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  • Q&A: How Police Cracked Online Porn Ring

    British police spent months infiltrating one of the world’s largest online child porn rings. They arrested its ringleader, Timothy Cox, at his Suffolk home last September, then assumed his online identity to gather evidence on the Web site’s members. Their global investigation—dubbed Operation Chandler—led them on a trail stretching from Australia to North America and Europe, netting over 700 suspects around the world and rescuing 31 abused children. Yesterday, they finally made the case public after Cox was convicted of distributing indecent images and sentenced to jail for an indeterminate period—meaning he will be incarcerated until he is no longer considered a threat to children.Cox was the ringleader of a chat room called “Kids the Light of Our Lives,” which allowed users to trade and watch live images of children being abused through file sharing and video streaming. “No investigation has rescued so many young and vulnerable people from a group of hard-core pedophiles,” says...
  • Digging a Grave for Crumbling Zimbabwe

    Last Maingehama was on his way to a memorial service when he was kidnapped. A little after 2 p.m. on March 20, in the middle of an upscale Harare neighborhood, government thugs dragged Last out of his car, tied a blindfold around his eyes and drove him into the Zimbabwean savanna. For the next five hours they beat the 33-year-old businessman and opposition activist relentlessly with hard wooden "battlesticks." They pounded the soles of his feet, he says, in an account verified by two independent human-rights researchers. They broke his left leg just below the kneecap. And then, when he was bruised and bloody and unconscious, the men left Last for dead and disappeared into the night. When Last finally crawled back to the road, half naked and petrified, he flagged down a passing tractor. But it is a sign of how pervasive the climate of fear has grown in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe that even to his rescuer, Last lied about what had happened in the bush that night. "I told [him] I was...
  • Good News About the Falling Dollar

    Not so long ago, a single dollar was considered a pretty good tip for bellhops around the world. But lately, Megan Carrella, a 34-year-old New York executive who travels regularly from Mexico to Greece for business, has found hotel help less enthusiastic about her usual palm. She's taken to handing out at least two or three greenbacks to guarantee good service. "People used to really smile when you gave them a dollar," she says. "Now it seems almost like an insult."Bellhops aren't the only ones whose love affair with the dollar is over. Since the dollar's peak in February 2002, it has now fallen 20 percentage points against a basket of global currencies including the rupee, Canadian dollar and real, with 3 percent of that fall coming in the past three months. Countries all over the world are dropping their local currency pegs to the dollar, and eurobonds are beginning to compete with the almighty T-bill as a reserve currency in places like Russia and Sweden. There's even a movement...
  • Level Up

    Having recently become a father, I've been struggling with the conventional wisdom on parenthood—that I'll never have time to do anything I like ever again. One recent evening, however, when my daughter was asleep, I fired up the Halo 3 multiplayer beta—the early-release version of the follow-up to the Halo 2 videogame for Microsoft's Xbox 360. No surprise: Halo 3 is great. It's an elegant blend of very familiar gameplay, welcome refinements to mechanics and clever new elements that I barely had time to tinker with. The physics and animations are substantially better than in Halo 2 multiplayer; taking down an opponent feels more satisfying. (In Halo 3, downed enemies drop to the ground more quickly.) My only tiny concern: Gears of War really impressed me with how genuinely shocking moments are possible in familiar genres. I want to have similar moments of panic in Halo 3. It would make the ability to detach a turret cannon and carry it Jesse Ventura style even more of a delight....
  • World View: A Darkening In the North

    Iraq's kurdish north has offered a heartening contrast to an otherwise blood-soaked country. Its polity works; its economy thrives. But the reports last week of a Turkish military incursion, in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, is an eruption of only one of three steadily deepening problems that could combine to worsen the Bush administration's predicament in Iraq.The first is the dispute over Kirkuk, capital of At-Tamim province. The city and its environs contain some 10 billion of Iraq's 112 billion barrels in proven oil reserves. Saddam Hussein expelled thousands of Kurds as well as Turkomans and Christians from the Kirkuk region in the 1980s and 1990s, replacing them with Arabs, mainly Shia from the south, themselves victims of his repression. With Saddam gone, roughly 350,000 Kurds moved back (some original residents, others not) with active support from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Thousands of Arabs fled, alleging threats and attacks by Kurdish groups. The influx also...
  • Slam Dancing for Allah

    It's near midnight in a small Fairfax, Va., bar, and Omar Waqar stands on a makeshift stage, brooding in a black tunic and brown cap. He stops playing his electric guitar long enough to survey the crowd—an odd mix of local punks and collared preps—before screaming into the microphone: "Stop the hate! Stop the hate!" Stopping hate is a fairly easy concept to get behind at a punk-rock show, and the crowd yells and pumps its fists right on cue. But it's safe to say that Waqar and his band, Diacritical, aren't shouting about the same kind of hate as the audience. Waqar wants to stop the kind that made people call him "sand flea" as a kid and throw rocks through the windows of the Islamic bookstore he worked at on 9/11. Waqar, 26, the son of a Pakistani immigrant, is a Muslim—a punk-rock Muslim.Muslim punk rock certainly sounds like an oxymoron, especially since fundamentalist Muslims condemn all music as haram (forbidden). But Diacritical is one of about a dozen Islamic punk-rock bands...
  • Q&A: Tina Brown on Princess Diana

    In "The Diana Chronicles," Tina Brown, former editor of the London magazine Tatler, as well as U.S. magazines Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, has managed to paint a fresh and human portrait of this iconic figure. Brown spoke with NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey in New York.
  • Iraq: New U.S. Ambassador May Be Best Hope

    Two months into his most recent Baghdad posting (his third in nearly 30 years), Ryan Crocker still hasn't opened all his airfreight crates. "I've been a little pressed," he dryly explains to NEWSWEEK. When he finally unpacks, though, the U.S. ambassador will take out a battered calendar from 24 years ago and hang it in his office. It was on his office wall in Beirut when a suicide truck bomb destroyed the U.S. Embassy there on April 18, 1983, killing 64 people. Slammed against a wall but not seriously hurt, the young diplomat immediately began clawing barehanded through the rubble, searching for his colleagues. The calendar has traveled with him ever since, bearing the scars of that day: "a little bit of glass, a little bit of blood, a little bit of spilled coffee." His voice gets quieter: "It reminds me of my responsibilities to the mission. And that in diplomacy, as in the military, you're playing for keeps."Crocker needs no reminders. That is why he and his military counterpart,...
  • Books: Pakistan’s Army Economy

    All countries have armies, but things are reversed in Pakistan," says Pervez Hoodbhoy, a professor at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. "Here is the Army that has a country." Indeed, Pakistan's ruling generals have carved out a world of wealth, power and privilege. They have built a huge corporate empire and own some of the country's most prized real estate. Under Gen. Pervez Musharraf's rule, the military's domination of the economy has only accelerated; since coming to power seven years ago, his government has placed some 1,200 active and retired officers in various ministries and state corporations. Discussion of this cronyism is taboo; after I published an article in NEWSWEEK in 2002 detailing the power and perks of the generals, Musharraf became enraged and accused me of being unpatriotic. Intelligence agencies launched an investigation, and I was banned from his press conferences for years.So Ayesha Siddiqa surely knew what she was in for when she published "Military Inc.:...
  • The Rise of Japan’s Lazy Youth

    On a recent Sunday, thousands of young people from across Japan rallied in central Tokyo, fighting for an unexpected cause in a city known for political apathy. Mostly in their 20s, the congregation carried banners demanding respect for themselves, the working poor in one of the world's richest nations. let us live a decent life! and let us work like human beings! the banners cried. Ayako Kobayashi, a 23-year-old protester, says, "Poverty is really spreading all around us."Yes, the Japanese economy is recovering and the number of full-time jobs is growing, but that only adds to the frustrations of the millions of Japanese who graduated from college during the decade long jobs slump that ended in 2003. While Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was in office, from 2001 to 2006, Japan lost 4 million full-time jobs and gained 4.3 million part-time and temp jobs. Now an estimated population of 5 million singles increasingly find themselves stuck without the skills or experience to command...
  • The Taj Mahal's Colorful History

    In 1631, mogul empress Mumtaz Mahal died giving birth to her 14th child. Court histories tell us that during her 19-year marriage to the Emperor Shah Jahan, she had been the "light of his bedchamber"; within days of her death, the emperor's beard had turned noticeably grayer. The mausoleum that he built in memory of his beloved—the Taj Mahal, completed in 1648—has stood for centuries as a symbol of sorrow and beauty.Recent scholarship has questioned the role that love played in the construction of the monument. But for better and worse, Diana and Michael Preston's "Taj Mahal: Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire" (319 pages. Walker Books) makes an argument for the commingling of love and architecture. It's unfortunate that this comprehensive history of the Mogul Empire is coated with a romantic patina (if rotting bodies ever gave off the "sweet stink of death," it must have been a localized incident), but not everything has been sanitized. We're presented a...
  • Vinod Khosla: Betting Big On Green

    Since making a fortune as a founder of Sun Microsystems, Vinod Khosla has built on it as an investor with pre-eminent venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Now he's emerged as Silicon Valley's biggest enthusiast of green technologies—no mean feat in an industry where nearly everyone is going gaga over green. Khosla has already invested millions in almost 30 clean tech start-ups in areas ranging from geothermal energy to synthetic biology. But his most notable bets have been on ethanol. Most ethanol comes from corn, but if the technology becomes readily available, nearly any biological material—even grass—could create a viable alternative fuel called cellulosic ethanol. At least that's the way ethanol proponents would have it. As the ethanol movement continues to grow, so does criticism from the likes of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club; they argue that ethanol will simply allow automakers to avoid making more-efficient vehicles. NEWSWEEK's...
  • China’s Failure to Beat Illiteracy

    China has pledged time and again to wipe out illiteracy, which makes the story of Zhou Jihan quite awkward. Not because she has yet to master her Chinese characters, but because there are still many millions of Chinese struggling like her to learn to read and write as adults. That's a shame Beijing would prefer you did not read about.Zhou, now 36, grew up in a poor family in a remote village in western China. Because even the local primary school charged high fees, Zhou's parents made what the whole family considered an easy choice: Zhou's brothers went to school, and she and her sisters stayed home to work on the farm. "I never went to school once in my childhood," said Zhou. "We followed the tradition of paying more attention to the boys of the family than to the girls." She's proud to have memorized more than 1, 000 Chinese characters, but must learn 500 more to be considered literate. But Chinese authorities had promised more than painstaking progress.In 2000, the Chinese...
  • Arts: The Sacred History

    September 11 made Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis a fashionable map for the 21st century. Right-wing pundits and religious zealots alike used it to argue that Islamic and Western societies have always been incompatible. Now "Sacred," on view at London's British Library (through Sept. 23), provides an elegant riposte to clash-mongers. The collection of manuscripts from Christianity, Islam and Judaism underscores that the traditions of the three religions bear striking similarities. Their emphasis on scriptural truth is the same, their cultures are intertwined and their followers lived—usually peacefully—in multicultural societies for centuries.With the Middle East riven by religious and political tensions, it's bittersweet to see such gorgeous proof of its multifaith history. A 13th-century Christian manuscript from near Mosul, Iraq, depicts the three Marys at Jesus' tomb. While many of the details are Byzantine, the tomb's onion dome and the stylized cedar trees...
  • Biggs: Russia's Stock Market Slide is All About Rhetoric

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the world's doghouse because he does not appreciate sanctimonious lectures or missile batteries on his border. He and President George W. Bush patched things up a bit at the G8 summit last week, but the tension remains. Ironically, we as investors should be grateful. As a result of this alleged increase in political risk, the Russian stock market and its oil stocks in particular have been falling even as both emerging markets and energy equities have climbed. After a week in Russia, I am convinced there is no business reason for this stumble; it's all about the media rhetoric.There is a presidential election in Russia next year, and Putin will stand down. However, he has made it clear he will continue to be the power behind the throne. He is passionately committed to restoring Russia to its former position of pre-eminence as a world power, economically and politically. Putin wants to be the modern reincarnation of Peter the Great. Indeed, I am...
  • Mail Call: Benefits of Exercise

    Our April 9 cover story on exercise pleased readers. "It's what I've been waiting for," praised one. Echoed another, "I wish I'd read it 30 years ago." A third said, "It was a real prescription to make us exercise!" ...
  • Talk Transcript: Sean Smith on Angelina Jolie

    "A Mighty Heart," starring Angelina Jolie, is based on the best-selling book by Mariane Pearl about the murder of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, by Al Qaeda members in Karachi, Pakistan, in early 2002. The movie details Mariane's struggle—with the help of Journal editors, Pakistan counterterrorism experts, FBI agents and others—to unravel the terrorist network and find Danny. Much in Mariane's life has changed since then, including the birth of their son, Adam, who is now 5 years old. The film opens June 22. Pearl spoke to NEWSWEEK's Sean Smith from her home in Paris about the film, her friendship with Jolie, the politics of terror, and the true meaning of revenge. Excerpts: ...
  • CFR: What are Iraq's Benchmarks?

    Probably no world leader has to deal with crises more frequently than Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. This weekend, his capital was under emergency curfew in the aftermath of the bombing Wednesday of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a holy site for Shiite Muslims. An attack on the mosque last year caused a steep escalation in sectarian fighting.Maliki reacted faster than his predecessor did in the last attack, imposing a days-long curfew in the capital and visiting the site within hours. There have been fewer reprisal attacks than last time, as well, at least under the curfew. With his meeting pace slowing some, Maliki met with NEWSWEEK on Friday in his official residence, one of Saddam Hussein's old guest villas. It's mainly an office building, as Maliki actually lives nearby.The prime minister, a known workaholic, seemed relaxed despite the formal setting—a non-descript salon with Maliki's aides and official photographer on hand. He talked about the sensitivities of the American...
  • CFR: How To Deal With the Palestinians?

    For two decades, at least, events within the Palestinian political world pointed to a day of reckoning some time in the future pitting the secular against the religious in Palestinian life. That day apparently has dawned.Hamas, the militant Islamic movement which won the last Palestinian election in 2006 and had reluctantly shared power with the rival Fatah movement since, lost patience on Tuesday and conducted a violent purge of the remnants of Yasser Arafat's old guard, seizing de facto control of the Gaza Strip (Bloomberg). President Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah senior statesmen, urged his forces to resist and denounced the move as an attempted coup, but reports suggest Fatah's power in Gaza has been smashed (MSNBC). But Abbas also fled the presidential compound in Gaza City, declared a state of emergency, and belatedly dissolved the Hamas-Fatah government (BBC) which has been the disfunctional reality since the last elections.Egypt continues to offer mediation between the feuding...
  • Lebanon: Syria's Opponents Remain Targets

    Murder can have unforeseen consequences. Syria's leaders ought to know that by now. A prime example is the car-bomb assassination of the billionaire Lebanese-independence champion Rafik Hariri. Almost faster than Damascus could deny responsibility for it, his killing launched the Cedar Revolution, a massive Lebanese nationalist uprising that accomplished what Hariri had only dreamed of doing while he lived. Within weeks his death had brought down the pro-Syria puppet government in Beirut. Damascus was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, after 29 years of military occupation.And yet the killings—and Syria's denials of involvement in any of them—continue. Since Hariri's death, seven anti-Syrian political figures have been killed in Lebanon, including three members of Parliament. The most recent was Walid Eido, 65. Late on the afternoon of June 13, a bomb ripped through his black Mercedes on a side street in Beirut, killing the legislator along with his 35-year-old son, two...
  • Gaza: Powerful Symbol Falls to Hamas

    It's difficult to think of a more divisive symbol in Gaza than the Preventive Security headquarters in the center of Gaza City. For Fatah loyalists, the massive, pastel-painted structure was a reminder of the power of the movement once led by Yasir Arafat. Originally created to crack down on Palestinian collaborators with Israel, Preventive Security eventually became known as one of the most efficient of Gaza's myriad security agencies. The elite unit's leaders inspired fierce loyalty among party faithful. Its top officials "are like our fathers," one young Fatah gunman told me last year, as he stood watch with his Kalashnikov outside the building's main gate.Yet for Hamas militants, few Fatah-controlled organizations are more reviled. On one trip to Gaza late last year, I listened as Yussef al-Zahar, a leader in Hamas's Izzedine al-Qassam militia, described being tortured by what he said were Preventive Security operatives in the late 1990s. The men hung Zahar by his ankles, the...
  • Past Newsweek Coverage

    He was the most eligible bachelor in the world, the future King of England. She was, quite literally, the girl next door, a 20-year-old who had grown up on an estate in the shadow of the royal family's Sandringham retreat. When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned in to a brilliantly choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century.It was the opening scene of a grand, 16-year soap opera that had Diana playing a dizzying array of roles, from innocent bride to loving young mother to glamorous style setter. The gap between her public and private lives was vast. She was the most celebrated woman in the world and yet achingly lonely. Movie stars and factory workers lined up to meet her, but she felt so unloved that she repeatedly tried to harm herself. The higher her rating in the popularity polls, the more her husband seemed to keep his distance. She suffered from bulimia and depression, but...
  • Gaza: Fighting Takes Toll on Civilians

    As gun battles continue to roil the Gaza Strip this week, militants from Hamas are tightening their grip on power. The Islamists have already taken over several hospitals and a number of key Fatah security installations. In the meantime, more than 50 Gazans have been killed, dozens more wounded. Militiamen executed rivals by throwing them off the roofs of high-rises, and masked gunmen set up checkpoints throughout the territory. Even some aid workers are finding themselves caught in the cross-fire. Two Palestinian employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were shot to death on Wednesday, and the agency announced that it would temporarily suspend most of its Gaza operations. (UNRWA distributes food and offers health services to Gaza's 1 million refugees; some essential aid will continue.) As Hamas tightened its grip on power, NEWSWEEK's Kevin Peraino spoke with John Ging, UNRWA's director of operations in Gaza, about the continuing violence. Excerpts: ...
  • Ex-Liberian President on Trial for War Crimes

    He is accused of backing rebels in some of the most atrocious crimes of our time: the slaughter and looting of entire villages, the use of child soldiers, rape, and the systematic amputation of hands and limbs by axes and machetes. So when it was determined that Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, would be brought to trial--the first African head of state ever to be tried for war crimes--the indictment was hailed as a landmark for war-torn western Africa. Taylor, who was elected president in 1997, would face charges of crimes against humanity by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a tribunal created by the United Nations to seek justice for Taylor's role (which prosecutors have described as "the very worst humans are capable of”) in the neighboring nation's 10-year civil war.But last Monday, the 59-year-old Taylor plunged the opening day of his trial into chaos, boycotting the hearing and firing his court-appointed lawyer, who walked out of the courtroom after receiving...
  • Caught Between Russia and the U.S.

    What a difference a year makes. Last summer, when Vladimir Putin hosted the G8's annual summit in St. Petersburg, the Russian president—supercharged by his country's oil-fueled economic boom—seemed the star attraction. He and the Bush administration hammered out a joint strategy on Iran, and Putin expansively welcomed his European neighbors into a new "energy partnership."...
  • Cannes: Defending Terror

    On Sept. 30, 1956, a beautiful young Algerian revolutionary named Djamila Bouhired planted a bomb in an Algiers bar that killed 17 people. The bombing was the turning point in Algeria's fight for independence from France. Bouhired was arrested, tried in court, found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to death. Then a young French lawyer named Jacques Vergès who supported Bouhired's anticolonial cause took on her case. Through a relentless press campaign in France and wily legal moves in Algeria, Vergès managed to get Bouhired pardoned and released. She went on to become the emblem of Algeria's successful fight for independence—the French withdrew in 1962—as well as Vergès's wife and the springboard for his career as the defender of terrorists and despots.Director Barbet Schroeder explores the enigmatic Vergès in "Terror's Advocate," a clear-eyed documentary that debuted to raves in Cannes last month and hits French movie theaters this week. Schroeder has a history of examining the...
  • China's Inflation Fears

    The price of bacon and eggs in China is soaring, another worrisome indicator the economy may overheat.
  • Giving Cash to the World's Poor

    The last thing you'd probably expect to see a Malawian drought victim do is whip out her ATM card and pull cash out of a machine. But that's exactly how some aid recipients in this beleaguered African nation now receive their monthly entitlements. As part of a relief experiment, the British government is handing out £750,000 of aid in the form of cash rather than food. Instead of standing in line for hours waiting for a sack of rice, Malawians simply swipe a card in one of several special mobile ATM machines located in pick-up trucks, then use the local currency to buy food, medicines, fertilizer or even pay for housing or school fees for their children. "Often, people affected by disasters are the ones who know best what they need," says Chris Leather, an adviser for Oxfam, the nonprofit group carrying out the program.It's a novel development idea that's catching on around the world. Until recently, most of the world's relief aid came in the form of material goods like food, water,...
  • Energy: Smart Bulbs

    With all the talk about reducing carbon footprints, energy-efficient light bulbs are all the rage. Australia, Canada and the European Union plan to phase out incandescent bulbs within five years, and similar proposals are afoot in the United States. But the leading replacements, fluorescent lights, contain mercury, a toxin, which can cost thousands of dollars to clean up, by some estimates. Another alternative is light-emitting diodes. An LED—a semiconductor that glows when an electrical current runs through it—contains no mercury or gas, so it's inherently safer. LED bulbs also use 80 percent less energy than comparable incandescent bulbs and emit no heat. An LED lasts up to 17 years (at eight hours a day)—50 times longer than incandescents and five times longer than fluorescents, says LED firm Lighting Science of Dallas, Texas. The drawback: LEDs cost about $100 for the equivalent of a 100-watt bulb. It would take five years or so to amortize that expense.
  • Zimbabwe: An Archbishop Takes On Mugabe

    It’s Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Bulawayo and the pews are crowded.  Pius Alick Ncube, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church here in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, peers out at the assembled parishioners over the rims of a pair of thick bifocals and takes a breath.  Then he bellows forth his rage. "This government doesn't have the holy spirit," he fumes. "They know what I think of them." A collective sigh moves through the crowd. In the farthest aisles, men and women clutch at each other, laughing and snickering. A few exchange knowing glances. "I'm not going to let them off the hook," Ncube continues. "These men are liars. They are murderers. They are only working to make themselves rich."It is not easy to be a voice of opposition in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe; legions of secret police and government enforcers make sure of that. When opposition activists do speak out they are often kidnapped and beaten and left in the open, or by the roadsides miles from...
  • Worldview: A Showdown In Ankara

    Turkey suffers a political crisis once a decade or so. The showdown now looming, however, may not end as such confrontations have in the past, with Islam in retreat. The conflict is also highlighting a key question with repercussions throughout the Muslim world and the West: namely, what role should Islam play in political life?Ten years ago the generals who guard Turkey's secular tradition overthrew a coalition government headed by an Islamic fundamentalist and banned his party. This time, however, the ruling party (known in Turkish as the AKP) is refusing to go gently into the night. True, it has bent in the face of military and judicial pressure by withdrawing the nomination of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul for the presidency—a revered bastion of secular power. Yet the AKP has also contested the military's diktat by calling a general election. And it's in a strong position to do so: the party already enjoys a majority in Parliament and widespread popularity thanks to five years...
  • Talking Softly Won't Work

    Few people know more about dissidence than Natan Sharansky. Charged with treason in the Soviet Union in 1978—he denied the accusations of spying for the United States—he served nine years in a gulag. In 1988, he was elected president of the Zionist Forum, a group of former Soviet dissidents. Even as an authority figure—he became a member of Israeli Prime Minister ArielSharon's cabinet in 2003—Sharansky remained defiant, resigning in 2005 over its withdrawal plans from Gaza. Now he has adopted a new controversial role as a key neoconservative ideologue—President George W. Bush called Sharansky's 2004 book, "The Case for Democracy," "part of my presidential DNA." This week, Sharansky is hosting a conference in Prague dubbed "The Davos of Dissidents." Among the dozens of democracy advocates from Iran to North Korea will be cohosts Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president, former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar and a VIP visitor, Bush himself. (The U.S. president is slated to...
  • France: Another Win for Sarkozy

    Was it only six weeks ago that political suspense reigned in Paris cafés? Could conservative Nicolas Sarkozy really win the nation’s highest office? People wondered if he might be thwarted by the Socialists’ comely comer, Ségolène Royal. Or perhaps even trumped by the engaging centrist François Bayrou? Well, no. And since Sarko’s triumph on May 6, this take-charge kind of guy has, yes, taken charge. In the first round of legislative elections yesterday, his UMP party steamrollered much of the opposition and it looks very likely to finish the job in runoffs next Sunday. So here’s a prediction for the next five years of French politics: all-Sarko all the time.Of the 577-member National Assembly, a record 110 candidates were elected outright last night by winning more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round. Of those, 98 are from Sarkozy’s UMP party. Only one is a Socialist. Projections for next Sunday are wide-ranging, but all forecast a Sarko landslide. With between 383 and...
  • Mail Call: Soldiers Write Home

    Our April 2 issue on America's war dead moved readers. "The soldiers' words made me emotional," wrote one. Another said, "The voices of the fallen made for sad reading." A third advised, "Quit Iraq." ...
  • Levy: Is MySpace Losing Its Audience?

    I had some bad news for Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, the founders of MySpace who now run the business for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. They'd lost my son's high school. A year ago, he and nearly all his fellow students were fanatical MySpace cadets. But now, like bees abandoning a hive, they'd left and swarmed to Facebook.I'd anticipated that sharing this admittedly anecdotal item over lunch with the sharp co-founders of one of the world's most successful Internet sites would lead to an intense grilling as to why this sudden exodus occurred. (My son thinks MySpace has too many ads and the pages are ugly. He also doesn't like the spam from alleged "friends" selling ringtones and other stuff, a problem that MySpace is trying to address.) But DeWolfe and Anderson, who sold to News Corp. last year for $580 million, didn't ask. Instead, they cited statistics that showed that their numbers were strong and opined that the exodus might have been a geographical anomaly. Anyway, Anderson...
  • OnScene: Anti-U.S. Protestors Flood Rome's Streets

    A general rule of thumb when dealing with protesters is that they don't like to be tricked. So when hundreds of would-be demonstrators from across Italy took advantage Saturday of discount train tickets offered to those participating in the peaceful anti-Bush demonstrations in Rome, they were a little more than miffed to find their discount wasn’t exactly a bargain. The trains with high numbers of discount tickets were significantly delayed and one was even diverted to a suburban station rather than Rome's central station near the starting point of the organized protests. Anti-riot police in Milan blocked a protester-heavy train heading to Rome on the tracks for nearly an hour, prohibiting a handful of protesters from boarding after finding fire extinguishers and other telltale violent protest paraphernalia in rucksacks. By the time everyone arrived and the antiwar march began—nearly two hours late—tension was high.For the past week, many Italians have been grumbling about President...
  • Q&A: Ireland's President Sees a Bright Future

    In recent weeks, Ireland has served up a slew of political surprises. On May 24, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern was voted back into government for a record third term. Sixteen days earlier, longstanding Roman Catholic and Protestant adversaries stepped away from sectarian conflict to form a power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland.Mary McAleese, the president of Ireland and a devout Catholic, spoke to Edward Pentin during a visit to the Vatican about these historic developments, her hopes for the Ahern government, her family’s flight from Belfast because of “the troubles” and her efforts to bridge the sectarian divide. Excerpts: ...
  • Past Newsweek Coverage

    She was beautiful, of course; she was young, and she was royal. In the shock of her death, the world struggled to reconcile the seemingly contradictory sources of Diana's appeal: the Princess of Wales was both pop icon and the mother of kings, a very modern woman who owed her fame to the most archaic of institutions. Her secret was that she was all these things. Diana was capable of profound change—both in her private life and in her public image—while maintaining a passionate link with her public. Such graceful resilience is a rare gift.When she married Charles in 1981, Diana personified the fairy-tale version of royalty. The awkward teenager, a cloud of hair dipping over her eyes, captured the world's most eligible bachelor. Her wedding gown seemed to stretch the length of St. Paul's, and when the bridal couple chastely kissed afterward on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, millions thrilled to the spectacle. In time, the public untangled the truth from the tableau. This was not a...
  • South Africa: An Unlikely Opposition Leader

    Helen Zille is in a hurry. As the newly elected head of South Africa's largest and most influential opposition party and also the mayor of Cape Town, she spent one recent day catching up with hundreds of cell phone messages, meeting with a few dozen worried parliamentarians from her caucus and welcoming President Thabo Mbeki for a ceremony—all while trying to look composed for the cameras of a television crew that had been following her since 4 o'clock that morning. But Zille’s real scramble is her work to recast South African politics.When an American delegation from the Harvard Black Law Students Association visited her offices a few weeks ago, Zille challenged them. "Why aren't you just the law society?" she asked. "If people from the most advantageous position in the world are still defining themselves by race, it shows how far we have to go in South Africa." Zille admits she was "depressed" by the encounter. "If we decide that race is the automatic override then we can't have a...
  • Ban Ki-moon: Why the World Has Changed in the U.N.'s Favor

    My experience, each morning, may not be unlike yours. We pick up our newspapers or turn on the TV—in New York, Lagos or Jakarta—and peruse a daily digest of human suffering. Lebanon. Darfur. Somalia. Of course, as Secretary General of the United Nations, I at least am in a position to try to do something about these tragedies. And I do, every day.When I took on this post, nearly five months ago, it was without illusions. A distinguished predecessor famously remarked that it was "the most impossible job in the world." I myself have joked that I am more secretary than general, for after all the Secretary General is no more powerful than his Security Council is united. In the past, as today, that unity has often been elusive. And yet, I remain as optimistic as the day I first entered this office.That might be hard to understand, given the dimension and intractability of many of the problems we face—nowhere more so, perhaps, than in the Middle East. With demands growing on every front,...
  • Scientists Push the Boundaries of Human Life

    It last happened about 3.6 billion years ago. a tiny living cell emerged from the dust of the Earth. It replicated itself, and its progeny replicated themselves, and so on, with genetic twists and turns down through billions of generations. Today every living organism—every person, plant, animal and microbe—can trace its heritage back to that first cell. Earth's extended family is the only kind of life that we've observed, so far, in the universe.This pantheon of living organisms is about to get some newcomers—and we're not talking about extraterrestrials. Scientists in the last couple of years have been trying to create novel forms of life from scratch. They've forged chemicals into synthetic DNA, the DNA into genes, genes into genomes, and built the molecular machinery of completely new organisms in the lab—organisms that are nothing like anything nature has produced.The people who are defying Nature's monopoly on creation are a loose collection of engineers, computer scientists,...
  • Level Up

    Peter Moore, Microsoft Corp.'s vice president for entertainment and devices, is responsible for the Xbox 360 gaming platform. While the original Xbox was a distant second to Sony's PlayStation 2, the 360 has jumped ahead of the PS3, but still trails Nintendo's Wii. That's where Moore feels at home—sneaking up on his competitors. ...