Joshua Hammer

'We're In No Rush'

WHEN THE TERROR FADED A BIT, the boredom set in. The 74 hostages who were still held at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, Peru, last week found time passing with excruciating slowness.

Born Under A Bad Sign

ALEN MUHIC'S BIRTHMOTHER wishes she could forget Feb. 20, 1993, the day he was born. ""When I heard him cry, I asked the doctor to bring him to me,'' the 33-year-old woman recalls. ""I wanted to strangle him.'' Instead she abandoned him in the besieged Bosnian town of Gorazde, at the hospital where the delivery took place.

Running For The Exits

IT BEGAN WITH A CRASH AT THE gate. Then teenage intruders went door to door in the residential compound rounding up missionaries from the U.S. charity World Relief and their children.

Back From The Ruins

IT'S JUST THE KIND OF RECONSTRUCTION project that can ensnarl a Third World government. The narrow-gauge railroad that snakes from the Red Sea port of Massawa up a dramatic escarpment to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, was an engineering marvel when the Italians completed it -- in the 1920s.

The Rise Of Tribal Terror

THE MOMENT EMMANUEL MPAWENA-YO heard the gunshots, he dived out of the back door of his home and hid in a banana grove. Seconds later, soldiers from. Burundi's Tutsi-dominated army swept through his village, Ngara, firing their weapons at his neighbors.

Blood On The Altar

He is a beloved figure in the southern French village of Bourg-St-Andeol. Several times a week, as morning sunlight filters through the yellow stained-glass windows of a 12th-century church, Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, 37, leads his worshipers through the masses that have regulated the rhythms of life here for centuries.

'I Would Like To Ask Him, 'Why?''

Kebede Admase, 73, is a living testament to the anguish of Ethiopia. In December 1977, at the height of a brutal crackdown on alleged enemies of the Marxist dictatorship then in power, Kebede's teenage son and daughter were arrested, denounced and thrown into prison in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Nice Idea, Wrong Army

At last somebody was doing something about the massacres in Rwanda. France ordered 2,500 troops to the region last week in Operation Turquoise, a rescue mission that appeared to be a generous act of humanitarian good will.

The Killing Fields

OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, TWO DOZEN bodies rotted in the sun, the faces frozen in agony. Inside, light filtered dimly through shattered stained-glass windows. Heaps of corpses lay sprawled on straw mats or under blankets.

Deeper Into The Abyss

AT A CHECKPOINT ACROSS A BRIDGE near Kigali, black-bereted soldiers from Rwanda's Presidential Guard swigged bottles of beer and poked their M-16 rifles into a Red Cross truck carrying medicine into the besieged capital. "Any Belgians here?" asked one half-drunk private, glaring at three terrified foreigners inside. "We're going to kill all the Belgians." There was a burst of machine-gun fire nearby, followed by the distant crash of heavy artillery.

Warriors Of Intimidation

"DON'T BE AFRAID," NELSON MANDELA told a campaign rally near Durban last week. The threat of violence shouldn't keep anyone in Natal province from voting next month, the ANC leader said, because "there is sufficient protection for all of you." But the front runner in South Africa's first democratic elections evidently had second thoughts about his own safety in the region.

Good Night, Dave

On Sunday, Jan. 10, the phone rang at Jay Leno's home in Beverly Hills. On the line was Robert Wright, president of NBC, calling to discuss the network's agonizing, monthlong debate over whether to replace Leno with David Letterman as host of "The Tonight Show." "Jay," said Wright, "this is going to be the toughest decision we've ever had to make.""I'm not going to ask who you're picking," Leno responded. "All I want to do is tell you my case." Then Leno launched into a sales pitch, stressing...

The Fading Of The Peacocks

In the late 1980s, Brandon Tartikoff and Bill Cosby reigned unchallenged as the princes of network television. One was a programming wunderkind who orchestrated NBC's six-year ratings dominance, the other a gifted performer whose "Cosby Show" led NBC's hit parade.

Not Just Hit Videos Anymore

Thus far, President Bush has rejected the invitation, explaining, "I'm not going to be a teeny-bopper at 68." Ross Perot is flirting with the notion, although he has some reservations. "I'm not going to have people 'jiving' behind me when I answer questions, am I?" he asked.

Risque' Business At Time Warner

With the publication of "Sex," Time Warner was again caught up in controversy. The Wall Street Journal attacked the company as "our era's undisputed schlockmeister," and Madonna, the faux dominatrix, as "a schlockmistress." But will the pop diva's Mylar-bagged fantasy become another "Cop Killer"?

MUST BLACKS BE BUFFOONS?

Nearly two decades ago, in a TV era replete with ethnic stereotypes, a teenager named J.J. strutted through the ABC series "Good Times," flashing a flubber-lipped grin and punctuating the air with his catch phrase, "Dy-no-MITE!" But if anyone thought such caricatures of African-American life had gone the way of Fred Sanford's junkyard truck, they haven't taken a look at prime time this year.

The Rise From Rice to Riches

Five years in the making, "The Pacific Century," a 10-part documentary premiering this week on PBS, is a history lesson that goes down easy. Produced by Alex Gibney, a filmmaker whose critically acclaimed "Battle for Eastern Airlines" on PBS chronicled the rancorous 1989 machinists' strike, this series covers a vastly larger chunk of time.

Paradise Lost

For fans of the National Pastime, September is always a glorious month-and this one should be no exception. With fewer than 30 games to go, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles are scrapping for the American League East pennant.

Like Father, Like Sons

Pandora Maxwell won't likely forget the knock on her door that interrupted her sleep at 6:30 a.m. last Thursday. An indignant Mrs. Maxwell, clad in her nightdress, leaned from her bedroom window. "Piss off!" she reportedly shouted.

The Sly Dog At Fox

Joe Roth heard all the rumors. They began circulating days after the dreadful opening of Fox's " For the Boys," scorned by Daily Variety as "the [Christmas] holiday's only turkey." Those rumors gained momentum after "Shining Through," another lavish World War II film that sank faster than a U-boat in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Back On The Block

Before Doomsday, The Block pulsed with life. Palm trees shaded the tidy little houses that stretched off and away from the intersection of Vermont and Vernon avenues.

Betting On A Guilt-Free Egg

You've heard about rot-resistant tomatoes and hormone-enriched cattle. How about high-tech eggs? Scientists have scrambled for years to invent a healthier version of the much-maligned breakfast food-and now, the race is over.

Total Free Fall

Under the azure skies of the Mediterranean, on a gleaming white yacht that rocked gently off the French Riviera, Mario F. Kassar, then 39, was proudly holding court.

Holy Shake-Up, Batman!

As any Third World dictator knows, it's dangerous to leave the capital during times of trouble. N. J. (Nick) Nicholas Jr., the steely co-chief executive of Time Warner and the heir apparent to co-CEO and chairman Steven J.

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