and cultural activities revolve around the caffeinated crop.Tour the pride of the city, the National Theater. Built in the 1890s by wealthy coffee growers, the theater is a temple to the lavish European tastes of the time, with exquisite architecture, 24-karat gilded adornments and inlaid parquet floors (Avenida 2, Calles 3/5).Visit the National Museum for a crash course in Costa Rica's history and environmental riches. Bullet holes from the country's civil war bear testament to the museum's former life as a military fort (Avenidas Central y Segunda, Calle 17).Lunch at the fair-trade Doka Estate in the fertile Central Valley. You'll enjoy local specialties; a tour of the fields and roasting processes, and enough samples to wire you well into the evening (dokaestate.com).Stroll the historic district of Barrio Amon, once home of the city's elite, where quaint Caribbean...
  • Hot Spot: Sake No Hana, London

    In the midst of historic Mayfair—just a stone's throw from the rococo splendor of the Ritz— the latest gastro-haunt for London's hip haut monde serves simple Japanese fare in slick, über-modern surroundings. ...
  • The Kiwi Boutiques

    Traveling to middle earth doesn't mean you have to settle for middle-of-the-road accommodations. New Zealand—just now hitting the height of summer—has some boutique hotels dazzling enough to match its scenery. Most travelers spend a night in Auckland before venturing out. Mollies, an elegant inn owned by an opera coach, is built around music. Some of the country's finest opera singers perform nightly in the lounge, and each room is decorated with musical antiques, like a grand piano (suites from $381; mollies.co.nz).On the north island, near Rotorua—the heart of Maori country—the charming Solitaire Lodge sits on a private peninsula in Lake Tarawera. The resort offers gourmet meals and grand lake views, as well as a private dock and helipad (deluxe from $986; solitairelodge.co.nz). An hour's drive from Wellington, the sheep station Wharekauhau houses a luxury estate with 12 gloriously designed cottages. Guests can partake in horse trekking, clay-pigeon shooting and archery (doubles...
  • Passing The Devalued Buck

    Bush's mortgage-freeze plan sets a disturbing precedent. What's next, a moratorium on car payments?
  • This Song’s For Iraq

    The winner of the Arab version of 'American Idol' talks about the emotional visit she made to her homeland.
  • The Long Career

    Westerns, comedies, dramas and silent films—a new box set proves John Ford mastered all at Fox.
  • Kenneth Branagh: A Man For All Seasons

    Kenneth Branagh—who won Oscar nominations in the 1990s for "Henry V" AND "Hamlet"—seemed to vanish after a few flops and his divorce from actress Emma Thompson. But 2007 was the 47-year-old's comeback. He directed Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and Michael Caine in "Sleuth." In 2008, he'll star alongside Tom Cruise in "Valkyrie," appear onstage in Chekhov's "Ivanov," play a detective on a British TV show and voice a radio adaptation of "Cyrano de Bergerac." Branagh chatted with NEWSWEEK's Ginnane Brownell in London. ...
  • Aid And The Unraveling Of Pakistan

    Democracy suffered a string of setbacks in 2007, many thanks to oil. Gushing oil revenues helped Vladimir Putin consolidate authoritarian rule in Russia, Hugo Chávez expand populism in Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confront the West. All the while, an analogous force was at work in Pakistan. For more than 50 years, Pakistan has reaped its own unearned manna, which has filled its coffers and kept its fragile state afloat. In this case, however, the money didn't come from the ground, but from massive military and other forms of aid, largely from the United States, China and Saudi Arabia. Yet while the source may be different, the impact of all this cash on Pakistan has been just as destructive as oil wealth elsewhere: bloating the military and creating a culture of violent instability, in which assassinations like that of Benazir Bhutto are sadly inevitable.It's impossible to understand Pakistan's current woes without examining the massive volume of aid it's amassed over the past...
  • Nuclear Help Wanted

    Plans for new plants have created a steep demand for engineering talent, but the students have fled.
  • Money For Nothing

    Asians are once again battling massive cash flows, but unlike in 1997-98, the tide is coming in.
  • Sorry, Not Interested

    Serbia refuses to give up Kosovo—even if it means giving up its shot at entering the European Union.
  • Supply-Side Nation

    The post-boomer career path--at nearly every level of the income ladder--is more like a maze than a straight line.
  • Anybody But Bush

    Europeans don't know much about the race for the U.S. presidency. But they know whom they don't like.
  • Leaders For A New Age

    As the post-boomers take power, they could bring big change in the U.S., Europe and beyond.
  • The Factory Of Factories

    How Germany's nimble manufacturers are besting not only their Western rivals, but the Chinese, too.
  • Mail Call: Print vs. e-Reading

    Readers of our Nov. 26 story on Amazon's e-reader, the Kindle, had reservations about digital books. "One objection is the lack of the ability to browse before I decide to buy; the other is the likelihood of advertising," one said. But another noted, "School texts on a Kindle would revolutionize the lives of millions." ...
  • Zakaria: Q&A With Musharraf

    Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf talks about fair elections, Benazir Bhutto's assassination and security in the region.
  • Iraq: The Cost of Protection

    Thousands of Iraqis are joining forces with American troops to drive out insurgents. What it's costing the U.S.—and why it could become even more expensive in the years ahead.
  • Liberia: Prosecuting Taylor

    Stephen Rapp, the U.N. lawyer prosecuting Charles Taylor, talks about his case against the Liberian ex-president and the power of international courts to stop slaughter
  • Dickey: Terror’s Real Frontline

    America still faces clear and present dangers. So why are the presidential debates about national security increasingly detached from reality?
  • Mideast: Whither Bush?

    Can Bush make any breakthroughs on his Mideast trip? A veteran negotiator assesses the prospects.
  • Pakistan: Bhutto’s Son Flies Solo

    Benazir Bhutto's son has finally held his own press conference. How Pakistan's heir apparent handled the media, fake Facebook pages and fears about his future.
  • Kenya: Gangs Fight in Nairobi

    As Kenya simmers, a vicious slum war is playing out between 'Taliban' vigilantes and a mysterious sect reputed to drink blood.
  • 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...