Katie Baker

Hospitality MacGyver

He calls it the War Room. Located behind 30-ton blast doors in a fallout shelter—built for Congress in the late 1950s and nicknamed "The Last Resort"—its walls are papered with plans, diagrams, and calendars that painstakingly plot out the minutes 'til the Big Day. Across the hall is a replica of the battle site, stocked with high-tech equipment and laid out inch-by-inch to resemble what he'll find when he touches down on French soil.

Written Britain

Katie Baker looks at a British Museum exhibit that explores the places intimately bound up with the literature of the United Kingdom.

Beautiful Liar?

The case of dead toddler Caylee captivated America, and came to a surprise close last week.

Bina Agarwal on Women's Role in Conservation

In early December, nations met for another round of climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, where a joint initiative was launched to make women more integral to the process known by the acronym REDD, which aims to compensate developing countries for protecting forests. NEWSWEEK's Katie Baker and Tania Barnes spoke with noted Indian economist Bina Agarwal on how women are central to global conservation efforts. Excerpts:

Empowering Women and Saving the Environment

Last year, in the run-up to Copenhagen's climate summit, UNDP head and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark outlined how climate change will disproportionately affect the world's poor. "Receding forests, expanding deserts, changing rainfall patterns, and rising sea levels will trap people in hardship," she wrote.

How to Balance Economy and Environment?

World leaders—including several female heads of state—now face a delicate balancing act: how to promote economic growth while still protecting the earth's finite resources.

Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Madonna: History and Fame

In his book "Fame," Tom Payne explores how our current celebrity obsession is in fact quite old, drawing parallels between the ancient Greeks and Romans and tabloid staples such as Britney Spears, Kate Winslet, and Princess Diana. Megastars like Lady Gaga, he argues, are elevated to the status of demigods—but we demand sacrifices from them in return.

Patti Stanger: Seven New Rules for the First Date

Some 40 million Americans use online dating services, and just under half the country is single. That's a lot of awkward first dates. Finding Mr. or Ms. Right is like shopping for a winter coat on Amazon. If it doesn't work out, you can just send it back, and there are hundreds of replacements just a click away.

Memoirs of the Veil

The meaning of the veil for women in Muslim societies has been much debated in the West. Is it, as European backers of its ban would argue, a symbol of repression? Or is it a political statement—a "rejection of the Western lifestyle," as Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written? Two new memoirs by Western women tackle the issue from an insider's vantage point.

'My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young'

A few years ago, all-around hot chick Stephanie Dolgoff started to notice salespeople in trendy boutiques, the ones who "used to swirl around me like bees over a puddle of orange soda," no longer bothered to pitch her skinny jeans and spiky heels. Life was otherwise swell--good job, great husband, beautiful kids, loving friends--but she'd become, in her own estimation, "Formerly Hot."

Why Do Some Nations Have Lower IQ Scores?

Global differences in intelligence is a sensitive topic, long fraught with controversy and still tinged by the disgraceful taint of pseudosciences such as craniometry that strove to prove the white "race" as the most clever of them all. But recent data, perplexingly, has indeed shown cognitive ability to be higher in some countries than in others.

The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage

The publisher is marketing this memoir as "the rock and roll version of The Satanic Verses." What's so scandalous? In addition to the expected drugs-and-sex debauchery, Last Living Slut, for starters, makes a mockery of the author's natal religion. This is the groupie tell-all gone disastrously wrong.

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky

To most Westerners, Yemen is little more than another faraway terrorist haven. But Jennifer Steil's memoir about taking the reins of a local newspaper—and seducing a British diplomat in the process—delivers an interesting, and at times inspiring, tale.

Anti-US Trade Deals Grow During Recession

Last month, Latin American nations proposed a new regional bloc--­excluding the U.S. and ­Canada--to serve as an alternative to the Washington-dominated Organization of American States.

Asia Still Set for Robust Growth

As the global financial downturn drags on, some investors have started to question the pre-recession storyline of robust BRIC growth. Analysts like Morgan Stanley's Ruchir Sharma are predicting that inflation will throw cold water on emerging-market recoveries; others, such as emerging-market fund manager Mark Mobius, claim that cracks within the BRICs will soon develop.

Japan Doesn't Get it

One of the most striking turns in the fall of Toyota is how the recall scandal is playing with much of the Japanese public: as a bewildering American frenzy.

Seoul Kicks Off Its Year of Design

Seoul has long been known for its daring, innovative business culture, but the look of the place, which was drab and generic, never matched this ambition.

Chinese See Environment As Biggest Security Threat

What does China see as its greatest threat? Beijing may finger the U.S., but a new poll of Chinese public opinion shows that people on the ground are more worried about the environment and domestic woes than geopolitical enemies.Conducted by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the MacArthur Foundation, the study found that three quarters of Chinese pointed to environmental problems such as climate change as a major threat to China's security, while 67 percent cited water and food...

Chinese See Environment As Biggest Security Threat

What does China see as its greatest threat? Beijing may finger the U.S., but a new poll of Chinese public opinion shows that people on the ground are more worried about the environment and domestic woes than geopolitical ­enemies.  Conducted by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the MacArthur Foundation, the study found that three quarters of Chinese pointed to environmental problems such as climate change as a major threat to China's security, while 67 percent cited water and...

Italy Scores Poorly On World Gender Gap Report

Thanks to the antics of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi--his excursions with escorts, his insistence that beauty queens be included in his Parliament, his description of his country as a land of "beautiful secretaries"--Italy's getting slammed often these days for its culture of chauvinism.

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