Newsweek May-30-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


somaly mam: the holy saint (and sinner) of sex trafficking

Nestled on the banks of the Mekong River, Thloc Chhroy looks like the typical rural Cambodian village. Mango trees thick with fruit are everywhere. Fishermen cast their nets from small motorboats. Elders lounge in hammocks, while children on bikes too big for them bounce along rutted dirt tracks. But this is no ordinary village. Every now and then, a shiny four-wheel drive bounces down the dirt track that leads to a refuge center of an organization whose name in French is Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Précaire, or AFESIP. (Rough translation: Helping Women in Danger.) Inside the vehicle you may spot a powerful government official, a heavyweight journalist or even an American movie star. They all come to meet with AFESIP’s president and co-founder, Somaly Mam, and support her courageous…

is wall street pulling a fast one?

When members of the House Financial Services Committee grilled Mary Jo White, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all they wanted to talk about was a book: Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys. “So you’ve heard all the stories in the paper, in the news,” said Representative Scott Garrett, a Republican from New Jersey and chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. “Can you tell us, Are the markets rigged?” “The markets are not rigged,” said White. “The markets—the U.S. markets are the strongest and most reliable in the world.” Garrett, whose responsibilities include oversight of the SEC, continued to press the matter, however. He asked White whether the fact that America’s stock exchanges provide high-speed market data (which include the prices of Fortune 500…

the deadly mission of boko haram

I was on a three-week drive across northern Nigeria in 2002, the year Boko Haram was founded. The Islamist group, which was little known then, has since become world famous for abducting 276 schoolgirls. Boko Haram, loosely translated as “Western Education is forbidden,” was founded by a Muslim cleric, Mohammed Yusuf. The group was influenced by a telling phrase from the Koran: “Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors,” meaning that it is forbidden to take part in social or political activities associated with the West. This ban on all things Western includes sending your children to secular, as opposed to Muslim, schools, and even taking part in democratic elections. In the intervening years, the group has grown stronger and its methods more daring, as shown…

pushing the kremlin line

The most public face of Russia’s propaganda machine opened his show on May 18—as he does every Sunday at 8 p.m.—with what is now the standard fare: the civil war in Ukraine. The show is called News of the Week, and it airs on Russia 1, the state-owned network that is Russia’s most popular. The show was devoted almost exclusively to the crisis in Ukraine—as it has been routinely since the autumn. The host—a 60-year-old man with tightly cropped, receding gray hair—got straight into it, offering his by now predictable take on events. He condemned the Ukrainian army’s effort to regain control of the eastern city of Sloviansk, a “punishing operation,” he says, that could leave 650 dead or wounded (a figure, he cautions, that might be “difficult” to verify). “Russia offered…

the fortunate many

Family foundations first appeared in the Gilded Age, when industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller amassed unprecedented wealth. At the time, there was skepticism—some thought these new, tax-exempt private companies served the interests of the founders more than the needy. Trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt said, in reference to Rockefeller, that “no amount of charity in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them.” Over the past 100 years, the family foundation earned broader acceptance. Recently, though, the rapid growth of new fortunes has led to a big jump in the number of charitable foundations, which has raised new questions. Today it’s not just the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation but also more than 40,000 other family foundations that advance the mandate of their founders. For…

why can’t we be friends?

Mixed signals are coming out of the Muslim Middle East. Some experts believe the region is about to burst into a regionwide sectarian bloodbath, the likes of which we have not witnessed in centuries. Yet the Persian Gulf’s two powerhouses that have been at each other’s throats for decades, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are trying to kiss and make up. In a move that stunned analysts and made diplomats do a double take, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, has invited his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, to visit the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Zarif quickly accepted. But the Iranian foreign ministry said late last week that “preparations” are needed and that topics must be decided before a date for the visit can be announced. The depth of animosity that pits Saudi Arabia,…