Less Beijing Smog May Mean Higher Temperatures

Dissidents aren't the only ones being forced off Beijing's streets during the Olympics. The Chinese government has also pushed drivers off the roads—about 3.5 million of them—and shuttered hundreds of factories, steel mills and coal plants in an effort to reduce the city's notorious smog. But while better air in Beijing may be good news for athletes, it could for worse for the earth's environment. "When you clean up very polluted air, as China is doing during these Olympics, it has a direct impact on global warming," says Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a leading climate researcher from the University of California, San Diego, who is studying Beijing's atmosphere for the Games' duration.Here's how it works: particles in polluted air cool the planet by shielding it from the sun's radiation (which bounces off the particles back into space). By getting rid of smog, it eliminates the protective barrier—and temperatures rise.Scientists are painfully aware of the irony, but so far, no one's...

Starving Real Estate Brokers

Real-estate agents are an optimistic bunch, but it's hard to put a positive spin on the nation's deepening housing bust. In the past year, the average U.S. home has lost 16 percent of its value, and the number of homes changing hands has dropped by one third since the market peak in 2005. Since most agents make money only when houses actually sell (most earn no salary), that's leading to a sense of desperation in some hard-hit regions. In one Los Angeles-area brokerage office, an agent told NEWSWEEK, the outlook is so bad they've even set up a food pantry with pasta and canned goods so struggling agents won't go hungry.Consider the scene at Prudential California Realty in Cypress, a community in well-heeled Orange County. Manager Christine McGowan says she's watched a number of her employees lose their own homes to foreclosure. Among them is Michael Vasquez, a veteran broker, who lost his—and his marriage—when financial stress contributed to his divorce; he was forced to move in...

Fast Chat: La Raza's Janet Murguia

Hoping to sway voters in a crucial demographic, both John McCain and Barack Obama will speak in July at a conference for the nation's largest Latino advocacy group, the National Council of La Raza. Its CEO, Janet Murguia, discussed the courtship with NEWSWEEK's Jamie Reno: ...

Specter’s Cancer Battle

Sen. Arlen Specter discusses his battle with cancer, his theories on the best way to fight the disease and how it affected his work in Washington.

Why Rev. Wright Said What He Did

As Sen. Barack Obama deals with the fallout of controversial remarks by his pastor, a noted historian explains how the Rev. Jeremiah Wright came to say what he did.

Lake Mead: Running Dry

Climate research says Lake Mead, in the Southwest, could be gone by 2021. How millions in southern California and neighboring states would be affected.

Can Obama Win Latino Vote?

Author and race expert Earl Hutchinson says simmering tensions between African-Americans and Latinos could have a huge impact on the '08 race.