Newsweek Nov-21-14

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


big pharma plays hide-the-ball with data

On the morning of March 2, 2005, a 14-year-old Japanese girl woke up scared. At first she thought someone was outside the house watching her, but then she decided the stranger must be inside. She wandered restlessly and, despite the cold weather, threw open all the windows. Later, over a meal, she declared, “The salad is poisoned.” Two days later, she said she wanted to kill herself. This teenager with no history of mental illness was diagnosed with delirium. The night before the hallucinations started, she began taking an anti-influenza drug called Tamiflu (generic name: oseltamivir), which governments around the world have spent billions stockpiling for the next major flu outbreak. But evidence released earlier this year by Cochrane Collaboration, a London-based nonprofit, shows that a significant amount of negative data from…

heart of the country

Richard Ford is a true American. Start with his name, perfectly and hopelessly American. His voice retains the faint smoky sweetness of his native Mississippi. His clothes are plain: jeans, windbreakers. His playthings are manly: guns, trucks, hounds. He lives in Maine, has lived in Montana and Louisiana, and also in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Vermont, Michigan, California, New Jersey and New York, just about everywhere in the continental United States but the Southwest. He watches college football (Michigan State, his alma mater) and professional basketball (or at least did, when the Boston Celtics still had game). Only a predilection for fine whites from the Loire Valley hints at a more cosmopolitan persona. Ford is the author who created Frank Bascombe, who by dint of his occupation (selling houses) and place of…

on immigration, nobody is winning

In early October, with his popularity sagging and his party looking at potentially staggering midterm losses, President Barack Obama appeared at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala in Washington, D.C. His goal that night was twofold. First, he wanted to send a message through the 2,000 or so well-heeled advocates in the room that Latinos across the country could trust him to follow through on his promise to halt deportations for a larger swath of the undocumented community. Second, and perhaps more important, the president argued that now wasn’t the time for Hispanics to abandon the Democrats. “When opponents are out there saying who knows what, I’m going to need you to have my back,” Obama told the crowd to polite applause. “I’ve got to have you to talk to…

russia worries about actual new star wars

It’s a case of diplomatic fact being far, far stranger than science fiction. Earlier this month in Hollywood, while the Lucasfilm team announced the title of the latest movie in the lucrative and hugely popular Star Wars franchise, United Nations diplomats in New York bickered over whether weapons should be banned in outer space. True, the vote at the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee, which deals with disarmament, did not produce nearly as much buzz as The Force Awakens, the prospect of which thrilled every nerdy Star Wars enthusiast. But, as one diplomat observed, there’s no surer sign that the glamorous lethal weapons dreamed up by science fiction moviemakers are about to become reality than the urgent attempts by diplomats to outlaw them. America, long at the forefront of space research, may…

this land is their land

Londoners are complaining that foreigners are snapping up plum real estate in their city, driving housing prices ever higher, and there is a similar trend in Sydney and Vancouver. Now there are signs foreigners are on a buying spree for residential properties in the United States. Last year, sales of U.S. homes to foreigners jumped 35 percent, to $92.2 billion, according to the National Association of Realtors. While that represents only 7 percent of the U.S. market, the buying tends to be concentrated in a handful of markets, namely Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas. Foreign buyers tend to purchase high-end properties and pay cash, which is pushing up the prices on luxury properties. In Manhattan, prices of luxury properties rose faster than the overall market in the third quarter of…

inside the cia’s syrian rebels vetting machine

Nothing has come in for more mockery during the Obama administration’s halting steps into the Syrian civil war than its employment of “moderate” to describe the kind of rebels it is willing to back. In one of the more widely cited japes, The New Yorker’s resident humorist, Andy Borowitz, presented a “Moderate Syrian Application Form,” in which applicants were asked to describe themselves as either “A) Moderate, B) Very moderate, C) Crazy moderate or D) Other.” After Senator John McCain allegedly posed with Syrians “on our side” who turned out to be kidnappers—a report later called into question—Jon Stewart cracked, “Not everyone is going to be wearing their ‘HELLO I’M A TERRORIST’ name badge.” Behind the jokes, however, is the deadly serious responsibility of the CIA and Defense Department to vet Syrians…