The HIV Vaccine Dream / Brad Pitt Undercover
LE FRONT TRUMP EUROPE COULD BE NEXT
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DECEMBER 02, 2016
+ IS HOPE ON THE WAY?
Sarah Thomas is a recovering drug addict dealing with HIV, but there could be hope for her. An immunologist is on the verge of launching human trials for a vaccine that could stop AIDS. 20 Russia
‘Cockroaches in the Ward’
The Billionaire’s Sugar Daddy
NEW WORLD 46 Bugs
The Aphid Who Came to Dinner
A Short-Attention Plan
BIG SHOTS 28
New World Disorder
Township, New Jersey Crow: It’s What You Eat 6 Mosul, Iraq Welcoming Committee 8 Berlin Left Alone? 10 Amatlán de Los Reyes, Mexico Next Train to Trump Town
With Trumpism advancing from the west and Putinism from the east, can Europe’s centrists survive the hard-right onslaught? by Josh Lowe and Owen Matthews 38
Viral Hit Job
From New York City to Cape Town, the AIDS virus has ravaged the world. But Louis Picker thinks he finally found a solution. It involves herpes. by Winston Ross
A Tipping Point for Slaughter
DOWNTIME 54 Music
A Different Character
Build Your Own Holiday
Keeping It Real
JAM ES ROBINSON/P ENNL IV E /AP
PAG E O N E 12 Politics
Trump’s New Favorite College
64 To-Do List
Your Week Made Better
16 South Africa
COVER CREDIT: PHOTOGRAPH BY CHESNOT/GETTY
Lonelier at the Top
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Crow: It’s What You Eat
DREW ANGE RER /G ET T Y
Bedminster Township, New Jersey—President-elect Donald Trump flashes a thumbs-up as Mitt Romney, who was being considered for secretary of state, walks away from the Trump National Golf Club after they met for about 90 minutes on November 19. The two men traded bitter insults during Trump’s presidential campaign, with the former Massachusetts governor calling the billionaire a “con man.” Romney joined the parade of politicians and retired generals who traveled to the members-only golf club (initiation fee: $350,000) to genuflect before Trump as the president-elect filled out posts in his administration.
Mosul, Iraqâ€”Iraqi special forces crouch behind a Humvee as a massive car bomb detonated by Islamic State fighters explodes in front of them on November 16. A coalition that includes the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and U.S. military advisers launched a campaign in October to drive ISIS from the countryâ€™s secondlargest city, which the jihadis captured in 2014. The advance of Iraqi troops was slowed by sniper fire, suicide bombings and concerns over the safety of Mosul residents fleeing the violence, according to the Associated Press.
FEL IPE DANA /AP
Berlin—First there was Brexit, then Donald Trump. Could Germany be next? As hard-right nationalist movements surge across the Western world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she will run for a fourth term in the September 2017 election. Winning will not be easy. Germany is grappling with a surge of migrants and refugees, as well as the fallout from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Yet Merkel rejects the idea that she’s liberalism’s last hope. “That is grotesque, even almost absurd,” she told the press.
MARKUS SCHREIBE R /AP
Next Train to Trump Town
Amatlán de Los Reyes, Mexico— To prevent immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border. But these men from Central America, accepting food and supplies as their train travels north on October 22, remain undeterred. The latest sign: a spike in women and children crossing into Arizona, many fleeing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The increase suggests smugglers are changing their routes—and that the gangs are a lot more frightening than Trump and his new administration.
DANIE L BECE RRIL /REUTERS
TRUMP’S NEW FAVORITE COLLEGE
The president-elect got swamped in the popular vote. Is it time for the U.S. to flunk the electoral college? IF YOU VOTED in the recent presidential election, there’s a pretty good chance you spent some time pondering the qualifications of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. There’s almost no chance you were thinking about David Ferriero’s résumé, but you should have been. As the chief archivist of the United States, Ferriero and his colleagues organize the vote of the 538 electors in the Electoral College who actually choose the president. The Constitution requires all electors to meet in their state capitols to cast ballots. Ferriero collects and organizes them, makes sure the states have followed the rules, then presents the ballots to Congress, which is charged with getting them counted. This antiquated ritual will play out again on January 6; only then will the U.S. officially elect its 45th president. Outside of a fifth-grade social studies class, most people don’t study the Electoral College, but this year it’s controversial because Trump lost the popular vote (by well over a million votes, and it could be 2 million when the counting’s
done). This has happened just five times in American history, but twice in the past 16 years, the other time being George W. Bush’s Electoral College defeat of Al Gore in 2000. But given demographics, it could happen again, and soon. Trump supporters bristle when they hear griping about the Electoral College, and they probably should. No one is doubting their man won by the rules of the game, but a lot of people are now questioning why Americans play this silly game every four years. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California has introduced a bill to abolish the Electoral College, and anti– Electoral College op-ed writers have been ripping it for weeks now. Among their questions and laments: Why have a system that ensures most states are ignored during the presidential campaign while a few swing states are buried with attention from the candidates? Should a minority of voters get to decide who becomes president? And is there any way to fix this system short of a constitutional amendment?
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BY MATTHEW COOPER @mattizcoop
+ SMALL BALL: The
JUL IEN MAT TIA /N URPHOTO/AP
Electoral College tips national elections and campaigns toward small states and rural populations.
1 2 / 0 2 / 2016
SHUT OUT: The trend in the popular vote heavily favors the Democrats, so there’s little chance the system will be changed.
The Founding Fathers, worried about mob rule, envisioned the Electoral College as a kind of cooler-heads-prevail backstop. Alexander Hamilton saw the electors as wise men “most likely to possess the information and discernment” to choose a good president, and he didn’t want the electors pledged to any candidate. But these days, the electors are almost always party hacks and former elected officials, merely a rubber stamp, not some independent body of wise souls solemnly weighing whether to ratify the people’s choice. (In a bit of eerie prescience, Hamilton in “Federalist 68” seemed to anticipate the controversy over Russian hacking by saying the electors might be able to overturn a popular vote that had been unduly influenced by a foreign power. ) But that’s not happening now or in the past. In recent decades, there have been only a few “faithless electors,” as they call those who defied the voters who chose them. This year, one Clinton elector has declared he won’t back her because of her lax record on Native American rights. The biggest beef against the Electoral College is that it weights the election in favor of small, rural states. The number of electors is based on the total House and Senate members in each state’s congressional delegation. The smallestpopulation states have three electoral votes, while California, the largest, has 55, far ahead of Texas, which has 35. Defenders of the Electoral College say that tilting it in favor of small states keeps the presidential race from being a frenzy to harvest votes in the most populated areas. Without it, candidates would mostly hustle in cities, overlooking huge swaths of the country. The founders, who were openly elitist, didn’t want flat-out majoritarian rule, which is why the Senate is apportioned so that each state has two senators no matter its population, while the House reflects a one-person, one-vote standard. Wyoming, with just over 582,000 people, has the same number of senators as California, which has 39.5 million. (And Trump thought the election was rigged?) That raises another problem with the Electoral College: The founders never envisioned a behemoth state like California. In their day, the population difference between the largest and smallest state was 10 to one (Virginia versus Delaware). What’s more, cities were minuscule. There was no clear rural-urban divide. In 1790, New York City, which has always been the nation’s most populous city, had 33,000 residents. Today, it has 8.4 million (and almost 79 percent of its voters backed Clinton against the “local boy”). The founders didn’t anticipate that kind of hyper-urbanization. NEWSWEEK
Another knock against the Electoral College is that instead of ensuring a nationwide race, it creates a nutty focus on swing states such as Nevada or Iowa. It’s bad enough that the system tilts in favor of small states, but it tilts even more insanely toward small swing states. Folks in New Hampshire were the most powerful voters in 2016, according to analyses, because their state was the smallest of those in play. No wonder Clinton and Trump were constantly there, ignoring much bigger but out-of-play states like Washington or Kansas. If you don’t like this system, get ready to like it a lot less in the near future. The huge population growth of California since World War II (when it was only the fifth largest state, with under 7 million people in 1940) and its strong Democratic leanings mean it’s likely there will be many more elections in which the winner of the popular vote gets trumped by the Electoral College. (Democrats have won the popular vote
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RE X /AP
in six of the past seven elections.) The super-blue hue of California means we’re likely to see a Democratic win in the popular vote again and again if the race is close. Trump won seven of the 10 most populous states, but two of them were by 1 percent. His best of the big states was Texas, which he won by just over 9 percent. But Clinton won her three top 10 states by huge margins: California by 28.5 percent, New York by 21.2 percent and Illinois by 16.9 percent, which is a large part of the reason she won the popular vote nationally. As long as the large blue states remain so big and so lopsided in their preferences (especially California), Democrats are likely to keep winning the popular vote.
PAGE ONE/POLI T I C S
sional districts. In most presidential elections, Maine and Nebraska’s individual districts don’t break off from the rest of the state. But in 2008, Nebraska’s urban 2nd District, which includes Omaha, went for Barack Obama. This year, Maine’s vast, rural 2nd District went for Trump. The good thing about this scheme is that it drew the presidential candidates to areas that might otherwise have been ignored. Trump held multiple rallies in Bangor, in Maine’s north, and Clinton worked Omaha, hoping to replicate Obama’s win. If more states apportioned electors by congressional districts, they’d get more attention. Right now, there’s no incentive for candidates to go to safe blue states such as New Jersey or safe red ones like Tennessee. If the electors were apportioned by congressional district, that might change. Trump could have mined New York state’s Republican districts—from the Canadian border to Staten Island—that
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU, UTAH?
Not that it’s ever going to be put to a vote, but the overwhelming majority of Americans think the popular vote should pick the president. That’s worrisome, because at some point there is bound to be a real crisis of legitimacy; the majority may not always be content to merely grumble when it is ruled by the minority. Until that happens, the Electoral College ain’t going away. Dismantling it via a constitutional amendment would require two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the states to sign on—which would mean that many of those who benefit from the current arrangement would have to help kill it. There’s no reason smallpopulation states like Rhode Island and Idaho would back an amendment that would give them less clout. There are two interesting ideas that could make the system better. One is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement among states that they will give all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The upside of this is that if enough big states sign on, it won’t matter nearly as much what the small states do. The downside is that it’s not enforceable—the electors have pretty much free rein to vote as they choose, and the Constitution likely prevents such interstate compacts and treaties. So far, 10 blue states of all sizes, including California, have signed on, which makes sense since Democratic candidates are the ones getting short-sticked on this matter. The more intriguing idea may be to expand what Maine and Nebraska have done with their electors. The Constitution sets up the Electoral College, but it leaves it to the states to decide how to apportion their electoral votes. All go with the winner-take-all system, but Maine and Nebraska apportion their electors by congresNEWSWEEK
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THIS SYSTEM, GET READY TO LIKE IT A LOT LESS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. regularly go red. Likewise, Clinton might have played harder in deep-red Texas, seeking votes in Austin, Dallas and Houston. Just having a few states adopt this system would make for a more interesting race. Instead of the candidates fawning over a few winner-take-all swing states, they would have to woo more of the country. Hamilton wisely favored choosing electors by district, but the majority party in the states couldn’t resist posting statewide slates of electors—all the better to crush the chances of any minority party electors. Once one state did it, it became a kind of arms race, and today we’re stuck with 48 winner-take-all elections. Once again, Hamilton was smarter than the rest of us.
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PAGE ONE/SOUTH AFRICA
LONELIER AT THE TOP
South African President Jacob Zuma has survived numerous scandals, but he’s losing the support of a growing number of ANC members IT WAS A familiar scene. On November 10, South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane stood before a rowdy Parliament in Cape Town and argued that President Jacob Zuma should leave office. For the third time this year, Maimane appealed to members of the African National Congress, the ruling party, to support a vote against their leader. “I know that there are men and women in the ANC benches who want to do the right thing today,” Maimane, head of the Democratic Alliance (DA), said over shouts from the chamber. “Will your conscience allow you to inflict another three years of Mr. Zuma on our country?” As expected, Zuma easily survived the motion; the ANC has a clear majority in Parliament, and though many party veterans have called for him to step down, ANC lawmakers supported their leader in the vote. “The motions by the DA have become ritualistic practices founded on spurious allegations and narrow political motives,” the office of the ANC’s chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, said in a statement issued before the vote. “Parliament and the nation are therefore dragged into the opposition’s petty games.” The chaotic debate revealed the bitter state of South African politics. It has been more than 20 years since Nelson Mandela’s party helped end apartheid and formed the South African govern-
ment’s first multiracial parliamentary elections with the hope of unifying the country. But today, the ANC is still struggling to fulfill many of the promises of a free South Africa, such as freedom from poverty, universal access to education and social equality. Though it is still firmly in power, a string of corruption scandals dogging the Zuma administration has chipped away at its support. Critics, even inside the party, have called for a change in leadership to get the country back on track. It is hard to see a way forward from the current political mess, especially after the government’s anti-corruption watchdog released a report on November 2 ordering an inquiry into corruption allegations against the president and others. Eight days later, members of the opposing parties hurled insults at each other during the debate over Zuma’s fitness to remain in office. One ANC minister even accused the DA, a historically white party, of using a “black face” to further its political interests, a clear reference to Maimane. It is safe to say this isn’t the legacy Mandela was hoping to leave. In November, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement that under Zuma’s leadership it is painful to “bear witness to the wheels coming off the vehicle of our state.” Many see Zuma’s political survival as a depressing symptom of the failed promise of the post-apartheid ANC government. In December
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BY KRISTA MAHR @kristamahr
+ CLEAR AIM: A pro-
SIPHIWE SIBEKO/ REUTERS
tester seeks cover after police open up a water cannon during a march in Pretoria on November 2. Demonstrators called for the removal from office of President Zuma.
2015, the currency tanked after Zuma replaced his finance minister twice in a few days, widely seen as a clumsy attempt to exert control over the National Treasury. In March, the country’s highest court ruled that Zuma failed to uphold the constitution by refusing to repay some of the $23 million in public funds spent on upgrades to his private estate, including a swimming pool. He has since apologized and, abiding by a court order, paid back the money. But, in April, another court ruled that he should face nearly 800 charges of corruption that had previously been dropped, a ruling that Zuma has appealed. Then, in local elections in August, the ANC suffered its worst-ever electoral setback; it lost its majority in three of the country’s biggest cities NEWSWEEK
THIS IS NOT THE LEGACY MANDELA WAS HOPING TO LEAVE and won less than 60 percent of the national vote for the first time since coming to power in 1994—a performance many blamed on the president. The pressure on Zuma intensified in the first week of November, when thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital, Pretoria, to call for his resignation, after he asked a court to block the release of the watchdog’s report on fresh cor-
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of politics at the University of Johannesburg. He says those party members are entangled in the same patronage networks that Zuma has been accused of perpetuating. “They cannot act against him because they would also be vulnerable,” Ndletyana says. “Once you remove the head, the network becomes exposed.” For now, Zuma probably has the numbers he needs to survive, at least in the short term. The ANC members pushing behind the scenes for a leadership change need to wait until they have a comfortable majority within the party to make their move, says Lawson Naidoo, a constitutional expert and founding partner at the Paternoster Group, a risk consultancy. “They’re not going to play that hand until it’s safe to do so.” The other problem for would-be challengers within the party is that the ANC also has yet to settle on a successor. Zuma is now in his second term, and the law forbids him from serving a third, so the party will need a new leader in 2019. Among the current front-runners are Dep-
PAGE ONE/SOUTH AFRICA
ruption allegations against him. Zuma withdrew the request, and the report was released, but the mood was ugly enough that Gwede Mantashe, the ANC’s secretary general, suggested to local media that—although the ANC would not recall Zuma—the demands for him to step down were a personal appeal to the president’s “conscience.” On November 15, after losing his attempt to pass a motion of no confidence, Maimane submitted an affidavit to police requesting they investigate “possible criminal offences” committed by Zuma and others mentioned in the report. For many South Africans, the near-constant political turmoil has compounded a deeper sense that their country is adrift. Malaise over the stagnant economy and a government that seems to run on enriching a small elite has overtaken the optimism, broadly felt during Mandela’s presidency, about building an equitable society for black and white South Africans. Since Zuma came to power in 2009, allegations of cronyism have led to a decline in his popularity; according to a March poll from research company Ipsos, nearly two-thirds of those polled think the country is going in the wrong direction. Today, more than a quarter of the population is unemployed. Inequality continues to be a drag on the economy and a stain on society, with the black majority earning far less income on average and suffering from much higher rates of poverty than the white minority. If the ANC can’t reassure voters, its previously unassailable ability to hold on to power is at risk in the next national elections, scheduled to be held in 2019. Mantashe and other ANC leaders promised greater introspection after its historic loss in the local elections, but conflicts within the party over Zuma have become starker. In October, 101 party veterans penned an open letter airing their concerns over the ANC’s direction. Those seeking Zuma’s removal will face resistance from members of the ANC leadership who have a vested interest in keeping Zuma in office, says Mcebisi Ndletyana, an associate professor
THE POLITICAL TURMOIL HAS COMPOUNDED A DEEPER SENSE AMONG SOUTH AFRICANS THAT THEIR COUNTRY IS ADRIFT.
uty President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission (who is Zuma’s ex-wife). Zuma’s critics inside the party say the nation can’t wait two years. The longer Zuma is the face of the ANC, the more its image suffers. “There is not a day that goes by without a bad Zuma story,” says Susan Booysen, a professor at Wits University in Johannesburg. “It’s doing huge damage to the ANC.” Zuma is not immune to the mounting pressure. At a recent ANC event in KwaZulu-Natal province, a traditional stronghold for him, the president vented his anger at fellow party members for their public criticism and said he wasn’t scared of going back to prison—a fate suggested by one opposition leader—after having served 10 years at the infamous Robben Island during apartheid. “He’s very aware of what’s happening,” says Naidoo. “Is he necessarily going to act on it? He’s a renowned fighter. But those who are lining up behind him are reducing in number.”
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+ KNIFE EDGE:
President Yahya Jammeh, in power since 1994, holds a sharp blade to show his followers the protective power of amulets containing pages from the Koran.
JASON F LORIO/CO RB IS/GE T T Y
CAN GAMBIA’S OPPOSITION PARTIES OVERCOME THE AUTOCRATIC PRESIDENT’S ALLEGED PATTERN OF RIGGING ELECTIONS?
BY LOUISE HUNT @lhuntjourno
THE METAL gates lock behind Fatoumatta Sandeng as she leads the way across a small dirt yard into the concrete structure where her family of 10 sleeps on foam mattresses on the floor. This home, in a dusty town in Senegal, is where the Sandeng family has been hiding since Fatoumatta’s father, activist Solo Sandeng, was allegedly tortured to death in detention by Gambia’s secret police after they arrested him for participating in a peaceful protest on April 14. Solo was a prominent member of the opposition United Democratic Party in Gambia. He was marching for electoral reform with youth activists near the capital, Banjul, when he was arrested. “My father and the other protesters took to the streets to demand reforms for a free and fair election that could bring a change,” says Fatoumatta. “There had been a lot of killings and illegal arrests by the government, and nothing was coming out of it because the judiciary and the media are censored. Everything that goes
on in the Gambia is controlled by the government.” Gambia’s state-sponsored intimidation could come to an end on December 1, when voters go to the polls in an election that opposition activists say is their best chance yet to oust autocratic President Yahya Jammeh, who took power through a military coup in 1994. Human rights organizations have long criticized Jammeh’s government for what they describe as the frequent use of torture, arbitrary detention and the intimidation of journalists by members of the security forces. Jammeh has won four previous elections; rights groups have described the fairness of those results as deeply compromised. This year, the sometimes fractious Gambian opposition parties have formed a coalition; they hope their new unity will bring them victory. Opposition leaders say defeating Jammeh would also help improve the economy and, in the process, dissuade young Gambians from abandoning the country and
1 2 / 0 2 / 2016
heading for Europe. One of the smallest countries in Western Africa, with a population of 2 million, Gambia is nonetheless the fourth largest contributor of migrants arriving in Italy after making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration. “So many Gambians are leaving,” says Gambian Fatou Jagne, regional director of human rights organization Article 19, based in Dakar, Senegal. “This is not simply an election but a human resources issue.” Jammeh remains confident of scoring a fifth consecutive win. “Allah elected me, and only Allah can remove me,” he declared on state television in early November. Opposition news outlets have reported attempts by the ruling party to influence the vote through bribery and intimidation, while police have been arresting journalists reporting on the election. Sabrina Mahtani, a researcher at Amnesty International, says it’s important that Gambians are able to vote freely. “This is the window for change,” she says. “After election day, if Jammeh stays in power, the danger is the international community turns a blind eye, and he will become even more oppressive.”
P A G E O N E / R U S SIA
‘COCKROACHES IN THE WARD’
IT WAS LATE at night when Hanna Rún, a 26-year-old ballroom dancing champion from Iceland, woke up with searing chest pains in Penza, a city some 400 miles southeast of Moscow. Alarmed by her worsening condition, her Russian in-laws did what anyone else would do— they called an ambulance. Rún would soon wish they hadn’t. After an ambulance ride down potholed roads, Rún was placed in a hospital ward with moldy walls, filthy sheets and screaming nurses who crudely administered an intravenous drip. In the corridors, patients sat or lay on grimy floors. But it was the hospital’s restrooms that shocked her most. “The floor was soaking wet and muddy, and the toilet was jammed full of urine and feces,” she wrote in a blog post, since deleted, about what she called her “nightmare” in Penza. Holding her sweater over her nose to keep out the stench, Rún tried not to touch anything in the restroom: “The sink was full of blood,” she wrote. After doctors suggested carrying out an operation to “make sure” her internal organs were “working properly,” Rún decided to leave. It later turned out she had been suffering from heartburn. Rún declined to discuss her hospital stay with Newsweek, but Icelandic and Russian media widely reported the story. “A foreign woman in
a Russian hell” was how Ilya Varlamov, a wellknown Moscow-based blogger, described the dancer’s experience. Others saw it differently. “It’s possible it was difficult for her to adapt after hospitals in Iceland,” said Dmitry Zinovev, the head doctor at the Penza hospital. He suggested the much-discussed blog post was a deliberate attempt to discredit Russian medical facilities. While many Russians were supportive of Rún on social media, others called her a pampered foreigner. But it’s not just tourists and expats who are shocked by the dire condition of Russian state health care. On paper, Russian citizens are entitled to free universal health care. In practice, however, they are required to take out private medical insurance, while it’s also common for patients at state hospitals to bribe doctors for adequate treatment. Although hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the country’s two biggest cities, are largely serviceable, the situation is different in cash-strapped regions such as the province of Penza. Donald Trump, the U.S. president-elect, and right-wing politicians in Europe may be feting Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader. But the grim reality of Russian provincial state health care often has more in common with Third World countries than a
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BY MARC BENNETTS @marcbennetts1
V AL ERY SHARIFU LIN/ TASS/G ET T Y
Russia is trying to rebrand itself as a resurgent superpower. But its health care system is frighteningly bad—and getting worse
+ DOUBLE RED CROSS: Russian
citizens are entitled to free universal health care... and are required to take out private medical insurance.
supposed resurgent superpower—and that’s where it exists: 17,500 towns and villages across Russia have no medical infrastructure at all. “Russia state hospitals and clinics are in a tragic condition, especially in the provinces,” says Gennady Gudkov, an opposition politician and retired KGB colonel. “There is outdated and often nonfunctioning equipment, a lack of medicines and hospital beds, and a shortage of medical specialists. The families of patients are often forced to bring them food. Trump is very wrong if he thinks Putin cares about the Russian people—he only cares about making his friends richer at the expense of the national budget.” When contacted by Newsweek, Russia’s state health care watchdog, Roszdravnadzor, declined to comment on what it says are “abstract” allegations of widespread substandard conditions at government clinics and hospitals.
“WE HAVE AN AWFUL LEVEL OF MEDICINE, AND NO ONE GIVES A SHIT.”
It’s rare, however, that a week goes by without a horror story about state health care. In October, a cancer patient in Perm, a city in Russia’s Urals region, called his wife at 4 a.m. to rescue him from doctors whose drunken attempts to set up an intravenous drip had caused his arm to swell. “You are so drunk you can’t even put two words together,” the man’s wife, Veronika Mikhailova, told one doctor in footage that she later posted online. “Everyone’s got problems,” slurred the doctor in response. “Your husband is ill—there’s nothing anyone can do to help him,” said another. The doctors were dismissed after
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national news websites picked up on the story. That incident came just days after an outraged father in Mezhdurechensk, a town in western Siberia, posted a photograph of a foul, stain-covered mattress in a local children’s ward. “There are terrible conditions here,” he wrote on VKontakte, a popular Russian social media website. “There are cockroaches in the ward. We have an awful level of medicine, and no one gives a shit.” The consequences are sometimes fatal. This year, a 28-year-old woman named Yelena Poddubetskaya died during childbirth in eastern Siberia after drunken medics were unable to carry out a blood transfusion in time. Ambulance drivers stopped at a local market to do their shopping while transporting Poddubetskaya’s body and her grieving relatives to the morgue, human rights workers said. Regional health officials later admitted medical personnel had been to blame for the woman’s death. Given incidents like this, it’s unsurprising that a mere 2 percent of Russians say they are proud of the country’s state health care system, according to a recent public opinion survey by the Levada Center, a Moscow-based pollster. International experts are also critical. Russia placed last out of 55 developed nations in this
year’s Bloomberg report on the efficiency of the national health care systems. Things are unlikely to get better anytime soon: Russia’s government recently announced plans to cut the budget for health care by 33 percent next year, bringing annual spending down to just $5.8 billion. That’s a level of funding equivalent to spending on health in Latin American or developing Asian countries, according to a recent report by Natalia Akindinova, director at the Center of Development Institute of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. It’s not only haphazard medical care that poses a danger at state hospitals. Salaries for doctors and nurses in the country’s poorest regions can be as low as $250 a month—just above the official poverty level. There are no official statistics, but the low pay, combined with high on-the-job stress, sometimes results in outbreaks of violence at state hospitals and clinics, nongovernmental watchdogs and medical personnel tell Newsweek. This year, a doctor at a state hospital in Belgorod, in western Russia, was jailed for nine years after killing a patient with a blow to the head following a dispute. In October, in Norilsk, a former gulag town in northern Siberia, a dermatologist at a state hos-
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Average salaries for doctors and nurses in Russia’s poorest regions are just above the poverty line. +
ILYA NAYMUSHIN/ REUTE RS
pital was gunned down by a disgruntled patient. Other violence has been triggered by what critics say are the harsh Soviet-era attitudes toward patients that continue to hold sway in Russian state hospitals. One example of these attitudes is the ongoing refusal of many hospitals to allow family members and relatives to visit patients in intensive care units, even for short periods. Even though there is no law forbidding access, it is routine practice across Russia for such patients, including dying children, to be kept completely isolated from the world. “These are mainly Soviet-era doctors who think family members and relatives should not be in intensive care units—that they will prevent them from working by asking too many questions,” says Lida Moniava, deputy director at the Lighthouse, a children’s hospice in Moscow. In one incident reported last year by the opposition-friendly website Meduza, a mother forced doctors at gunpoint to let her see her dying 5-year-old daughter. After a public outcry, including a query this year to Putin during his annual televised Q&A session, Russia’s Health Ministry issued a statement confirming that family and relatives have the legal right to visit loved ones in intensive care. But even that intervention has failed to bring about change. “The Ministry of Health’s recommendations are not being observed at all,” says Moniava. “The main difference is that now, if the parents are persistent, they are able to gain entry to intensive care units to see their child by appealing directly to the ministry. But even in these cases, they are usually not allowed in on the first or even the second day. And if they are not persistent or do not call Health Ministry officials, they will not be allowed in at all.” This approach to health care is likewise reflected in the dire deficit of painkillers for terminally ill people. Although the government has taken some steps to improve the situation, Russia’s strict medical bureaucracy means that around a million cancer patients currently lack access to painkillers that would alleviate their suffering, according to official figures. Another 300,000 have already died without receiving medication. For some critics, this inability—or unwillingness—to alleviate suffering is the logical consequence of decades of authoritarian rule. “Russians don’t want to relieve their suffering and the suffering of those close to them for the simple reason that they have been taught to view themselves as replaceable, insignificant screws in the system, whose personal feelings are meaningless,” says Alexey Kascheev, a Moscow-based spine surgeon with a large social NEWSWEEK
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media following. “Both doctors and patients are willing to put up with physical and psychological torment. People think, What does it matter if I am in pain, if I am nothing?” Widespread distrust of state medicine has also resulted in Russians spending millions of dollars every year on so-called magical healers. “It is often the case that people with life-threatening illnesses choose to first turn to alternative forms of medicine. When they eventually visit a doctor, it is already too late,” says Yury Zhulev, a spokesman for the Russian Patients
A WOMAN DIED IN CHILDBIRTH AFTER DRUNKEN MEDICS WERE UNABLE TO CARRY OUT A BLOOD TRANSFUSION. Association. Experts at the Russian Academy of Sciences say there are about 800,000 occult and faith healers operating in the country, compared with 640,000 registered doctors. If the litmus test of a state health care system is the willingness of members of the political elite to place their own health and that of their loved ones in its hands, then Russia fails miserably. Unlike in many Western European countries, where ministers and other government officials routinely use their nation’s health services, political leaders in Russia often jet abroad for medical care. In 2013, Pavel Astakhov, then Russia’s top official for child welfare, gave a candid answer when asked why his wife had given birth in the south of France rather than in Russia. “I was concerned about my wife and future child,” he replied. “I couldn’t take the risk.” Forced to gamble with their health and sometimes their lives, that’s a luxury millions of Russians cannot afford.
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THE BILLIONAIRE’S SUGAR DADDY
Meet Robert Mercer, the mystery donor who spent millions—and allegedly used some shady financing—to put Donald Trump in the White House ROBERT MERCER seemed uncomfortable. It was 2014, and the billionaire had just stepped behind the podium to accept a lifetime achievement award from the Association for Computational Linguistics. He warned his audience that speaking for the required hour or so was “more than I typically talk in a month” and that he was no longer
in their field of work. “I left IBM Research 20 years ago, and I really have not paid any attention to the world of linguistics or to IBM since then. And I can’t really talk about what I do now.” That might have been OK for the folks inside that grand ballroom in a Baltimore hotel, but what he does now is of vital interest to the rest
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BY MAX KUTNER @maxkutner
+ THUMBS UP:
Trump slammed a primary opponent for being backed by Mercer’s super PAC, but gladly accepted its largesse when Mercer decided to back him.
of America, because he wrote the checks that got Donald Trump elected president. Mercer was reportedly the third biggest donor to conservative outside-spending groups this election cycle, behind casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and hedge fund manager Paul Singer, and The Washington Post named him one of the “top 10 most influential billionaires in politics,” alongside Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and President-elect Trump. But unlike those men, Mercer is by all accounts an extremely discreet individual who almost never gives interviews (his representatives would not put him in touch with Newsweek). As he once told The Wall Street Journal, “I’m happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody.” Yet by giving millions to a super PAC, Make America Number 1, which his daughter Rebekah Mercer chaired, Mercer seems to have bought more influence over Trump than any other donor. Rebekah also has ties to Stephen Bannon, the controversial Breitbart News executive chairman recently named the new administration’s chief strategist and senior counselor, records show. A campaign ethics watchdog and a political group are now calling on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the FBI to investigate those connections because they believe the entanglements among the Mercers, the super PAC and the Trump campaign are illegal.
MILLION-DOLLAR TOY TRAINS
“I don’t usually talk about myself,” Mercer said in that 2014 speech, which may explain why there’s not much about him in the public record. He grew up in New Mexico, the son of a Canadian immigrant who worked in aerosol research. Roger McClellan, a family friend, recalls that Mercer’s mother enjoyed theater and the arts, and Mercer has said his father piqued his interest in computers—in high school, he wrote code and studied manuals. While enrolled at the University of New Mexico, he worked as a programmer at the nearby Air Force base. “I really loved everything about computers,” he said in Baltimore. “I loved the solitude of the computer lab late at night; I loved the air-conditioned smell of the place; I loved the sounds of the discs whirring and the printers clacking.” He later got his Ph.D. and went to work for IBM in 1972. He and his colleagues there devised a way for a computer to use statistical formulas and algorithms to translate languages. The Association for Computational Linguistics has called their work “revolutionary.” In 1993, investment management company Renaissance Technologies, based on New York’s NEWSWEEK
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Long Island, recruited Mercer. He became its co-CEO in 2010. This year, Forbes ranked him at No. 18 on its list of highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders, with $150 million in annual earnings. (His net worth is not publicly known.) Some of that money pays for his mansion on Long Island Sound, Owl’s Nest, and his 203-foot yacht, Sea Owl, which has a crew of 18, fingerprint-recognition keypads, a self-playing Steinway baby grand piano and a mural of a tree, carved from Peruvian mahogany, that spans several flights of stairs. It is estimated to be worth $75 million. He has been in the news a few times for lawsuits. In the 1990s, his daughter Heather sued Duke University for allegedly violating Title
“THEY LOOK FOR TALENT, THEY RELY ON ADVICE OF FRIENDS, AND THEY ARE VERY GOOD TO THEIR FRIENDS.” IX, the federal law that prohibits schools from discriminating based on sex, when she was cut from the football team. (She won $2 million in damages.) In 2009, he sued the manufacturer of a model train set for allegedly charging him $2.7 million, claiming it should have cost about $2,000 less. (He won that one too.) In More Money Than God, a 2010 book about hedge funds, Sebastian Mallaby describes Mercer as “an icy cold poker player” and says a former boss once characterized him as an “automaton.” L. Brent Bozell, founder and president of the conservative nonprofit Media Research Center— Rebekah is a board member, and it gets a lot of money from the Mercer Family Foundation—says otherwise: “This is a guy who most of the time you see him has a smile on his face. He enjoys life.” Bozell also says Mercer is brilliant. “What will just
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blow you away is how smart he is…. You start listening on a conversation he’s having with someone else, and guaranteed within 60 seconds your mind is in some happy place because you have no idea what he’s talking about.” Mercer has been contributing to federal political committees since 1998, according to FEC filings, and began giving to super PACs in 2010, after the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that they could receive unlimited donations. Since then, he has given $36.8 million to super PACs. Close to half of that—$15.5 million—went to Make America Number 1. When that super PAC was formed in April 2015 (as Keep the Promise 1), it backed Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz, but in June 2016 it changed names and candidates, shifting to Trump. Around the same time, one of its leaders, Kellyanne Conway, became Trump’s campaign manager. Some two months later, another leader of Make America Number 1, David Bossie, also joined the campaign; Rebekah took over that super PAC. One of Mercer’s biggest and most intriguing gifts was not in a nonprofit and does not appear listed anywhere—he gave at least $10 million to Breitbart News, according to someone involved in Republican fundraising circuits who asked that Newsweek not name him in order to protect his political relationships (he says he knows firsthand about the transaction). Bloomberg reported the money was invested in 2011. This past August, Bannon left Breitbart to help run the Trump campaign and is about to assume a vital position in the new administration. His appointment as a top aide has prompted widespread criticism that he is a darling of misogynists, white supremacists and anti-Semites. Those critics point to Breitbart headlines during Bannon’s tenure, such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew” and “Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage.” Bannon has called the accusations “just nonsense,” and a spokesperson for the presidential transition team did not respond to a request for comment. Bannon critics can apparently blame Rebekah; she pushed Trump to bring him on board, the fundraising insider says. Her ties with Bannon go back a few years. They served together as officers of at least two nonprofits, Reclaim New York and the Government Accountability Institute. They also produced at least one documentary together, Clinton Cash, a fearmongering look at the Clinton family’s finances. It was also Rebekah who convinced Trump to hire Conway, NEWSWEEK
according to the insider. Rebekah, Conway and Bossie (who produced another documentary with Bannon and reportedly with Rebekah, Torchbearer, about Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, and who led Citizens United, which received Mercer Family Foundation money) are now all on Trump’s transition team. “They look for talent, they rely on advice of friends, and they are very good to their friends,” Bozell says. The entanglements of the Mercer family, the Make America Number 1 super PAC and the Trump campaign are confusing. They may also be illegal. In a complaint to the FEC, the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit that defends campaign ethics, alleged in October that the Trump campaign paid Bannon and Conway illegally by funneling money to them through Make America Number 1. FEC records show that after the pair joined the campaign, the PAC gave money to Conway’s polling company and to
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TOWER OF POWER:
Several groups have filed complaints claiming the Trump campaign illegally used Mercer’s super PAC to pay top campaign strategists. +
AP PHOTO/JULIE JACOBSON
STILL DRAINING THE SWAMP?
Glittering Steel, a film production company with which Bannon is affiliated (He is said to run the elusive company and wrote and produced two of its films, Clinton Cash and Torchbearer.) According to the Campaign Legal Center, there are no records showing that Bannon or Conway received money from the Trump campaign in the first few weeks they were working for it—but $247,000 from the super PAC went to Conway’s company during that time, and $15,000 went to Glittering Steel about a week before Bannon joined. The Campaign Legal Center also alleges that the Trump campaign’s hiring of Conway and Bannon violated FEC rules because of their affiliations with Make America Number 1. The center further alleges that the super PAC’s and the Trump campaign’s use of data company Cambridge Analytica—in which Mercer has invested— was also a conflict of interest. “Super PACs by law are supposed to be independent of the candidates that they’re supporting, and that’s clearly not the case here,” says Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. The overlap seems to go beyond typical Washington, D.C., corruption, he adds. “Thanks to a dysfunctional FEC, you’ve seen super PACs working more closely with candidates.... But what the Trump campaign has done with Make America Number 1, and the relationship between Trump and the Mercer family, does seem to be without precedent in modern elections.” In an email to Newsweek, Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the PAC, denies the allegations. “The complaint is filled with falsehoods and misinformation,” he says. “Mr. Bannon never was associated with [Make America Number 1].” As for the use of Conway’s company and Cambridge Analytica, Gidley says, “At each company, procedures are in place to allow it to work for multiple clients as allowed in the law.” A Trump campaign spokesperson did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment. The FEC complaint could result in a fine—if its six commissioners decide to investigate, which Fischer says they rarely do. That could be why the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, part of the super PAC Keep America Great, is pursuing criminal charges. The coalition said in a November 15 statement that it had reported Bannon to the FBI over his allegedly receiving PAC money during the campaign—$950,090 from the super PAC to Glittering Steel. “What we uncovered was almost a million dollars’ worth of payments that went to Bannon’s company,” the coalition’s Scott Dworkin tells Newsweek. “That in its own right is a felony.” (In his response, Gidley reiterates that Bannon was not associated with the super PAC.) NEWSWEEK
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With Rebekah, Conway and Bossie on Trump’s transition team, and Bannon in a top administration role, the Mercer family’s influence now extends deep into the White House. This could be seen as contrary to some of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, such as when he vowed on Twitter “to fight for every person in this country who believes government should serve the people—not the donors,” called super PACs “total scams” and “very corrupt,” and slammed his opponent for receiving money from “hedge funders.” In January, he even criticized Ted Cruz in for receiving “$11M
“WHAT THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN HAS DONE WITH [THAT SUPER PAC] SEEMS TO BE WITHOUT PRECEDENT IN MODERN ELECTIONS.” from a NY hedge fund mogul,” precisely the amount Mercer had given Make America Number 1 at that point in its previous iteration. By giving millions to get Trump elected, what did the self-made billionaire hope to get in return? Hillary Clinton proposed a tax on high-frequency trading of securities, which is reportedly a favorite of Renaissance Technologies. A Senate subcommittee has even questioned the company about its use of the tactic, and experts from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimated that such a tax could cost finance companies $185 billion over 10 years. Carrie Levine of the Center for Public Integrity points out that Mercer has previously put money behind opponents of candidates who supported that type of tax. Bozell insists that the Mercers’ only motive is patriotism. “When you’re a billionaire or a multibillionaire, you really don’t need anything,” he says. “These people are driven by what they believe is good for the country.”
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N E W W O R L D
D I S O NEWSWEEK
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R D E R With Trumpism advancing from the west and Putinism from the east, can Europeâ€™s centrists survive the hard-right onslaught?
+ BURNING MAN: Pro-
testers burn an effigy of Donald Trump in Los Angeles. His victory has made it harder for centrists to close their eyes and hope the surge of nationalism will just disappear.
S THERE REALLY
+ YOU’RE HIRED: One of the most sobering aspects of Trump’s
victory was his warmth toward prominent authoritarian leaders and foreign politicians with alarming views.
counterparts in Europe, long confined to the margins of politics, will watch with admiration as Trump, soon to be the world’s most powerful person, takes office on January 20. The 45th U.S. president will have a growing number of like-minded company at marquee meetings like the G-20 and the U.N. General Assembly, where the power players have, in recent years, been centrists like U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. If the National Front’s Marine Le Pen wins the French presidential election in May, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council would be led by Trump, Le Pen, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and Britain’s Theresa May, who is ushering the U.K. out of the EU (even though she campaigned, tepidly, for it to remain). With the possible exception of May, none seem thrilled about how the world has worked since the end of the Cold War.
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CLOCKWISE FROM L EFT: ZACH GIBSON/GET T Y; ALE X EI NIKO LSKY/RIA NOVOSTI REUTE RS; ANDY WONG/AP; M ICHE L EUL ER /A P
an international wave of a hard-right populism? Are the masses rising up around the world to topple corrupt elites? Or is talk of this colossal political shift just jargon, guff and cocktail chatter concocted by analysts searching for patterns when the victories of Donald Trump in the United States presidential election and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union—to name the two most significant results in the West—could just be unconnected blips? A year ago, the evidence for a global phenomenon was weak. Some midsize European countries, Hungary and Poland, had elected rightist, anti-globalization governments, and France, the Netherlands, Sweden and a few other European nations had parties that were beginning, maybe, to look like electoral contenders. The U.K. was heading for a vote on its EU membership, but few people thought the majority would vote for Brexit. At that point, Trump seemed to be just a whacky sideshow in a Republican primary. As Newsweek’s Josh Lowe and Owen Matthews report in the following pages, the evidence of an international populist surge has grown since then. Trump’s victory has made it harder for centrists to close their eyes and hope nationalism will just disappear. His triumph was a shock in many ways, but one of the most sobering aspects of it is his warmth toward prominent authoritarian leaders and foreign politicians with alarming views. Trump’s
+ IN GOOD COMPANY: Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s
PREVIOUS SPRE AD: MARCUS YAM/ LOS ANG EL ES TIMES/GE T T Y
Xi Jinping and France’s Marine Le Pen, aren’t thrilled about how the world has worked since the end of the Cold War.
In the pieces that follow, Newsweek looks at what’s happening in Eastern and Western Europe to try to understand what’s behind this populist revolt. The last time the world saw a spike in nationalism—the early 1990s—the cause was clear: The end of the Cold War had allowed many long-suppressed national desires to violently erupt, often along ethnic lines. So what’s behind the current tumult? No single political upheaval has shaken the world—and by many measures, people are generally richer, healthier, better educated and living in less violent societies than ever before. But the world today is also far more divided between rich and poor than it was a quarter-century ago: The 10 wealthiest people on the planet collectively hold $505 billion, more than most countries produce every year, according to Forbes. There’s also an increased sense that the very rich buy political influence, perhaps more than ever. Increased migration NEWSWEEK
has revealed how many in the West remain hostile to outsiders—from Syrian refugees to Polish or Honduran immigrants; champions of globalization had assumed that sort of animus had waned. And social media and information technology have accelerated our ability to form closed, like-minded groups—and to get very angry at one another in public without apparent consequence. As defined, populism—ideas intended to give ordinary people what they want—seems beneficent. But is what the people want now as violent as their leaders’ rhetoric? And with insurgencies mounting from east and west to throw out the elites in cosmopolitan cities like Paris and Amsterdam, which side will prevail? —By Matt McAllester
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THE NEXT BREXIT BY J OS H LOW E
S IX DAYS after Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, social media users in Britain awoke to a photograph of the president-elect standing beside another familiar face—Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). The two men, who both pitch themselves as champions of ordinary men and women, stood beaming before a glittering, goldplated elevator door in Trump’s $100 million New
York City penthouse. The image wasn’t just a sign of a budding bromance; it was evidence of a wider convergence. Like-minded figures from the populist hard right are looking across borders and celebrating one another’s successes. “They saw Brexit as an inspiration for their campaign,” a triumphant Farage tells Newsweek. “If you look at the last weeks of the Trump campaign, every single night at every single rally, he said this is going to be bigger than Brexit.” Farage has traveled some way to reach the golden pinnacle of Trump Tower. It was only two and a half years ago that I waited in the freezing rain to watch him speak in a faded hall in the coastal city of Portsmouth on England’s southern edge. It was a spitand-sawdust affair, with an eccentric merchandise stand selling comedy tea towels that described then–European Council President Herman Van Rompuy as a “damp rag.” Now Farage and other politicians in Europe with similar views think the movement has moved from the fringe to the center. In June, the British masses surprised the experts and voted to leave the European Union; then came Trump’s victory. As news of that sunk in, Florian Philippot, vice president of France’s hard-right National Front, tweeted his delight: “Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built.” That may be an exaggeration, but across Western Europe, right-wing populists are preparing for battles against nervous progressive or centrist politicians. In Austria, which faces a rerun of its presidential election on December 4, Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party, might win the largely symbolic but still important office. That would make him the first hard-right head of state in the EU. In March, the Netherlands will hold parliamentary elections in which the anti-Islam Freedom Party is set for a tight race against the incumbent center-right government. Later, France’s National Front also has a chance at victory in the presidential election. In Germany, which will have a federal election early in the second half of 2017, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a new anti-immigration and anti-Islam party, is likely to win its first seats in the national parliament. Yet it’s far from certain that the hard right will prevail in all these contests. The Austrian presidential election is too close to call. Marine Le Pen, the National Front’s presidential candidate, is polling around 30 percent, enough to get her to the second round of voting in France but a long way below the 50 percent she’ll need to win the Élysée Palace. In the Netherlands, the Freedom Party and Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right People’s Party swing
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+ NATIONAL AFFRONT: Le
Pen, above, is polling around 30 percent, enough to make it to the second round of voting. Some worry she could become the next leader of France.
FROM TOP: UL IE N MAT TIA /NURPHOTO/G ET T Y; EVAN VUCCI/AP
between first and second place. None of that means moderates and progressives are safe. “If you had told me a year ago, ‘In one year’s time, you’ll be living in Brexit Britain while Trump is elected,’ I would have said, ‘Oh, but the likelihood is really low,’” says Daphne Halikiopoulou, an analyst of the European far right at the U.K.’s University of Reading. “Where we are now, I wouldn’t put anything past anyone.” These parties are not identical, but they have all positioned themselves between the starched shirts of the center right and the swivel-eyed thugs of the extreme right. They all share a “put us first!” flavor of nationalism plainly visible in their slogans, from Farage’s “we want our country back” to the Austrian Freedom Party’s guiding principle, “Austria first,” to Trump’s swaggering promise to “make America great again.” Opposition to immigration is a cornerstone of their appeal, but where some give NEWSWEEK
+ HARD RIGHT TURN: Leaders of nationalist parties
such as Britain’s Nigel Farage aren’t make the big decisions yet. But it may only be a matter of time.
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explicitly cultural or racial reasons for this, others couch it in more practical terms. The leading hardright parties in Germany, France, Austria and the Netherlands are explicitly anti-Islam, for example, while Geert Wilders is happy to refer to the Netherlands’ “mega Moroccan problem.” (Unlike its rightwing counterparts elsewhere in Europe, UKIP has
Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built. focused more on immigration to Britain from other EU states.) These parties all draw some support from working-class communities, often in post-industrial areas, and are happy to take up causes like economic protectionism and even nationalization, which have been more associated in recent decades with the left than the right. But their support cannot be reduced to purely economic concerns. Relationships between the rightist movements aren’t always warm; some of these newly empowered populists are rapacious opportunists with fractious personalities. Farage has sought to distance himself from Le Pen’s party, for instance, which he has accused of anti-Semitism. This denunciation helped him be seen as a legitimate political voice on British television and in the country’s established newspapers. If some of these parties win power, it’s not hard to imagine the friction as a collection of
“put us first!” governments slug it out. But this is a criticism the parties dismiss. Farage sums up their reasoning with a disarming cliché: “Good fences make good neighbors.” The personal links between these parties and movements are only deepening. Farage is linked to Trump’s White House via his former adviser and close ally, Raheem Kassam, editor of the London branch of the hard-right news site Breitbart. Kassam is a protégé of Breitbart’s former chairman Steve Bannon, whom Trump just appointed as his chief strategist, and whom Farage has known, as he puts it, “for some years.” Meanwhile, in 2015, the Dutch and Austrian Freedom parties, the National Front and others created a group in the European Parliament called Europe of Nations and Freedom; the parties will back one another in their upcoming contests. Farage tells Newsweek he does not rule out supporting these parties. Some may soon share a sympathetic media outlet too; Breitbart, whose abrasive and sometimes racist or Islamophobic content was lapped up by Trump supporters and has been unfalteringly pro-UKIP, is set to expand into France and Germany, potentially boosting Le Pen and the AfD. In some ways, says Halikiopoulou, the analyst of the far right, it’s not so important whether these parties agree on every detail; their chances of electoral success will improve simply by projecting a shared
+ WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD:
Anti-immigrant protesters in Gdansky, Poland, have been calling on the government to keep out refugees from Iraq, Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East.
FROM LE FT: MIC HAL FLUDRA /CORB IS/GET T Y; STEFAN ROUSS E AU/ REUTERS; HEINZ-PETER BADER /REUTERS
Theresa May is ushering the U.K. out of the EU, even though she campaigned, tepidly, for it to remain.
sense of purpose. “They can put forward a façade that emphasizes that their aims, their goals are the same.” Each electoral success for one member of the group— and especially Trump’s in America—adds legitimacy and momentum to the others. “They’re saying, ‘Look, we’ve been right all along,” says Halikiopoulou. If they win national elections, the insurgent populist parties of Western Europe could align on some issues with Hungary and Poland, both governed by populists of the religious right—Fidesz in Hungary and Law and Justice in Poland. These parties do not advocate withdrawing from the EU, but they are often opposed to European interference in areas like immigration and refugee policy; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski have pledged to wage a “cultural counterrevolution” against liberal Europe. Meanwhile, in Italy, the populist Five Star Movement—less nationalist but similarly anti-establishment—stands to gain if Prime Minister Matteo Renzi loses a December 4 referendum over constitutional reform on which he has staked his job. Wilders and Le Pen both want to hold EU referendums if they win. (Hofer would not have that power if he prevails.) They want to leave the EU and create a new system in which nations work together in a much looser structure. Brussels is keenly aware of the threat: “We need to turn this painful awakening into a political wake-up call,” Pierre Moscovici, the NEWSWEEK
European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, said in a speech after Trump’s victory. But few EU leaders can agree on a strategy to push back. For European Commission President JeanClaude Juncker, the solution is more cross-border cooperation: “There is not enough Europe in this Union, and…there is not enough union in this Union,” he said in September. Others think the EU should retreat from controversial areas like asylum policy and stick to functions like promoting competitiveness in business. “The common thread is that all these parties complain that they have lost control over their own fate,” says Pieter Cleppe, head of the Brussels office at the think tank Open Europe. “The EU is definitely part of that; the anonymous bureaucrats in Brussels taking very important decisions.”
All these parties complain that they have lost control over their own fate. Farage, Le Pen and others like them aren’t making the big decisions just yet. Rutte and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé in France could easily win the Dutch and French elections respectively. Both are center-right moderates with deep experience, calm temperaments and international outlooks. But what both Trump and Brexit have demonstrated is that a promise of unfettered independence for a nation and cultural or racial homogeneity for its people can prove extremely compelling. As the tide of nationalism rises, centrists must find a way to make the opposite case better—or find themselves drowning beneath it.
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PUTIN POWER B Y O W E N M AT T H E W S
ALLING DOMINOES: That’s what U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower called countries coming under Communist control in the 1950s, while warning that aggressive Soviet expansion would cause the “disintegration” of the free world. Over the next four decades, thousands died in proxy wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan, as the United States and its allies fought to contain the global influence of Moscow.
In November, dominoes began falling once again in a new contest between Europe, which is struggling to maintain its unity, and a recently assertive Russia. In the EU member state of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev—a pro-Russian former air force general with no political experience—beat a candidate from the center-right political establishment in the country’s presidential elections. On the same day in Moldova, once part of the USSR, a pro-Moscow political outsider, Igor Dodon, won the presidency, defeating a pro-Western former World Bank economist. “Russia is trying to destabilize Europe,” warned outgoing Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev. In Moscow, by contrast, the news was greeted with glee. “The tide in Europe is finally turning against American-dictated Russophobic hysteria,” said Duma deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov. Suddenly, the world seems to be going Vladimir Putin’s way. Moldova and Bulgaria are just the latest victories in a series of electoral gains for groups that support the Kremlin’s attempts to divide Europe and weaken NATO. From the Netherlands’ rejection of a treaty between the EU and Ukraine in April, to Brexit and Donald Trump more recently, Putin is likely to remember this year with great fondness. Bulgaria’s Radev ran on a ticket of lifting EU sanctions on Russia imposed in the wake of Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea; he said Europe should be “pragmatic” about punishing Putin for violating international law. In Moldova, Dodon’s position was even more radical—to scrap an agreement signed in 2014 setting out free trade and integration with the EU and instead join the Moscowdominated Eurasian Economic Union. Bulgaria’s economy is suffering, partly because of a slump in the number of Russian tourists since Western sanctions were introduced, while its agricultural sector has been badly hit by a tit-for-tat ban imposed by Russia on the import of all foodstuffs from the EU. Moldova, meanwhile, has been hammered by sanctions on wine and produce, implemented by Moscow supposedly for health and safety reasons—but put into effect right after Moldova signed its trade deal with the EU. “The nations of Eastern Europe haven’t seen any benefit from NATO expansion, from the Middle East conflict, from sanctions against Russia,” says Russian Senator Oleg Morozov, a member of the Federation Council’s Committee on International Affairs. “What we are seeing today is a global revolt against elites. A new crop of politicians are coming to power all over Europe. Some are openly pro-Russian, some less so—but they will all be necessarily
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+ DIVIDE AND CONQUER:
Moldova and Bulgaria are the latest victories in a series of electoral gains for groups that support Putin’s attempts to splinter Europe and weaken NATO.
MIKHAIL KLIME NT YEV/SPUTNIK /AP
are taking the positions of the right wing—on immigration, for instance.” Russia has deployed a diverse arsenal to back up its allies in Europe. Economic carrots have included a large loan offered by the Kremlin in 2014 to Greece during its euro crisis and cut-price gas supplies offered to Hungary and Bulgaria. Sticks include sanctions imposed on countries like Moldova that have dared to sign agreements with Brussels. Getting the EU to scrap sanctions, up for review at the end of January, is Moscow’s main goal. The other is to divide NATO. Trump has already alarmed the Baltic states by calling the alliance “obsolete” and suggesting that the U.S. would respond to a Russian attack only after determining whether the victims “have fulfilled their obligations to us.” November’s U.S. election results don’t, so far, mark a deep split inside NATO. Bulgaria’s President-elect Radev—a fighter pilot who once studied at the U.S. Air War College in Alabama—pledged to maintain his country’s place in the alliance. “Being pro-European doesn’t mean being anti-Russian,” he says. But alongside Hungary’s strongly anti-immigrant and pro-Moscow Viktor Orbán, Russia’s influence is on the rise at the same time that voters’ faith in the EU is waning. In Moldova— Europe’s battleground state, tugged by both Moscow and Brussels—66.6 more pragmatic, which will be good news for Russia.” Putin has become “a kind of Che Guevara for the anti-establishment right,” says Brian Whitmore, author of Radio Free Europe’s influential Power Vertical blog. Europe’s ultraleft seems to admire him too. In Greece, for instance, senior members of the socialist Syriza party—including Nikos Kotzias, the current foreign minister—have close links with Alexander Dugin, a Russian Orthodox ultranationalist ideologue now favored by the Kremlin. “What we’re seeing is the breakdown of traditional party systems and the rise of protest parties all over Europe,” says Dmitry Abzalov, vice president of the Moscow-based think tank the Center for Strategic Communications. “Left-wing candidates NEWSWEEK
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Putin has become a kind of Che Guevara for the anti-establishment right.
percent of respondents in a recent survey by Moldova’s Institute for Public Policy said they trusted Putin, compared with just 28.3 percent who had faith in Angela Merkel. As the hard right continues to push westward and support for a united Europe teeters under the weight of a stagnant economy and persistent refugee crisis, it may be just a matter of time before more dominoes fall Putin’s way.
VIRAL FROM NEW YORK CITY TO CAPE TOWN, THE AIDS VIRUS HAS RAVAGED THE WORLD. BUT LOUIS PICKER THINKS HE FINALLY FOUND A SOLUTION. IT INVOLVES HERPES
HIT JOB BY WINSTON ROSS
“Yes, you can,” she said. “It’s not going to work,” he said. “It’s going to work,” she replied. “It’s going to work.” Picker has had this conversation with his wife, Belinda Beresford, several times, because after 30 years of immunology research, the 59-year-old is on the verge of launching human trials for a vaccine that could stop AIDS, an epidemic that has become something of an afterthought decades after it began ravaging gay men in America. For many in the developed world, complacency has set in, largely thanks
to a regimen of antiretroviral drugs that allow people with HIV to live long and healthy lives, and decades of failed attempts to develop a vaccine. Much of Picker’s work now involves fighting for grant money in a dwindling pot of research funds to keep his laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University running. To win those grants, he must continually prove that his unorthodox approach to creating a vaccine is probably going to work, which means that he needs a string of victories in the laboratory. “Science has its ups and downs,” he says. “You only get rewarded for the ups.”
GREG SMITH/CORBIS/GE T T Y; PREVIOUS S PRE AD: TONY B EE /G ET T Y
LOUIS PICKER STOMPED THROUGH THE HOUSE, GROWLED AT HIS DOGS, THEN SLUMPED DOWN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRCASE, DEJECTED. “I CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE,” THE IMMUNOLOGIST TOLD HIS WIFE.
Picker was working to stop the spread of HIV. His fight began during his residency in Boston in the early 1980s, in the first years of what would become the global AIDS epidemic. “It was sort of a rumor then,” Picker says. “The storm was coming.” In 1984, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler expressed hope that the storm would subside, that science might have a vaccine for HIV within two years. Instead, a decade passed, and by 1994, AIDS was the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44. In the past three decades, four vaccines have made it to human trials, but none made it to market. Picker published his first paper on AIDS in 1985 but then shifted his focus away from the disease; he went to Stanford to study immunopathology and hematopathology. But as the years dragged on, people close to him—a cousin, a classmate, a friend— died of AIDS. “It had an impact on me,” he says. “It resonates with you in a way that somebody who’s 90 and dying of cancer doesn’t. It’s personal. It’s a titanic struggle against a very wily enemy.” By 1993, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had begun a hunt for immunologists interested in AIDS research. (The field had previously been
+ MARCH OF THE LIVING: Decades after
it began ravaging gay men in America, AIDS has become something of an afterthought in the developing world. A major reason: drugs that allow people with HIV to live long and healthy lives.
Each day’s progress is critical. Picker’s vaccine has shown remarkable results in rhesus macaque monkeys— results that HIV researchers closely watch. “There’s a pretty strong consensus that it’s one of the two or three most promising approaches we have in the field,” says Guido Silvestri, a leading immunologist at Emory University School of Medicine. “This is not just a monkey curiosity.” But promising is not enough, and just one tough morning in the lab might mean the whole thing’s over. “Sometimes, he doubts himself,” Beresford says. “He’s tired. He has a rambunctious 6-year-old. He feels guilty because he’s not home enough.” Fortunately, Picker is dogged, and Beresford is patient—the two married about eight years ago and have yet to go on a honeymoon. After he growled at their dogs that night, she poured him a shot of Laphroaig, his favorite scotch, and sat with him in a guest room that has five vintage steel Colnago bicycles hanging on the walls. Picker sipped his whiskey and gazed at his bikes, hoping he’ll someday have enough free time to ride them every morning. But he won’t have that luxury until he can prove his AIDS-orphaned stepson, Thabo, correct. “LP’s gonna do it,” the 17-year-old likes to say. “LP’s gonna stop AIDS.”
“AIDS RESONATES WITH YOU IN A WAY THAT SOMEBODY WHO’S 90 AND DYING OF CANCER DOESN’T.”
dominated by virologists, who had a better understanding of the vector and the virus, than the immune system’s response.) The agency offered to throw grant money at the problem. “I immediately switched,” Picker says. Two years later, he began working on a new approach to studying T cells, which keep us healthy by remembering how to fight pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) that they’ve already come across. Each time they encounter a pathogen, T cells specific to it rush into battle, expanding and migrating via the blood into the tissues. When pathogens stimulate T cells, they respond by deploying small molecules called cytokines to knock out the infection. Picker devised a way to understand these cytokines inside T cells, which “revolutionized the field of immunology,” says Andrew Sylwester, the manager of Picker’s lab, “even though he doesn’t get credit for it.” His “cytokine flow cytometry” allowed him and other scientists to not only count
A WILY ENEMY PICKER FIRST met Thabo in Johannesburg in 2009, a few months after meeting Beresford, a journalist who had interviewed him for a story. She had adopted Thabo when he was 2. He was a stubborn, independent child with big brown eyes, born virus-free even though his biological mother had AIDS. Thabo considered strangers cautiously, so when Picker arrived at the airport to meet him, he brought two suitcases. One carried his clothing. The other contained baseball gloves and an American football to beguile the 9-year-old. Now, seven years later, Picker lives in Portland, Oregon, with Beresford, Thabo and five other children, four from previous relationships and one they had together. Long before their family took shape, NEWSWEEK
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cytokines but know their function. Picker needed a virus on which to test his technique. In those days, it was too difficult to acquire blood from HIV-positive subjects, and experts wrongly assumed those infected with the virus had poorly functioning immune systems. He considered mumps but soon found a better adversary: cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus in the herpes family. This was ideal because half of the U.S. population is infected with it, most without symptoms. His technique worked, and it helped researchers learn how CMV affected the immune system. Previous studies revealed that the body’s T cells responded to the virus, but until Picker came along, no one had been able to examine the quality and quantity of the cells’ response. In 2001, Picker replicated the results of the CMV assay using blood from HIV-positive subjects—while people with AIDS continued dying by the hundreds of thousands each year.
HERPES CAN HELP AS PICKER continued his research, scientists developed a series of antiretroviral drugs that slowly downgraded HIV to a chronic disease, as opposed to a deadly contagion, at least in the developed world. But globally, AIDS is still killing a lot of people, largely because most of those infected in poorer countries don’t have access to the drugs. According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 million people died from AIDS in 2015. In the U.S., 50,000 new cases of HIV are reported every year. Worldwide, the number is 2 million. Every time news reports come out about Picker’s research, he fields a series of phone calls from HIV-infected patients, their friends and their family. “Can I be in your trial?” people ask him. “Please, can you save my son?” THE CURE? Picker, a renowned immunologist, is on
the verge of launching human trials for a vaccine that could stop the AIDS virus. +
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FROM L E FT: OH SU/BOONE SPEED; WINSTON ROSS FOR NEWSWEEK
NO MONKEY BUSINESS: Picker’s vaccine has shown remarkable results in rhesus macaque monkeys, which AIDS researchers say is very promising.
the antibody method could prevent some infections, and Picker’s technique could knock down the ones that slip through. “Louis’s program is one of the most creative, innovative and impactful efforts in the field,” Barouch says. “The data is very promising.” But so far, only for monkeys.
Much of the HIV research today is focused on finding better antiretrovirals. Efforts to create a vaccine have centered on generating antibodies that find pathogens in the blood, smother an infection before it takes hold or manipulate T cells into fighting off the virus. The measles vaccine, for example, encourages T cells to fight in response to the inoculation, after which they go back to a resting state. “The soldiers go back to the base,” Picker says. When the pathogen returns, the T cells reactivate. “They grab rifles and arm themselves, but it takes two weeks.” Against HIV, T cells are outgunned. The virus replicates quickly and is “immune-evasive,” meaning it can overwhelm or dodge the immune system’s attempts to fight, leaving T cells no time to mount an adequate defense before the virus has taken root. What’s worse, HIV embeds itself in T cells, which means the T cell response to an HIV onslaught leads to its own destruction—the proliferating T cells actually spread the virus. Picker’s CMV research led him to wonder if he could trick the body’s T cells into creating and maintaining an “armed” response to a virus to which they’d never been exposed. That would allow the T cells to react quickly when first confronted with an HIV infection. CMV presented a new opportunity, because the virus leads to an extraordinary effort by T cells, which is why 80 percent of the population is carrying it without developing symptoms. Top HIV researchers say this approach could be combined with a more traditional antibodies-based vaccine. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, created one that’s headed for human trials. His method focuses on antibodies, which can have a difficult time spotting the swift-moving and mutating HIV. But combining his approach with Picker’s could be effective— NEWSWEEK
BLOOD AND MONKEYS FOR MORE than 15 years, Picker has been working at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, home to more than 5,000 rhesus macaque monkeys, 21 baboons and, more important, Jay Nelson, one of the world’s foremost experts in CMV. On a steel table deep inside the lab in Beaverton, Oregon, researchers sedate three female rhesus macaques so they will more willingly submit to a blood draw. Tattooed with numbers to identify each of them, they’ve all been inoculated with Picker’s CMV vaccine to see if it will allow them to fight off the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)—the monkey version of HIV. The vaccine works by adding HIV genes into a weakened form of CMV, which tricks the T cells into arming themselves to battle the virus. In 2008, two years after Picker began vaccinating monkeys against SIV, four of the 12 macaques inoculated proved his vaccine could work: They’d knocked infection levels back to a minimum, and SIV didn’t take root. Four years later, the results
“FOR THE FIRST TIME, HE TRAINED THE IMMUNE SYSTEM TO CLEAR A VIRUS FROM AN INFECTED ANIMAL.”
improved. Of 150 inoculated animals, more than half were effectively cured. Picker’s findings were published first in the journal Science and then in Nature in 2013. “It’s a biologically stunning result,” says Marcel Curlin, an Oregon Health & Science University infectious disease specialist running the HIV trials. “For the first time, he trained the immune system to clear a virus from an infected animal. It sent huge shockwaves through the HIV
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community and fueled an enormous enthusiasm and energy to move the program forward.” The monkey results are some of the most promising news in HIV research since a clinical trial that took place in Thailand between 2003 and 2009. The trial combined two vaccines, and that cocktail reduced the rate of infection among participants by 31 percent. It was encouraging but not good enough to be a marketable vaccine. Then came terrible news, in a different trial. From 2004 to 2007, 3,000 patients considered at high risk for developing HIV enrolled in a trial to test a vaccine developed by Merck. The idea was not to prevent infection but to control the viral loads after infection, so subjects could survive. It didn’t work. Not only did the vaccine fail to stop HIV, but there was a 48 percent higher rate of infection in the group that received the vaccine than among those who took a placebo. Researchers were dismayed. “Merck pulled out altogether,” says Curlin. “Many programs shut down. People changed careers.” The lesson, says Silvestri: “It’s really hard to make a vaccine. The field was much more pessimistic after the Merck trials.” Picker, however, was undeterred. “I predicted the outcome of the Merck trial. I knew it wouldn’t work. It’s a T cell vaccine, but it’s very different from our T cell vaccine. It didn’t discourage me at all.” But he did ask Tony Fauci, director of the NIH, if the Merck trial would dampen support for similar work, if the research community would give up. Fauci’s response: “We’re not going to give up. We’re going to double down.”
ates, spends her days infecting dozens of flasks of cell cultures with CMV, sometimes as many as 150 a day. She is careful to don protective clothing, booties, a mask and gloves before entering one of the lab’s highly sensitive areas. Any kind of contamination—mycoplasma, fungus, mold, bacteria—could shut down the process and delay the vaccine manufacturing. Because the virus takes weeks to grow, there isn’t time to spare. Picker’s lab is racing to make enough of this vaccine by the time the trials are supposed to begin, because its funding could run out. Oregon Health &
IN THEORY, PICKER’S EXPERIMENT COULD BE USEFUL AGAINST OTHER ILLNESSES: TUBERCULOSIS, MALARIA, HERPES SIMPLEX 2, HEPATITIS B AND MAYBE EVEN SOME FORMS OF CANCER.
Science University is competing against more established institutions that have much more experience in the field. There’s also the danger that support will dry up as the virus increasingly becomes a problem of only developing nations. That means Picker’s research needs to show more results as quickly as possible, so neither he nor any of his 25-person staff knows what a “normal” workweek looks like. The team’s results are promising, but they need to improve before they can bring a vaccine to market. “It only worked in 50 to 60 percent,” Picker says of the macaque results. “How do we make it 100 percent?” Picker may be in a hurry, but he doesn’t rush the science. “If I had another 40 years, I’d be absolutely sure it would work. [But] I want to get this done in the next 10 or 12 years. All it takes is somebody at the NIH or high up in the Gates Foundation to say it’s done, it doesn’t work, and we’re dead.” He’s on his way. In June, the NIH awarded Picker’s lab $14 million to continue his work (Barouch got the same amount), a nice addition to the $25 million grant he landed from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2014. But human trials will cost 10 times that amount, Picker estimates, so his fundraising can’t stop. “It’s really expensive. It’s really slow. It’s
EXPENSIVE, SLOW AND FRUSTRATING IN THE EARLY development lab at the primate center, Wilma Perez, one of Picker’s research associ-
+ FIGHTING VIRUS WITH VIRUS: Picker’s research led him to wonder if he could trick the body’s T cells into creating and maintaining an “armed” response to a virus to which they’d never been exposed.
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FROM LE FT: WINSTON ROSS FOR NEWSWEEK; MIC HAEL ABRAMSON/ LIFE IM AGES COL LECTION/G ET T Y
FORGOTTEN KILLER: According to the World Health
Organization, 1.1 million people died from AIDS in 2015, most of them in poorer countries.
really frustrating,” he says. “This is not like designing a new iPhone. This is something that’s been designed for millions of years, by nature, by iterative mistakes, and we’re trying to unravel it.” If this vaccine works in humans—and Picker is optimistic it will—it could be combined with therapeutic drugs or other vaccines to effectively cure the virus. And, in theory, Picker’s CMV experiment could be useful against other illnesses too: tuberculosis, malaria, herpes simplex 2, hepatitis B and maybe even some forms of cancer, because all of those diseases attack T cells in a similar way. “Imagine you have a soldier with a gun,” Picker says. “The gun is the same, but now he has goggles that can see x, y or z enemy.” NEWSWEEK
For any of Picker’s soldiers to be deployed in the real world, though, he will have to make a vaccine that not only works but can be produced cheaply enough that pharmaceutical companies can make a profit. “The government doesn’t make vaccines,” he says. “Big Pharma makes vaccines. Big Pharma doesn’t want to pay for the research; they want to swoop in and take it over.” Picker will be thrilled if that happens, because bringing a drug to market is the only way his vaccine can save lives. And then, maybe, he’ll get to go on his honeymoon.
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+ MEAL TIME: This handsome adult meal moth is a representative of one of the roughly 600 species whose DNA was found in dust swabs taken from houses and apartments across the U.S.
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THE APHID WHO CAME TO DINNER
MAT T BE RTONE
Researchers have created the first nationwide map of the many insects that live in our houses
BY DOUGLAS MAIN @Douglas_Main
YOUR DUST bunnies, it seems, have stories to tell. By examining the DNA in dust, researchers have shown that we share our houses with a legion of mysterious animals. And they’ve created the first map showing the range of these creatures across the U.S. The researchers collected dust swabs from more than 700 homes in 48 states. They found DNA from more than 600 different types of arthropods, the group that includes insects and spiders. The results were published in November in the journal Molecular Ecology. The study found that most homes contain DNA belonging to many species of flies, moths and insects, such as aphids, that suck on plant fluids, says one of the scientists, Anne Madden, a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University. Dust mites, carpet beetles, Indian meal moths, fruit flies and fleas are also common, along with wasps and other insects that parasitize aphids. “There are entire food webs
[of which we’ve been unaware] inside houses,” Madden says. The creatures shed DNA when they defecate, lose limbs or die, and fragments of this genetic material end up in dust. (Most of the animals, with the notable exception of mites, don’t actually live in the dust.) Madden said she and her colleagues were surprised to find, in many homes they studied, the DNA of wasps and fireflies that they didn’t know lived indoors. The assumption is that these creatures were just passing through. The researchers also found that an invasive insect known as the Turkestan cockroach, native to central Asia, has spread from the American South toward the north and east, making its way as far as Massachusetts. “You share your home with a wonderland of arthropod diversity,” says Michelle Trautwein, an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences. “And that is pretty exciting.”
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N E W W O R L D / P R E SIDENCY
A SHORT-ATTENTION PLAN
The leadership qualities that won Donald Trump the election could make him an awful president IN TECH startup–speak, Donald Trump is a 1, and Hillary Clinton probably lost the presidential election because she’s a 2. And no, those numbers have nothing to do with the president-elect’s hand size or the way Clinton rocks a pantsuit. The designation correlates to the way their brains work as executives. Just about every wildly successful tech founder is a 1, from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. By contrast, the kind of spreadsheet-wielding, jargon-loving managers who hang their MBA degrees on the wall are probably 2s. It may surprise you that Trump lands in the 1 bracket, but read on. The 1-2 construct comes from Ben Horowitz, a founding partner at Andreessen Horowitz and author of the best-selling management book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. It also jibes with what I’ve heard from investors about startup founders for two decades, and it makes for an interesting lens to put on Trump as he assembles his team and starts to learn the difference between the nuclear strike button and the White House garage door opener. Horowitz talked to me about his concept a few years ago, when I was working on a book about brain science. He’s become known around Silicon Valley as someone who’s great at spotting CEO talent, and he believes there are two types of people in the top ranks of companies: 1s and
2s. Both are naturally predisposed to be that way. A 2 almost never becomes a 1. The 1s are predictive and intuitive, based on a deep well of knowledge about a specific field. This is the kind of thing Malcolm Gladwell described in his book Outliers—it’s the expert who practices his or her craft for at least 10,000 hours and can look at a problem and just know the answer. These 1s are able to predict how things will turn out better than anyone else. Their brains don’t take the time to sort through mountains of data and weigh various possibilities. The 1s build an efficient model in their heads of their company or specialty and use it to quickly act. It’s like the difference between an amateur piano player who has to read every note and needs to think where each finger goes versus an experienced jazz musician who can hear a change and improvise on the fly. “When we invest in companies, I’m looking to see if the company has somebody who has that speed and quality of decision-making,” Horowitz told me. “They need to be a 1, not a 2.” The 1 founders tend to be bullheaded and courageous. They tell people what they think, not what they think they’re supposed to say. They’re sometimes thought to be nuts, believing in their grandiose visions—like Gates saying in the 1980s, when most people had never operated anything more complicated than a toaster, that he was going to put a computer on every desk. Or like someone saying he’s going to build
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BY KEVIN MANEY @kmaney
Clinton seemed to run her presidential campaign on data and details. The public no doubt sensed it. Maybe half the population was disturbed by Trump, but Trump supporters were inspired by him. The half that wanted Clinton mostly did so with a shrug. She’s competent. She would be a good caretaker. She’s a 2. But now we have a wee problem. Trump’s instinct and the 10,000 hours that went into his brain modeling— that’s all specific to a certain capability. Trump is a 1 at selling Trump. It’s what he’s done all his life, and he just knows how to do it. It turned out to be a great asset for a presidential campaign, which was all about selling himself to the voters. But it’s not clear he can be a 1 as a president. He has no brain model in that field to work from. The instantly reflexive jazz pianist can’t easily step out of that role and excel at conducting a philharmonic. Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest intuitive 1 basketball player, sucked as a basketball executive for his first 15 years at it (see: Charlotte Bobcats’ 7-59 record in 2011 to 2012). If Trump can’t translate his 1 characteristics to the White House, he might become the Jordan of presidents—and not in a good way. If you use Horowitz’s lens to look at past presidents, it seems that Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were 1s. Jimmy Carter, known for pouring through briefings late into the night, seems like a classic 2. In each case, voters probably understood what they were getting before Election Day. But
+ ONE NOTE: Trump’s
WIN M CNAMEE /G ET T Y
leadership style is like that of many startup founders: predictive, intuitive and impetuous. These “1s” aren’t much interested in the fine details.
a tall wall along the Mexican border. The 2s are very important in any company. In fact, 1s need 2s. The 2s are detail people. They get things done. They are wonks. They wallow in data and love it. In fact, they can become crippled by input and data, never satisfied they know enough. That means they can miss the forest because they’re studying every leaf. “They lack confidence in their intuition,” Horowitz said. “When does ‘We think this is right’ beat ‘We know this right’? For a 2, it’s never.” If a 2 becomes a CEO, he or she might competently run the company but rarely leads it to greatness. Gates was a 1, yet his successor, Steve Ballmer, was a 2—and under Ballmer, Microsoft’s stock flatlined for a decade. Jobs was an obvious 1. Current CEO Tim Cook very much seems to be a 2, so we’ll see how that turns out. Zuckerberg, a 1, needs Sheryl Sandberg, who seems to be his 2. But if that’s true, then you might want to sell your Facebook stock if Zuckerberg hands off to her. Put all that together, and Trump looks a lot like a 1. Trump ran his campaign on instinct and vision. By most accounts, his actions in business also look very 1. “When I hire people, I interview them for 20 minutes, or 10 minutes, or three minutes, and I hire them,” Trump once told gossip columnist Liz Smith, as Politico noted. Here’s another take on Trump as an executive: “There was no formal business plan, no development strategy,” Gwenda Blair wrote in her book The Trumps. “Instead, Donald would come up with ideas, do the preliminary calculations in his head, then tell someone to get moving on it.” NEWSWEEK
THE 1S TEND TO BE BULLHEADED AND COURAGEOUS. THEY’RE SOMETIMES THOUGHT TO BE NUTS, BELIEVING IN GRANDIOSE VISIONS. there’s no precedent for Trump. Voters bought him as a 1; he’ll never be a 2, but there’s a chance he’ll be neither as president. He could be a 0. So Trump rates as exactly the kind of CEO that venture capitalists love to fund. He should run a startup. Too bad that’s not the job he’s getting ready to do.
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A TIPPING POINT FOR SLAUGHTER
In South Africa, rhinos are worth more dead than alive. Can legalizing trade in their horns save them from extinction? WOBBLING LEFT, then right, the 2-ton animal stumbles and starts to fall. Twelve pairs of hands are there to ease it toward the dusty orange earth. A man wearing a blue work suit quickly straps an eye mask over the sedated beast; another slips in a pair of massive earplugs. A few measurements are taken, then the reciprocating saw comes out. A worker turns it on and presses the whirring blade against the base of the rhino’s nubby horn, and white chips go flying. Within a couple of minutes, the horn cleanly pops off, leaving a teardrop-
shaped pattern of pink, white and black keratin—a biological material found in hair and nails. Mission completed, wildlife veterinarian Michelle Otto injects the rhino with an antidote to the sedative she darted it with 10 minutes earlier. The team scrambles into two pickup trucks, and the rhino—its nose sporting a stubby plateau rather than a peak—stumbles to its feet and trots off. This procedure might strike an outsider as strange, but for workers here it’s nothing exceptional. Located 100 miles outside of Johannesburg
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BY RACHEL NUWER @RachelNuwer
+ RHINO ROULETTE:
DENIS FARRELL /AP
South Africa is home to 80 percent of the world’s rhinos, a third of which belong to private owners. Some owners say legal trade in the rhinos’ horns is the only way to save them.
in South Africa, the nearly 20,000-acre property, owned by a man named John Hume, is the world’s largest rhino ranch. Along with giraffes, sables and other animals, more than 1,400 rhinos call Hume’s Buffalo Dream Ranch home. Every 18 months, Hume’s animals undergo a painless procedure like the one performed today. (It takes about that long for the horns to grow back.) An average 13 dehornings take place two or three days a week. The horns are immediately microchipped and delivered by an armed escort to an undisclosed off-property location guarded by a private security company. Over the years, Hume has amassed some 5 tons of horn, which sits in his vault, and an additional ton is added each year. Someday soon, he hopes to be able to sell it all. South Africa is home to approximately 80 percent of the world’s rhinos. A third of those 20,000 animals belong to private owners such as Hume. Whether they live in a national park or on a private reserve, however, all rhinos are under siege by increasingly sophisticated and militarized poachers eager to get their hands on their lucrative horns. Unlike the rhinos dehorned on Hume’s ranch, those that cross paths with poachers do not walk away. Faces hacked off, they are left to die. The horn is often smuggled to Vietnam or China, where it is highly prized by some. A wealthy individual may wear rhino horn jewelry, serve guests from cups made from the material or prominently display an illegal rhino horn at home or work. Others use it as a purported cure for cancer, a party drug or in traditional Chinese medicine. Though it is illegal to sell rhino horn both internationally and domestically in Vietnam and China, demand remains high, and as a result, the animals continue to be slaughtered. South Africa lost 1,175 rhinos last year and more than 6,000 since 2009. The government has received anti-poaching donations in the millions from the likes of Warren Buffett’s son and financial assistance from the U.S., but private rhino owners such as Hume bear the costs to protect their animals. A burly, big-bellied man with a bushy white beard, Hume, 74, says he “stupidly” fell in love with rhinos in 1993, when he bought his first animal to kick-start his dream of retiring and running a ranch. “I became aware of what wonderful natures they have but also that they’re facing extinction,” he says. “I thought the best way to make a difference is to breed them, and as a result, I have slowly but surely gotten myself into one hell of a corner.” Hume spends around $175,000 per month on anti-poaching operations. He hasn’t lost a rhino in nine months, but he says the spending involved in achieving that success is not NEWSWEEK
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sustainable. Owning rhinos also puts him and his family in a vulnerable position. Private rhino owners and staff have been raped, stabbed and attacked by poachers trying to steal stockpiled horns. While 330 South Africans still keep rhinos on their property, 70 others have given up their animals in the past two years. As the difficulty and expense of keeping rhinos intensify, 85 percent of the private owners—in addition to some conservationists, academics and government experts—have come to believe that legalizing the rhino horn trade is the only way to save the species from extinction. South Africa has a stash of more than 30 tons of horn, some of it intercepted from the black market, according to the Private Rhino Owners Association, a nongovernmental group in South Africa. (A 2014 study by South Africa’s Department of
PRIVATE RHINO OWNERS AND STAFF HAVE BEEN RAPED, STABBED AND ATTACKED BY POACHERS. Environmental Affairs put the country’s total figure at 3.6 tons, however.) Trade proponents argue that legalizing rhino horn would satiate demand and collapse black markets while simultaneously providing much-needed funds for anti-poaching efforts and rhino conservation. Private breeders say they could collectively produce around 10 tons per year. But conservationists point to a hole in this logic: There’s no proof that poachers will stop killing rhinos. Many owners agree that legalization won’t provide all of the answers. Strict law enforcement is also important, they say. “None of us bought rhino because we wanted to get into the rhino horn trade; we bought rhino because we’re rhino conservationists,” explains
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Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Rhino Owners Association. “But if we can take pressure away from wild populations by selling off stockpiles, that will give us key years to secure populations and start to achieve some degree of market control.” Selling rhino horn was once legal in South Africa. In 2006, for example, Hume sold 185 pounds for $83,250. But in 2009, the government put a moratorium on the trade, a move that some say harmed the animals it was meant to protect. “If demand is increasing, as it has over the last 10 years, and you don’t supply the market, then someone else is going to supply the market,” says Michael ’t Sas-Rolfes, a conservation economist and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. “That’s why we’ve seen a radical increase in poaching and illegal trade.” The moratorium may end soon. Many rhino owners assert that it violates South Africa’s constitution because the government did not follow due process and because the moratorium blocks owners’ rights to sustainable use of wildlife. In 2012, Hume and another rhino owner brought a lawsuit against the government on these grounds, and so far the courts have ruled in their favor. A decision on an appeal is expected any day. “I have 100 sets
of horns that I hope to have on auction within six weeks after a favorable result,” Hume says. The price, he guesses, would be about $4,500 per pound—10 times what it was in 2006. Others vehemently argue that South Africa is incapable of controlling legal rhino horn trade. “The corruption here is absolutely enormous: We’ve got pilots, rangers, policemen, government officials and veterinarians involved [in poaching and illegal trade],” says Allison Thompson, director of the nonprofit Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching. Crawford Allan, senior director of Traffic (a wildlife trade-monitoring network) at the World Wildlife Fund, says legally sold horns would create a smokescreen for poached horns. “The systems are not in place to secure the sales or supply, and the cost of poaching and trafficking is always going to be far cheaper than the sale of legal horn,” he says. Rhino keepers pay for land, veterinarians and protection; poachers pay for a few days of manpower and a vehicle. Thus, the price of an illegal horn would always be lower than a legal one, he says. “We’re not dismissing all trade in rhino horn forever, but right now it would be a disaster to legalize it.” One of the biggest concerns, Allan continues,
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Hume says flooding the market with his stockpile of rhino horns could slash prices and discourage poachers—if the sale were legal. +
is growing the consumer base. Legalizing rhino horn would send the message that it is a socially acceptable product, causing the market to expand to include those who can afford and do want rhino horn but refrain from buying it because they do not want to break the law. Research conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2014 on consumer preferences in China confirmed this is a threat. “I’m not at all opposed to trade under the right conditions, but I can tell you that the latent demand in China for rhino horn is much higher than what could be produced by farms and other available supply,” says Alexandra Kennaugh, the study’s principal investigator. Dex Kotze, founder of the South Africa–based nonprofit Youth 4 African Wildlife, agrees the numbers do not add up. “If 1 percent of people in China, Vietnam and Thailand use 1 gram of rhino horn per year, then the demand is nearly 15 tons,” he says. “If it’s 5 percent, then it’s 372 tons—it’s massive.” He adds that those calculations do not take into account possible dormant markets in Japan, Singapore, the Middle East and other places where rhino horn was historically used. How legal trade in South Africa would logistically work is still being discussed. Some have proposed opening rhino horn clinics that cater to Asian tourists and expatriates; others of developing a carving industry. That some or even most of the rhino horn legally sold in South Africa would likely make its way illegally to Asia—and that the very criminals currently behind the killing of rhinos may be involved—is not a deal breaker. “Morally, it is a huge concern to work with those individuals, but if we have to do business with the devil to ensure species survival, then so be it,” Jones says. He adds that it is the government’s responsibility to stop horn from leaking out of the country. It remains illegal to sell rhino horn internationally or to import it into any of the 183 countries that are signatories to a treaty called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. Ultimately, it is impossible to predict how things will play out should the rhino owners win their suit, but what little evidence does exist is not reassuring. In 2008, CITES allowed several African countries to conduct a one-time sale of over 100 tons of ivory—another wildlife product banned from international trade—to China and Japan. Anecdotal evidence, recently supported by a working paper published by economists in the U.S., indicated that the sale exacerbated the killing of elephants, likely because it stimulated
NEW WORLD/RHIN O S
demand and provided an easy means for laundering. Immediately after the sale was announced, poaching increased by 66 percent and smuggling by 71 percent, according to the analysis. While the ivory findings are not directly applicable to rhino horn, the paper’s lead author, Solomon Hsiang, chancellor’s associate professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks there are some potential take-
D EO N RA AT H /GE T T Y
“THE CORRUPTION HERE IS ENORMOUS: WE’VE GOT PILOTS, RANGERS, POLICEMEN, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND VETERINARIANS INVOLVED.”
aways, including that meeting demand for rhino horn without stimulating poaching could be even more challenging than ivory. Unlike ivory, rhino horn is often consumed, so more is needed on a rolling basis. “Once these large stashes of rhino horn are gone, you’d have to be ready to do mass production—which I don’t think we are ready for—or else other suppliers are going to come in and poach,” Hsiang says. Such uncertainties do not sit well with many conservationists. As Allan says, “We can’t experiment with rhinos, because there are too few of them left.” But whether he and others like it or not, a large-scale, real-world experiment is looming. Hume and others are unwavering in their belief that this seemingly unavoidable experiment will prove them right. “I’m telling you, I am not wrong,” he says. “And knowing rhinos, I am convinced that they would be very happy to make this small sacrifice to steer their species away from extinction.” This story was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
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A DIFFERENT CHARACTER
Laura Marling, onetime ethereal voice of folk, is writing for the stage— and getting serious + ALL SET: Marling,
ANDREW TESTA /PANOS FOR NEWSWEEK
photographed in November at the Almeida Theatre, London.
BY LAURA BARTON @missbarton
LAURA MARLING, one of Britain’s finest songwriters, is sitting in the window of the Almeida Theatre café in north London. Which in itself is a surprise: “I always felt theater was a bit above my head,” she says, her small, bright face looking somewhat amused. “I’ve sat through a lot of very boring plays in my time, and I thought theater can be a bit too…theater-y. It can just get a bit too far up its own theater bum.” Marling, 26, is here to tell me how she came to be involved in a new production of Mary Stuart, Friedrich Schiller’s play from 1800 about the last days of Mary, Queen of Scots. The show has already gained attention for the conceit of having its lead actors, Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams, trade the roles of Stuart and her cousin, Elizabeth I, based on the nightly flip of a coin. With the addition of Marling’s original score, it’s an even more attractive prospect. Over the course of five albums, Marling has earned a reputation for an exquisite voice but
also the precision and clout of her lyrics. “The play talks a lot about women and the female voice in a world dominated by men,” says Mary Stuart’s director, Robert Icke. “So I wanted it to have a really strong female vocal. Laura was the first person I thought of.” It was Icke who put Marling’s reservations about theater to rest, telling her that if a play “doesn’t hold the interest of a smart 14-year-old, then it’s not doing its job.” In turn, she acquainted herself with recorded versions of two of Icke’s earlier productions for the Almeida, Oresteia (2015) and 1984 (2014). She found them “extraordinary. He’s really good at drawing out the morality of plays and making them really compelling, at drawing out their relevance to the times we live in.” Marling has found working with Icke unusual but hugely rewarding—he is, she says with a laugh, the first person to ever ask her to rewrite her lyrics. “I sent him the demo and the final draft of the lyrics, or what I thought would be the final
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+ FOLK HERO:
Marling’s involvement in Mary Stuart heralds her partial return to the U.K. after several years of living in Los Angeles; she will now divide her time, she explains, between California and Margate, a seaside town on the far southeastern tip of England. It also marks a broader shift in her songwriting career—a move toward what she calls “a more practical use for my creative output,” and “pointed, purposeful storytelling rather than abstract, unconscious lyrics.” Her motivation is in part a reflection of the age. “The grander reason is the time and the political climate that we live in,” she explains. “Innocent creativity had a little flourish in the last 10 years, but we’re coming to a point where the sort of artistic expression that I’ve been a part of, there’s no need for it now.” But it is also a sign of her advance into adult life. After a childhood in rural Hampshire, she has spent the past few years straddling two continents—well traveled, well read, increasingly concerned by the way the world lies. “I’m getting older,” she says bluntly, “and now I look at that sort of carefree creativity, and I think, What use is it? It’s not rooted, not pointed, not political. And there always will be moments in time where that’s really important, but for me right now, I feel like it’s more important that I have a practical use.” Mary Stuart is, of course, a play of some political substance, charting Mary’s final weeks before
draft,” she recalls. “And he sent a really amazing critique of what he felt was relevant and what he felt wasn’t drawn from the play and couldn’t be placed there.” Speaking over the phone during a break from rehearsals, Icke sounds sheepish when I bring up this redrafting process. “I sent her an email saying, ‘I hope I haven’t annoyed you by sending you all these thoughts,’ and she sent one back saying she was enjoying the criticism so much she was trying to draw the process out,” he says. “Writing anything is pretty hard, I know from my own experience, and what you really want from people before it’s published is honesty and suggestion,” he continues. “The least helpful thing someone can say to you is a bland ‘Yeah, it’s great.’ You want to know which bits are the least great, because then you’ve got a chance of fixing them before it’s put out into the world. And, to be honest, I’m kind of hoping Laura’s going to do the same thing when she sees the play, which is to say, ‘That bit is amazing. But what’s that bit?’” At the time of the interview, the play and its score were still under wraps, though Marling described it as in “very much a Laura Marling style. I have a tonal style that I’d call mine now— the way I play guitar and a folk-rooted form of storytelling. I thought [Icke might] ask me to do something that’s really out of my comfort zone, like use synths or something. But that’s not what he wanted at all.” NEWSWEEK
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Marling in 2014, a time when she was still pigeonholed as a fragile songbird. Now “I’m not told what to do by anybody.”
she was executed by Elizabeth I for treason. Its revival seems timely, though Icke insists this was not wholly intentional. “I can give you the pat answer of it being about Theresa May and Hillary Clinton, and female power, and the relationships between politics and gender, and the need to tell lies when holding power,” he says. “But the truth is, choosing a play is the same as falling in love: It’s just something that happens, and you justify it afterwards.” Still, he concedes that “it’s one of those things where the world has caught up with the play—we programmed it before Brexit, before Theresa May came to power, before Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But that’s the sign of a really great play, that it resonates [with] whatever period you’re in.” The subject resonated particularly loudly with Marling, who earlier this year began a podcast series she called Reversal of the Muse, exploring female creativity in interviews with singersongwriters such as Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, as well as female record producers and sound engineers. Much of what they discussed has fed into her next album, Semper Femina, due early next year; it also echoed her work on Mary Stuart. The play’s depiction of femininity was, in part, what attracted her. “It’s the weird duality of these two women representing very different ideals but also twinning each other,” she says. “It felt quite relevant to my life in a way, figuring out where the young, innocent bit of me fits with the more practical bit. But it also felt relevant to what’s happening in the world. [My] emotional resonance is with Elizabeth, because she’s in this state of solitariness, and I found something very compelling in the whole tension of whether she’s coerced into signing Mary’s death warrant or whether it’s really her inner want for control [that makes her do it]. There’s something very raw to me still about how we look at women who make decisions.” This summer, in an example of what she calls “bizarre timeliness,” Marling found herself reading a book called Writing a Woman’s Life by the American feminist literary critic Carolyn Gold Heilbrun. “It’s about how we still haven’t taken control over the archetypes of what a woman’s life is,” she says. “Only late in the game did we allow women’s biographies to be written by women, and even when they were, they were still written using the archetypes we felt women should fit into.” In her work for Mary Stuart, as well as her wider work as a songwriter, Marling has tried hard to buck those same archetypes. “When I
was a teenager, in my head a woman was either a delicate tragedy or a muse,” she says. “And they’re both such horrifyingly subjugated roles.” Even when she thinks of the subjects of the play, she admits she pictures “Elizabeth imprisoned in this giant theatrical dress, and Mary imprisoned in her quarters.” She hesitates. “But I’m sure Robert will handle that in a really interesting and artful way.” Marling herself has been the subject, throughout her career, of attempts to force her into various poses. Emerging out of the same late-2000s London folk scene that birthed Mumford and Sons, her youth, physical slightness and early
DEIRDRE O’CAL L AGHAN
“WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, A WOMAN WAS EITHER A DELICATE TRAGEDY OR A MUSE. THEY’RE BOTH SUCH HORRIFYINGLY SUBJUGATED ROLES.”
onstage shyness led some to portray her as a fragile, whimsical songbird figure. But she remains unruffled. “I’m interested in people’s perception of the characters I’ve written and played with on my records,” she says. “Because in my mind they’re characters that can’t be made tragedies of. But it’s funny—sometimes my determination not to allow that narrative into my music means people make more of a thing of it.” She smiles, then goes on. “Our culture loves female tragedy. It’s been so ingrained, over and over again, and there haven’t been enough written alternatives to tragic, solitary woman. So that’s my main focus now: rewriting that idea of the tragic woman. Because naturally, in my personality, I’m resistant to that kind of stuff. I’m not told what to do by anybody.” MARY STUART: Almeida Theatre, London, from December 2; ALMEIDA.CO.UK.
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BUILD YOUR OWN HOLIDAY
DAWN IN the rural wine region of southern Alentejo, Portugal. The sun casts a yolky glow over the cork trees and vineyards of São Lourenço do Barrocal, an estate balanced on Alentejo’s western rim. The region makes up a third of Portugal’s land mass, but only 3 percent of the population lives here. As a tourist destination, though,
it’s growing in popularity, and as you make the two-hour drive from Lisbon, you can see why: Whitewashed, medieval towns lie amid rolling hills, olive groves and the forests that make this area the largest producer of cork in the world. At the entrance to São Lourenço, towering over you like a Neolithic watchman, is an
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BY ALICIA KIRBY @aliciakirby
Two world-class architects are selling off-plan agriturismo in Portugal
+ SIMPLE PLEASURES:
this 200-year-old village has been converted by Eduardo Souto de Moura into an “ascetic yet luxurious” resort—with the bonus of building plots for sale.
upright granite menhir, the largest of its kind on the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the numerous prehistoric territorial markers, or barrocais, that give this remote, 1,927-acre farm, hotel and spa its name. And it is the barrocais, some of humanity’s earliest experiments with architecture, that have brought two entirely modern architects to São Lourenço. First was the Pritzker Prize–winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Fascinated by the rich heritage of the site, Souto de Moura has overseen the conversion of a 200-year-old village at the center of the São Lourenço estate into an ascetic yet luxurious agriturismo resort that opened this March. Much of this kind of tourism can be painfully theme-park pastoral. But Souto de Moura’s restoration of the village has been so sensitive, so architecturally austere and true to the aesthetics of the region that it integrates better with its landscape than almost anywhere else I have stayed. Barns have been made into houses, an olive press turned into the bar. The property’s 40-year-old developer, José António Uva, whose family has owned the estate for eight generations, was so hell-bent on being true to the materials of the region that he paid a local truck driver to travel around Portugal collecting over 2,000 original roof tiles from agricultural buildings to use for Souto de Moura’s conversion—a feat that took two years. The second big name to be building among the barrocais is John Pawson. The British pioneer of minimalism has, over the years, applied his particularly stern brand of beauty to a Cistercian monastery in the Czech Republic, a Calvin Klein flagship store in New York City and, most recently, the conversion of the old Commonwealth Institute in London into a new home for the Design Museum. His contribution to São Lourenço is, for him at least, a first: designs for two holiday homes on the estate, both of which can be bought off-plan. This is all part of Uva’s plan to revivify both his ancestral home and the wider area. Across the estate, he has marked out 25 plots, ranging between 6,000 to 12,000 square meters, as sites for second homes of significant architectural merit. Two of these come with the Pawson plans attached, two with designs by Souto de Moura, while buyers of the remaining 21 plots can commission their own architects—within strict guidelines. These rules extend to 19 pages, but before building starts designs must be preapproved by Uva (who has the backing of his local planning authority), no home should be visible from any other, and each building is NEWSWEEK
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restricted to a single visible story. Giving buyers a chance to own a spectacular home without having to commission a bigname architect is an advantage of Uva’s master plan that Pawson recognizes. “Architecture is a slow business,” he tells me over the phone from London. “It involves a huge commitment of time and emotion from both parties. For some people, experiencing the process is essential; for others, there will be a relief that all the big decisions have already been made.” Uva has also kept the prices reasonable, especially considering the level of sophistication in the designs: The 25 plots are priced at 300,000 euros ($320,000) each. “Each person is only
“I INSTANTLY KNEW THERE WAS SCOPE TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL ARCHITECTURALLY WITH JOSÉ,” PAWSON SAYS. allowed to build something that is no more than 600 square meters, which is why the plots are priced the same. I personally think all 25 plots are of equal beauty—but of course I’m biased,” he says. So far, four have gone under offer, with purchasers including a designer from New York City, a Belgian couple and a pair of Portuguese expats. All will be choosing their own architect; at the time of this writing, the Pawson and Souto de Moura plots are still available. “When you first meet a potential client, you have a very strong instinctive reaction,” Pawson says. “I instantly knew that there was scope to achieve something special architecturally with José.” Special or not, he has designed both his properties in his signature style—richly textured, quietly elegant buildings that blend seamlessly into the landscape. Both designs
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include a library, staff quarters and an outdoor swimming pool, and are deeply informed by how the notional client might live in this rural setting. “With houses, it’s about the life that architecture makes possible. Here you want to provide people with a series of gathering places but also allow scope for solitude and retreat. Each of the private quarters has its own secluded space where you can sit out with a book or enjoy the view.” He was obliged to work around the barrocais scattered across the estate, but rather than seeing them as obstacles to the designs of his two homes, Pawson embraced them. His first, Plot 12, will be built on a patch of land situated on top of a small hill. The taupe-colored, brick and concrete home will be built over two levels, one semisunken, both connected by a sculptural indoor staircase. Two of the barrocais act as focal points: One will sit beneath an open skylight on the upper, entrance level of the house; the other will be just outside the bedroom window on the lower level. “The stones bring a sense of focus to the vast landscape and will spring up at you at the end of corridors and rooms as an element of surprise,” Pawson says. His other house, on Plot 10, will be built atop a spectacular, sloping rock formation; it will have vast windows looking east to the medieval castle and hilltop village of Monsaraz. The Souto de Moura houses, meanwhile, are typical expressions of his understanding of Mediterranean buildings (“I don’t know anyone that knows more about vernacular architecture in Portugal,” Uva says.) Souto de Moura’s design for Plot 8 overtly references the traditions of local public buildings, using a series of vaulted, domelike spaces to demarcate each individual room, a trick that is museumlike in its grandiosity. His other, more exotic design for Plot 7 is, according to Uva, “a beautiful elevated wooden house on stilts. It sits on a bed of rocks and has a courtyard in the middle with an old olive tree that separates the living area from the sleeping area.” Souto de Moura is a man famously reluctant to speak to the press, but the purchasers of his plots will have the chance to work with him to make sure his houses are built to the right spec. NEWSWEEK
For more information about the estate, the hotel and the sites for sale, visit BARROCAL.PT.
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Pawson’s drawings for Plots 10 and 12 show how his houses will integrate with the barrocais and the landscape. +
JOH N PAWSON
Pawson’s drawings are also intended as a starting point. Once clients have bought a plot, they will work closely with him to figure out the logistics, the finishes, and how and whom they want to use to finish the job. This is a very different approach to the usual factory-farm, superluxe holiday resort, where developers get a starchitect to lend his or her name without their being much involved in the designs or their realization. Instead, Uva’s attempt to attract cultural tourism to Alentejo offers a rare opportunity to buy into world-class architecture on a domestic scale. And to have a 5,000-year-old stone as your doorman.
+ GIRLS, INTERRUPTED:
Lorelai (Lauren Graham, near left) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) still exert a grip on women of all ages, nine years after the original Gilmore Girls ended.
Keeping It Real
SAEED ADYANI/NE TFLIX
What we want from the Gilmores
BY STAV ZIV @stavziv
LAST YEAR, my mother got addicted. I’d mentioned I was rewatching the original, early 200os series of Gilmore Girls, and she asked if she’d like it. Before long, she was staying up way too late, bingeing on Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore. That sounded familiar. Before writing this, I decided to re-rewatch the pilot. For “research.” Just 44 minutes, I promised myself. Right. Somewhere into Season 1, Episode 5, I fell asleep, curled up in bed with my laptop open and a lamp still on. Once you arrive in Stars Hollow, it’s hard to leave. With the approach of the four-part reboot Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, it’s worth asking why this fictional world has such a hold on women of all ages. My own answers, in no particular order: the female protagonists, the central mother-daughter relationship, the quirkiness, the dilemmas and the mistakes. When viewers first meet Rory, she’s a bookish teenager
living in a small, offbeat town. She doesn’t fit in at her private school. But that’s OK. She’s not a freak, nor is she a loner. That’s intensely relatable for anyone who, like me, has visceral memories of being uncomfortable in high school. Rory may be more beautiful than most of us, but her unapologetic nerdiness feels real; it resonates, and it validates. Then there’s Rory’s very young, very chatty and very capable mother, Lorelai. She’s as bright as her daughter, though any thoughts of an academic career were stymied when she got pregnant at 16—just a beat older than Rory when the show begins. Both “girls” are still learning about themselves, the world and the people around them, figuring out what they want and how to get it, a process that feels familiar every time I tune in. And while there are myriad ways that my mother and I differ from the Gilmores, their fundamental, unerring bond feels far truer than the teenage-years rifts of many
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other shows. And Gilmore Girls doesn’t insist on hyperbolic plot twists, trusting instead that viewers will recognize its quotidian brand of drama. The kind that looks small but feels huge. The show’s appeal transcends borders, as well as generations. On Facebook, women and men from Canada, the U.K., Denmark, Israel, Egypt, Australia, Brazil New Zealand, and the U.S. told me how much they loved it. But even fans have grievances. Rewatching the show now, you notice throwaway gay jokes, a lack of LGBT characters or other diversity, a totally unrealistic depiction of the U.S. college admissions process and an equally fantastical depiction of human nutritional needs (sorry, but no one can eat that much junk and still look like Graham or Bledel). The girls’ bad choices are authentic—but, still, I hope they’ll have broken some patterns by the time they return. I’m thrilled, nearly a decade on, to have the chance to drop in on Stars Hollow. So is my mother, who will watch with me over Thanksgiving. But fans have grown up since the show last aired. Society has changed. Television has become more progressive. I hope that Gilmore Girls, and the Gilmore girls, are still everything they used to be; but also everything, in 2016, that they need to be. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres on Netflix on November 25.
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THE SCREENING ROOM
Robert Zemeckis’s new spy movie has an illustrious, and obvious, ancestry REMEMBER WHEN spies used to be sexy? Jason Bourne runs too fast for romance; he’s a chaste ninja for whom women are agents of grief, not objects of desire. You have to go back to 1975, to Faye Dunaway and Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor, to find intrigues of the state and the heart plotted as if they were the same thing. Or the stars of Notorious, shot by Alfred Hitchcock in 1946 in such enveloping close-up that all else—the Nazis, the uranium ore MacGuffin—was forgotten. Try telling anyone that Notorious is about the atomic bomb, and all you get is blank stares. But how absurd. It’s about Cary Grant nibbling Ingrid Bergman’s ear. Now we have Robert Zemeckis’s Allied, which stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian intelligence officer named Max Vatan. We first meet him parachuting into French Morocco in 1942, wearing sunglasses and a turban, a few locks of pomaded hair grazing his forehead in a way that makes you want to grab him by the shoulders and blow hard. His superiors collect him—in a Bentley—from the middle of the Sahara, then issue him a new passport, a gun and a Resistance-fighter wife (Marion Cotillard), whom he meets for the first time in a nearby town: Casablanca. You must remember this: a bar, a guy and a gal, a band playing old jazz standards. She looks his way; the two exchange quiet glances; Cotillard holds his gaze for a few seconds; then her face lights up. “I keep the emotion real,” she tells him in the car afterward. “That’s why it works.” Against all odds, so does the film, at least for the first hour, cleaving beautifully to the old
rules of the genre: These two will deceive each other, then fall in love, then find it hard to tell the difference. As he proved in Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Zemeckis is the snappier kind of nostalgist, treating the past as a giant jumble sale to mix and match as he sees fit. Shot largely in the studio, like old RKO pictures, Allied whisks us briskly from one pleasure to the next. We get Cotillard in a series of shimmering vintage gowns, sharing cigarettes with Pitt on the roof like Bette Davis and Paul Henreid in Now, Voyager, exchanging single entendres over breakfast (“I know you’re armed with a weapon. I’m just checking the safety catch is engaged”) before having sex in a car in the middle of a sandstorm. That old number, you might think—a leftover from The English Patient. But Zemeckis does something remarkable with the sound, amping up the sand’s soft assault until you feel the scene on your skin, like one big caress. More remarkable is the sound, never before recorded on film, of Pitt speaking French. “That was pure Quebec,” Cotillard teases him; but still, there aren’t many stars who would even try. In middle age, Pitt is getting remarkably selfassured. Gone are the itchy tricks and tics (the wet lip, the endless snacking) with which he used to fend off the camera’s scrutiny. In their place, he uses a sphinxlike gaze and a fast and low line-delivery, smuggling dialogue into scenes almost without moving his mouth, like a ventriloquist. I don’t know how it rates as acting, but as a movie star performance, it’s gold.
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BY TOM SHONE @Tom_Shone
+ OF ALL THE CASTS IN ALL THE WORLD: Pitt
DANIE L SM ITH/ PARAM OUNT
and Cotillard play it the old way in Allied.
Cotillard fares less well. Hollywood has her pegged as a femme fatale, as if there were no other possible use for her Frenchness than shiftiness, but she may be too good an actress to cut it as an old-school movie star. She’s doing a filigree version of va-va-voom sexiness, like a sketch of Jessica Rabbit dashed off by Matisse, but only in her native French does girlishness make way for womanly power. At its halfway point, the film abruptly changes course. Cotillard gives birth in the middle of the Blitz and marries Pitt, and we relocate from French Morocco to Hampstead Heath. Casablanca for Hampstead: I’d be hard-pressed to name a filmmaker who could pull off that trade. Maybe only Hitchcock, particularly the Hitchcock who made The Man Who Knew Too Much, which succeeded in making Islington feel like the casbah. But Zemeckis lacks the master’s feel for the suburban uncanny. Allied’s central question—is Cotillard NEWSWEEK
THEY MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME IN CASABLANCA. YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS: A BAR, A GUY, A GAL. a double agent?—which should have been given hallucinatory focus, has by the end frayed into a series of subplots, with Pitt running between each like an overworked waiter. It all ends on an airfield in the rain with everyone shouting to be heard over the propellers, à la Casablanca. Except that afterward, you won’t recall a thing. ALLIED begins worldwide releases November 21.
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To-Do List the
British chandelier-maker George Singer lights up the atrium of the redesigned Fairmont St. Andrews hotel in Scotland with Zephyr, 60 meters of sea-inspired lighting.
1 SEE The Met in New York City delved into its photography archive for an exhibition of 41 images centered on landscape—like this untitled William Eggleston print—and the built world. HEAR
In the comeback of the century (and a bit), conductor Riccardo Chailly is restaging the original 1904 production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at its first home: La Scala, Milan.
Young Dutch designer Olivier van Herpt has reinvented the potter’s wheel. He 3-D prints these beautiful ceramic vases—debuting at Design Miami—using a hard-clay extruder he made himself.
They say third time lucky, but after two sellout London pop-ups, Perilla— now a permanent fixture in Newington Green— doesn’t need luck. On the menu: barbecued mullet with radicchio and basil.
Smile at this, crocodile. Pierre Hardy adds to Hermès’s Niloticus range with this rose-gold cuff inspired by the scales of the Nile’s most famous inhabitant. NEWSWEEK
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1. WIL LIAM EGG LESTON/EGG LESTON ARTISTIC TRUST; 2. PERILL A; 3. GALERIE VIVID; 4. PIERRE HARDY/ HE RM ÈS; 5. SIM CANET T Y-C L ARKE; 6. INETA SIPUNOVA