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FRUGAL IS SO OVER

In the pie-chart world of macroeconomics, it is once again fashionable to bash Asia's "absent" consumers. Americans, we are told, tap easy credit to live beyond their means.

Market Watch: Eyes On Shanghai

Shanghai's real-estate market is so strong, even tradition can't stand in its way. Young men used to buy large "marriage apartments" in which to live with a future bride, but can no longer afford them.

MARKET WATCH: EYES ON SHANGHAI

Shanghai's real-estate market is so strong, even tradition can't stand in its way. Young men used to buy large "marriage apartments" in which to live with a future bride, but can no longer afford them.

THE BATTLE FOR LATINO SOULS

Five years ago, Esperanza Hincapie had sunk into a pit of despondency. With a daughter in prison for murder, she contemplated swallowing a mouthful of pills to blot out her heartache.

GREENSPAN'S 'CONUNDRUM'

Something strange happened on the way to higher interest rates: they declined. We're talking about rates on long-term mortgages and bonds. These rates truly affect the economy, because they influence housing and business investment.

BETA-TESTING PARADISE

Deep in the back of the 60,000-square-foot appliance store in suburban Chicago, Yamaha representative Chuck Lucous is performing his magic. He's working with a rectangular silver state-of-the-art speaker that's sitting on a special mount beneath a Panasonic plasma TV.

SRI LANKA: GETTING RELIEF TO TIGER TERRITORY

Not so long ago, you would have been courting death by trying to drive from Colombo to Kilinochchi. Now aid convoys are rolling all the way from the capital to the nerve center of Sri Lanka's rebel army, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

FAREWELL TO TROUBLES

On a cold November evening in Belfast, an eclectic group of students, writers and politicians gathers for a book party near Queen's University. Two old hands in the Northern Ireland peace process discuss the latest developments.

CAN WE VOTE YET?

No Voter Left Behind Unless you live in Texas, say, or Vermont, you've probably opened the front door to find a cheerful campaign worker imploring you to vote, and vote early.

A $3 TRILLION GAMBLE

When 83-year-old Tsuma Miyagawa wants to get her pension money or deposit cash in a savings account, there's only one place for her to go--the local post office.

NO NET? WE'D RATHER GO WITHOUT FOOD.

Your tech-stock portfolio might still be aching from a three-year hangover, but when it comes to the Internet's effect on our lives, the binge is just getting underway.

PERILS OF GOOD INTENTIONS

South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun came to power last year as a populist outsider, and in recent months has spelled out spending plans that deliver on his promises in a big way--some say too big.

Rnc Blog: New York Stories

Thursday, Sept. 2 | 8:10 p.m. ETDeidre Depke: So what does John McCain think about 527s? Yesterday, the Bush campaign filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, charging five such organizations with "massive" and "ongoing" violations of election laws.

MAIL CALL: A REGIME IN TROUBLE

Our June 28 investigative report on Saudi Arabia led many Muslim readers to share the rage inspired by Saudi royalty. "Superb coverage!" praised one. Another bemoaned the "royals' corruption, nepotism and decadence," while a third lamented the "indoctrination of bigotry in religious schools."Inside a Medieval Kingdom"The Saudi Trap" by Fareed Zakaria (Special Report, June 28) is a superb piece of investigative journalism.

CHINA'S CAMPUS KILLERS

Xue Ronghua, 24, a shy and studious eldest child, grew up in the poorest county in one of China's poorest provinces, Jiangxi. But even there, his family is considered a charity case.

BACK TO THE STONE AGE

The Bing Hamptons. That's what I've taken to calling the upstate New York area where my husband and I spend weekends, my joke being the horrific contrast between the fashionable, exorbitant Long Island Hamptons and the increasingly destitute city of Binghamton, which lies about an hour north of our place.

'It Is Now or Never'

Last week, a small celebration rang out within the Iraqi Jewish diaspora--a global community of 125,000 people who had been stripped of their citizenship and near $200 million in property during a half-century mass exodus from Iraq.

NO MORE EXCUSES

In the halcyon days when Vladimir Putin visited his aunts and uncles here, the tiny village of Pominovo was a place of hope. "There was a store, a bar, a club," recalls Vladimir Kuvarin, himself once married to a now deceased cousin of the Russian president. "We were clothed and shod and well fed.

BEHIND THE BAILOUTS

It was an expensive week. First Beijing dropped almost $1 billion to rescue the country's fifth largest brokerage. Then a few days later the government plunked down $45 billion to help wipe bad loans off the books of two of its biggest banks.

Food: Don't Try This At Home

It's 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning. In a small kitchen in one of New York's best restaurants, Eleven Madison Park, chef Kerry Heffernan is giving a cooking class to a gaggle of 8- to 10-year-olds and their hovering moms.

Brazil's Racial Revolution

One day, some years ago, Brazilian Bishop Dom Jose Maria Pires sat down to lunch and a pile of unread mail. One letter, from black seminarians, caught his eye.

A 'Quicksilver' Mind

Science fiction, says Neal Stephenson, is "fiction in which ideas play an important part." Ideas certainly abound in his 927-page "Quicksilver," the first of the three-volume "Baroque Cycle," set entirely between the years 1656 and 1714.

PERISCOPE

MARKET WATCHDefying GravityThe world's markets have been going gangbusters of late. The Dow is up 24 percent since March. Tokyo's Nikkei has surged 30 percent over the same time period.

IRAN: THE MYSTERY MEETING

Why were two top Pentagon experts on Iran meeting with a notorious character from the Iran-contra scandal? DOD's answer: it was by accident--both times. In high-summer Washington, though, conspiracy theories abound.

FREE AND RECKLESS

After toppling Saddam Hussein's repressive regime, U.S. officials crowed that Iraq would soon see a rebirth of free speech and independent newspapers. Little did they know: since April the news business in Iraq has exploded.

Tycoon Takedown

If anyone embodies Russia's transformation from financial pariah to new economic star, it's 40-year-old Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Not long ago he was just another post-Soviet business tycoon, getting rich quick in dubious privatizations and trampling on minority shareholders.Then he gave himself a makeover.

Two Gorillas Make Nice

Last week the technology elite gathered in Carlsbad, Calif., for a Wall Street Journal technology conference. Nobody gave it a second thought that some of the Microsoft people seemed to be hanging around folks from America Online just a little too much for blood rivals.

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