Newsweek December 24, 2012

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


letters & contributors

Newsweek is going all digital starting Jan. 4, 2013, and will no longer publish a print edition. However, we will continue to publish Newsweek as a digital magazine. To receive your remaining issues in digital format, please visit to set up your account. Please complete this simple process by Dec. 27, 2012, to avoid any interruption to your subscription. If you are already a digital Newsweek customer through iTunes, Zinio, Google, Kindle, or Nook, you don’t need to do anything—your subscription will continue as is. As we have for years, Newsweek will continue to offer a money-back guarantee on all unmailed issues if you notify us that, for any reason, you wish to cancel your subscription. We look forward to continuing to serve you as a reader. IN RESPONSE TO THE ISSUE OF…

merry christmas to me!

NATIONAL NOTEBOOK: Among the throngs of Americans prowling the malls and trawling e-commerce sites, it turns out that many Christmas shoppers are looking out for themselves. Retail-research firm NPD Group in mid-December said that, thus far, about one third of consumers have engaged in what is euphemistically called self-gifting. That’s up from 12 percent in a typical prerecession year, and up from the 19 percent who said they planned to do so last year. The National Retail Federation, the dispenser of all holiday- related data, said that in 2012, nearly 60 percent of shoppers would engage in the practice. The latest step in the evolution of our burgeoning culture of narcissism? Yes. But you don’t have to be Scrooge to realize that self-gifting makes both psychological and economic sense—especially given what…

shawn holley

WHAT DO Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, Axl Rose, the Kardashian sisters, Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Dogg have in common? They are among the myriad celebrities who, upon finding themselves in legal jams, turned to Shawn Holley to save the day. One of the nation’s top entertainment lawyers, the Santa Monica, Calif.–based Holley specializes in troubleshooting for Hollywood’s rich and famous. A former public defender, she got her start as a member of Johnnie Cochran’s defense team in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Seventeen years later, celebs-behavingbadly has grown into its own special branch of law—and Holley, who just turned 50, is among its most experienced practitioners. Holley’s most notorious client these days is Lohan. Drunk driving (guilty plea), cocaine use (guilty plea), theft (“no contest” plea), multiple probation…

china wants land; russia needs babies

THIS LAND IS MY LAND China violated Japan’s airspace for the first time in 54 years, when a military surveillance plane flew over the Japanese Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims as its own and calls the “Diaoyus.” It was the most provocative incident to date in the territorial dispute between the two states, and Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets to pursue the Chinese aircraft, which slipped back into Chinese airspace. The Chinese have engaged in ever-bolder incursions into Japanese territorial waters around the minuscule islands, these actions being of a piece with China’s larger strategy of maritime assertiveness in the Far East. Particularly striking have been Beijing’s nonnegotiable claims to vast swaths of sea that abut Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as the strident nature of the anti-Japanese discourse…

big rocks are back!

WHAT’S DRIVING THE SURGE IN GIANT GEMS. LAST WEEK American news wires reported, in a singlesentence article, the discovery of the world’s largest sapphire, a 93-pound specimen that a Sri Lankan company reportedly hacked into pieces, including an 85,000-carat chunk that it hopes to sell for some $800 million. “We are very positive that this stone will bring a lot of fame,” an unnamed company representative revealed in an on-camera interview that appeared on The Wall Street Journal’s website. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, a Christie’s auction set a new per-carat record for a nine-carat Kashmir sapphire—just one of a string of landmark jewelry sales that occurred this year. Gems are making headlines due to a perfect storm of sorts. Interest in rare jewelry and colored gems has been on the rise…

buddhas in danger

AMONG CHINA’S greatest art treasures are the Buddhist caves near Dunhuang, an oasis on the fabled Silk Road that once linked China and Europe. Their ancient frescoes, sculptures, and other relics date as far back as A.D. 430 and have survived wars, environmental damage, antiquities hunters, and the chaotic Cultural Revolution. But their biggest threat today is tourism. T e UNESCO World Heritage site—which includes more than 700 caves, 2,400 clay sculptures, and 150,000 square feet of frescoes—has an optimal capacity of 3,000 people per day, but up to 8,000 visited the caves daily during holidays this year. The caves, also known as the Mogao Grottoes, have fragile ecosystems, and the buildup of humidity and carbon dioxide from visitors’ breath can lead to flaking and discoloration of the delicate wall paintings. ‘I’m…