To understand why young Muslims in French slums have been burning cars and buildings over the past two weeks, consider the economics of hairdressing. On the streets of New York and London, beauty salons employing immigrants who speak little or no English are omnipresent. (Hairdressing is, in fact, one of Britain's fastest-growing professions.) The equivalent is not true in France, where you need a special degree and years of training to legally wield a blow-dryer, let alone a meat cleaver or...
If it weren't for the raffia coasters and folk art in her office, it would be tough to tell Barbara Stocking from a big-time CEO. The director of Oxfam's British operation has the power manner, and calendar: one summer week took her to a meeting with EU Trade Minister Peter Mandelson, a fund-raiser with European business leaders and the G8 summit in Scotland.
As the season of fashion shows in the U.S. and Europe draws to a close in Paris this week, one of the hottest trendsetters is also one of the newest. TopShop, the 41-year-old British retailer known for "fast fashion," or quick knockoffs of designer labels, moved from follower to leader last month with its first ever catwalk show in London.
If you have any doubt about the power of comic books, consider that they are now required reading for the future military leaders of America. In order to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, cadets from the class of 2006 must study Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel "Persepolis," a coming-of-age tale set during the Iranian revolution.
The death of television has been predicted almost since its birth. Back in 1946, Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck famously announced that TV wouldn't last more than six months because "people will get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." A decade later, when the remote control was invented, industry types worried that this miracle device would destroy their businesses by turning viewers into ad-avoiding serial clickers.
Neil Gershenfeld has boundary issues. As a teen, he irked his parents by asking to attend the local trade school rather than the mainstream academy for bright kids like himself. "I was good in science, but I also wanted to learn to make stuff," he says. "I didn't understand why those things had to be separate." At Bell Labs, he ran into trouble with the unions when he tried to use machine tools to fabricate vacuum chambers he needed for his research.
Like the technology he's pushing, Jeffrey Citron, the 34-year-old CEO of Internet phone company Vonage, has a tendency to shake things up. In the 1990s, armed with little more than a high-school diploma, he founded two businesses, including Datek Online Holdings, and helped pioneer the tools for computerized daytrading on Wall Street (and attracted the ire of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which fined him $22.5 million for allegedly misusing the new system).
Even by Middle Eastern standards, Egypt has never been an easy place to do business. Its inwardly focused economy has stagnated for the past seven years. Inflation is rife, tariffs and unemployment are among the highest in the world, and red tape is endless, thanks to a command and control state with 6 million civil servants.