Newsweek Jan-03-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


sex, lies, and class politics

Andrew Lloyd Webber ranks alongside the Beatles as one of England’s most successful musical exports of all time, with international hit musicals based on the Bible (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar), Argentinian politics (Evita), T.S. Eliot’s whimsical feline poetry (Cats), and a classic French horror story (Phantom of the Opera). But even a composer with such eclectic inspirations admits it might seem odd he should have lighted on Stephen Ward, an obscure figure from a long forgotten British political scandal of the early 1960s, as the tragic hero of his latest piece of musical theater, Stephen Ward. “Frankly it’s not everybody’s cup of tea,” Lloyd Webber muses when I call him at his London home in Chester Square. “I know that, but every now and then it’s…

see naples and choke to death

Once the countryside around Naples was known as “felix” - meaning bountiful, happy. It was one of the most fertile tracts of land in Italy, and it still is. But then the local Mafia, the Camorra, grabbed the verdant, high-yielding fields and turned them into the country’s largest waste dump, packed with burning trash ferried in from the richer north and even from abroad. Dante would feel at home here. The area began being called “the land of fires,” but it has nothing to do with Magellan’s Tierra del Fuego. The flames are nasty, smelly, and toxic. The burning of illegal trash dumps, which are set ablaze to make room for even more hazardous waste, is lethal to the environment and human beings. The smoke can be seen at all times but especially…

‘after all the people we killed, we felt dizzy’

As two military-style helicopters touch down in a remote village in the jungles of Ecuador, masked men with guns hop out and scurry into a one-room schoolhouse. Inside they capture their target: a 6-year-old girl who doesn’t speak their language and can’t even guess why they are kidnapping her. They carry the terrified child, Conta, into the belly of one of the helicopters and it quickly rises up and away. Inside a thing she has only ever known as a screaming demon that roars across the sky, she is flown to a nearby city. There, she is taken by these armed strangers to a hospital that is a teeming petri dish of germs for which she has no immunity, since she has never been in a city before. This is the…

trading places

Out with the old, in with the new. In 2014, Iran, and the related cruel war in Syria, will dominate Middle East headlines; tensions between China and Japan will top that region on America’s list of national security concerns; and the splintering of al Qaeda will force Washington to further rethink the war on global terror. Away from these front-page stories, let’s look at just two country leaders to watch this year: One, in Mexico, is on his way up; the other, in Turkey, is about to crash. Out: Turkey In the post-9/11 world, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan became a poster boy for how an Islamist statesman can do it all. An elected leader of an established democracy, a reformer who managed to revitalize Turkey’s economy, Erdogan was living proof that the…

getting away with murder

It was an open secret that one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s worst tormentors, Bosco Ntaganda, lived on Avenue des Tulipés until 2012, crossing into Rwanda now and then despite a travel ban. Rich off the proceeds of the illegal tax revenues he imposed on local mines, he served as a general in the Congolese army. For a wanted fugitive, the man nicknamed “the Terminator” lived a comfortable and unencumbered life. Six years before, a warrant for his arrest had been issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in recruiting child soldiers. Goma, the capital of Congo, is still trying to reintegrate these former combatants: boys now in their teens who were forced to become killers before they had reached puberty and now struggle to be seen as…

some good mole nostalgia

The CIA mole-catcher’s memoir that inspired ABC’s The Assets, the espionage miniseries debuting on January 2, has just one brief mention of the National Security Agency - and it’s not very flattering. The NSA was such a nonfactor in the CIA’s desperate hunt for a Soviet spy in its ranks 25 years ago, says Sandra Grimes - whose astonishing memoir, Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed, was published in 2012 - that she had forgotten about it until I inquired this week. “I must admit, I had forgotten that there was any mention of NSA in the book,” said Grimes. “I assume they were basically nonparticipants.” The all-ears agency didn’t have anything meaningful to add back in the early 1980s as Grimes and…