If Lebanon flares into civil war, once again, the spark may well ignite inside the minority Christian community.

This threat has been obscured by the rising tension between Shiites and Sunnis. Crowds poured into central Beirut last week, seeking to topple the government. By demanding more power for the bloc allied with the Shiite forces of Hizbullah, the crowds threaten the 16-year-old agreement that ended the last civil war by dividing influence among Lebanon's dueling sects. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton called the rallies "part of the Iran-Syria-inspired coup."

That may be missing the hottest flashpoint. Entrenched in the pro-Hizbullah crowd last week were thousands of Christian supporters of Michel Aoun, an Army commander during the civil war who has made no secret of his presidential ambitions. Since returning to Lebanon last year after more than a decade in exile, Aoun has forged a political alliance with Hizbullah, with his eye on the presidency. He's now widely seen as Hizbullah's man in the Christian camp. Only Aoun doesn't speak for all Christians. His chief rival is Samir Geagea, head of a militia that fought Aoun's forces in 1990 and is now allied with the government. When a Christian cabinet minister was assassinated recently, Geagea's backers accused Aoun of providing cover for the killers. "The tension is higher among the Christians because it's a battle of life or death and a matter of leadership," says a senior security official, who is not authorized to speak on the record about such issues. It may also prove to be the dividing line between mass protests, and civil war.

Letter from the Editor... This issue marks a turning point for NEWSWEEK International. After five stellar years as our managing editor, Nisid Hajari has moved on to become foreign editor of the domestic editions of NEWSWEEK. The magazine in your hands is the first produced by our new managing editor, Tony Emerson . A NEWSWEEK veteran who came to us as an intern 19 years ago, he's worked as a researcher, writer and editor. Most recently, he's been running our business section and special projects, such as the annual Issues series on big themes of the year ahead. We wish Nisid all the best in his new role. And now Tony and the rest of us here will work with renewed energy to produce the most intelligent, informative and interesting magazine for our readers.

Mexico's new president, Felipe Calderón, confronts rising drug violence, a political crisis in Oaxaca fueled by poverty and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who refuses to accept his loss to Calderón and vows to rally protests against any move he doesn't like.

Drug wars and López Obrador are too intransigent to turn quickly. That leaves Oaxaca, controlled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which finished third in the vote. Calderón could work with the PRI to push tax and poverty reforms. That means a deal with a discredited PRI governor of Oaxaca, but it's one way for Calderón to avoid stalling in his first 100 days.

The ceasefire last week was supposed to put an end to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. It didn't. To the contrary, in interviews with NEWSWEEK, Palestinian rocket makers claim that the rocket fire is actually growing more powerful, precise and politically successful. Of the dozen or so militant groups in Gaza, almost all use these weapons. In the last six months they've made big improvements in their homemade Qassam rockets, which now pack more explosives and carry a second engine that has increased their range. The improved models are also more accurate, and can now strike consistently within 500 meters of a target, claims Abdullah Jaafar, a commander in Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Gaza. His group has already broken the ceasefire, sending two rockets into the town of Sderot. No one was injured, says Jaafar, but "it sent a message."

Indeed. Israeli officials acknowledge there's no way to eliminate the rocket threat, and have plans to build a $300 million antirocket system. But that is scheduled to take a year and a half to deploy.

Struggling General Motors had some good news lately, with its sales rising 6 percent in November and the debut last week of its curvaceous new Buick Enclave. But for besieged CEO Rick Wagoner, the best news had to have come Thursday, when Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian cashed out his final 28 million shares of GM stock. In the course of a week, Kerkorian--whom analysts believed was gunning for Wagoner--went from GM's largest individual shareholder to just another outsider the Detroit establishment ran off the road. Now GM has to keep moving forward--even without Kerkorian as back-seat driver, GM is farther down the road to recovery than its crosstown rivals, who are hemorrhaging billions while GM is merely losing millions. And analysts say Wagoner owes some thanks to Kerkorian for that. Sure, the two probably parted ways because Wagoner wouldn't go along with Kerkorian's ambitious plan to align GM with France's Renault and Japan's Nissan, creating a car colossus controlling a quarter of the world's auto market. But Kerkorian also put some much-needed pressure on GM to get the lead out. Now that he's gone, Wall Street worries GM will ease up. "Having somebody chasing after you often prompts you to run faster," wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Jonathan Steinmetz in a note to investors that warned of the negative effect of GM's losing its "change agent."

A small number of jails in Texas and Arizona are undergoing makeovers, experimenting with pink cells and pink jumpsuits for prisoners. The reason for the redesigns? To pacify prisoners. "Pink is a nonaggressive color," says Mike Rackley, the sheriff in charge of the Dallas County Detention Center in Buffalo, Missouri, where walls were recently repainted pink with little blue teddy bears.

The idea of soothing prisoners with pink surroundings is rosy enough, but will it work? Margaret Miele, a color psychologist at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, says there is academic debate over the color pink's calming abilities, and that even under the best circumstances, only very specific shades of pink are thought to diffuse aggression. Regardless, Rackley says it's worth a shot: "I don't know if it will work or not, but I'm willing to try anything."

What made Paris Hilton who she is? A new book titled "House of Hilton," by Jerry Oppenheimer, delves deep into the Hilton family history to find out. Unsurprisingly, the book doesn't read like "The Great Gatsby," but the stories are oddly similar. The Fitzgerald novel shares its Long Island setting with the childhood home of our heroine's maternal grandmother, born Kathleen Dugan. "By coincidence," Oppenheimer writes, "the protagonist, Jay Gatsby, had some of the same twisted values that possessed hotelier Conrad Hilton and career stage-mother Kathleen Dugan Avanzino Richards Catain Fenton throughout their lives." So where did Paris get her values and ethics and morals? From a clan comprised of slatterns, satyrs, gold diggers, layabouts, social climbers, publicity fiends and narcissists. Further, Oppenheimer asserts that the Hiltons have ties to the two great families of modern American myth, the Kennedys and the Mafia--a nice touch.

You'd think a film version of "Fast Food Nation," Eric Schlosser's best seller about the junk-food industry, would be an easy hit. But Richard Linklater's fictionalized version never really brings together its two reasons for existing: to make us think about the food we eat, and to tell the stories of some of the people who make it, market it and sell it.

"Candy" on the other hand, is a grim little fable of folie à deux . A story about Australian junkies in love, it's impeccably acted--especially by the ever more impressive Heath Ledger. And you'll find yourself immersed, however unwillingly, in your own private celebrity-gossip blog. Was it tough for Ledger to film the scenes in which awful things happen to the pregnant Cornish, given that his own wife, Michelle Williams, was expecting their daughter (Matilda, don't you know?) at the time of filming? It feels unseemly to be pondering these questions as you watch Ledger and Cornish spiraling down the black hole of heroin addiction, but is it the viewer's fault they're attractive public figures with happening sex lives?

Why exercise when you can take a pill? According to a new study, drugs with resveratrol neutralized the bad consequences of fatty foods in mice, doubled their endurance and extended their lives by 15 percent. Within a week of the study, one American company's demand for resveratrol multiplied by 2,400, despite the fact that no one knows if the drug will impact humans the same way.