Newsweek June 12, 2013

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United States
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English
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The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
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Weekly
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01 sunny with a chance of cancer

WITH SUMMER here, it’s fair to ask: is sunshine a public-health menace or a savior? For the last 30 or 40 years, a loud anti- sunshine message has ruled the day. This has meant gallons of sunblock at the highest available SPF, long sleeves and floppy hats, even wetsuits for kids at the beach—all in the name of preventing skin cancer (and wrinkles). It was the perfect intervention until, in the past decade or two, the vitamin-D enthusiasts stepped forward with a different argument. Vitamin D is produced by sunlight interacting with our skin— and the more the better, they say. It also can be absorbed in food as part of a healthy diet, but the sun-to-skin-to-bloodstream route is the more dependable. Many studies have suggested that vitamin-D deficiency leads to…

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02 spying as they like it

IN 2011, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin stated that “as author of the Patriot Act,” he “applaud[ed] the House and Senate” for extending provisions of the controversial legislation, including Section 215 allowing investigators broad powers to monitor and seize “any tangible things” related to a terrorism investigation. Last week, in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sensenbrenner—now apparently surprised at how his legislation was used by the National Security Agency (NSA)—wrote that “as the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely disturbed by what appears to be an overbroad interpretation of the Act.” Sensenbrenner was responding to documents leaked to The Guardian by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former contract worker at the NSA, that revealed a massive government data-mining program. The vague language of the Patriot Act, say…

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03 the new mrs. putin?

THE TIMING certainly seemed suspicious—days before Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila Putina, announced their divorce in a painfully clumsy televised interview, the state’s main television station broadcast a documentary paean to a beauty named Alina Kabaeva . A onetime Olympic gold-medal champion in rhythmic gymnastics and a parliamentary deputy in Russia’s Duma, Kabaeva has long been rumored to be Putin’s official mistress. The documentary, and its timing, seemed to confirm Kabaeva’s ascent—the hourlong film portrayed her as Russia’s queen, its main heroine, and a shining example for all modern Russian women. It praised Kabaeva for her feminine qualities, patriotism, and strong character, and for being a good example for little gymnasts, Russia’s future champions. The former gymnast did not look as slim as when she could amaze entire…

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we the jury

WHEN THE jury voted to acquit O.J. Simpson on October 3 , 1995, of the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, many blamed the racial makeup of the jury for the former football star walking free. After all, nine out of the 12 jurors were African-American. Almost 18 years later, jury selection for George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial began on Monday, a case that has race—and Americans’ attitudes toward it—at its very core. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, has confessed to shooting and killing the unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in February of last year, at first avoiding arrest due to Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law. Public outrage over the lack of charges led to Zimmerman’s arrest nearly two months after Martin’s death. According to a Pew poll…

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05 why apple went flat

IF YOU can remember the days of cassette tapes, leatherbound planners, and yellow legal pads, you may be aging out of Apple’s target demographic. At the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, in its first post–Steve Jobs design overhaul, Apple unveiled its newest operating system, iOS 7: a flat, textureless interface, unencumbered by the metaphorical three-dimensional design flourishes its visionary leader once touted. What it signaled: Apple is embracing a generation that has come of age using screens and two-dimensional apps. “There’s going to be lots of people under 20 who soon enough are not going to understand what [these textures] are— and a yellow notepad is not going to make sense, because they grew up on computers,” says Mark Gurman, an Apple enthusiast who writes for the website 9to5Mac and…

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06 wait, what about gitmo?

THREE WEEKS ago, President Obama tried to seize the initiative in balancing the war on terror with civil liberties. In a major address at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., he announced his intention to reform the drone wars and revive his long-dormant effort to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. What a long three weeks it’s been: since then, the national-security conversation has been dominated by the Justice Department’s aggressive crackdown on leaks and blockbuster revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities. One might expect those controversies to have overwhelmed Obama’s efforts on drones and Guantánamo. But, at least on Gitmo, there seem to be some small signs that Obama is quietly pressing on. Late last week came word of a fact-finding trip to the prison by…