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  • Last Word: Mia Farrow

    Mia Farrow: The actress talks about helping the victims at Darfur and putting Steven Spielberg in his place.
  • China's (Controlled) Virtual World

    Zhao Gang surveys his nearly empty virtual world, and finds it to be good. Zhao is head of the tech team that built HiPiHi—China's answer to Second Life. With the virtual world's basic landscape complete, one of Zhao's jobs these days is to wander HiPiHi, schooling roughly 10,000 ethnic Chinese from the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore who have been specially invited into the test phase to help work out the kinks. The "residents," as they're called, roam, swim and fly around the new world. Zhao approaches two avatars for a chat. Face to face with the virtual world's Master Builder, they have an urgent question: "Can you tell us how to change our clothes?"Thus begins the education of China's 137 million (and counting) Netizens into the ways of 3-D virtual worlds. With a launch planned for the end of the year, HiPiHi appears to be on track to becoming the first homegrown Chinese competitor to Second Life, the virtual world that's all the rage in the United States. HiPiHi's 38...
  • Kishore Mahbubani: Tough Truths About Free Trade

    The word 'protection' is no longer taboo." this short sentence, uttered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy late last month, may have launched a new era in economic history. Why? For decades, Western leaders have believed that lowering trade barriers and tariffs was an inherent good. Doing so, they reasoned, would lead to greater economic efficiency and productivity, which in turn would improve human welfare. Championing free trade thus became a moral, not just an economic, cause.These leaders, of course, weren't acting out of altruism. They knew their economies were the most competitive, so they'd profit most from liberalization. And developing countries feared that their economies would be swamped by superior Western productivity. Today, however, the tables have turned—though few acknowledge it. The West continues to preach free trade, but practices it less and less (especially in agriculture; this is why the Doha Round of trade talks is dying). Asia, meanwhile, continues to plead...
  • Al Qaeda: Internal Power Struggle Looms

    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's moment of triumph was brief. Even before his soldiers had overrun the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque—a complex in the heart of the normally sleepy capital of Islamabad that had been occupied by extremists—the retaliations began. Early last week Afghan Taliban and Pakistani tribal militants launched suicide attacks against several Pakistani military convoys. Another bomber walked into a police recruiting center, killing 29 in a single gory blast. The next day militants launched a classic guerrilla ambush using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades that killed 14 Pakistani soldiers traveling in a convoy. The attacks demonstrated a shocking degree of organization and speed—not to mention strategic cunning. After former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto publicly backed Musharraf's counterterror operation against the Red Mosque, yet another suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a group waiting to attend a rally of her Pakistan Peoples...
  • When Rock Was Young

    In March 1955, the teen drama "Blackboard Jungle" hit U.S. movie theaters, with a rollicking tune called "Rock Around the Clock" played during the opening credits. Within weeks, American youths around the country were jitterbugging to it; by July the Bill Haley and His Comets song had reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts. It stayed there for eight weeks, turning the fledgling sound called rock and roll into a bona fide musical genre.This summer, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, the Fondation Cartier, a contemporary art center in Paris underwritten by Cartier jewelers, celebrates those early years with "Rock 'n' Roll 39-59" (through Oct. 28). The fun, interactive exhibition tells the stories of rock's first stars, from Haley and Presley to Little Richard and Buddy Holly. It's a lively tale, revisited through music, film, photographs and memorabilia—including a vintage Seeburg V200 jukebox that visitors can play free of charge. "From the day I started...
  • Sarkozy Hires The Opposition

    As Nicolas Sarkozy took in the political landscape on Bastille Day, he could be forgiven for his giddiness. The new president's approval ratings were in the stratosphere—nearing 70 percent in some polls—thanks in no small part to the new-look government he'd put together, one with an ethnic, racial and gender makeup far more reflective of modern France than any before (consider Rachida Dati, a daughter of North African immigrants, whom he appointed as minister of Justice). Less visible but particularly potent is Sarkozy's political diversity campaign, dubbed ouverture (or openness), that has seen him lure a growing array of prominent Socialists, centrists and other leftist activists to work in or for his conservative government. Admiring the varied team that he assembled at the Elysée Palace on July 14, the president gushed, "I am blown away by so many beautiful symbols."The ones really blown away, however, have been the Socialist opposition, which is reeling. Sarkozy cannily...
  • Inside Gaza: Who Killed the Juha Sisters?

    Yehia Abu Moghaseb knew something wasn't right almost as soon as he saw the headlights. The Gaza Strip gravedigger watched from his house as two cars turned down the sloping dirt driveway of the Martyrs' Cemetery in his village of Wadi Salgah, where he works. It was almost 10 p.m. last Saturday, too late for a funeral. He walked down the hill toward the lights and found several men gathered around the hatchback of a blue and white Mitsubishi Magnum. The men were polite but a little harried. As Moghaseb looked on, they lifted three large bundles wrapped in black plastic from the back of the car, and carelessly dropped them into freshly dug pits lined with cinderblocks. They shoveled a few scoops of sand on top, before driving off into the warm Gaza night.The gravedigger wasn't exactly sure what to do next. "There's no police," he recalled later; shortly after the Islamist Hamas organization seized power in June, Gaza's police chief, who is loyal to Fatah, suspended all civilian law...
  • Bangladesh: Turmoil After Former P.M.’s Arrest

    More than 25 years ago, Bangladesh's leading politicians persuaded two housewives to enter the public arena. The women spearheaded agitation, forced a military dictator to quit power and restored parliamentary democracy in their impoverished nation. Then the two arch rivals won elections in popular votes and alternated as prime ministers for more than a decade in the predominantly Muslim country. Now their era of dominance may be coming to an ignominious end.Khaleda Zia, 62, inherited the political legacy of her slain husband, President Gen. Ziaur Rahman, and Sheikh Hasina, 59, that of her assassinated father, the nation's founding leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Both were top contenders for power in Bangladesh’s next election, scheduled for late 2008. But now both face a permanent exile from politics as even their own supporters accuse them of corruption, cronyism and attempts to establish political dynasties. While both have denied the charges, matters took a new turn with last...
  • Last Word: Richard Branson

    As Britain's most famous entrepreneur, there are few businesses that Virgin CEO Richard Branson hasn't considered conquering. From industry-changing successes like Virgin air travel and telecoms to fizzlers like cola and wedding dresses ("Virgin Brides"), Branson—whose personal wealth racks up at £3.1 billion—has been at the helm of more than 200 start-ups since publishing a magazine called Student at age 16. With reports circulating that he's on the verge of buying a stake in Asia's newest budget airline, Branson caught up with NEWSWEEK's Emily Flynn Vencat in London last week to discuss his latest entrepreneurial dreams, which include launching the developing world up into the air without harming the planet, trouncing Rupert Murdoch and getting rich off global warming. Excerpts: ...
  • Putin: From U.S. Ally to Global Tyrant

    George Bush stood with his hand on Vladimir Putin's shoulder. It was November 2001, and the two leaders had just enjoyed Texas steaks personally barbecued by Bush at his family ranch, before heading to Crawford High School to address an audience of students. "It's my honor to welcome a new style of leader," Bush said as he introduced the Russian president. "A reformer, a man who loves his country as much as I love mine." Putin had been the first foreign leader to call in the hours after 9/11 to offer support in the War on Terror, recalled Bush. "When I was in high school, Russia was an enemy," he continued. "Now Russia is a friend." Putin, responding with his trademark shy smile, praised Bush's recent victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan and offered his "congratulations to those who have been liberated by [the U.S.] armed forces, and their relatives."It is hard to imagine such happy scenes today—let alone Putin's congratulating Iraqis on their "liberation." True, Putin still...
  • Ties That Bind

    A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Bob Zoellick, the wise American who now heads the World Bank. The conversation turned to Southeast Asia, a region Zoellick knows intimately, and about which I had recently agreed to write a book. In the wake of the 1997 financial crisis, Southeast Asia had been overtaken by China and India as the darlings of developmental economists and multinational business, yet I was optimistic. Zoellick listened quietly as I conjured up images of how the crisis could inspire a cathartic transition from crony capitalism to a market free of manipulation by bureaucrats and politicians. When I was finished, Zoellick looked across the table and said simply: "I am afraid that you may find that is not the case."He was right, as three years of research have revealed. The architecture of the Southeast Asian economy remains what it was 10 and 50 and 100 years ago. The domestic economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia...
  • Iraq: Can New Shiite Leader Break Logjam?

    With his rimless glasses and black-leather loafers, 36-year-old Amar Hakim evinces a certain clerical chic. The young cleric is soft-spoken and articulate, a marked contrast to his rabble-rousing contemporary, Moqtada al-Sadr. On a 2005 visit to Washington, he charmed U.S. congressmen and columnists alike with his admiration for how Lincoln had saved his republic from civil war. "I don't want to say he's necessarily a young Lincoln or Jefferson," says a U.S. official in Baghdad who wasn't authorized to speak on the record. "[But] people seem to feel he's wise."That should be cause for hope, since Hakim now leads the most powerful Shiite party in Iraq, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. As U.S. Gen. David Petraeus constantly emphasizes, the U.S. troop "surge" can at best dampen the violence that plagues Iraq. Only the country's political leaders can truly stabilize the situation, by using that breathing room to forge lasting compromises between Iraq's various factions. The fact that...
  • Style Out of Africa

    Anna Trzebinski's workshop lies on the edge of a leafy giraffe sanctuary in the exclusive Nairobi neighborhood of Karen. The lofty white space with high, beamed ceilings used to house the studio of her late husband, artist Tonio Trzebinski. But five years ago, he was mysteriously murdered, and Anna—broke and with two children to feed—took it over to fulfill her creative ambition: designing clothes inspired by Africa's natural beauty and rich tribal cultures.Today the studio is filled with the clatter of sewing machines and the voices of dozens of tailors and Masai beaders busily working on brightly colored leathers and suedes. Trzebinski's creations fill the closets of the Hollywood elite and European royalty, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Jada Pinkett Smith and Princess Caro-line of Monaco. "Anna uses traditional African techniques in a glamorous and modern way," says designer Paul Smith, who carries her line in his shops, where the $800 flamingo and guinea-fowl feather shawl is a...
  • Mail Call: Leisurely Vacations

    Readers of our May 14/May 21 travel special praised the report. One thanked us for "interesting tips on finding a destination." Another said, "Your article hits the nerve of our time, when not getting nervous seems impossible." And, she advised, "throw the BlackBerry overboard!"Your May 14/May 21 special report on this year's travel trends, "Slow Is Beautiful," calls people's' attention to enjoying vacation as an escape from life in the fast lane and gives travelers some interesting tips on finding a choice destination. I was pleasantly surprised to find that environmental issues are now a factor that determines the choice of many travelers. The fact that people nowadays want not just to relax but also to get to know local customs was nicely spread throughout your 28-page report.Clarissa CostaMontes Claros, BrazilYour article about slow traveling hits the nerve of our time, a time when not getting nervous seems impossible: answering an e-mail while talking to someone, mobile phone...
  • Threatened, Christians Flee the Mideast

    He refused to leave Baghdad, even after the day last year when masked Sunni gunmen forced him and eight co-workers to line up against a wall and said, "Say your prayers." An Assyrian Christian, Rayid Albert closed his eyes and prayed to Jesus as the killers opened fire. He alone survived, shot seven times. But a month ago a note was left at his front door, warning, "You have three choices: change your religion, leave or pay the jeziya"—a tax on Christians levied by ancient Islamic rulers. It was signed "The Islamic Emirate of Iraq," a Qaeda pseudonym. That was the day Albert decided to get out immediately. He and the other 10 members of his household are now living as refugees in Kurdistan.Across the lands of the Bible, Christians like Albert and his family are abandoning their homes. According to the World Council of Churches, the region's Christian population has plunged from 12 million to 2 million in the past 10 years. Lebanon, until recently a majority Christian country—the...
  • Iranian Diplomat: We’re Ready to Help in Iraq

    Mohammad Jafari isn't built like your typical diplomat. Stocky and square-jawed, with a thatch of close-cropped black hair, Jafari looks far more like the Iranian Revolutionary Guards general he once was, and he still carries the honorific title "commander." But that's precisely the issue: which role is Jafari playing now? It was Jafari whom U.S. Special Forces were after last January when they raided an Iranian outpost in Irbil, Iraq, according to a high-level Iraqi official who asked for anonymity in order to speak more freely. The raid netted five junior Iranian functionaries whom the Americans contended were members of the Quds Force, the arm of the Revolutionary Guards that is allegedly aiding in attacks on U.S. troops. Jafari escaped in a car.A few months after his dusty two-hour dash to the border, Jafari had a very different encounter with the Americans. In Sharm al-Sheikh, the posh Egyptian Red Sea resort that hosted a major regional conference on Iraq in May, he sat across...
  • An Iranian Superhero

    Making films based on cartoon characters is nothing new. Countless caped superheroes have seamlessly made the leap from the page to the screen. But none are quite like the heroine of the new animated film "Persepolis": a 9-year-old, Adidas-wearing, Bruce Lee-obsessed Iranian girl determined to take on the world.Based on the eponymous best-selling graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, "Persepolis" tells the life story of Marjie as she and her family live through the 1978 revolution, the Iran-Iraq War and the increasingly tight grip of religious fanaticism. It won a jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival and has since invoked the fury of the Iranian government. Like Satrapi's black and white illustrations, the film sheds light on a time and place enshrouded in darkness. "What does it mean to be Iranian anyway?" Marjie wonders at one point.With refreshing candor, the film presents the singular view of an Iranian woman whose intellectual, left-leaning upbringing predisposes her to clash...
  • Turkey's Election: A Meaningful Vote

    The results of Turkey’s July 22 general elections never seemed much in doubt, and the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) rolled to a comfortable victory (Turkish Daily News) over its main competitors. But in a Muslim country pointedly questioning the foundations of its secular constitution and considering an invasion of northern Iraq, the vote assumed a greater meaning.Onlookers interpreted the election as a verdict on the direction of Turkey’s leadership. AKP officials called for the early vote this spring, following massive protests (IHT) challenging the party’s push to install a moderate Islamist, Abdullah Gul, as Turkey’s president. For the better part of a century, Turkey’s government followed a strict secularist code imposed in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who eschewed traditional Islamic dress and called for societal "modernity" (FT). But some 60 percent of Turkish women still wear headscarves (Reuters), and the AKP’s efforts to loosen bans on covering up in...
  • Turkey: Election Pits Islamists, Secularists

    To hear Turkey’s opposition tell it, this weekend’s parliamentary election represents nothing less than a battle for the soul of the country. On one side stands Ankara’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AK Party (AKP), a party that has its roots in political Islam and which opponents accuse of harboring a secret fundamentalist agenda to undermine Turkey’s strict separation between religion and public life. On the other are a fractious group of left- and right-wing parties united by only two things: a conviction that the AKP is not doing enough to defend Turkey’s national interests against Kurdish terrorists and European Union bureaucrats, and a passionate opposition to any manifestation of political Islam.Turkey’s nationalists are nothing if not vocal. As soon as parliamentary elections were called in May, middle-class secularist voters in their hundreds of thousands took to the streets in a series of mass rallies in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir to protest against Sharia ...
  • Cell Phones: Mobile Money

    Cell phones have been booming in Africa for years, but Susie Lonie has bigger ambitions. Lonie ran a pilot program for Vodafone in Kenya that turns the cell phone into a device for transferring funds. With M-Pesa (Swahili for "mobile money"), anybody with a phone and an account can send and receive funds with about as much effort as it took to write this sentence. In Kenya, where M-Pesa was officially launched three months ago, people are using phone money to buy goods and services from each other.Many Kenyans—and most Africans—still do not have bank accounts. The costs of moving money through traditional institutions like Western Union can be prohibitively expensive. M-Pesa's virtual money, by contrast, is tied to real money held in the user's account and transferred for a small commission. So far the program has proved remarkably versatile. When one man was robbed during the pilot program, his wife sent him bus fare. Kenyan ministries are moving to allow users to pay electricity...
  • Mail Call: Think Gun Control

    Readers of our April 30 cover story on the Virginia Tech massacre debated gun control. One noted, "More Americans are killed by guns annually than died on 9/11." Another asked, "Who'd decide who can have guns and what guns?" A third protested, "14 pages for a U.S. event?" ...
  • The Stradivari of Ramadi

    Sgt. Geoffrey Allison had stuffed into his rucksack only enough wood to make two violins. An Army medic about to embark on a yearlong posting in Iraq, Allison figured he would be too busy to devote much time to his hobby. But only days into the deployment, he was already sawing and sanding. Allison built a workbench from scrap wood he gathered around his base in Sinjar, near the Syrian border, and wedged it alongside his bunk. By May 2006, three months in, he had used up all his lumber and had two pieces to show for it: a violin modeled on Stradivari's G-mold pattern, circa 1715, and a Stradivari-style viola with a slimmed-down neck. ("I had more free time than I expected," the 39-year-old GI told NEWSWEEK last month, a few weeks after completing his tour.) With nine months remaining in his deployment, Allison wanted to maintain his momentum—and preserve his sanity. He phoned a U.S. supply store from his base and ordered another $600 in maple and spruce wood. Within weeks he was...
  • Gordon Brown's Successful Debut

    It is ironic that, in his first week as prime minister, the most embarrassing mistake made by the famously numerate Gordon Brown was to miscalculate the number of days he had been in charge. Asked by David Cameron at his first Prime Minister's Questions why he had not banned a particular Islamist group, Brown said: "I think the leader of the opposition forgets I've been in this job for five days."Actually, by then he had been in No. 10 for seven days. But we always knew that the weekly ritual of Prime Minister's Questions would be a nervous chore for Brown, never a political actor or orator of Tony Blair's caliber. Much more striking was the overall success of the new P.M.'s first week. The man who was expected to be ponderous and dispiriting has been fleet of foot and sometimes dazzling.Many predicted that Brown would have a detailed plan for his first 100 days. What he grasped was that it is the first 100 hours that really count. In his 10 years as chancellor of the Exchequer,...
  • Long Memory

    Plenty of central European writers have been obsessed with the theme of human memory. The poems of the late Polish Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, the prose of Czech émigré Milan Kundera and the writings of countless others have focused on, as Kundera put it, how "ultimately everyone lets everything be forgotten."No one fought harder against that than Ryszard Kapuscinski, the Polish journalist turned literary superstar who died in January at 74. And nowhere is this more explicit than in his 2004 book "Travels With Herodotus" (275 pages. Alfred A. Knopf), now published in English for the first time. Like many of his works, this is a collage of sorts, part travel writing, part self-reflection. But as befits a work that feels almost like a last testament, it's far more of the latter. He describes how in his travels he took along Herodotus' "The Histories," snatching it up as soon as a Polish translation was available during the post-Stalinist thaw in 1955. He views the Greek who...
  • Filmmakers Turn to Eastern Europe

    The gently rolling hills of western Hungary, home to bucolic woodlands and vineyards, do not much resemble the mean streets of Manhattan. But on one peaceful patch, a giant lattice of scaffolding rises up over the landscape, ready to support the façades of a seamy New York street and the swarms of actors who will populate it. A mocked-up neon hotel sign stands nearby. In the outsize hangars a few yards behind, carpenters are busy completing an imposing—but temporary—suite of paneled rooms, which will serve as an auction room. Elsewhere, work is underway on a giant arch intended to serve as a fittingly grand entrance to this new temple to filmmaking: Korda Studios, named after the three great Hungarian cinéaste brothers and built on the 34-hectare site of a former Soviet military base just outside Budapest.The country that heavily stocked the cast of Hollywood's golden era—think Bela Lugosi, Tony Curtis and Zsa Zsa Gabor—is looking to climb back into the industry's spotlight. And...
  • The Changing Course of Libya

    When Tony Blair made his valedictory rounds last month, one of his most remarkable stops barely got any notice. On a short stay in Libya, Blair declared British-Libyan relations "completely transformed" and announced a $900 million oil- and gas-exploration deal between BP and the Libyan government. In Surt, the hometown of Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Kaddafi, Blair signed a defense agreement allowing Libya—which just 20 years ago was bombed by the United States—to purchase air-defense and missile systems from Britain. Just a few years ago, Blair acknowledged, none of this would have been possible. But Libya has changed radically of late. Even Kaddafi, whom Ronald Reagan once called "the mad dog of the Middle East," has now become, in Blair's words, "very easy to deal with."Much has been made of Libya's dramatic course change since September 11, when the U.S. response and patient British diplomacy convinced Kaddafi of the dangers of staying on London and Washington's bad side. Once...
  • Q&A: China's Top Consumer Advocate

    Wang Hai's mobile phone keeps buzzing with calls from clients. He's China's most famous crusader against fraudulent, shoddy and dangerous goods. The business consultant targets counterfeiters, helps duped consumers and protects whistle-blowers, many of whom face harassment or worse. "A good system for guaranteeing quality control simply doesn't exist in China," says Wang, who's been on the consumer-rights warpath for more than a decade. "Even confidential informants who report to authorities about someone selling fraudulent goods can wind up dead, under suspicious circumstances."All of that ensures Wang is extremely busy these days. Over the past few months, a number of dramatic product-safety scandals have rocked China—and horrified the world. The U.S. media have exposed one badly made Chinese export after another, from poisonous pet food to toxic toothpaste to tires so poorly made they litter American highways with shredded treads. These revelations have raised serious questions...
  • A Rare Look at 'China's Mona Lisa'

    Even among the stuffy bureaucrats in Beijing, the Song dynasty ink-on-silk painting "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" has an affectionate nickname: "China's Mona Lisa." Though it's a landscape, not a portrait, "Qingming" has a mysterious allure that has captivated the popular imagination and spawned debate about its hidden meaning, much like da Vinci's fabled work. But unlike the "Mona Lisa," which is on view at the Louvre, "Qingming" has been seen only rarely by members of the public.Now's their big chance. The stunning 12th-century work by the court artist Zhang Zeduan is making its first appearance outside the mainland as the star attraction of "The Pride of China," an exhibit of 32 important paintings from Beijing's Palace Museum (through Aug. 11) marking the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese control. The five-meter-long "Qingming" scroll—named after the spring holiday for honoring ancestors—features more than 800 figures, 28 boats and 170 trees in a...
  • S. Korea: A Social Network Reshapes Politics

    Miri Leung does all the usual teenage things online: she chats, e-mails, decorates her cyber home and buys the latest fashions for her avatar. But lately she’s also venturing into an area that most political candidates still dream about. The 18-year-old is going online to learn about political issues with her country’s real-life presidential hopefuls. “It’s cool,” says Leung. “It kind of makes me feel like [the candidates] are just like all of my other friends.”Leung lives in South Korea, where candidates are making new efforts to jump on the cyber bandwagon and woo the country’s youngest voters. Their vehicle: a network called Cyworld, South Korea’s equivalent to American online social sensations like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster. Launched in 1999, the site recently catapulted to the No. 1 spot among Asian networking sites, hosting an estimated 20 million users daily and drawing in an estimated $146 million in revenue. (MySpace, by contrast, brought in nearly $200 million in...
  • The Last Word: Naresh Goyal

    India is rising. and as rising nations are wont to do, it is launching airlines on global routes in pursuit of money and international glamour. The Indian entrants in this brutal market are led by Jet Airways, which begins to fly from major North American cities to Europe, Africa, China, the Middle East and to its home bases in India on Aug. 5. Chairman Naresh Goyal, who started his career as a ticket agent, founded Jet in 1993, when India began opening up its air market. Jet was India's first private domestic carrier, and is now the country's largest private airline. Goyal, one of India's 10 richest people, spoke to NEWSWEEK's Vibhuti Patel in New York about Jet's $3.7 billion expansion and the global airline business. Excerpts: ...
  • Levitin: The Status Quo in Kosovo Won't Work

    Just when politicians in Europe and America thought they'd finally cleaned up the mess in the Balkans, the whole package is on the verge of unraveling. Serbia's leaders, backed by Moscow, have categorically rejected a U.N. plan to grant independence to Kosovo, insisting that to forcibly redraw Serbia's borders would violate its sovereignty. The West claims Serbia forfeited that sovereignty when it crushed the Kosovar insurgency in 1998-99. This argument may appeal to human-rights advocates, but it overlooks a dangerous truth. Pushing too hard on Kosovo would nourish Serbia's legitimate sense of grievance, undermine moderates there and possibly spark a return to political extremism, even war.Outsiders should remember just how important Kosovo—first settled by Slavs some 1,400 years ago and the home to the Serbian Orthodox Church—remains to Serbs today. As Ivan Stanojevic, a 22-year-old student at Belgrade University, puts it, to lose Kosovo now would be "like losing Serbia itself."...
  • A Flood Of Flowers

    In the early 17th century, new trade routes to Africa and the Far East brought regular shipments of exotica to Dutch ports, and wealthy collectors amassed shells, gemstones, paintings, coins, marbled paper, even dogs. Almost anything deemed beautiful, rare or new was collectible. The tulip was all three. According to lore, its arrival created a country-wide speculative financial bubble that in 1637 popped, ruining lives and crippling the Dutch economy.In the meticulously researched "Tulipmania" (University of Chicago Press; 400 pages), Anne Goldgar tells another story entirely. In her account, the tulip traders were wealthy merchants with money to burn—hardly a representative cross-section of Dutch society. Far from wiping out the Dutch economy, she writes, the 1637 crash only dented the bank accounts of those rich enough to speculate in the first place. Meanwhile, in the two years prior, bubonic plague had killed approximately 135,000 Amsterdam residents and the region was mired in...
  • Barton Biggs: Echoing the Crash of '87

    I'm still bullish about stocks, but there is one spooky memory that perches in my mind like the canary in the coal mine. It relates to the U.S. stock market in 1987, and the October crash that shook the world. Then, as now, the American stock market drove the world, and a bust here caused a bust there. Even as I write this, I can't help but think of an old Russian saying, "Ignore the past and you will lose an eye; dwell on the past and you will lose both of them." So keep that in mind as you read on.Still, the historical similarities are eerie. By 1986 and 1987, stock prices had made a strong recovery from the stagflation and the extended, painful bear market of the 1970s to 1982. Both the U.S. bull market and the economy had been rising for almost five years, and were starting to look long in the tooth, while inflation and interest rates had been declining, and price-earnings ratios had been rising.In addition, there was talk of trouble brewing in the American savings-and-loan...
  • Q&A: China's Top Consumer Advocate

    Wang Hai, China's most famous consumer advocate, discusses the recent spate of dangerous—sometimes even deadly—exports from his country ... and what he's doing about it.
  • Who's the Smart Sibling?

    Ten weeks ago, Bo Cleveland and his wife embarked on a highly unscientific experiment—they gave birth to their first child. For now, Cleveland is too exhausted to even consider having another baby, but eventually, he will. In fact, he's already planned an egalitarian strategy for raising the rest of his family. Little Arthur won't get any extra attention just because he's the firstborn, and, says his father, he probably won't be much smarter than his future siblings, either. It's the sort of thing many parents would say, but it's a bit surprising coming from Cleveland, who studies birth order and IQ at Pennsylvania State University. As he knows too well, a study published recently in the journal Science suggests that firstborns do turn out sharper than their brothers and sisters, no matter how parents try to compensate. Is Cleveland wrong? Is Arthur destined to be the smart sibling just because he had the good luck to be born first?For decades, scientists have been squabbling over...
  • Hong Kong's Plan for Democratic Reform

    Hong Kong leaders have offered the most comprehensive plan to bring meaningful democracy to Chinese soil in half a century. Critics say it's a needlessly complex jumble.
  • Afghan governor on resurgent Taliban

    One of the areas in Afghanistan that's seeing a resurgence of the Taliban recently is Kapisa, a small province about 20 miles northeast of Kabul. In the past few months alone, Taliban fighters have regrouped in Kapisa's district of Tagab and staged several attacks. They're also targeting the governor of Kapisa, Abdul Sattar Murad, who is among Afghanistan's most capable politicians. NEWSWEEK's Dan Ephron sat in recently on meetings Murad held with U.S. military officers coordinating reconstruction projects in his province. American-educated and a veteran of the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Murad worked under President Hamid Karzai, who later signed his appointment as governor. After his meetings, Murad sat down with Ephron for this interview. Excerpts: ...
  • Pakistan: Final Assault on Red Mosque

    Just before dawn on Tuesday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf gave the order for his commandos to attack the radical Red Mosque that his troops had surrounded for eight days in the capital, Islamabad. Firing automatic weapons, machine guns and stun grenades Pakistani commandos burst through wide holes that had been blasted in the mosque's outer wall and its bullet-pocked red façade. Holed up inside were the mosque's hardline deputy leader Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi and more than 100 determined and well-armed militants who had refused days of offers to surrender or face the consequences.More troubling, Pakistani authorities say, the gunmen are holding several hundred women and children as human shields inside. As a result, "Operation Silence," the army's code name for the assault, would be a deliberately "slow, step by step process" in order to minimize the loss of innocent lives, says Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the military's top spokesman. As the operation began at about 4:30 a...
  • Sibling Rivalries: Is the Oldest Smartest?

    For decades, scientists have been squabbling over birth order like siblings fighting over a toy. Some of them say being a first-, middle-, or lastborn has significant effects on intelligence. Others say that's nonsense. Whichever rings true, such studies have long fueled the fires of sibling rivalries around the world. A look at some famous siblings—and who stands out—over time and place. ...
  • Q&A: China's Top Consumer Advocate

    Knee-deep into his exposé of China's food industry, author Zhou Qing relates a disturbing anecdote about a pig-feed additive called clenbuterol. The chemical is poisonous to humans, causing dizziness, fatigue, nausea and heart palpitations. But breeders like the substance—known locally as lean-meat essence—because it makes pork redder and meatier. Zhou hears from a food-safety official about a provincial political leader told by a farmer that his pigs still get the banned chemical because it makes their meat a hot seller in urban areas. “Don't you know that it harms people?” asks the official. "'Yes,” replies the farmer. “But city people have free medical care, so it's no problem.”Tainted Chinese food and drugs have become an issue of concern globally after a spate of illnesses and accidents. Pet foods that include melamine-spiked wheat gluten are now being blamed for the deaths of an unknown number of American pets. Cough syrup laced with mislabeled diethylene glycol has claimed...