Newsweek Feb-14-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


after sochi

Vladimir Putin stood watching the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics at the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, a photoshopped evocation of Russian history and culture unfolding before him. Scenes from Tolstoy and notes from Tchaikovsky; Peter the Great on a sailing ship; and even a nod to the massive nationwide construction that took place after World War II under the reign of Russia’s hardest man - Josef Stalin, whose own dacha in Sochi is preserved to this day. Putin had sheathed the city, he had said, with “a ring of steel,” a reference to an unprecedented security presence tasked with protecting the athletes, the games, and everything the Russian president seeks from them. It was the type of macho rhetoric Russians, and the world, has gotten used to from him. But…

all you need is love. and four other players

The middle-aged reporters watch the young men come out of the showers. The young men have hard bodies, while the bodies of the middle-aged reporters are soft, adiposal. The young men come from Spain, Cameroon, Martinique - and Tennessee. Now they are in Minneapolis, where they play for the Minnesota Timberwolves. On this night, the Timberwolves have defeated the Los Angeles Lakers. Once, the Lakers played in Minneapolis. Once, the Lakers won championships. Now they do neither. Kevin Martin, a shooting guard for the Wolves, pleads for “real estate,” and a few reporters oblige, receding with bovine reluctance. They wait for Martin to sit down in front of his locker and face them so they can commence talking about Kevin Love. Here in Minneapolis, they are always talking about Kevin Love. “He’s…

total surveillance sochi-style

The 2014 Sochi Olympics have become a giant testing ground for some of the most intensive, extensive and intrusive electronic surveillance operations ever mounted. There’s even evidence that criminal hackers are working alongside Russian spies to mine information. “Sochi is a trial run,” says Keir Giles, a cyber security expert at the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies in London. A special section of the Russian security force FSB - the successor to the KGB - has spent years perfecting a total monitoring system around Sochi which automatically tracks mobile calls, email, social networks and all the links between them, adding in data from passenger lists, drones and roadside cameras. It’s enormously sophisticated and of course expensive - but also, most notably perhaps, the first rollout of a new generation of absolute surveillance.…

bosnia’s corrupt rulers hit by an angry ‘citizen tsunami’

Last week, violence and unrest once again returned to Bosnia. What started as a popular protest against corruption, mismanagement and poverty led the country’s security minister to warn of a “citizen tsunami.” They were the most widespread antigovernment protests since the war ended 18 years ago. Sarajevo, which had become the symbol of suffering during its three-year siege from 1992 to 1995, was shut down, as well as five other cities. There were fires at the presidency building, where 20 years ago the embattled Bosnian leaders led their government from behind sandbags and blast walls - without heat and often without electricity in their offices. Aggrieved students - some not even born during the war - threw rocks at policemen. Those who had lived during the days of deprivation, murder and ethnic cleansing in…

the man from mossad

Ehfraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad, said he would be waiting for me outside the coffee shop at Tel Aviv University, wearing a blue “battle jacket.” I wasn’t sure what that meant until I approached the coffee shop and saw an elderly man with unruly gray hair and plainframe eyeglasses, talking on a cell phone. The former head of Israel’s legendary spy service was dressed in a civilian version of the kind of short-waisted jacket General Eisenhower wore as he mingled with his troops on the eve of the Normandy invasion in June 1944. A battle jacket, of course, is entirely appropriate attire for Israel, a country perpetually at war to one degree or another. Israel exists in a “bad neighborhood,” as they say, but you can’t really appreciate that…

the bread basket is on fire

Coming soon to a grocery store near you: higher food prices, because California, which grows more half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables, is in its third consecutive year of getting only about one-eighth the usual amount of water from snow melting in the High Sierras. California is called the Golden State not because of the gold found at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, but because winter rains make the hills green until the dry air of summer turns them a golden hue. This winter, many of those hills remain brown and gray as even weeds died from lack of moisture. The worst drought the state has endured in more than 500 years is forcing farmers to let fields lie fallow, send half-grown steers to the slaughterhouse and trim back vines and…