Newsweek May-09-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


shanghai high confidential

Jinjing Liu, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Meilong Intermediate in central Shanghai—and part of the best education system in the world’s most populous country—is ticking off her normal class schedule: “Physics, chemistry, math, Chinese, English, Chinese literature, geography...the usual stuff,” she says in impeccable English. That’s not Jinjing’s school day schedule; that’s her workload each and every Sunday. The Lord may have rested on the seventh day, but Jinjing studies, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. She relates this over lunch on a Saturday afternoon, “the only day,” she acknowledges, that she has “any free time to relax.” And lest you think she is some whiz-bang academic geek on the fast track to Tsinghua, China’s M.I.T., think again. Ask who else in her high school has that Sunday routine and she says,…

‘i didn’t hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it’

A few weeks ago, Miranda Barbour decided to kill herself. She says she quietly unscrewed the bulb from the socket in her cell in Pennsylvania’s Northumberland County Prison, smashed it on the ground and picked through the shards, searching for a piece sharp enough to slice open her wrists. She was dismayed that none of the pieces would do the job. She tells Newsweek in an exclusive jailhouse interview that she didn’t want to end it all; she just wanted to hit the reset button. “I believe in reincarnation,” she says. “I wanted a fresh start.” Among the reasons she wanted to die is her heavy burden of regret. Regret for her family’s pain and “slaughtered” reputation because of what she has done. And most of all, regret that she may never…

as the world warms, navy strategists plan for an arctic rush

Approximately 25,000 polar bears live in and around the Arctic Circle. Climate change has put the majestic ursines, a longtime favorite of children’s books and Christmas cards, in peril. In 2008, the United States listed them as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act, and populations have been on the decline since then. So when is it acceptable for a Marine to shoot one? The Navy is still trying to figure that out. Walter Berbrick, a retired Navy officer and a professor of war games at the U.S. Naval War College, was conducting the Fleet Arctic Operations Game in 2011, simulating, among other things, how the Navy would respond to an oil spill in the Arctic, when he discovered there were no rules of engagement for polar bears. “You’ve really got…

snatched from the front line

On April 19, four underfed men were found in a field in a no man’s land on the Turkish border with Syria. They were blindfolded and handcuffed, and one had a long gray beard. It was quickly discovered they were four French journalists—Nicolas Hénin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier François. They had been held for more than 10 months by a radical Muslim group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), whose objective is to establish an Islamic state in the northern Syrian land it has pried from Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Being captured by ISIS is the nightmare of all journalists reporting on the Syrian civil war. On March 31, ISIS released Javier Espinosa, a reporter for the Spanish paper El Mundo, and a photographer, Ricardo García Vilanova. There are…

never scared straight

No one forced Mathew Shurka to do it, but he was too afraid to say no. In front of him was an opportunity to change his sexuality forever. At least, that’s what he was told. Just a month before, Shurka, who was 16 at the time and living in Great Neck, N.Y., had revealed to his father, through tears filled with dread, that he was gay. When Shurka’s father embraced him and said he’d love him no matter what, a weight was lifted. However, in the weeks that followed, Shurka’s father began to worry that his gay son would not flourish in a world that often oppresses people who are different. So he did some research and found someone who offered therapy that would change his son’s sexual orientation. Shurka, now 25,…

conscious uncoupling, balkan-style

Milorad Dodik, the former basketball player who is president of the Republika Srpska—the Bosnian Serb Republic—is thinking about divorce. Living in a fragile, post-Balkan shotgun marriage of rival ethnic groups, brokered by America in Dayton, Ohio in 1995, Dodik says he wants his Serbian-dominated republic to break away. He may be inspired by events in Crimea, but he thinks secession movements in Scotland and Spain’s Catalonia help make his case. What is not clear is whether Dodik is serious about further Balkanizing the historically war-fraught region or is merely playing politics, and whether fellow Slavs in Moscow, who are now in a confrontational mood, will back him. The 55-year-old Dodik sure sounded sincere last week as we sat for a chat in his large, sunny office at Banja Luka, his native city and…