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Mail Call: Spain's Leaders

Readers of our March 10 report on Spain's decline took issue with us. "Former prime minister Aznar did not 'mishandle' the terrorist attacks, he lied," said one.

Mao to Now

China is thousands of years old but has been made anew in the last three decades, and my family with it.

Mail Call: A Crisis of Faith

A Dark Night of the SoulReaders of Christopher Hitchens's Sept. 10 piece on Mother Teresa defended the nun staunchly. "Great saints have grave crises of faith," wrote one.

Cool, Clear Water

The forgotten virtues of Chinese foot pumps, buried aqueducts and other ancient water-supply technologies

Afghan governor on resurgent Taliban

One of the areas in Afghanistan that's seeing a resurgence of the Taliban recently is Kapisa, a small province about 20 miles northeast of Kabul. In the past few months alone, Taliban fighters have regrouped in Kapisa's district of Tagab and staged several attacks.

Mail Call: Energy Boom, 2007

Readers of our special "Issues 2007" on energy shared diverse views. "The best collection of current topics!" praised one. But another criticized us: "Only a tiny mention of alternatives like solar power?" The Geopolitics of EnergyI'm a Californian living temporarily in Kiev, Ukraine.

Higher Math From Medieval Islam

Ancient, closely held religious secrets; messages encoded on the walls of Middle Eastern shrines; the divine golden ratio—readers of a recent issue of the journal Science must have wondered if they'd mistakenly picked up "The Da Vinci Code" instead.

Software Savior?

When you think of technology visionaries, Hasso Plattner's name probably doesn't spring to mind. But it should. As the founder of the German company SAP, the world's third largest software maker after Microsoft and Oracle, Plattner has been every bit as influential as better-known peers like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

The Forgotten Battleground

President Bush flew halfway around the globe last week, but in a sense he visited another world. Bush is preoccupied almost entirely by Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, North Korea and, if he has time enough in a day, by Venezuela and Russia.

This Rampart Is Rising

When students take to the streets, they're usually united against something like war or racism. But when Indian students took to the streets last May they had a different cause.

Computer Genius

When you think of technology visionaries, names like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs spring to mind. One that probably does not is Hasso Plattner. It should. As the founder of the German firm SAP, the world's third largest software maker, Plattner has been every bit as influential as his better-known peers, perhaps even more so.

Off the Wall

When Alan Skrainka discovered India back in 2004, its top companies were a bargain. As chief market strategist for Edward Jones investments, he started buying when the average share on Mumbai's main Sensex Index traded at roughly 12 times earnings.

Mail Call

Most readers of our March 6 cover story on the new India were full of lavish praise. "An excellent cover story," cheered one. "Informative, balanced and objective," said another, who found we "conveyed India's contrasts succinctly." A third huffed, "There was no mention of corruption."Fareed Zakaria's "India Rising" is the most wonderfully informative, balanced and objective report I have read on the subject (March 6).

Capital Ideas

Americans have been pouring record amounts of money into mutual funds that concentrate on companies abroad. In 2005, U.S. investors aimed 75 cents of every stock-fund dollar into a fund focused on international markets, and the pace accelerated this year, with roughly $3 billion a week heading overseas, according to AMG Data Services.

Promise in Pakistan

In the late 1990s Lahore-based businessman Iqbal Ahmed was depressed. Pakistan was isolated internationally and in the grip of a deep recession, and his modest, liquefied-petroleum-gas operation didn't seem to be going anywhere. "I used to get up and say, 'What the hell, it's another day'," he recalls. "Now I can't wait for the day to begin.

Final Bows

No pope since Peter had loomed so large. His travels to 129 countries over 26 years covered the equivalent of three times the distance between the Earth and the moon.


Readers of our June 27 story on the insurgents in Iraq reacted angrily to what they called "Bush's war." "We are Osama's No. 1 recruiting agent," wrote one.


Readers of Claude Smadja's June 20 essay on Europe responded excitedly to his suggestion for a cultural revolution. "Brilliant," praised one. But, said another, "even if Brussels junked our labor codes and safety nets, workers here can never compete with the Chinese and the Indians."A New European Dream?I'd like to thank Claude Smadja for his brilliant article "A Last Chance for Europe" (June 20), which should be read all over Europe, especially in schools, to explain the European context.


The old lexicon of luxe hardly serves to describe Daslu, a venerable Sao Paulo store freshly rebuilt as a 17,000-square-meter temple to Mammon. Opened last month, it has a heliport for customers who prefer not to mix with traffic.