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  • Cuba Extends Olive Branch to U.S. on Embargo

    For close to two decades, the Cuban government has issued a scathing annual report against the American trade embargo. But this year, as the island continues to face dire economic straits, the report—released last week—offered an unexpected and conciliatory twist. The document acknowledged that the Obama administration cannot end the embargo on its own and offered steps that Washington could take to unilaterally lessen its scope. Among them: permitting more religious, academic, and cultural groups to travel to Cuba.
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    Ahmadinejad Dismisses a Possible Israeli Threat

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing mounting problems at home, from disgruntled hardliners and senior clerics to continued criticism from the Green Movement opposition. Perhaps more dire, the Iranian president may need to cut $100 billion in government subsidies, partly as a result of this summer’s new sanctions, aimed at forcing Iran to come clean on its nuclear programs. But in New York last week for the U.N. General Assembly, he remained defiant. He sat down with NEWSWEEK’s Jerry Guo in an exclusive interview. Excerpts:
  • In Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood Is Biding Its Time

    Five years ago, the Muslim Brotherhood—Egypt’s most powerful opposition group—won 20 percent of the seats in Parliament, an impressive feat for an organization that is technically banned from politics. While far from free, the elections were Egypt’s most democratic in decades. Since then, President Hosni Mubarak has dismantled judicial oversight of elections, and analysts expect widespread vote rigging in November’s parliamentary elections. Despite opposition calls to boycott the votes, the Brotherhood is likely to participate, and to lose most of its 88 seats.
  • China Butts Heads With Japan

    East Asia may be reveling in its unprecedented economic growth, but old-fashioned territorial feuds continue to fester. The latest reminder came last week at the United Nations, with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warning darkly of the unnamed “consequences” Japan would incur unless it released the captain of a Chinese fishing boat “immediately and unconditionally.” The skipper and his crew were arrested on Sept. 7 after his vessel collided with two Japanese Coast Guard ships off a disputed and uninhabited island chain.
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    Zakaria: Rising Powers Aren't Acting Like It

    You can count on a few things during the U.N.’s annual General Assembly. The traffic will be bad, the speeches will be worthy (if a bit dull)—and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will say something absurd. This year the Iranian leader suggested that U.S. officials orchestrated the 9/11 attacks to save Israel and “reverse the declining American economy.”
  • A Hardliner Faces Justice in Iran

    The hangman of Tehran may soon get a taste of his own medicine. Over the last decade, Saeed Mortazavi has jailed dozens of journalists and reformist politicians and was instrumental in squashing the opposition Green Movement after last year’s presidential election. He was openly associated with some of the regime’s worst post-election abuses. But in August he was stripped of his judicial immunity, and a Tehran prosecutor named him as the lead person accused in the abuses at Kahrizak prison, a notorious detention facility where at least three people were killed and a handful of others claimed they were raped.
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    China's Hottest Cities and Kashgar

    Beijing is currently showering attention and resources on the region in order to boost the local economy and develop further trade ties into Central Asia and Europe, but also to placate Kashgar’s restive Uighur population.
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    Gloomy Forecasts About British Economy Are Wrong

    Only a year ago foreigners were ready to write off Britain. American financial guru Jim Rogers, cofounderwith George Soros of the Quantum Fund, advised the world not to put any more money in Britain. Sterling was “finished.”
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    Is Massive U.S. Aid Helping South Sudan?

    The United States has a long tradition of helping distant strangers. But many Americans now question our ability to do good in faraway lands. Few places are more remote—and troubled—than this one.
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    Europe: The Rise of the Extreme Right

    Sweden has revealed the future direction of Europe, and not for the first time. For decades, Sweden led the way in defining the mixed model of free trade and social solidarity that became the European ideal. Not anymore.
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    How U.S.-China Relations Came Apart

    At their hearings in mid-September over Chinese currency manipulation, U.S. senators directed their toughest rhetoric at cameras to show the folks back home how serious they are about protecting American workers.
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    Obama Defends His Record in U.N. Speech

    One year after delivering a clarion call for world cooperation, Barack Obama returned to Turtle Bay to speak to the U.N. General Assembly, offering a defense of his actions in the last 12 months. But his report card is full of incompletes.
  • Formula One's New Rules Could Make It Boring

    The 60th season of Formula One racing is set to conclude in November, and the sport continues to represent the pinnacle of racing technology. Hitting speeds of well over 200 miles per hour, our cars are the fastest and most aerodynamic on the closed circuit.
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    In France, Rising Fears of Islamic Terror

    When a 78-year-old French aid worker was executed by Al Qaeda's North African offshoot this summer, France declared war on Islamic terror. Further kidnappings and a heightened threat level in Paris, a city already tense over a ban on the Islamic veil for women, have brought the battle home in recent weeks.
  • Tony Blair's 'A Journey' Reveals Ambitions, Flaws

    In a video hyping the publication of his memoirs, Tony Blair promised a “frank account of my life in politics.” And "A Journey" is that. But I wonder if the former British prime minister recognizes that the book is revealing in ways that he might not have intended.
  • How to Alienate Your Allies In Iran

    Attacks on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are coming from unexpected corners. As he arrives in New York to attend the United Nations’ General Assembly opening this week, hardliners back home—including some who were once his close allies—are undercutting their former standard-bearer every chance they get.
  • A New Campaign for Succession in Egypt

    Election season in Egypt is turning into a mysterious time. In recent weeks, posters reading GAMAL MUBARAK: THE DREAM OF THE POOR have sprung up in impoverished neighborhoods across the country. The odd thing is that Gamal’s father, octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak, has never once hinted at what, or who, might follow his reign.
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    Old Istanbul Hotels Reveal New Style

    Back when there was no tourism but only travel, the rich would take steamers and luxury trains to Constantinople to visit one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. A century later, Istanbul is as international as ever—it’s been named Europe’s Capital of Culture this year—and many of the grand old hotels have new face-lifts, while many boutique hotels are opening in historic buildings.
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    Britain Ponders Deep Military Spending Cuts

    No other NATO ally has the ability—and willingness—to deploy forces like Britain. Which is why the Pentagon is standing by with a sense of foreboding as the U.K. undertakes a formal review of its defense posture. The question now arising in certain circles is how much backup America can count on after the recession-battered British government makes deep cuts to its military budget.
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    Tony Blair Defends the Iraq War

    Since finishing his 10-year stint as prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair has kept busy: he’s spent time in the Middle East as envoy of the Quartet, created a foundation devoted to ecumenical understanding, lectured widely, and worked as an adviser to JPMorgan Chase. In New York to promote his new memoir, A Journey, Blair spoke with NEWSWEEK’s David A. Graham to discuss the Iraq invasion, the Middle East peace talks, and what President Obama can learn from New Labour’s travails. Excerpts:
  • Europe Becomes China's Biggest Trade Partner

    Even as Washington and Beijing slug it out over trade deficits and exchange rates, Europe has quietly overtaken America as China’s No. 1 trade partner. Not only did Chinese trade with the EU soar to $306 billion through July of this year—compared with $243 billion of trade with the U.S.—China has also become far more dependent on Europe for importing the technology and infrastructure that underpin its breakneck development.