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Life’s Certainties: Death and Tax Fraud North Korea Wants to Talk Nukes

04.15.2016

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04.15.2016

VOL.166

NO.14

18 Egypt MIXED MESSAGES: In February, North

Korean officials told the U.S. that leader Kim Jong Un was willing to resume negotiations. But about a month earlier, Pyongyang claimed it set off a hydrogen bomb. +

Maximum Screen Time 22 Bosnia

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The Hobby Lobby family is spending billions to turn the United States into an evangelical paradise. Their latest campaign involves the elaborate and deceptive Museum of the Bible in D.C. Onward, Christian lobbyists! by Nina Burleigh

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‘Kim Jong Un Is Not Crazy’

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Moscow—President Vladimir Putin, seen before a meeting on March 31, was among the biggest names caught up in a massive leak of documents known as the Panama Papers, which comprise more than 11 million files from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. Although Putin was not mentioned by name, The Guardian reported the files reveal a network of offshore deals and loans worth $2 billion leading to the Russian president via some of his closest friends. More than 100 news outlets collaborated on investigating others caught up in the leak, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson of Iceland.


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Palmyra, Syria— A member of Syrian pro-government forces carries a flag of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) on March 27 after troops recaptured the strategic city. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to extensive ruins dating from the Roman Empire. Syrian forces found Palmyra largely deserted with neighborhoods badly damaged. Syria’s state news agency SANA said a mass grave was found containing around 40 people, including many women and children. Maamoun Abdulkarim, the government’s antiquities director, said that despite damage to the ruins, “the panoramic view of Palmyra—the colonnades, the baths, the arches and most of the temples— [is] surprisingly still intact.”

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Hearing Problem Washington, D.C.— Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, arrives for a meeting with Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk at the Capitol on March 29. Kirk was the first Republican to meet Garland, after GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced they would not even hold hearings on the nominee. “I think we should be doing our job,” Kirk told reporters, calling for “rational, adult, openminded consideration of the constitutional process.” Sixteen Republican senators said they were open to meeting Garland, but two (Jerry Moran of Kansas and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) later reversed their position.

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Underbuilt Overpass Kolkata, India— A rescue worker photographs a truck crushed beneath an overpass under construction when it collapsed March 31, killing at least 26 and injuring at least 70 others. A 330-foot slab of metal and cement snapped off and came crashing down in a bustling commercial district during midday traffic. The overpass was originally due to be completed within 18 months but is unfinished after seven years. During construction, workers would ramp up efforts before elections, only to stop once polls closed. Authorities arrested four officials from the building contractor on the project amid allegations of possible corruption.

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‘KIM JONG UN IS NOT CRAZY’

Why the U.S. may be dangerously wrong about the North Korean leader and his nukes ON A COLD AFTERNOON in February, several former American officials hurried to the Hilton hotel in Berlin, a city long known for its Cold War spies and intrigue. They had traveled there for a private meeting with senior representatives from North Korea, the most reclusive government in the world. Over the next two days, the Americans gathered in one of the hotel’s modern conference rooms and listened to a surprising new proposal. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans said, wanted to resume negotiations in hopes of ending decades of hostility between the two countries. The timing was significant. A month earlier, the U.S. had agreed to talks to formally end the Korean War, but that effort collapsed when Washington demanded that the North’s nuclear weapons program be part of the discussions. A few days later, the Hermit Kingdom, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), set off what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb at an underground site in the country’s rug-

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ged northeastern mountains. That nuclear test, the country’s fourth, left U.S. officials scrambling for new ways to deal with the threat from one of the world’s last Communist regimes. After the Berlin meeting, the former U.S. officials promptly returned to Washington to report to the White House. Sitting at a conference table in the Situation Room, they told the president’s top national security advisers that Pyongyang was prepared to stop testing nuclear weapons for a year. In exchange, the U.S. and South Korea would have to suspend their annual joint military exercises that the DPRK found provocative. The offer was similar to one North Korea had made a year earlier and the White House had rejected, largely out of anger over Pyongyang’s alleged hacking of Sony Pictures. This time, however, North Korea wanted to talk about officially ending the Korean War (it technically stopped with an armistice in 1953). And Kim was now willing to wrap the nuclear issue into talks. The president’s advisers listened closely without comment.

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BY JONATHAN BRODER @BroderJonathan


+ EYES FRONT: Kim

E D J O N ES/A F P/G E T T Y

Jong Un’s military has conducted four nuclear tests as part of his strategy to prove North Korea is a nuclear state not to be trifled with.

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amid mutual accusations of cheating. But Obama quickly reached out to North Korea in hopes of resuming talks. Pyongyang’s response: a second nuclear test. Obama then adopted a hard-line approach that essentially echoes the stringent policies of President George W. Bush. Obama refused to engage in direct talks with Pyongyang until the regime demonstrated beforehand that it was willing to give up its nukes. In the meantime, the U.S. tightened sanctions against North Korea, believing the poor, isolated country would eventually collapse or agree to de-nuclearize. Two years later, famine forced Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. In early 2012, Obama and Kim reached an agreement that required the North to freeze its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in return for 240,000 tons of U.S. food aid. But soon afterward, that deal fell apart when Pyongyang fired a missile to launch a satellite. In 2013, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. In 2015, after the U.S. and Iran agreed to a nuclear deal, Obama appeared to soften his approach to Pyongyang in hopes of making a similar deal. He dropped his condition that North Korea curtail its nuclear program before direct talks about its nukes could commence. But Pyongyang wanted to talk only about officially ending the Korean War, and that effort dis-

‘WATCH YOUR TOES’

By the time Obama took office in 2009, the North Koreans had conducted their first nuclear test, and two nuclear agreements had already collapsed

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OLD ALLIES: A

picture of U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye is displayed as anti-war protesters in Seoul demand an end to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. +

AHN YOUNG-JOON/AP

Ending the Korean War has long been a priority for North Korea’s young dictator. Analysts say he regards it as a way to remove the threat of tens of thousands of U.S. forces based in Japan and South Korea. His nuclear arsenal, experts believe, is both his leverage and his deterrent against an American-led attack. “The H-bomb test was a self-defense measure to protect the sovereignty of the nation from the nuclear threats and blackmail of the hostile forces that are growing daily,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency announced in January. The news agency went on to say that North Korea would abandon its nuclear program only if “the U.S. rolls back its outrageous hostile policy toward the DPRK and the forces of imperialist aggression stop infringing upon our sovereignty.” Once you cut through the old-style Communist rhetoric, some analysts say the Obama administration missed an important signal there: Kim may be ready to cut a deal with the U.S. The White House declined to comment on the new North Korean proposal, which has never been made public before. But a growing number of analysts and former officials say the Obama administration’s North Korea policy could prove to be a dangerous failure, largely due to misinformed assumptions about Pyongyang’s fragility, China’s outsized political and economic influence with the North and a perception of Kim as little more than a cartoon villain. They’re urging the administration to accept North Korea’s latest offer and restart negotiations. At the very least, they say, Pyongyang’s proposal could slow the country’s nuclear program and begin talks to defuse more than 60 years of tension on the Korean Peninsula. At best, it could produce another legacy agreement like the one President Barack Obama reached with Iran and his diplomatic openings to Cuba and Myanmar. But if the White House sticks to its current policy, critics warn, the DPRK could have as many as 100 bombs by the end of this decade. As James Church, the nom de plume of a former CIA operative and expert on North Korea, puts it, “Every time they test, they learn so much more.”


solved. After the North’s fourth nuclear test, in January, the U.S. and the U.N. Security Council imposed new penalties on Pyongyang. Over the past seven years, none of Obama’s diplomatic efforts have changed defense cooperation between the U.S. and its ally South Korea. The two countries have continued conducting annual joint military exercises, which Seoul described this year as a practice run to “decapitate” Pyongyang. This year’s maneuvers were the largest ever, involving 300,000 South Korean troops and 17,000 from the U.S. During the exercises, the American military test-fired two nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles. “The message to North Korea has to be, ‘So, you think you have nuclear weapons? Well, we have a way of dealing with that, and it’s called pre-emption. So watch your toes,’” says William Brown, a former CIA analyst. Despite the recent muscle flexing, when asked to state current U.S. policy toward Pyongyang, a senior administration official indicated the White House is still prepared to begin a dialogue with North Korea prior to it demonstrating that it’s ready to give up its nuclear weapons. Church and other experts believe Obama’s softer position on negotiations, and North Korea’s offer in Berlin, could mean renewed talks. But Church suspects any such move could occur only after the latest U.S. and U.N. sanctions have had enough time to hurt the Kim regime. “We have to prove how tough we are,” he says.

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needs to reassess its views of the eccentric leader. Despite his strange haircut and over-the-top rhetoric, “Kim’s not crazy,” says Joel Wit, a former State Department Korea analyst. His threats to vaporize New York and Seoul are disturbing, Wit notes, but he calls them a “predictable response” to his fears of being toppled. Other analysts dismiss the conclusion that North Korea is staggering toward collapse, as Obama has suggested. While famine reportedly killed thousands in

KIM JONG UN’S THREATS TO VAPORIZE NEW YORK AND SEOUL ARE A “PREDICTABLE RESPONSE.” 2011 and life in the North Korean countryside remains grim, Kim has stabilized the economy, and for now the nation is self-sufficient in food, says Brown, the CIA analyst. Visitors to Pyongyang describe a fledgling nightlife, with a growing number of restaurants, bars and karaoke rooms. Private taxis cruise the streets, demanding payment in dollars, and millions of North Koreans now own cellphones. These, Brown says, are signs of a growing middle class, who have prospered under Kim’s limited free market reforms. North Korea is somewhat isolated, but Brown says Kim has diversified the country’s trading partners to include not only China but also countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Increasingly, he adds, people from these countries visit Pyongyang, and North Koreans are traveling to study and work. “A lot is going on,” Brown says. Former officials also say that Kim isn’t the only one who cheats on accords. Wit notes that a 2005 nuclear agreement collapsed because Bush slapped the North with new economic sanctions “before the ink was dry.” Likewise, Obama’s short-lived 2012 agreement restricting nuclear and missile tests fell apart when North Korea insisted the long-range missiles for

PYONGYANG WAS RIGHT

If a new diplomatic initiative is brewing, Church and other Asia hands stress, the White House will need to show a much better understanding of North Korea. That’s no easy task when dealing with one of the world’s most impenetrable countries. “It’s a consequence of the mythology that has built up around [North Korea],” says Church. “It’s so easy to accept the conventional wisdom: They’re duplicitous; you can’t deal with them; they cheat on every agreement they make; Kim is crazy.” All these claims, he says, are incorrect. Few would challenge Kim’s reputation for brutality. After succeeding his father in 2011, the freshly minted dictator, then just 28, purged suspected opponents, executing his uncle and former mentor, Jang Sung Taek, plus all of Jang’s relatives. Human rights abuses under Kim have prompted a U.N. commission to demand that he be investigated for crimes against humanity. “So he’s cruel,” Church shrugs. “Show me a dictator that isn’t.” Church isn’t the only one who thinks the U.S.

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some change within the regime itself.” Skeptics maintain that peace talks with Pyongyang are the only way to resolve the nuclear issue. But it won’t be easy. Any comprehensive peace negotiations with the DPRK would make the talks that produced the Iran deal look simple. For starters, the two sides remain far apart on the nuclear issue, with North Korea now demanding recognition as a nuclear power and the United States still insisting on de-nuclearization. Any negotiations would obviously have to take into account the security concerns of South Korea and Japan, both of which have defense treaties with the United States. Obama discussed the North Korean nuclear threat with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the two-day nuclear security summit

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satellite launches were exempt. And Wit, the former State Department official, says Pyongyang was right. “North Korea,” he says, “never agreed not to conduct the space launch tests.” Another major misconception is the administration’s conviction that China will use its clout to make North Korea give up its nuclear arsenal. China opposes the DPRK’s nukes and supports the latest round of U.N. sanctions, but Beijing shielded its fuel shipments to North Korea and Pyongyang’s coal and iron exports from the resolution. The reason: China views North Korea as a buffer against democratic South Korea, which hosts 29,000 American troops. Beijing worries that stronger sanctions would destabilize Kim’s regime, send millions of North Korean refugees streaming into China and perhaps even bring U.S. and South Korean soldiers right up to its border. “For China, the sanctions are meant to get the North Koreans back to the negotiating table,” says James Person, a Korea expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “The last thing China wants is for the North Korean state to collapse.”

“THE LAST THING CHINA WANTS IS FOR THE NORTH KOREAN STATE TO COLLAPSE.” that began March 31 in Washington. He also met separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Perhaps the biggest hurdle to any peace talks: U.S. insistence on human rights reforms. Experts say Kim almost certainly would resist, declaring the issue an internal matter. Human rights advocates would slam any talks that sidestep the issue. Experts also caution a deal could take years, leaving responsibility for a final accord to Obama’s successor. In the meantime, U.S. negotiators could expect plenty of misunderstandings, tantrums and setbacks. And there would be no guarantee that even the savviest diplomats could convince North Korea to cash in its nuclear insurance policy. But as Kim’s latest bomb test demonstrates, the alternative to diplomacy will be a regime with no incentive to halt its nuclear buildup. There’s also a danger that North Korea would sell its nuclear technology to terrorists and other outlaw regimes. In 2007, Israeli warplanes destroyed a nuclear reactor in eastern Syria that had been built with help from the North Koreans. At a time when Obama is stressing the importance of nuclear security, the latest overtures from the DPRK may offer the last best opportunity to achieve peace, or at least greater stability, on the hair-trigger Korean Peninsula. As Wit puts it, “The administration has nine months left.”

‘THE NOOSE IS TIGHTENING’

Some analysts, including former administration officials, still believe China remains the key to getting North Korea to give up its nukes. So far, Chinese authorities have stopped several banks near the DPRK border from handling any more transactions with Pyongyang, according to China’s state-controlled media. The reports say Beijing has also inspected the cargoes of ships passing through its territory to and from North Korea. Over time, as the Chinese increasingly apply tougher sanctions, “the North Koreans are going to have fewer and fewer options,” says Michael Fuchs, until recently the administration’s deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. “The noose is tightening.” David Straub, former director of the State Department’s Korea desk, agrees. “We’ve really reached the point of no return,” he says. “Either our gradually ratcheted-up pressures will eventually persuade the North Korean leaders that this is not working the way they had expected, or the tensions will become so great in North Korea that there will be

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Number of registered medical studies on

TWO

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

NUMBERS

Number of registered medical studies on FEMALE SEXUAL INTEREST/ AROUSAL DISORDER

Hard Choices

ILLUSTRATION BY EDE L RODRIGUEZ

WE NEED A LOT MORE RESEARCH ON WHY WOMEN SAY, “NOT TONIGHT, HONEY” Ever since Alfred Kinsey first observed copulating couples in his attic, researchers have been on a quest to understand what makes us tick in the bedroom—and what to do when the ticking stops. However, while the industry continues to aggressively treat male sexual dysfunction, it puts very little thought into what she wants. Women have just one drug for low libido: Addyi (flibanserin), approved in August for hypoactive sexual desire disorder. But the little pink pill is no Viagra; its performance has disappointed clinicians, women and

Valeant Pharmaceuticals shareholders. The daily medication is said to have questionable efficacy and potentially dangerous side effects and costs $800 a month. Men, by contrast, have several options to keep things looking up: four erection pills, injections and urethral suppositories—not to mention that old standby, the penis pump. “Most of the researchers are men, and it’s much easier to test response for men, especially for erectile dysfunction,” says Beverly Whipple, professor emerita at Rutgers University and co-author of The G Spot and Other

Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality. Some might explain the disparity by pointing out that science sees men’s challenges in the bedroom as mostly physical, while women’s are typically attributed to a psychological or neurochemical imbalance. In 2013, the medical community updated the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, combining female hypoactive desire dysfunction (defined as a lack of interest or desire for sex, to the point where it causes distress) and female arousal dysfunction into a single syndrome

SOURCE: CLINICALTRIALS.GOV

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04/15/2016

known as sexual interest/ arousal disorder. Of the medical studies registered on ClinicalTrials .gov, 341 are on erectile dysfunction, whereas only 46 are on female sexual interest/arousal disorder. This oversimplification of the female libido also reflects science’s assumptions about what women want. “You have to listen to women and document what women say is pleasurable to them, not try to fit them into one pattern of how to respond sexually,” she says. It’s not only about the Big O. Or that little pink pill. BY JESSICA FIRGER @jessfirger


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MAXIMUM SCREEN TIME

As militants continue to target planes and airports, should authorities do more profiling and background checks? SEIF AL-DIN MUSTAFA’S five-hour takeover of an EgyptAir jet on March 29 could have ended in tragedy. Instead, it ended in farce. The suicide vest with which the 59-year-old Egyptian hijacker had threatened to blow up the plane turned out to be a crude fake. British passenger Ben Innes, a health and safety auditor from Leeds, England, even posed grinning alongside the bomber for the week’s most infamous selfie (although, as the Internet quickly reminded us, the portrait of the two men wasn’t technically a selfie). But for co-pilot Hamad el-Kaddah, the hijacking was no laughing matter. Just minutes after takeoff from Alexandria for a 45-minute flight to Cairo, two members of the cabin crew knocked on the door of the flight deck. They had a terrifying message from one of the passengers: “Captain, the plane is hijacked. Go now to Cyprus, Turkey or Athens,” recalls el-Kaddah, 32, speaking exclusively to Newsweek in Cairo. “If you land in any of the Egyptian land airports, it will be only one press on the button, everything will go, everyone will die. It’s your decision.” Captain Amr al-Gammal diverted the plane to Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus, where the hijacker allowed women and children off the plane. Then he released all the Egyptians, finally keeping just five foreigners and some of the crew as hostages. “The point is not if you are going to die or not,” says Kaddah, who volunteered to remain as the last hostage before making a dra-

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matic escape through the cockpit window. “The point is that you have a lot of people who are going to die with you, so this is what you care about. The passengers were the main concern for us.” Mustafa’s motives were personal. A convicted fraudster, he demanded to see his Cypriot ex-wife upon landing on the island. But for all the semi-comical elements to the hijacking, the incident came at a time of heightened threats from Islamist extremists, three of whom attacked Brussels’s Zaventem airport on March 22, and it raised further concerns about airline security. And after a Russian Metrojet aircraft was blown up last October over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula following takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, killing all 224 people on board, Egypt is once again the focal point of the debate. On the defensive, Egypt’s Ministry of the Interior quickly shared pictures of the scans of Mustafa’s bag and footage of him going through airport security. Nothing in his luggage triggered suspicion. “We should keep what happened in Alexandria separate from the Metrojet incident,” says Sajjan Gohel, international security director at the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London-based think tank. “The Metrojet [bombing] showed a clear security failure. There was collusion between the Sinai branch of the Islamic State with ideologically sympathetic members of the security services that allowed them to smuggle a bomb on board.

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BY OWEN MATTHEWS @owenmatth AND JACK MOORE @JFXM With reporting by Ruth Michaelson


+ DESERTED: The re-

B E H ROUZ M E H R I /A F P/G E T T Y

cent hijacking and the explosion of a Metrojet aircraft heading for Russia has scared tourists away from Egypt.

But [Mustafa] put together his mock explosive device after going through security, not before. In fairness to the Egyptians, this could be replicated anywhere.” The issue, aviation security experts say, is whether today’s airport security procedures are adequate and whether security officials ought to spend more time analyzing individuals’ behavior. Most current airport security measures focus on physical screening of luggage—a measure that has significantly reduced the number of hijackings involving metal weaponry such as guns and grenades, once commonplace in hijackings in the 1970s and ’80s. “Our current security architecture identifies substances and weapons, not negative intent,” says Philip Baum, author of the newly published book Violence in the Skies: a History of Aircraft Hijacking and Bombing. “Until we get more intelligent about security, we can certainly apply common sense to our screening rather than a tick box approach.” Baum believes the gold standard is psychological screening. In

“THE POINT IS THAT YOU HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO DIE WITH YOU.”

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other words, security officials should be looking for perpetrators, not just their weapons. According to the Aviation Safety Network, an industry watchdog, almost all 50 aircraft hijackings since the September 11, 2001, attacks have been the work of lone hijackers who pretended to be armed—something conventional security screening has no way of detecting. “There is a big debate over profiling of race and nationality” in screening, says security expert Jeff Price of the Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science at Denver’s Metropolitan State University. “But the behavioral side of profiling has a strong basis. There should be a layer of security questioning in all areas of aviation security. Customs agents and police have been doing it for years. They might have stopped

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+ METTLE DETECTOR: YIANNIS KOURTOG LOU/REUTE RS

Since Mustafa used a fake bomb, there was little conventional security measures could have done to prevent his hijacking. Only psychological screening could have picked him out.

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this guy if he displayed some odd behavior.” “Passengers’ behavior at security checkpoints are what we always record,” says Baum, “but people are at their most nervous then because we give them a series of specific things to do, like taking off shoes and removing laptops. It’s more revealing what they do before and after the checkpoint. Air crew should be trained in psychological techniques.” The best in the profiling business is, by many accounts, Israeli state airline El Al. In 1986, Anne-Marie Murphy, a young Irish woman who was pregnant, was prevented from boarding an Israel-bound El Al flight from London because security officials flagged the unusual profile of a pregnant woman traveling alone. Her bags, which had passed through airport screening, were found to contain a bomb. (Murphy claimed ignorance and was acquitted, but her Jordanian fiancé, Nezar Hindawi, was jailed for 45 years by a British court.) So why don’t all airports use such proven methods as passenger profiling and behavior analysis? “Regulators don’t like subjective security processes,” says Baum. “They worry about the political fallout of extra screening based on race, religion and gender. And it’s hard to quantify; you can test X-ray screeners, but it’s much harder to test psychological screeners.” After the Metrojet attack, another category of person operating within an airport’s perimeter was shown to be a threat: the airport insider who smuggles arms or explosives on a flight. “We need better, more effective background checks” on airport staff, says Price. “Tracking social media use, assigning a risk score. It’s not a perfect solution. But that way, we know who to watch.” Following the Metrojet tragedy, Russia, Germany and Britain sent experts to ensure that airports in Egypt implemented security improvements. “If all these changes are put in place on a continuous basis, this would make Egyptian airports among the safest in the world,” says Angus Blair, president of the Signet Institute, a Cairo-based think tank. And EgyptAir co-pilot el-Kaddah confirmed that Egyptian aviation security has tightened up since the Sinai crash. “Even the high ranks get searched, even friends get searched, even captains get searched,” says el-Kaddah. “Things are getting tougher, and security is working properly. It’s more searches than in history.” When he first heard that a bomb-wielding

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maniac was on board his plane, el-Kaddah was furious at airport security. “I was angry about it at first and frustrated, and I thought, What are they doing? They are just giving us a headache,” he says. “Then I found that it was a fake. [So] you can’t blame them because he pretended. It looks like a real bomb, but it is not.” Even if the Alexandria security screeners weren’t at fault, the hijacking dealt another blow to Egypt’s reputation among tourists. Before the Metrojet attack, tourism accounted for 11.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. And although Rasha Azazy, director of the Egyptian Tourist Board in London, insists that the latest hijacking would have “no effect” on tourism, once-teeming resort hotels in the Egyptian city of Sharm-el-Sheikh have reported

REGULATORS “WORRY ABOUT THE POLITICAL FALLOUT OF EXTRA SCREENING BASED ON RACE, RELIGION AND GENDER.”

NEWSWEEK

a shortfall of over 1 million tourists from last year’s numbers. Last month, a major tourism convention, Internationale Tourismus Börse in Berlin, left Egypt off its list of “Top 50 countries to visit”—even though Egypt was the convention’s Jubilee Cultural Sponsor. Unfair it may be, but Egypt’s economy stands to be decimated by collapsing confidence in the country’s ability to keep visitors and its citizens safe. “They’re doing their best,” says Amgad el-Gabbas, a political researcher, as he waited to meet his sister-in-law Dalia Saad at Cairo’s gleaming airport. Saad had been on the hijacked flight. “It could happen in any airport in the world.” The chilling lesson of the Cyprus hijacking is that el-Gabbas is right. As long as security procedures screen objects and not people, all aircraft are vulnerable to the actions of the mad and the desperate.

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P A G E O N E / B O S NIA

JUSTICE FOR THE BUTCHER?

Remembering the horrors Bosnians endured at the hands of Radovan Karadzic THE VOICE AT THE other end of the radio was small and desperate. “In the name of God, do something,” the Bosnian Muslim commander inside the embattled enclave of Srebrenica said, his voice cracking as he held back tears. “We are dying here.” That was the bitter winter of 1993, and I was sitting inside the freezing Bosnian presidency building in Sarajevo, speaking to him on a ham radio. There had been no electricity, no heat, no water and no humanitarian aid for weeks in Sarajevo, which was being pummeled by mortars and rockets. The wild dogs running through the streets and the people dodging sniper bullets made it seem like an apocalyptic city. Everyone I knew was starving, and many were dying. Srebrenica, a former mining town and a United Nations “safe haven,” appeared to be on the verge of falling to forces led by General Ratko Mladic, under a plan masterminded by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. A poet and former psychiatrist, Karadzic attended Columbia and Sarajevo universities, an intellect who became known as the Butcher of Bosnia. He had once lived in Sarajevo, but he was now intent on razing it. The terrified population huddled inside their homes, sustaining shelling and bombardment that would drive anyone to the point of madness. No one who witnessed the war in Bosnia came out of it untouched, and it would be hard to find someone there today whose life was not affected by the master plan of Karadzic and his henchmen. In March, a U.N. tribunal in The Hague found

NEWSWEEK

Karadzic guilty on 10 out of 11 counts of war crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and other atrocities. One of the counts of genocide was related to the Srebrenica massacre, the most notorious of the war. The trial lasted nearly five years, and Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years for his brutality. He will most likely appeal. Survivors came forward at the trial to give accounts of what they saw and endured. If I had not been there during the war, I would not have believed some of the stories. A Muslim-Serb couple who snuck away to get married were killed as they ran hand in hand over a bridge separating front lines. They were later renamed “the Romeo and Juliet of Sarajevo.” The city parks were stripped bare of wood so that people could make fires to survive the cold. A soccer field became a crowded cemetery, with most of the headstones showing dates of birth in the 1990s. In the town of Foca, the Serbian army established “rape camps.” Bosnian Muslim women were violated dozens of times a day with the purpose of impregnating them with Serbian babies. Other Muslim towns, like Gorazde and Zepa, were slowly strangled and slaughtered. Villages in central Bosnia were ethnically cleansed, then burnt to the ground. Serbian forces set up concentration camps, where people were starved, raped and beaten. All of this was planned. In October 1991, Karadzic gloated over his intentions in comments caught on a wiretap later played at The Hague. “Sarajevo will be a black cauldron where Muslims will die,” he said. “They will disappear. That

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BY JANINE DI GIOVANNI @janinedigi


were raped tried to return to their communities, but they often had to face their rapists on a daily basis—in the street, at the market, in their villages in eastern and central Bosnia. Shockingly, few of those responsible were ever prosecuted for their crimes. Ultimately, more than 100,000 Bosnians died, and thousands more were left homeless, destitute and traumatized by a civil war that the international community did nothing to stop. The siege of Sarajevo lasted another two years too. In April 2012, when I returned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the start of the war, I stood in front of that same presidency building. More than 11,000 red chairs were lined up—one for the soul of every Sarajevan who had been killed during the siege. There were even tiny chairs for children. From 1996 to 2008, Karadzic lived in hiding in Serbia, posing as an “energy healer.” He was protected by acolytes for years before a tip from British and American intelligence led to his capture in Belgrade. In Bosnia, the reaction to his sentencing was mixed. There was outrage among his supporters, who consider him a war hero. His victims felt only despair and a sense of moral failure that such a monster was given such a light sentence. Forty years for the lives of so many? For genocide? And what has happened to Bosnia since 1995, when the Dayton Peace Accords were signed? Much has been made of Bosnia’s ethnic diversity before the war. At the opening of Karadzic’s trial, prosecutor Alan Tieger said he would prove he had “harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to pursue his vision of an ethnically segregated Bosnia,” and directed them “in a campaign to carve out a mono- ethnic state within his multiethnic country.” Bosnia is now a polarized, sectarian country, riven by corruption and resentment. The

+ COLD MEMORIES:

A man looks over gravestones at a cemetery in Sarajevo in February 1994, when the city was under siege, bombarded by Serb forces, and its people were starving.

people will disappear from the face of the Earth.” I was a young reporter then, documenting war crimes in Bosnia, only three hours by airplane from my home in Paris. Some of the crimes were unthinkable: A group of children were killed by a mortar as they built a snowman; a young boy who went outside to play soccer was blinded by an incoming shell. Day after day, we learned of new tragedies, but it made little difference. Bosnia was abandoned. The war dragged on. Two years after that desperate phone call, in July 1995, Srebrenica fell. In those days, Muslim men and boys were separated from their mothers, sisters and wives, driven into the woods and hunted like animals, then slaughtered and tossed into mass graves. A few survived by pretending to be dead, hiding under bodies. After the war, under the conditions of the Dayton Peace Accords, the town became part of Serbia, and to this day it is hard to find Muslim families who feel safe there. The women who

F E H I M D E M I R / E PA

“SARAJEVO WILL BE A BLACK CAULDRON WHERE MUSLIMS WILL DIE.”

NEWSWEEK

children who were born in the rape camps are now in their early 20s. The fighters have returned to mundane jobs. Many of them, oddly enough, are taxi drivers who talk bitterly about the war years. The trial of Karadzic has been hailed as a triumph of international law, but for the victims, his sentencing does not feel like justice. Or at least, it is only partial justice.

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PA G E O N E / T H A I LAND

KARMA POLICE

A Thai monk is using social media to preach violence against Muslims PHRA APICHART PUNNAJANTO, the 30-yearold head preacher at Bangkok’s popular Marble Temple, tries to suppress a smile as he explains how very angry he is. The baby-faced monk pulls out documents, one after the other, and spreads them across the table. Next to him, a friend whom he has deputized to memorialize this interview snaps away on an expensive smartphone. This, says Apichart, tapping on the paper, is a list of 20 monks killed and 24 injured since 2007 in Thailand’s deep south. An insurgency in the mainly Malay-Muslim region has been raging since 2004, and more than 6,500 people have been killed. Most of them were Muslim civilians, though the statistical disparity doesn’t bother him. The death of a single monk, says Apichart, is considered a religious attack. “I was stressed before, when monks got killed and injured,” he says. “Now it’s past that point—no stress, just revenge. This is why I said those things about burning the mosques: because I want revenge.” Late last year, Apichart called on his social media followers to burn one mosque for every Buddhist monk killed in the deep south. The Thai government swiftly shut down his Facebook page, but the controversy has only increased his popularity. In the months since, thousands more have flocked to follow him on social media. The attention thrills Punnajanto, who calls his social media foray an exercise in “journalism written with hate speech.” His Facebook page is filled with gruesome photographs that purport to show Buddhists hacked in the head with machetes, immolated

NEWSWEEK

and shot by southern insurgents. Many are from years-old incidents, widely reported by local and international news—though Apichart says he is the only one printing such information. He insists there is a conspiracy among Thailand’s newspapers to bury the “truth” and says his photos come from an intelligence officer (though a quick reverse-image search shows they have long been circulating on anti-Muslim Web pages). “What I want to do is to make Buddhists who are still sleeping and think things are beautiful, I want to make them aware of what’s going on. Muslims aren’t trying to invade just the three [southern] provinces; they are trying to occupy the whole country,” Apichart says. His idol is Myanmar’s firebrand monk U Wirathu, whose anti-Muslim rhetoric helped stoke riots in 2012 and 2013. Unlike Wirathu and his extremist Buddhist group, Ma Ba Tha, Apichart has no government backing. But it is clear the Thai monk has tapped into a vein of Buddhist ultranationalism exacerbated by a flailing economy and social discontent in the two years since the 2014 coup that brought in the latest military junta. “There is a growing strain of anti-Muslim sentiment within the Buddhist sangha [monastic community] in Thailand,” says Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based security analyst at IHS-Jane’s. “This thing isn’t some nasty little insect hidden away under a rock, it’s becoming mainstream.” Increasingly, monks in Thailand are looking to their counterparts in Sri Lanka and Myanmar— two places where Buddhist ultranationalism has

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BY ABBY SEIFF @instupor AND RIN JIRENUWAT


T H I E R RY FA L I S E / L I G H T RO C K E T/G E T T Y

PROPAGANDA WARS: A Buddhist

in Mandalay, Myanmar, looks at a panel showing atrocities allegedly committed by Muslims against Buddhists in southern Thailand. +

spilled into anti-Muslim violence. In February, Thai Buddhists hosted a conference on “Crisis in the Buddhist World.” A Sri Lankan monk talked about future threats to the religion, while the president of Ma Ba Tha led a session on laws to protect Buddhism before receiving a leadership award. “We worry about the Muslim invasion in Thailand,” says Banjob Bannaruji, a professor at the Buddhist Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and head of the Committee to Promote Buddhism as the State Religion. Last year, as the government prepared Thailand’s newest constitution, Banjob resurrected a decades-old push to have the religion enshrined in the constitution. Buddhism, he insists, must be protected. “We are very threatened by Muslims because Islam is a dangerous religion in my view,” he says. About 94 percent of the Thai population is Buddhist and 4 percent Muslim, but like many of his ilk, Banjob believes there is a conspiracy to spread Islam—which he claims entails smuggling Rohingyas and Bangladeshis into the country.

“Why? Because they want to increase the numbers of Muslims here,” he explains. (While tens of thousands of Muslims fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh have found their way onto Thai soil, it is generally because they were diverted and detained in camps by human traffickers seeking to extort money before either selling them into slavery or allowing them to continue on to Malaysia.) In the deep south, I met students who said they were worried about Apichart. “We’re all afraid religious conflict will happen and Buddhists and Muslims will kill each other,” says a 25-year-old religion student in Pattani province. There is concern among Buddhists too. “A lot of people claim to be Buddhists, but they’re awful people,” says Sulak Sivaraksa, a Buddhist scholar. Apichart, he advises, “should give up being a monk. Give up being a Buddhist. The message of the Buddha is nonviolence, loving kindness and compassion.... Once you make [Buddhism] into a cult and bring it to nationalism, to ethnicity, that’s the danger.” That the government and some Buddhists have condemned Apichart’s comments is heartening, but such vitriol is clearly spreading. On Facebook, Twitter and Pantip—Thailand’s most popular forum—Buddhist Thais are gathering in droves to discuss the “Muslim problem.” A Facebook page whose name translates loosely as “unmask the unpropitious scoundrels and guard virtues” posts a range of anti-Muslim propaganda and dire warn-

HE CALLS HIS SOCIAL MEDIA FORAY “JOURNALISM WRITTEN WITH HATE SPEECH.” ings on the fate of Thai Buddhists—all of it seen by nearly 18,000 followers. Some 4,000 people have liked the Facebook page “anti extremist Muslims in three southern provinces.” Apichart says Buddhists are lapping up his every word. When I ask him what his next step will be, he replies coolly, but my translator stammers slightly as she conveys the meaning to me. “The next plan is preparing the fuel to put in the bottle to make a burning bomb,” he says. “Not only my own, but Buddhists from the whole nation are going to do it as well. It’s to throw somewhere; nobody knows where. I’m just waiting for the time when a monk dies. Right now, I just keep distributing my ideology on social media.” NEWSWEEK

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P A G E O N E / C H I NA

THE POWER OF YUAN

From hotels to agrochemicals, China Inc. is on a spending spree abroad IT WAS ONLY a matter of time. Given the trade surpluses China has built up year after year, its strengthening currency and its lengthening roster of globally ambitious companies, it’s no surprise that the wave of Chinese foreign direct investment in major Western economies has arrived. In the first quarter of 2016, Chinese companies have executed or proposed deals worth $100 billion for foreign assets across a range of industries (twice the amount U.S. companies have paid for foreign assets abroad over the same period). Among the highest-profile deals: ChemChina offered $43 billion for Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta, Haier paid $5.4 billion for General Electric’s appliance business and conglomerate HNA group bought electronics distribution giant Ingram Micro. Others are almost surely coming. E-commerce giant Alibaba, to take one example, is said to be sniffing around in the entertainment and technology space. The surge of Chinese companies buying high-profile Western assets was inevitable for two reasons. The first is that one of the principal ways all the foreign exchange the country has built up over the years (more than $3 trillion worth) can be recycled is through foreign direct investment; the second is that Chinese companies, both state-owned and privately held, are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Over a decade ago, state-owned oil giant CNOOC made a ham-handed attempt to buy California oil giant Unocal; when that bid collapsed—among other reasons, it generated political controversy in

NEWSWEEK

Washington—China Inc. concentrated its foreign investments in the developing world, focusing mainly on acquiring commodities it needed to fuel the past decade of China’s rapid growth. As the pace of higher-profile deals in the West accelerates, it will bring a predictable backlash— one that the CNOOC-Unocal imbroglio in 2005 foreshadowed. When a similar wave of Japanese direct investment hit in the 1980s and ’90s, it poked a national nerve of economic insecurity. Politicians and the press worried that Japanese corporations were taking over the world, and the binge of foreign direct investment was often cast in military terms—including, alas, by this magazine and this correspondent (when Sony bought Columbia Pictures, a cover story I wrote was headlined “Japan Invades Hollywood” and featured the Statue of Liberty cloaked in a kimono, a memory too painful to repress). You got a whiff that the backlash is coming in a CNBC interview on March 30 with a hotel industry analyst about the latest big-time offer from China for a high-profile U.S. company: Anbang Insurance Group’s $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, in which the little-known Beijing-based company squared off against Marriott International in a bidding war. With a straight face, the analyst said one of the hurdles confronting the Anbang bid for Starwood was that it would face a CFIUS review. CFIUS—the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.—is a government group that reviews foreign investment for national security

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BY BILL POWELL


WHY NOT? China’s

PAT R I C K T. FA L LO N / B LO O M B E RG/G E T T Y

Anbang Insurance Group’s $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts was abruptly dropped at the end of March. +

NEWSWEEK

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NEWSWEEK

generate will be justifiable. One reason the hysterical reaction to Japan was, in hindsight, so unwarranted is that Tokyo was (and remains) one of America’s closest allies. And while Japan’s general technological superiority at the time did raise some legitimate concerns—in the realm of both national security and the health of the overall U.S. economy—those faded quickly when it became apparent that Tokyo was anything but an economic juggernaut. China is different. It is obviously not an ally and, as the past decade has shown, is arguably becoming Washington’s chief geopolitical rival (though not an outright adversary like the former Soviet Union). And though not as technologically

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OIL IN THE FAMILY:

When Chinese oil company CNOOC tried to take over Unocal in 2005, there was deep resistance in Washington, and CNOOC eventually withdrew, clearing the way for Chevron to step in. +

N OA H B E RG E R /A P

concerns. Starwood owns a bunch of hotel chains—from the posh St. Regis brand to trendy W’s. CFIUS is not required to review every foreign investment, just those the committee judges might have national security implications. The notion that Starwood fits into that category is, to say the least, far-fetched. When pressed on CNBC, the analyst said it might be possible that there are hotels near military bases. Why, exactly, that matters was never stipulated. On March 31, Anbang—citing “various market conditions”—abruptly walked away from the Starwood deal. But make no mistake, there are more deals from China coming, and at least some of the unease they will undoubtedly


advanced as Japanese companies, Chinese ones are rapidly climbing up the ladder, and one of the ways they try to do so is by acquiring Western technologies and businesses. That, for example, is part of the thinking behind ChemChina’s offer for Syngenta. Chinese companies with the wherewithal to make big foreign transactions, moreover, are often not privately owned. When Japan was in its heyday, we used to throw around the term “Japan Inc.” to describe the clubby, insular style of Japanese capitalism. Many of the Chinese corporations going abroad actually are “China Inc.”—they are owned or controlled by the government. Thus, it is very often the case that strategic moves they make are not solely to increase market share here, or acquire a technology there, all in the name of eventually driving up the acquiring company’s stock price. There can be other reasons—national security interests defined by Beijing—and it is perfectly reasonable for foreign governments to try to figure those out, when warranted. Take CNOOC’s bid for Unocal in 2005. CNOOC is China’s primary developer of offshore oil and gas, and it is state-owned. It was reasonable for CFIUS to review the security implications of that bid. But if, say, Mitsui Oil of Japan had made the bid, a CFIUS review would have been a waste of everyone’s time. Another reason foreign governments might cast a wary eye on some Chinese acquisitions is that such cross-border investment works only one way. That is, it’s fine for a state-owned Chinese company to try to buy a European agro-business, but good luck with the reverse: Foreign companies simply cannot buy state-owned companies in China. They are not for sale. (In this, there are some similarities to the Japan experience, because major Japanese companies often have interlocking corporate ownership structures that make them invulnerable to a hostile takeover, foreign or domestic. See, for example, the Mitsubishi group companies.) Economists argue over whether so-called reciprocity should matter when it comes to considering foreign mergers and acquisitions, but it is something governments can legitimately consider. Since the CNOOC debacle, Chinese companies—at the government’s urging—have been far more circumspect with their Western acquisition targets. There is little controversy about the targets of the deals announced since

PAGE ONE/CHI N A

the beginning of this year, unless you think the bars at W Hotels are a national treasure to be protected at all costs from the predacious Chinese commies. That might serve to mitigate any hysteria about the world being “taken over’’ by China Inc. On the other hand, as this year’s political campaign illustrates, the United States seems to be having a national nervous breakdown, and one of the causes is economic insecurity. As a result, whoever is elected—Hillary Clinton included—is no doubt going to be looking at Chinese acquisitiveness carefully. But as the boom of mergers and acquisitions unfolds, keep this in mind: It is not necessarily China’s economic brawn (or the West’s shortcoming) that is driving it. It is, arguably, China’s increasingly evident economic weakness that is

THERE IS LITTLE CONTROVERSIAL ABOUT THE TARGETS…UNLESS YOU THINK THE BARS AT W HOTELS ARE A NATIONAL TREASURE.

NEWSWEEK

helping propel the increasing amount of outbound foreign direct investment. As its economy loses strength and a continuing anti-corruption crackdown makes CEOs of both state-owned and private companies nervous, capital flight ensues. Acquiring Western assets—whether it’s wealthy individuals buying high-end Manhattan apartments or Anbang purchasing the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, as it did two years ago—is increasingly seen as a smart and necessary thing to do among China’s capitalists. Keep that in mind as the big deals get announced on CNBC, and everyone starts wringing their hands. And remember how the Japan hysteria played out: In many cases, Japanese buyers overpaid wildly for assets, making their Western owners richer. There’s little reason to think it’s not happening again.

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P A G E O N E / T A X ES

YOUR CHECK IS IN THE JAIL

Scamming tax refunds has become a big-time criminal enterprise luring gangsters, drug dealers and hackers THE THREE gunmen pulled up around 4 a.m., jumped the fence for a generic South Florida gated neighborhood and then used a brick to break a rear window of the house they hoped to rob. Frances Jeudy and his roommate Frantz Decoste were asleep in an upstairs bedroom when the three gunmen yelled “FBI!” and kicked in their door on May 24, 2013. Instead of panicking, the two men grabbed their own guns and opened fire. The gunmen fled, two back into the night and the third into an upstairs bathroom, where he traded shots with Jeudy and Decoste before dropping his 9-millimeter handgun and surrendering. “It was supposed to be a robbery,” he whimpered. “I’m trying to feed my family.” Jeudy called 911, and as police pulled up, he walked out of the house and announced, “I got him!” Miramar police officers went inside, handcuffed the bloodied robber and noticed the house reeked of marijuana; they obtained a search warrant and tossed the house that same day. Inside, they found a dozen gold and diamond necklaces, seven MacBooks and $174,000 in cash. More important, they found 500 debit cards issued by H&R Block and Bancorp, plus five U.S. income tax refund checks in other people’s names. That botched home invasion led to a federal indictment, but it wasn’t for the hapless robbers. The feds went after the guys inside the house and their crew—Jeudy, Decoste and four others—who were part of a more profitable and less risky newer

NEWSWEEK

crime that loots an estimated $6 billion a year from the IRS: stolen identity refund fraud, which federal agents call SIRF. Criminals have filed fraudulent tax returns for decades, but electronic filings and sites like TurboTax.com have made it easy for them to quickly file large numbers of returns. “Drug dealers and other violent criminals have found it a lot easier and safer and more lucrative to steal people’s identity and file false income tax returns than it is to sell drugs on the corner or hold up a liquor store,” South Florida U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer tells Newsweek. “Personal identity information is the new crack cocaine for criminals because it’s very valuable.” When IRS investigators searched the laptops found at that house in Miramar, about 20 miles north of Miami, they found 29,000 Social Security numbers and a history of visits to TurboTax.com and TaxHawk.com. When investigators matched up the personal information found at the Miramar house with returns filed with the IRS, they found thousands of bogus returns claiming tens of millions of dollars. The six men—who shot music videos and go by nicknames such as “Money King” and “Chadillac”—were indicted on SIRF charges, pleaded guilty and could face decades in federal prison when they are sentenced this month. The scheme uncovered in Miramar is similar to crimes perpetrated across the country, from Miami to Anchorage. Scammers steal personal information from hospitals, nursing homes or

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BY JOSH SAUL @joshfromalaska


P H I L V E L ASQU E Z /C H I CAG O T R I BU N E / M CT/G E T T Y

SIRF’S UP:

JuWanda Harris is just one of many Americans caught up in tax scams. She was hoping for a 2010 refund, but the IRS told her someone had already filed a return using her information. +

in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, agents can spend 50 percent of their time chasing identity thieves. “It may be due to the humidity,” says a law enforcement official, joking about why certain Southern jurisdictions see more than their SIRF share. But crooks can also steal refunds thousands of miles from Miami. A Bulgarian man was extradited and pleaded guilty last year to hacking into four U.S. accounting firms, stealing clients’ tax filings and using the information to claim $6 million in refunds. “SIRF crimes have evolved, and now we’re seeing a more sophisticated class of criminals mining the Internet for information,” says Caroline Ciraolo, acting assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division. Criminals are buying and selling the information necessary for tax fraud on the darknet. Richard Weber, chief of the IRS criminal investigation division, says information on the darknet is sold in bulk, to multiple buyers. “It’s very organized, it’s significant, and it’s scary.” The IRS criminal investigation division also created two new cybercrime offices in the past year, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. Even facing off against increased enforcement and a brigade of IRS special agents, street-level hustlers still see SIRF as easy money. “South Florida is like the cesspool of fraud,” says Miramar Police Department Detective Jay Fox. “The chance of getting caught is slim.” SIRF crews often get the personal information they need by using what they call a “plug”—someone on the

banks, then use it to file bogus returns, with the refunds sent to mailboxes or debit cards they control. The phony returns usually have genuine information—like someone’s real name and Social Security number—combined with made-up addresses and incomes. The crooks submit the returns early in the tax season because if they file after the real taxpayer, the fake return will get bumped. SIRF operations can range from simple outfits run by single people from their basements in their underwear to complex crews. Last year, eight people in Alabama and Georgia were sentenced for their roles in one SIRF ring that stole millions. In that operation, one woman who worked at Fort Benning stole personal information from soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, another woman swiped information from the Alabama Department of Corrections, other people used those stolen names and numbers to file the returns, and a woman who worked at a Wal-Mart money center cashed the refund checks. Five years ago, IRS special agents spent about 3 percent of their time investigating identity theft; today it’s up to 20 percent. And in SIRF hotbeds

“SOUTH FLORIDA IS LIKE THE CESSPOOL OF FRAUD.” inside—usually a woman who works in a nursing home or school or hospital and can steal names and Social Security numbers. The SIRF crews, made up of mostly men in their late teens or early 20s, still jack cars and sell drugs, but they keep the calendar of a certified public accountant. “During tax season, they try to get away from the drug activity so it doesn’t draw too much attention to their house, and that’s when they’re doing the tax fraud,” Fox says. And the hustlers have fun spending their loot, renting houses for $4,000 per month and buying lots and lots of sneakers. “They have so many Jordans,” Fox says. “My partner just went on a case—they had a two-car garage, and I swear it looked like a Foot Locker.” NEWSWEEK

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G O D

B L E S S

A M E R I C A , O R

E L S E


The Hobby Lobby family is spending billions to turn the United States into an evangelical paradise. Their latest campaign involves the elaborate and deceptive Museum of the Bible in D.C. Onward, Christian lobbyists!

B Y

N I N A

B U R L E I G H

+ TOMB PARADERS: Jerusalem’s

NEWSWEEK

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Church of Holy Sepulchre, which contains two of the holiest sites in all Christendom, has been a tourist draw since it was built in the 4th Century.


In 2011, U.S. Customs officials in Memphis, Tennessee, intercepted a suspiciously labeled FedEx package sent by an Israeli antiquities dealer to the compound of a wealthy biblical antiquities collector in Oklahoma City. The FedEx bill identified the contents as “hand-crafted clay tiles” worth less than $300, but when agents opened it, instead of kitchen decor they found 300 clay tablets scored with tiny ancient writing—Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform tablets of the type that have been looted on a grand scale from war-ravaged Iraq in recent decades. A few years later, around Easter 2014, on the other side of the world, an Italian scholar was touring the Vatican’s Verbum Domini II exhibit of antique Bibles and Bible-related artifacts. The collection was rich with treasures, from Dead Sea Scroll fragments, to priceless medieval texts, to the first “lunar Bible” (the book American astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell carried to the surface of the moon in 1971). Among the vitrines, the scholar’s eye fell upon a ragged bit of a sixth-century papyrus fragment containing lines from Galatians 2 in Coptic. The scholar, an expert in papyrus, recognized it as one that had been on sale on eBay from a Turkish seller several years before, and she recalled that in email exchanges with academics pretending to be interested buyers, the seller had admitted he’d smuggled the fragments out of Egypt. Both the misidentified cuneiform shipment, which sparked a federal investigation, and the smuggled papyrus belong to Steve Green, a billionaire evangelical. Under Green’s leadership, his family has reportedly spent $800 million rapidly amassing their collection of ancient artifacts and building a Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., to house it. The eight-story, 430,000-square-foot building slated to open next year is three blocks from the U.S. Capitol and two blocks from the Smithsonian museums. It will be one of the largest museums in the nation’s capital and will reportedly have a two-story zinc and glass ark on top. This project is audacious, but it’s only a small part of Green’s master plan to “restore” the Bible to its rightful place—as he sees it—in the center of American life and government. And he’s got the money to get his way. Green’s fortune derives from his family’s crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, a retail giant that earned $3.7 billion in income last year. The Greens are the Koch NEWSWEEK

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+ HOBBY HORSE:

The Hobby Lobby family won a Supreme Court battle in 2014, arguing that religious freedom allows it to refuse contraception to employees.


F RO M L E F T: N I CO L AUS CZA R N EC K I / ZU M A /CO R B I S ; RA FA E L B E N -A R I /A L A M Y; P R EV I OUS S P R E A D : PAU L SOU D E RS/CO R B I S

+ FREE FOR ALL: The tiny Israel

Antiquities Authority, which manages sites, is underfunded, and cannot adequately police the booming antiquities trade.

brothers of the evangelical movement and have spent hundreds of millions to blur the line between church and state. They fought a “religious freedom” case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, winning a 2014 ruling that allows businesses to refuse to cover contraception for women, as required per the

W YAT T C L A I M E D TO H AV E FO U N D T H E A R K O F T H E C O V E N A N T, A N D THE BLOOD OF JESUS. Affordable Care Act. They also bankrolled a controversial Bible curriculum for American public schools (not yet approved) and poured a fortune into fundamentalist Christian colleges and institutions here and abroad. And now the family is prepared to spend big to make America a truly Christian nation again. Their kind of Christian. And that worries some folks. “There is no such thing as ‘the’ Bible,” says John Kutsko, executive director of the Society for Biblical Literature, a global organization of scholars who study and read ancient works that influenced or became part of the Bible. He and many others fear that Green’s museum will present a narrow, evangelical version of the Bible and its role in American society, one

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+ TCHOTCHKE BONANZA: A curio shop in Jerusalem’s

old city features artifacts, real and fake, which are heavily trafficked for tourists and serious collectors.

that ignores versions of the text used by Jews, Muslims and the many Christians of other creeds. “We are a melting pot, and there are many religions here,” Kutsko says. “The museum could be a showcase for how we and our texts are different and can coexist peacefully. That would be a wonderful

THE

E M OT I O N AT TAC H E D TO THESE SITES IS SO ST RO N G T H AT SOME VISITORS FALL TO THEIR KNEES IN AW E A N D P RAY E R .

message to bring to bear, particularly in the environment we live in, an environment of absolutists and polarization.” Scholars also have a larger concern: the truth. They know too well that “biblical archaeology” is rife with amateurs desperate to prove the people and stories in the Bible are historically accurate, with many grand claims but little proof. Academics are also troubled by the résumé of the man hired to run the Bible museum; he used to head the Creation Museum, which states as fact that the Earth was created just 6,000 years ago and that humans

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were around when dinosaurs ruled the planet. Also troubling is how the museum handles much more recent history. A fundraising video for the museum shared with Newsweek declares that the Founding Fathers intended the Bible to be the center of American government and culture and opens with a spurious quote from George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” The nation’s first president never said that, but Green insists the Bible was central to the creation of the United States and is now imperiled. In an interview at the Vatican in 2014, he declared, “The fact of the matter is, the book is under assault today.” The Bible museum is his way of defending “the Good Book,” and he knows there’s more than one way to fight a holy war.

‘Rapture-Ready’ As Christian collectors seeking objects that put facts behind their faith, the Greens join a long tradition of pseudo-archaeologists, tourists and businessmen who have labored to prove the Bible is as factual an account of history as Herodotus. The seamy and saintly business of Biblical relic collecting dates back to the fourth century, when Helena of Constantine came to Jerusalem looking for pieces of the True Cross. For the next millennium or so, Europeans filled reliquaries with loot and forgeries

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F RO M L E F T: W E N DY SU E L A M M /CO N T RASTO/ R E DUX; D E M OSS

from the Holy Land, including the alleged bones and and “by the space of a thousand and six furlongs.” other bits of the apostles, and even the Virgin Mary’s Evangelicals take that literally. “Can you imagwedding ring. In the 19th century, Victorian pastors, ine this entire valley filled with blood?” Frazier armed with spades in one hand and Bibles in the would say. “That would be a 200-mile-long river of other, flocked to the Middle East. blood, 4½ feet deep. We’ve done the math. That’s The private biblical antiquities trade that stocked the blood of as many as 2½ billion people.” the vitrines of the Museum of the Bible begins in Biblical archaeology has attracted countless selfthe ground beneath some of the most styled Christian Indiana Joneses. Bankviolently disputed turf on Earth. To the rolled by church collection plates and untrained eye, major archaeological sometimes TV producers, they have sites in the Middle East resemble low hunted for, and claimed to have found, hills dotting a flat landscape, but these Noah’s Ark, Christ’s tomb and the Ark “tels” are not natural geological forof the Covenant, among other holy relmations; they are layers upon layers of ics. A Texan named Vendyl Jones, who ancient broken pottery and ruined walls arrived in Israel in the 1970s, remade that reveal what human life in the region himself into a conservative, bearded was like thousands of years ago. At many Orthodox Jew; bought a Cadillac with of these archaeological digs, science four-wheel drive; and excavated on coexists uneasily with fable. For religious and off for several decades, turning believers, these sites and all that lies up, among other things, a substance beneath are much more than just a scienhe claimed was burnt incense from the tific record, and the emotion attached to Second Temple. Scientists scoffed. + them is so strong that some visitors fall The late Ron Wyatt, a Tennessee CUP HOLDER: Ritual to their knees in awe and prayer. Some nurse-anesthetist who took to digging in vessel from Tel Qashish, a have had breakdowns, and Jerusalem Israel, claimed to have found the Ark of site uncovered while digging a gas pipeline. syndrome, a condition involving deluthe Covenant and once announced that sions, obsessive ideas and psychosis that he had found the blood of Jesus. Wyatt requires hospitalization, is covered in medical texts. said he knew it was Christ’s blood because he had A popular stop on the Holy Land tourist trek is commissioned a DNA study. Normal human blood Tel Megiddo, or, as it is known in the Bible, Armacontains 46 chromosomes—23 from Mom and 23 geddon. Megiddo is a hill in northern Israel confrom Dad—but according to Wyatt, the substance taining eight layers of human habitation predating he found in an “earthquake crack” beneath Christ’s biblical times. It was razed and resettled time and crucifixion site in Jerusalem had only 24 chromoagain because of its prime location overlooking somes, that is, Mary’s 23, plus one—God’s. the fertile Jezreel Valley, near a spring. Its history is indeed bloody, and according to the Bible, its future could be as well. It was roughly the halfway T H E G R E E N S A R E T H E K O C H point between the Babylonians to the north and the B R O T H E R S O F T H E Egyptians to the south, and armies often clashed E VA N G E L I C A L M O V E M E N T, here. Scholars believe this savage history inspired the writers of the Old Testament to place Armaged- S P E N D I N G H U N D R E D S O F don in the Book of Revelations as the setting for the M I L L I O N S T O B L U R T H E L I N E war to end all wars on Judgment Day. B E T W E E N C H U RC H A N D STAT E . During the summer months at Tel Megiddo, sweating archaeologists squat in dirt, marking out layers of history inch by inch with pieces of string The yearning for proof is so strong that fresh disand wooden stakes. Meanwhile, in the parking lot coveries regularly make the news before scholars below, buses pull up by the dozen, filled with Chrishave examined them or confirmed their authentian tourists led by religious tour guides, who clamticity and concurred on a biblical interpretation. ber up the side of the site, find a shady spot under In recent years, the most famous of these objects, a tree and preach about Armageddon. Among the the so-called James Ossuary, was announced at American pastors who have held forth on the site of a Washington, D.C., press conference in 2002 as the End of Days is “Rapture-Ready” Gary Frazier the first archaeological evidence of Christ. It has of Texas-based Discovery Missions. Frazier has led since been debunked as one of the top 10 scientific Holy Land tours up the tel and preached that the hoaxes in history. (My book Unholy Business [ColBook of Revelations predicts blood will flood the lins 2009] details the Israeli investigation and forgvalley around Armageddon “up to the horse bridles” ery trial that ensued.) NEWSWEEK

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The Flimflam Man’s Pink Martinis

then reported that Carroll and Shipman were spendThe Green family commenced collecting at a ing “more in the neighborhood of $300 million.” propitious moment. Besides the economic meltIn a later interview, Carroll bragged that the down of 2008, which was forcing some wealthy material he was collecting was so sensational it collectors to unload their treasures, the American would soon be “front-page news” and would prove wars in Iraq—home to 10,000 Babylonian, Sumethe factuality of the Bible. “Maybe a lot of people rian and Assyrian sites, some dating back as far as know about the scientific evidence that supports the 4,000 B.C.—exponentially increased the amount Bible,” he said. “But they certainly don’t know the of looted “conflict antiquities” in the market. After mountains of evidence that we’re sitting on. There the Gulf War and the fall of Baghdad 12 years later, is even more evidence, more to be recovered, more an era of “industrial-scale” looting in Iraq comto be found, that increasingly encourages our faith.” menced. The chaos of the Arab Spring and the rise Carroll eventually earned the scorn of mainstream of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) opened classics scholars, who nicknamed him “Palmolive yet another gusher of pillaged loot into the market. Indiana Jones” after a YouTube video showed him The men the Greens chose encouraging students to as their buyers were straight use the common household out of Bible archaeology’s detergents Palmolive or seedy-saintly central castDawn to take apart Egyptian ing. “We have over 1,000 mummy masks. The ancient Torahs,” crowed Johnny masks, made of recycled Shipman, a Dallas rare book papyrus in the early Chrisdealer speaking to The New tian era, sometimes contain York Times in 2010. Shipfragments of text that Carman, who died in 2013 and roll and other confessional scholars define as Biblewho took credit for the idea related material. of a Green-funded Bible An evangelical writer museum, was a short, stout in this field, Josh McDowson of a pastor who packed a ell, scoffed at the scholars sidearm. He was an unusual + alarmed by the destruction choice for the censorious, HOT SPOT: Traces of civilization found of the masks and explicteetotaling Greens, as he was at Tel Megiddo, aka Armaggedon, date back to pre-biblical times. itly connected the process known to quaff several pink to a religious experience: martinis with his meals. One “These biblical manuscript fragments will be used fellow rare book dealer described him as “a bit of a of God to bring many young people to Christ.... flimflam man, who looked like a used car salesman, Pray with me that these discoveries will be blessed a Texan with a little charm.” of God to bring people to Christ.” After Green agreed to send Shipman forth to collect for a national Bible museum, Shipman brought in a professor named Scott Carroll, who had also Kowtowing to Bibi encouraged the Greens to fund such a museum. Destroying mummy masks to “bring young peoCarroll left his job teaching ancient history at a ple to Christ” is one example of how evangelical archaeologists and collectors like the Greens pervert “ S O M E B O D Y H A S T O T U R N A the heritage of Middle Eastern countries like Egypt B L I N D E Y E T O T H E D U B I O U S and Iraq to manufacture proof of the Bible’s factuality. N A T U R E O F T H I S M A T E R I A L . ” The true origins of the Bible lie in the mists of indigenous Mesopotamian civilizations that existed thousands of years before the sixth-century B.C. authors Christ-based liberal arts college, Cornerstone Uniof the Bible. There is no evidence the Museum of versity in Michigan, to help Shipman start collectthe Bible will depict the diversity of Middle Eastern ing, and the two men starting flinging cash into the cultures or the ancient religions, many of whose reliair. In 2010, a reporter for the Dallas Observer told gious (pagan) stories are repurposed in the Bible. Carroll he had heard that he and Shipman had spent The museum will contain Egyptian, Iraqi and upward of $10 million in Europe on rare Bibles. Syrian artifacts, but the ground zero of biblical relic Carroll e-mailed back within hours: “I can assure collecting is Israel, where archaeology is a matyou that the estimate about our recent acquisitions ter of intense religious and political importance. would be a gross understatement!” The Observer And the Greens and their museum have been most

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+ MELTING POTS AND PANS: A mosaic floor uncovered

F RO M L E F T: H A N A N I SAC H A R / D E M OT I X /CO R B I S ; BA Z RAT N E R / R EU T E RS

east of Tel Aviv has Greek inscriptions, typical of the confluence of cultures in the ancient Middle East.

active there, supporting a larger religious nationalist endeavor with warm bodies and cold cash. Israeli theocrats base vast and controversial land claims on biblical descriptions of ancient borders. American evangelical Christians support those claims because they believe that only when Israel is restored to its biblical borders will Christ return to earth. Christian Zionism—religiously based evangelical support for Israel—has become so central to politically engaged American evangelicals that almost every candidate for the GOP presidential nomination has explicitly stated that on “Day One” in the Oval Office, he or she will call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Greens are heavily invested in this campaign. Through the Museum of the Bible they finance Covenant Journey, a program to send Christian youth on tours to Israel, similar to those long offered gratis by the Jewish Federations of North America to young American Jews as “birthright” journeys. According to the Forward, young Christian participants in an early Covenant Journey trip “were transformed into enthusiastic pro-Israel advocacy messengers.” A student who spoke to the Forward, Erica Tomlin,

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a sophomore at Liberty University (the Lynchburg, Virginia, school founded by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell), said of the trip, “It changed my career path. Now I want to work on advocating for Israel.” One of the project’s main early funders was Paul Singer, a Jewish hedge fund billionaire as well as one of the largest donors to Republican politics. Covenant Journey was founded by the Liberty Counsel, which is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for statements about homosexuality.

Wink-Wink, Nod-Nod All Christian tours to Israel include visits to some of Israel’s 30,000 archaeological sites. Those sites are managed by a tiny, underfunded cadre of scholar-investigators in the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The agents carry guns, arrest looters and ferret out fakes, but most agree they cannot adequately police the antiquities trade. And in fact, one of the greatest illicit biblical antiquities collections ever amassed was owned by an Israeli who routinely thumbed his nose at the agents and their regulations. Before the Greens came along, the greatest

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A N D R E C H U N G/ T H E WAS H I N GTO N P OST/G E T T Y

collection of biblical archabout their collection and aeology was owned by the federal investigation. the late Israeli billionaire Lynda Albertson, who Shlomo Moussaieff. The is head of the Romecollector, who officially based Association for made his fortune dealResearch Into Crimes ing diamonds and selling Against Art, has monjewelry, operated out of itored the museum’s Tel Aviv and London. By rapid development and the time of his death, in says the shortage of legal 2015, he had stored some antiquities on the mar60,000 objects, almost ket means the Greens’ none from a legal site, vast and rapidly built in a Swiss freeport. In a collection could not have + court case near the end of been properly vetted. MAN WITH A PLAN: Steve Green is leading his family’s quest to put the Bible at the his life, he ridiculed the “Did they buy what they center of American culture and politics. notion that cops or cuscould get their hands on toms agents could regubecause they are ignolate his passion. rant? You could say they are wealthy people who Moussaieff was not alone in acting with impunity don’t understand anything about collection manwhen it came to collecting. One of Israel’s greatest agement. But when you see the [U.S.] investigation heroes, General Moshe Dayan, habitually helped into the FedEx’d cuneiform, then it starts looking a himself to ancient stone carvings, pottery and other little less like bumbling.” archaeological treasures during his lifetime. Both men’s collections ended up at the IAA. Last summer, It Came From Grandma’s Attic! the Bible museum “inked a major new long-term alliIn 1970, most nations signed on to a UNESCO agreeance” with the IAA, agreeing to devote a floor in the ment prohibiting the illicit trade in cultural heritage museum to some of the IAA’s millions of antiquities. (although Israel did not sign it). With that agreement The U.S. Department of Justice did not respond in place and nations moving to get their cultural herto questions about the reported investigation of itage repatriated—and with Western law enforcetrafficking in stolen treasures by Green’s Bible ment on the lookout for ISIS-related loot—antiquities museum. But the museum’s president, Cary Sumdealers have become more stealthy. Before a private mers, admitted to biblical scholars Joel Baden and collector can donate a dubiously discovered black Candida Moss, who first wrote about it last year, market ancient object to a museum, it must be launthat the federal government was looking into that dered and given a proper provenance. One way that’s FedEx’d cuneiform shipment. According to Baden done is to insert an illicit piece into a collection at and Moss, Summers attributed it to “incomplete one of the big auction houses, such as Christie’s or paperwork,” while Green conceded “it’s possible” Sotheby’s. The allegedly smuggled papyrus that the some illicit artifacts are in the collection. Greens purchased had been sold as part of a lot at a Scholars sent tips about the smuggled papyrus in Christie’s auction in 2011. the Green collection to American law enforcement To make an object truly kosher, though, scholars officials, but there is no official confirmation that those tips are being investigated. Almost five years have passed since the reported seizure by the Memphis customs officers of the FedEx’d cuneiform. A law “ C A N Y O U I M A G I N E T H I S enforcement source familiar with the prosecution of E N T I R E V A L L E Y F I L L E D other antiquities cases says the federal government W I T H B L O O D ? ” often tends to settle such cases with a “wink-wink, nod-nod handshake, a give us the stuff and we won’t must be involved. Many museums will no longer even prosecute.” That is “infinitely easier” than the years, consider accepting an object until it has been pubmoney and manpower it takes to build a successful lished—that is, written about in a scholarly journal. case involving freshly looted material that crosses international borders, the source says. That may explain why the Greens created the A spokeswoman for the museum referred questions Scholars Initiative, which funds young, aspiring about the collecting practices to the Green family. archaeologists and students; pairs them with menTheir spokeswoman said they “respectfully decline tors; and gives them access to the Green Collecparticipation” in response to Newsweek’s questions tion—hands-on experience with antiquities that


most students cannot get. The Scholars Initiative has already involved hundreds of young students and mentors, some of whom are studying and writing about materials in the museum’s collection. Conventional scholars have been criticizing their rigor, pointing out misidentified archaeological sites on the museum’s Facebook page. Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Michael Langlois, who is on the Near East studies faculty at the University of Strasbourg in France, contacted the museum to report what he believed was a forgery in its collection and asked to inspect it. “I was told that Green is not interested in finding out whether his scrolls are genuine or not,” Langlois says. A Museum spokesman denied this. “Essentially, the Green Scholars Initiative was designed to lend scholarly credibility to a collection of artifacts that have spurious origins, including the black market, unprovenanced items, items from long-held private collections, potentially looted objects and inappropriately acquired goods,” says Robert Cargill, an archaeologist and Department of Religious Studies professor at the University of Iowa. “The Green Scholars Initiative was designed to paper over the evangelical, apologetic goals of Steve Green, who is ultimately seeking to prove the reliability of the text of the Bible, and distract from the problematic origin of his collection.” He is doing that, Cargill says, by employing relatively inexperienced scholars, usually from Christian colleges, “to research and publish his objects with the hope of establishing a scholarly history to each of them.” Cargill notes, though, that few of his colleagues would turn down an offer from the wealthy collector, because they have no money to travel and no access to antiquities, regardless of their provenance. “I have multiple colleagues working for or with the Green initiative, against my numerous protestations,” he says. Michael Danti, academic director of the Cultural Heritage Initiatives of the American Schools of Oriental Research, one of the largest associations of archaeologists working in the Middle East, says scholars who work with and authenticate unprovenanced material are complicit in the looting and black market trading of antiquities. “Somebody has to turn a blind eye to the dubious nature of this material and be willing to take somebody’s dollar when they say, ‘Oh, I found it in my great uncle’s suitcase under his bed’ or ‘I didn’t know grandma had that in her attic.’”

crucial demographic for the winners. Although the Green family’s Museum of the Bible was privately conceived and funded, it is also has an implicitly (and often explicitly) political mission: On donor websites its supporters discuss their hopes that it will influence policymakers in the heart of the nation’s capital. And why stop there? Steve Green isn’t content to merely invite guests to his fun house of worship. He wants to give the residents of D.C. and its millions of visitors a subliminal sermon on their morning commute. The museum is trying to transform the nearby

“THERE IS NO SUCH T H I N G A S ‘ T H E ’ B I B L E .” Metro station, Federal Center SW, into an audiovisual biblical baptism. “The brilliant digital display,” the project’s fundraising website states, “will engulf people” as they make a one-minute platform walk and escalator ride to the exit. The display will “serve as a rallying point for Christian philanthropic and thought leaders to gather, pursuing with strategic intentionality the goal we all share: No Place Left.” After Newsweek asked what “No Place Left” meant, that phrase and other explicit language about bringing millions of people to faith through the Metro stop were removed from the website. A spokeswoman for the project referred questions to the museum, which would only confirm that the project is going forward. But the D.C. Metro Board of Directors has not approved the exhibit, according to a spokesman. Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says decorating the Metro stop as a biblical infomercial would be un-American. “If the Metro Board is going to be dedicating a significant portion of the Metro stop to promoting this museum, that would be a serious violation of the U.S. Constitution,” he says. Some might also worry about the separation of fact and fable. Starting late next year, millions of visitors will enter the cavernous, air-conditioned confines of the Museum of the Bible and be dazzled by the slick, multi-platform displays and the vast array of antiquities (never mind how they were acquired). Experiencing all this in the shadow of the vaunted Smithsonian museums, visitors might reasonably assume they were viewing a rigorously researched panorama of ancient history. Few if any will realize it was merely an extremely expensive, high-tech version of an evangelical’s Oklahoma City Sunday school lesson, transported to the nation’s capital with all its culturally provincial and exclusionary values intact, along with its anti-science propaganda and benighted notions of American exceptionalism presented as gospel.

Metro Stations of the Cross Evangelicals have been an increasingly potent force in Republican politics in the last few decades, but in gay-marriage America they now feel marginalized, even besieged. Evangelicals have been key foot soldiers in 2016 GOP campaigns, as well as a

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NEW WORLD

3-D PRINTING

INNOVATION

BRAIN WAVES

RECYCLING

WILDLIFE

CLIMATE CHANGE

GOOD SCIENCE

THE WORLD’S BIGGEST ICE CUBE

Scientists are getting ready to freeze a ship into the Arctic ice pack + THRILL OF THE CHILL: A team of

PAT AND ROSE MARIE KEOUG H/CORBIS

scientists hope to be encased in ice for over a year, busily collecting data the whole time.

BY ZOË SCHLANGER @zoeschlanger

WINTER IN THE ARCTIC is changing rapidly— scientists recently broke the news that the sea ice in the far north this winter covered the puniest area of ocean ever recorded. But it’s still unclear how exactly these changes are taking place. That’s partly because most research voyages can be made only in the summer, when waters are navigable and temperatures bearable. In the long, dark days of winter, weather is erratic and temperatures can drop to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and massive ice floes make trips dangerous. So Matthew Shupe, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and a team of experts from several countries and multiple disciplines are working on a plan to freeze a ship full of researchers into the winter ice. They’ll arrive at a spot in the northern latitudes in a warmer month and let the winter ice freeze around them. Then the ship—dubbed the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC—and its crew will float with the ice pack for a year, assembling data impossible to

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collect from anywhere but within the ice. The scientific world still doesn’t have answers to dozens of questions about what’s going on in the Arctic, Shupe says. “We know very little about clouds, about aerosols in the atmosphere and the biological activity that’s happening in winter”—all elements that have the potential to change the way models about sea ice are built. Plus, there’s the question of the changing ice. “If the ice pack is thinner, does it crack in the same way? Does it move in the same way? And does it transfer more heat down to the ocean?” The team is planning the trip for 2019 and securing the approximately $65 million in funding it will take to deploy a ship with 90 people in the hostile Arctic for 13 months. Some pieces are already coming together: The U.S. Department of Energy plans to provide a suite of instruments to help take measurements, and the Alfred Wegener Institute, a German research institute, has already committed its icebreaker vessel to the mission, with a medical team and a kitchen staff. “We’ll be eating some good German food,” Shupe says.

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NE W W O R L D / 3 - D PRINTING

DISRUPTIVE

LET A THOUSAND FACTORIES BLOOM

3-D printing could make American manufacturing great again IF THE FOLKS at 3D Hubs are right, presidential candidates can stop fulminating about bringing back manufacturing from China or Bangladesh or wherever. Technology will render that shift inevitable. In the next decade, the business dynamic that makes it a good idea for a lot of U.S. companies to manufacture overseas will go poof. The very concept of a big honkin’ factory will eventually become as anachronistic as a typing pool. Instead, companies are going to custommake most things in small factories right in your neighborhood or town, close enough so you could go pick up your stuff, or maybe have it dropped onto your porch by a drone. Factories will essentially get broken up, scattered and made local. As 3D Hubs co-founder Bram de Zwart puts it, “Why would you put a thousand machines in one place when you can put one machine in a thousand places?” Such is the promise of “distributed manufacturing.” The World Economic Forum last year named it one of the most important technology trends to watch. It is expected to have a mighty impact on jobs, geopolitics and the climate. And while massive distributed factories might seem a little far-fetched in 2016, a handful of companies are starting to make it happen. 3D Hubs, a startup based in Amsterdam and New York, is one of them. Its business today doesn’t look like an all-out threat to China’s global domination of manufacturing. It is just a network connecting industrial-grade 3-D printers, about 28,000 of them in 156 countries. If you happen to

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have a 3-D design you want made, you can go on the 3D Hubs platform, find a nearby printer that can handle your requirements, upload the file and then drive over to get the finished product. So saying 3D Hubs will be the world’s biggest factory is sort of like calling Airbnb the world’s biggest hotel, which is to say that you can see it that way while squinting after several shots of tequila. 3-D printers have come a long way in the past few years, but they’re still limited in what they can produce. The bulk of 3D Hubs’s business now is making prototypes for architects and designers—about 30,000 3-D prints a month. Still, de Zwart paints a compelling picture of where this is heading. 3-D printers are improving rapidly, getting cheaper and spreading like crazy, as is often the case with new technology. Siemens predicts that 3-D printing will get 50 percent cheaper and five times faster in the next five years. Gartner Group figures the 3-D printing market, just $1.6 billion in 2015, will rocket to $13.4 billion by 2018. And the technology keeps getting more sophisticated, able to make ever more complex products. It’s not out of the question that, before long, 3-D printers will be able to make a good sneaker. “I want to work with a company like Nike and move manufacturing to where the demand is,” de Zwart says. Imagine what that would mean. Today, Nike manufactures most of its shoes in China, Indonesia and other Asian countries. This makes sense because labor is a huge part of the cost of making a shoe, and labor is far cheaper in

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BY KEVIN MANEY @kmaney


as easily as we now change typefaces on a PowerPoint slide, customers could customize shoes before they’re made. (Some experts predict we’ll have these 3-D printers in our homes. But considering that these printers would have to be large to make shoes—or chairs—and they’d have to be fed raw materials, it seems that the kind of person who will have such a 3-D printer at home is the kind of person who today has a metal lathe at home.) In the distributed manufacturing scenario, the carbon footprint, so to speak, of each shoe drops precipitously. Asian

FACTORIES WILL ESSENTIALLY GET BROKEN UP, SCATTERED AND MADE LOCAL. manufacturing is toast, probably upsetting the global balance of power. And factory jobs—well, they’re likely never coming “back.” 3-D printing automates a lot of what factory workers would’ve done. The hope is that distributed manufacturing creates a whole new set of opportunities for middle-class workers and keeps money local instead of funneling it overseas. Distributed manufacturing will happen gradually—until it happens suddenly, as things go with tech waves. It will start with simple items, like one-piece spare parts, and move up in complexity and value. But it’s going to happen. A flurry of startups are already at it. AtFAB is a company that makes Ikea-like furniture designs that can be sent to CNC routers, local machines that are the woodworking cousins of 3-D printers. SyncFab is a 3-D printing network somewhat like 3D Hubs. Shapeways, CloudFab and others are hovering around the same business model. Meanwhile, giants such as Siemens and General Electric have become big backers of networked 3-D printing. In most ways, U.S. technology and U.S. companies lead the race to distributed manufacturing. Any politician who says we’re “losing” to China could instead help shape a future that makes that nation’s manufacturing prowess as irrelevant as the Last Emperor.

+ FLIP THE STORY:

E R I C V I DA L / R EU T E RS

Manufacturing will be coming back to the U.S., but there won’t be a job boom because 3-D printing requires many fewer hands.

much of Asia than in the West. To achieve economies of scale, Nike operates huge factories that churn out shoes in anticipation of demand and ships them to retailers all over the planet, and the retailers then sell some shoes to customers and throw out the rest. In this model, enormous waste and transportation costs are worth it. Now consider how that model changes if any Nike shoe could be economically printed in, say, 20 minutes. Stores would become showrooms with no inventory. No shoe would be made until it’s ordered, and once that’s done, the design would be sent to a printer near the customer’s home, ready for same-day pickup or delivery. Waste, gone. Transportation costs, gone. Need for cheap overseas labor to staff giant factories, gone. Factories will be small enterprises located near centers of demand. A company like Nike would focus on design and marketing, and certify 3-D printing operations to guarantee quality and uniformity. Since 3-D designs could be altered

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NE W W O R L D / B R A IN WAVES

A FITBIT FOR YOUR BRAIN

Neuroscientists think they’re close to their holy grail: reading the human mind EVERY TIME you blink, think or move, your brain generates electricity as individual neurons in the skull transmit information needed to make it happen. If we could detect the electrical signals produced by individual neurons, we could, in theory, read a person’s mind. Amazing. And exceedingly difficult. The amount of electricity generated by an individual neuron transmitting a single piece of information is incredibly tiny. The brain, all 100 billion neurons of it, produces en masse about 20 watts— barely enough to power an incandescent light bulb. For decades, the best neuroscientists could do was use electroencephalography, or EEG, to detect the signals that characterized different stages of sleep, say, or the in-brain power surges brought about by epileptic seizures. And that wasn’t easy. They had to shave people’s heads, put them in a room far from any other sources of electricity and use conductive gel to stick several dozen electrodes to the skin atop their skulls. Then, in 2007, Philip Low, while working on his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego, invented the Sleep Parametric EEG Automated Recognition System algorithm. SPEARS gave Low the ability to create a cluster map of brain activity using only the information gleaned from one electrode—in industry terms, a “single-channel EEG.” Before Low, EEG devices that took input from just a few channels weren’t considered good for much; to get really useful data, pre-SPEARS, you had to cover someone’s skull with electrodes, impeding most everyday activity. About the only

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use of single-channel EEG pre-SPEARS was in the toy market, where in 2007 the Silicon Valley– based brain-computer interface technology company NeuroSky released The Adventures of NeuroBoy, a simple video game in which players could use a low-cost single-channel EEG headset to control a telekinetic protagonist. Though relatively affordable ($199), the NeuroBoy headset couldn’t mimic the precision of Low’s algorithm. Yet it was ground-breaking for another reason; it was the first consumer EEG product to use “dry electrodes”—ones that could read signals sans conductive gel. Dry electrodes soon proved of interest to the medical community. Because they didn’t require gel, which tended to dry or melt after a few hours (or even less time if the wearer was engaged in strenuous activity), they could stay applied indefinitely. Better yet, without the gel, users simply had to make sure the conductive part of the electrode was touching skin. These advances in EEG technology stoked the ambitions of entrepreneurs like Tan Le, CEO of Emotiv Systems, which manufactures EEG rigs meant for consumers. Emotiv’s older, more complicated setups were aimed at a hardcore hobbyist niche market. With new technologies rendering EEG relatively easy to use, Le now hopes to build a Fitbit or Apple Watch for the mind. “Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism…” Le ticks off a litany of neurological disorders, then continues: “Most of these conditions are developmental in

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BY BETSY ISAACSON @Isaacson_Betsy


+ EEG-WHIZ: The

M A R KUS M AT Z E L / U L LST E I N B I L D/G E T T Y

ability to monitor brain activity while subjects move and talk opens up vast possibilities for understanding how the brain works.

nature. The markers probably exist decades before the symptoms manifest themselves. We need more early intervention and early monitoring.” According to Le, the way we do neuroscience nowadays is fundamentally flawed. “For the most part, we only study brains when something goes wrong.” People with supposedly healthy brains almost never have their brains scanned—in part because, until this decade, obtaining readable results from EEG has been time- and labor-intensive. The rise in popularity of wearable health technology, Le says, has “opened up the opportunity for us to monitor, track and learn about the brain and to start to build better models of the brain across a broad spectrum of users,” not just those who are ill. In other words, if enough people start using the Insight (Emotiv’s new EEG rig) and letting Emotiv collect data about their minds, maybe that amassed data could allow neuroscientists to finally know what a healthy brain looks like when it deals with various everyday stimuli.

“BEFORE SOMEONE TAKES A DRUG, WE WANT TO SEE: WHAT DOES THEIR BRAIN LOOK LIKE?”

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That information could allow neuroscientists to better identify “early biomarkers for a variety of neurological disorders,” says Le. Low is on the same page. He founded his EEG-focused company, NeuroVigil, soon after creating the SPEARS algorithm. For years, the company has been working on small-scale projects for high-profile employers; the iBrain, his single-channel EEG device, has been used as part of a communications apparatus for Stephen Hawking and included in NASA’s field kit for astronauts. But now, says Low, it’s time for NeuroVigil to start scaling up: “The senior care community has approached us to massively look at the

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brain activity of seniors before they’re diagnosed with dementia. We’re working with ASHA [American Seniors Housing Association], and we already have a contract with a number of operators to start delivering single-channel EEG to a number of senior centers this year.” The long-term plan is to make the iBrain an everyday device, for everyone. “People have their blood pressures checked as a matter of routine fairly frequently,” Low says. “I think one day the same will be true about the brain, and we will check it more and more frequently until it is continuous.” Low hopes eventually that this will take the trial and error out of how we study the psychological effects of drugs. “Before someone takes a drug, we want to use the iBrain and see:

What does their brain look like? Then when they take the drug, we want to continue monitoring the brain. We want to see the changes the drug makes.” Low’s interest isn’t just scientific. On his 10th birthday, Low saw his father get thrown in jail for using a gun to threaten a banker who had defrauded him. His father was shortly afterward pardoned, on the basis that his behavior was caused by a sleeping pill he had taken, “which was apparently making a lot of people very aggressive,” Low says. As a teenager, Low had been dubious of the claim that the crime could be the sleeping pill’s “fault” and not his father’s—until he started his Ph.D. in computational neurobiology and a member of his thesis committee, J. Christian Gillin (best

+ DOING THE WAVES: Low

MISHA G RAVENO R

says brain monitoring can help physicians dial in prescriptions for individual patients.

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known as the late founder of the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology), cautioned him against running experiments with that very drug. “He said, ‘Don’t use that. It makes people crazy,’” Low recounts. “And I picked up the phone, called my father and apologized.” Some indicators show that it won’t be too long before we have enough data to start to read our minds. Cost, long the sticking point for EEG makers, seems to be dropping sharply. In December 2009, Le, releasing an EEG rig called the Epoc for hobbyists, struggled to keep the cost under $500. But by December 2011, students at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Peshawar, Pakistan, published the specifications for a single-channel EEG- enabled brain-computer interface that lets people with Lou Gehrig’s disease communicate via a mind-controlled text-messaging apparatus for under $12 per device. On the other hand, the success of large-scale projects like those Low and Le envision depends on getting healthy people to wear EEG rigs and share their everyday brains with anonymous scientists. Given that many people are prickly about companies collecting much less personal data— anonymous advertisers scooping information off our phones, for instance—one wonders if the nascent mania over everyday EEG may soon crash headfirst into privacy concerns. After all, it’s one thing to hook up your brain to electrodes and let doctors read the signal when you’re in a controlled setting, another to let scientists you may never see read your EEG day after day. (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, requires doctors to keep patient EEG scans confidential, but consumer EEG devices face no such strictures.) Still, Le has had some success in getting everyday EEG users—at least those who use Emotiv headsets—to share personal details above and beyond what one might expect. Turns out those early adopters already hooked on Emotiv are willing and often eager to share not just EEG readouts but also additional “neurologically relevant data” (age, gender, handedness, educational status, social data, languages spoken and musical skills) that can help contextualize the signal. And that’s crucial because in terms of technology the limiting factor is brain wave literacy. Even the scientists skilled at reading signals generated by EEG done as dozens of electrodes clamped to the skull with

NEW WORLD/BRAIN W A V E S

conductive gel in a controlled laboratory setting can’t necessarily interpret the signals generated by a person who has used an Insight or iBrain in the noisy, messy, untidy real world to perform a load of everyday tasks. For the first time in history, the wonders of technology have allowed us to “hear” the noises our nerves make when they talk to one another. But before we can really read minds, we’re going to need to figure out what those noises mean—what the nerves are saying. And that task has only begun. Le and Low say their companies are capable of matching signal to meaning and prepared to process EEG data at the enormous scale it would require. Of course, says Le, getting users to pitch in is crucial: Those who use Emotiv headsets are asked to “indicate” life events “such as moving house, getting married or

PEOPLE WITH LOU GEHRIG’S DISEASE COMMUNICATE VIA A MIND-CONTROLLED TEXT-MESSAGING APPARATUS.

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divorced or suffering a loss,” as well as physical injuries, especially those that might affect the brain, like “head trauma or mild concussion.” It won’t be just big companies breaking the code; the DIY and academic communities, while lacking Emotiv’s and NeuroVigil’s number-crunching infrastructure, will also be big players here. The same Pakistani team that built the mind-controlled communications device for under $12 has also found a way to amplify EEG so it can be read on a laptop sound card. In other words, if you want to engage in at-home EEG experimentation, all you need is to follow some basic instructions to build your own nonproprietary, startlingly inexpensive and simple EEG equipment. And who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a little something about yourself.

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N E W W O R L D / R E CYCLING

FLINT, CALIFORNIA

A battery recycling plant in L.A. spewed poison into the atmosphere for decades. Now poor Latinos are paying the price THERE IS THE LITTLE girl who had a tumor on her kidney and the boy who had cancer of the brain. People get cancer everywhere, but in southeast Los Angeles County, the latest battleground over lead contamination in the United States, people talk about cancer as if it were a tornado: this house, two houses after that, my mother, my husband, my cousin. Sometimes, all of the above. Children here are born early, already ailing. Amelia Vallejo has six, all born premature. All six have breathing troubles, as do many children in her neighborhood, most of them from working-class Latino families. Vallejo’s first five babies got off relatively easy. Her youngest, Michael, was born with severe developmental delays. He has difficulty hearing and seeing. “My son’s in diapers. He is 5,” Vallejo says with tragic matter-of-factness. We are sitting in her neat living room on South Herbert Avenue. Bright plastic toys stand stacked against the walls. Some of these should be outside in the yard, Vallejo explains apologetically, but her kids don’t play there anymore, not with lead soil readings of more than 1,400 parts per million. “They didn’t care,” Vallejo says. “They were making money.” They are Exide Technologies, one of the world’s largest producers and recyclers of lead-acid car batteries. Until last year, it operated a recycling plant in nearby Vernon, the famously corrupt and polluted municipality that was the setting for the second season of

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HBO’s True Detective. Though state regulators repeatedly warned Exide that it was releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere—not only lead but also arsenic, benzene and 1,3butadiene—the warnings were never especially stern, and so Exide never heeded them until, finally, the Department of Justice shut down the plant last spring. (Exide did not respond to requests for comment for this article.) For many here, that was far too late. Cynthia Harding, the interim director of public health for Los Angeles County, recently wrote that within a 1.75-mile radius of the Exide plant, the “contamination potentially affects 5,000 to 10,000 homes, and represents a continuing risk to tens of thousands who reside or work in the area.” Some soil lead readings suggest that children who play in a front yard here frolic on top of what is essentially a hazardous waste site. Arsenic, benzene and 1,3-butadiene are all known carcinogens; the residents of East Los Angeles and surrounding communities have been ingesting them for decades. The closing of the Exide plant in March 2015 has not brought closure to what longtime Los Angeles radio journalist Warren Olney calls “one of America’s worst cases of environmental pollution.” The similarities to the situation in Flint, Michigan, are both eerie and depressing: poor people of color poisoned by lead as most public officials look on with a dismaying lack of

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BY ALEXANDER NAZARYAN @alexnazaryan


RO B E RT GAU T H I E R / LOS A N G E L ES T I M ES/G E T T Y

PICK YOUR POISON: Res-

idents in East L.A. have had daily exposure to hazardous waste for decades. +

concern. “We are not cute little penguins,” one local activist says in a Los Angeles Times documentary about Exide. “No one’s coming to save us. We need to fight for ourselves.” But there is work here that is beyond the scope of activists. Recently, California Governor Jerry Brown allocated $176 million for the cleanup effort, but that is only about a third of what some think it will take to make sure these communities are clean, or at least cleaner. As for the human costs, they are impossible to quantify. Lately, the fight has been joined by Hilda Solis, a former U.S. secretary of labor who became a Los Angeles County supervisor in 2014, representing a district that is 72 percent Hispanic and where the average per capita income is $18,000.

Solis has allocated $2 million in county funds to create three-person teams that can quickly test properties for lead; she was also responsible, in part, for making sure that the plaints of her constituents were heard in Sacramento. I toured the district with Solis on an achingly perfect Southern California afternoon that renders all thought of toxins obscene. We visited Nicolasa Ramirez, who lives in a squat blue

CHILDREN WHO PLAY IN FRONT YARDS FROLIC ON TOP OF WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY A HAZARDOUS WASTE SITE.

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house in Commerce, with a front yard that functions as an herb garden. There are plantings in her backyard too, as is common in the neighborhood. Ramirez knows, though, that she cannot eat the produce from her garden: The soil has been tested at more than 1,000 parts per million for lead. The safe limit in California is 80 parts per million. Her granddaughter, Lali, had the tumor on her kidney: A picture she drew hangs in the house’s front window, while a Jesus statue looks over the tainted garden. Lali recovered, but many children have not. The comparison to Flint is irresistible, but Solis thinks her district differs in a critical respect. “It’s worse,” she says.

ARSENIC AND OLD GLORY: The Exide

plant in Vernon was the root of what a local journalist calls “one of America’s worst cases of environmental pollution.” +

THE ARMPIT OF LOS ANGELES

NEWSWEEK

“WE ARE NOT CUTE LITTLE PENGUINS. NO ONE’S COMING TO SAVE US.” ators to clean it up,” according to public radio station KPCC. The agency “‘was clearly aware’ that the storm water drain lines were bringing lead particulates to the pond and that the lines were reportedly ‘perforated’ so that they could leak into the soil on purpose.” Over the next decade, the plant continued to operate with the same disregard for public safety, although local activists were making it ever harder to do so with impunity. So were regulators, finally. A 2013 analysis of air quality found that Exide was

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RO B E RT GAU T H I E R / LOS A N G E L ES T I M ES/G E T T Y

If you visit the website of the Association of Battery Recyclers, you might think you’ve stumbled upon the gentlest industry since kitten husbandry. Above the image of a road winding through a forested mountain landscape, the industry group touts its 99 percent recycle rate in North America, which leads to the reclamation of 150 million batteries annually, thus helping “make America cleaner and stronger.” Battery recycling is a messy enterprise whose main purpose is not altruism but the recovery of the valuable lead inside. Because of U.S. regulations, many recyclers have moved their operations to Mexico, sometimes shipping batteries there illegally. A McClatchy Newspapers investigation in 2013 found that whereas the United States had 154 battery smelters four decades ago, the number had fallen to 14. Exide makes and recycles batteries in the United States, though many communities have come to resist its presence. In addition to the DOJforced closure in Vernon, it also recently shuttered a plant in Frisco, Texas. An investigation of Exide’s plants across the nation by the Los Angeles Times found that the company “has left a trail of pollution and health worries across the country” and that, between 2010 and 2013, “seven Exide operations have been linked to ambient airborne lead levels that posed a health risk.” Exide came to Los Angeles in 2000, inheriting the Vernon plant through its acquisition of GNB Technologies. Lead smelting had started at the site in 1922; in 1949, filters there captured 128 tons of lead emissions. It 1981, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control granted the plant a temporary permit under which it continued to operate. In 1999, the DTSC “found lead at levels of 40 percent in the sediment at the bottom of the storm water retention pond and required the Vernon plant’s oper-


potentially elevating the cancer risk for 110,000 Angelenos; later that same year, 252,000 people were estimated to be facing “chronic hazards” from the plant. There was a temporary closure of the plant in 2013, then the permanent one, ordered by the DOJ, last year. “After more than nine decades of ongoing lead contamination in the City of Vernon, neighborhoods can now start to breathe easier,” said acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Stephanie Yonekura in a statement. Exide was ordered to pay $50 million in cleanup costs. “They pollute and leave,” says Monsignor John Moretta of Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights who has been one of the central organizers in the fight against Exide. Moretta has few illusions about his neighborhood, whose residential streets taper off into tracts of warehouses and factories: “the armpit of L.A.,” he lovingly calls it. A large man with a wry sense of humor, he has spent years trying to hold Exide accountable. This has tested his faith, this wanton disregard of public health. “There’s nothing like it,” he says, “in the history of California.”

NEW WORLD/RECYCL I N G

getting but not dark enough to get the attention Flint, Michigan, is getting,” one local activist complained at a public hearing. Similarly, the agency that could have halted Exide’s dumping, the DTSC, seemed to have little interest in taking punitive action. A Los Angeles Times investigation conducted by reporter Tony Barboza found that “over more than 15 years, Exide paid $869,000 in penalties. Most were assessed in the last two years,” as health studies began to make the hazards of lead smelting ever more clear. A spokesman for the DTSC described the state’s response in Vernon as “aggressive.” INDUSTRY’S NOXIOUS WAKE

I drove with Solis and her staff from Boyle Heights to the Exide plant in Vernon. The ride from rows of small, neat suburban homes to vast industrial tracts is distressingly short. Here is the converse of the Los Angeles that everyone knows: the beaches of Malibu, the gated villas of the Hollywood Hills. Here are the infernal furnaces of the city. Close by are several elementary schools. People here simply accept that they must live in industry’s noxious wake; it’s the price they pay for being poor. We walked the perimeter of the plant, trying to peer through an opening in the fencing. On the other side was a lagoon of what appeared to be wastewater. At the entrance to the facility, I took some pictures while an unhappy guard looked on. Really, though, there was nothing to see: The best poisons work under the cloak of invisibility. The site is contaminated from years of unsafe operation; Exide wants to restart its kettles to reclaim some of the lead from the waste that remains, but locals find the notion of letting the plant run again preposterous. There are probably not many practicing epidemiologists among the residents of East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and other nearby communities, but plenty of amateur ones who have learned about cancer clusters, bioaccumulation and case-controlled studies. I asked Moretta when he will know that the Exide crisis is over. “When you walk down the street,” he says, “you see kids playing in the yard, and you don’t worry about it.”

CANCER-CAUSING BOOKS

In late October, an old oil well being used for gas storage in the upper-class San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch, on the hilly northern edge of Los Angeles County, ruptured. The ensuing leak of methane became the worst in American history and, according to some, the worst environmental disaster in the United States since the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The blown well, which was capped in late February, caused immense damage to the environment, but methane is not, as far as anybody knows, a toxic gas. Nobody got cancer. Nobody died. On January 31, a Los Angeles Times editorial headlined “Two Disasters, Two Responses” lambasted Governor Brown for his neglect of the Exide disaster, which it contrasted to his handling of the methane leak in the Valley. “It’s time to treat East L.A.,” the editorial board told the governor, “with the same urgency he has shown at Porter Ranch.” People here make no attempts to disguise their bitterness on this discrepancy. Moretta jokes to me that he is going to rebrand his neighborhood “Boyle Heights Ranch” in hopes of attracting more media interest. The imbalance is indeed striking: While The New York Times has published nearly a dozen articles about Porter Ranch in the last several months, it has never covered what Exide has done in Vernon. “We’re too dark to get the attention Porter Ranch is NEWSWEEK

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+ A WHOLE NEW WORLD: The Oculus

Rift, now available to consumers, may be the first device in a long time to resonate with hardcore gamers and their mothers simultaneously.

NEWSWEEK

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DOWNTIME

DINING

GAMING

BOOKS

TELEVISION

MOVIES

STYLE

VERY, VR COOL

OCULUS V R

Oculus Rift makes you Columbus, discovering a brave new world loaded with lots of fun things to blow up

BY GRANT BURNINGHAM @granteb

OCULUS RIFT, the device that kicked off the current rush on virtual reality, was invented in 2011, when 18-year-old Palmer Luckey, working in his parents’ garage, made a prototype. It’s been five years since then, plenty of time to develop consumer-friendly VR software like video games, let competition churn up tweaks and watch the hype build and build. Last summer, Luckey was on the cover of Time magazine, barefoot and floating, tethered to the earth only by the umbilical cord of his Oculus. It was an evocative image for a technology yet to be birthed. But now it’s here. Oculus came to homes on March 28, chased just days later, on April 5, by the HTC Vive, another consumer VR device. And then there’s Sony’s VR headset, which will work with the PlayStation and is expected to arrive in October. After playing half a dozen games built for the Oculus at the Game Developers Conference last month in San Francisco, I can report that the

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technology is stunning, and there is no question that hardcore gamers—the type who spend thousands of dollars on their PC setups and worry about things like frame rates—are going to be wowed (9,500 of them have already shelled out for Oculus’s Kickstarter). But what about the hoi polloi? Will the casual gamers and the console users bite? Is the gameplay on the new VR sets good enough to create a gaming revolution as big as the original Nintendo or the DVD player? If Oculus or its VR competitors really want to start an entertainment revolution, they’ll have to do more than impress those who have mastered Call of Duty. They’ll have to find a place in your family’s living room. And it seems as if Oculus has put a lot of thought into just that. “Our mission is to make VR accessible to everyone— casual gamers included,” says Jason Rubin, head of studios at Oculus. “As VR becomes more mainstream, we can’t wait to see the breadth of experiences that developers create for both

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hardcore gamers and casual VR fans.” Consoles and PC games are billion-dollar enterprises, and there’s even more to be made from an elusive gaming demographic, the casual players who pick up a game for 10 or 15 minutes. Released in 2006, the Nintendo Wii was an instantly fun console with intuitive controls that worked around cartoonishly simple games; it wound up selling more than 101 million units, almost twice what PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One have sold—combined. Nintendo couldn’t hold on to its newfound market advantage, however. The Wii’s downturn in sales coincided with the rise of smartphone games; Candy Crush soon replaced Wii Sports for people who play such games only casually. The first set of VR games is a huge upgrade over existing game technologies, not just for the nerds but for casual gamers as well. There was even a moment while I was in a VR game that made the hair on my arms stand up and reached that rare pinnacle in commercial entertainment: true art. And yes, I even fell out of my chair once. The most jarring part of playing on an Oculus is the strange sensation of navigating two spaces at once. You put on a helmet and start hearing and moving in a very convincing new world, but you’re still hearing voices from the old one. Maybe this is the way someone who didn’t grow up with television felt when flipping one on for the first time. It’s a sensation that makes the games feel more tangible and engaging than anything else I’ve ever played, but it also makes them more taxing. I often required a few minutes of reflection after diving into a virtual world before I was ready to jump, like Dr. Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap, into the next. Wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt, baggy cargo pants and sandals, and sporting a convincingly mussed haircut, Oculus’s inventor wandered between game demos at the conference. Asked about the whiplash from jumping in and out of worlds, Luckey tells Newsweek he’s gotten used to it. And I’m sure he has. The California native says he’s played every one of the 40-plus games that will launch in the coming months for the Oculus Rift. The Oculus will ship with two games, the intense spaceship simulator Eve: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale, an enjoyable Super Mario Bros. clone that both showcases what Oculus can do and makes it clear that the company sees a future beyond high-definition shooters and racing games. Although your first reaction to VR might be hoping that you can explore vast new worlds, Lucky’s Tale is more like an intricately detailed train set on a table. Cool, yes, but it’s not quite Johnny Mnemonic head-hacking. NEWSWEEK

+ GET LUCKY: In the

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new game Lucky’s Tale, launching for Oculus Rift, players work with the main character to solve Mario Bros.-type obstacles, resulting in a character-player intimacy never before available in gaming.

P L AY F U L

But what Lucky shows is that the headset gives players an intimacy with their characters that can’t be matched on a 2-D TV. Lucky’s developer Paul Bettner, the CEO of Playful Corp., says he was trying to create a “Calvin and Hobbes” relationship between player and character. Leaning in close to Lucky, a red fox with a blue cape, you can see his eyes follow you—he even jumps back if you get too close. You don’t feel like Lucky’s pilot as much as his teammate, and that leaves a lot of room to connect emotionally with the little guy. One of the hottest types of games for casual players, especially on phones, is the “tower defense” game. They involve a line of bad guys who rush your base. You have to build defenses to stop them and blow them up. The most popular series in this genre is Plants vs. Zombies, a huge hit with casual gamers. Defense Grid 2 is a more complicated (and much prettier) tower defense game, and its developer, Hidden Path Entertainment, is porting the title to Oculus. With Defense Grid 2, the simple mechanics and repetition that make tower games so easy to start and so hard to quit on your smartphone are all in play, but the controls are much different—and far superior. Your cursor is controlled with your vision. I worried that I would have to swing my head wildly to move in the world, but the controls proved as subtle as moving your focus around a room in real life. Defense Grid 2’s action takes place in a glorified


Warhammer 40,000 world, with floating space platforms and laser turrets. As with Lucky, this game works by letting you feel as if you’re watching a great tabletop game unfold. You can lean in and look at the gorgeous details of space stations, where every grate covers a moving part and Easter eggs hide underneath spaceship launch tubes. It’s a casual game made fascinating with nearly endless 3-D detail. Defense Grid 2 will cost $30 and will be available with the Oculus Rift’s launch. The Oculus can make you sick fast if a game doesn’t work hard to keep you from feeling swung around. The developers of I Expect You to Die, a puzzle adventure where you have to guide a super spy out of deadly situations, slow the visual swings by often anchoring their spy to one spot, like the seat of a car loaded in the back of a freight plane that’s filling with poison gas. It’s limiting, but it works. The Oculus has the chance to win over converts just with its visuals. Nowhere is that more apparent than in The Climb, a first-of-its-kind rock-climbing simulator by Crytek, a gaming studio best known for first-person shooters and its 3-D engine, which creates gorgeous open spaces. In making its first move to VR something beautiful and approachably nonviolent, Crytek seems to be going for a broad, family-friendly audience. In The Climb, players stick to a wall, pause to chalk their hands and swing like monkeys, hoping to hold that edge just a second longer. Here the first-person view works to make a game that’s as thrilling as it is beautiful. One level is loosely based on Halong Bay in Vietnam, and another on the Alps. Falling is spooky, even if you’re expecting it. And level successes are rewarded with stunning views of scenery so real you’ll find yourself trying to stay away from the edge. The Climb is due out in April and will cost $50, offering four and a half to five hours of playtime. I asked Elijah Freeman, a Crytek executive producer, if other Crytek titles are coming to VR, like perhaps the Crysis first-person shooter series or the giant sandbox Far Cry games. “I certainly hope so,” he says. Then came the one moment I experienced that felt like art: when I donned the Oculus helmet one last time and jumped into the world of Fantastic Contraption. The game uses some of the simple, rounded graphics that made many of the Wii games work. Players find themselves on an island under a robin’s egg blue sky. Look up toward the sun and you’ll see the silhouettes of fish, giving it a slight dreamlike feel and making it a little less clear where you are exactly. At your side is a pile of sticks, balloons and engines. Your goal is to make a contraption that NEWSWEEK

DOWNTIME/GAMI N G

will move a ball from one side of the island to the other—around, under and over a series of increasingly complicated obstacles. Before you don the VR device, you’ll have to move your living room’s coffee table, because you’re going to need some real-world space. To play Fantastic Contraption, you have to crouch and stretch in real life so you can make machines in the virtual world. It’s a perfectly executed game you can imagine playing with your grandparents or your preschooler. What gave me tingles, though, was how tactile the cartoonish world felt. In Fantastic Contraption, the player can move every object, and that makes it feel like a real place. If you want to try to cheat and throw the ball instead of building a machine to move it, you

THERE WAS A MOMENT I EXPERIENCED THAT FELT LIKE ART. can try. It just won’t go far. In one of the most mind-bending parts of the game, you pick up a virtual helmet and put it on—instantly, you’re transported to the “save” room, a virtual space inside of a virtual space. When you’re done, you remove the virtual helmet and go back to the island, with a real-life helmet still on your head. Lindsay Jorgensen, a designer who worked on the game, says it works because the team labored to “never say ‘no’ to the player.” The result feels as if you’ve landed in your childhood sandbox— but with superpowers. Fantastic Contraption is one of three games shipping with the HTC Vive on April 5. It will have to wait for the Oculus Touch controller for its other release. It was a thrilling reminder of not just what independent games can do for big systems but also of the amazing worlds VR can open up. Oculus and its competitors will certainly change games, but their first offerings show they’re going to be more than a Formula 1 car for hardcore gamers. They’re going to win over Mom too.

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DOWNTIME/BOOKS

MASS CONSUMPTION

Padma Lakshmi’s revealing memoir shows that she has both bark and bite IN THE YEARS before Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidyanathan, the daughter of an immigrant nurse from Chennai, India, became Padma Lakshmi, the glamorous and unflappable Top Chef host who tells cook-contestants to please pack their knives and go, she was an unsuccessful actress trying to make a career in Los Angeles. Her only respite during those days of casting calls, auditions and many rejections were the dinner parties she threw, where fellow industry stragglers would gather in her apartment to snack on coconut chicken and chickpea tapas. Word of the “model who ate and cooked”—and the legendary dinner parties she threw—reached Miramax studio head Harvey Weinstein, and soon Lakshmi’s acting aspirations gave way to an entirely different career, as a TV personality. Lakshmi is neither a nutritionist nor a trained chef, but over the past 17 years—as the author of cookbooks and the straight-faced but warm host of Bravo’s Top Chef—she’s garnered enough culinary cred that when she tells you the proportion of shrimp to put in your paella, you’re inclined to listen. Her love of food and her savvy hustling helped her create a meaningful career in the crowded celebrity-chef industry. The “why” of Lakshmi’s success isn’t hard to decipher: She’s beautiful, smart and a serious multitasker. But the questions of how—how her career actually came about, how she survived becoming a gossip column target, how she parlayed a love of food into a culinary career—have always been hard to answer. In her new memoir,

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Love, Loss, and What We Ate, Lakshmi finally gets candid about her unorthodox life—her upbringing in Chennai, a car accident at 14 that left a 7-inch scar on her arm, a debilitating bout with endometriosis and her exhausting marriage to novelist Salman Rushdie—while revisiting the dishes that helped her establish a place in the industry and get through dark times. A confessional tell-all was not the book she originally set out to write. After nearly two decades, Lakshmi says, she’d had enough of trying to come up with pithy sound bites about how she “stayed so thin” despite her culinary-adjacent career. “It actually started out as a book on healthy living and healthy eating, using the details of my own life to illustrate certain philosophies that I had about food,” Lakshmi tells Newsweek at her Manhattan apartment on a warm March afternoon. “And I thought, Rather than just sit and pontificate because I’m on TV, give real-life examples.” She began to look back at what different dishes had meant to her during the most trying times of her life, especially the ones that unfolded in the public eye. “I just kept going further and further into the personal stories I was excavating,” she says of her book. “I wound up writing about something much deeper, about something that feeds me.” Sometimes that means the things that actually fed her. There are recipes at the end of each chapter, personal ones like the chili cheese toast of her childhood, the kumquat chutney she made in bulk after her marriage to Rushdie disintegrated, the

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BY IVA DIXIT @ivadixit


DAV I D M O I R / B RAVO/ N B CU/G E T T Y

+ CUTTING BOARD:

Once dismissed as a “semi-celebrated hustler,” Lakshmi has steadily built her career and her self-confidence.

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+ KITCHEN SYNCH:

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DAV I D M O I R / B RAVO/ N B CU/G E T T Y

And the book gets serious in a hurry, addressing her long-speculated-about marriage to the Booker Prize-winning Rushdie on the first page. The celebrated, middle-aged intellectual smitten with a much-younger model (with a cookbook to her name) launched a thousand salivating tabloid headlines over the eight years they were together—most of which lashed her. One newspaper blared that “something about Padma Lakshmi makes it hard to take her seriously.” Another published her (incorrect) bra size. (“They could’ve just looked up my measurements on my agency’s website,” she deadpans.) A New York Times profile anointed her a “semi-celebrated hustler.” While their split was replete with all the usual he-said-she-said recriminations, theirs were published copiously in the New York Post. Lakshmi says that years of perspective have siphoned away any bitterness over that relationship. She speaks respectfully of Rushdie, though there is one droll gibe in her description of their first meeting in her new book. An obviously smitten Rushdie attempted to engage her in conversation with a groan-worthy opening line, declaring his interest in “diaspora stories,” how much hers had fascinated him and would she perhaps be interested in telling him more. She wondered if he wasn’t some distant uncle. “I sincerely thought, This must be a family friend.

egg-in-a-hole she ate just before going into labor. It’s inconsistent as a cookbook, but the dishes should be read more as a refrain for the memoir’s theme: It’s not lost on Lakshmi that she has food to thank for her success. It’s not her first foray into writing. Lakshmi’s literary career began in 2001, when Vogue editor Anna Wintour asked her to write about the story behind her scar. After that, a chance remark to an editor about being raised by a feminist mother led to a series of columns for Harper’s Bazaar and a syndicated column for The New York Times. She published her first book in 1999—Easy Exotic: A Model’s Low-Fat Recipes From Around the World—which was, true to its (somewhat Orientalist-baiting) title, a collection of simple-enough recipes drawn from Lakshmi’s experiences as a model shuttling between Italy, New York and Los Angeles. Since then, she’s published another cookbook, hosted 13 seasons of Top Chef (for which she’s earned an Emmy nomination), guest-starred on 30 Rock and been on the cover of Vogue India. Which raises an uncomfortable question: Does a woman so visible, so often in the tabs, really need a memoir? “If I’m being perfectly honest, I wanted to be considered a serious writer,” she says of her reason for doing this book. “I don’t want to be considered the pretty woman on TV who tells you how she stays thin.”

As the host of Top Chef since it debuted in 2006, Lakshmi has told many chefs that it’s time to pack up their knives and go home.


Because there’s no way Salman Rushdie could know that much about my life.” Lakshmi’s new book has plenty of anecdotes from their eight-year relationship, recalling the good times as well as the strange pitfalls of being married to a highly celebrated novelist. She remembers rolling her eyes when Rushdie declared himself “Nobelisable” after losing out on the Nobel Prize for a second time. Another time, they argued over the merits of his Newsweek cover versus hers. “That’s great, I’m happy for you” was Rushdie’s chilly response when Lakshmi got her own cover, she writes. “The only time Newsweek put me on their cover was when someone was trying to put a bullet in my head,” he said, a reference to the 1989 death fatwa ordered by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini over the publication of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses. Lakshmi writes in her book that, even as a well-read and well-traveled woman, she often felt out of place and intimidated in Rushdie’s social circles. But once she’d gotten past being starstruck and lovestruck, she became less inclined to play the role of his rapt audience. “Both of us tried our best. Whatever Salman’s faults, he did love me,” she says. “We failed each other, but I couldn’t fail myself.” She says it was his insensitivity regarding the pain caused by her endometriosis that convinced her they had to split. She’d learned to live with extreme chronic pain all her life, suffering from bloating and lower back pain so intense it would incapacitate her for days and leave her unable to book modeling jobs or even move. Endless visits to the doctor ended in misdiagnoses that did nothing to abate the pain. Sex became an extremely painful ordeal, and that led to further frustration in an already tense marriage. Finally, at 36, she was diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition in which tissue similar to that found in the uterus grows in other parts of the body such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes. It can cause severe pelvic pain and infertility. According to the National Institutes of Health, at least 5 million women in the United States have endometriosis, yet it remains woefully underdiagnosed. Studies show that the period from when the symptoms start showing to the final diagnosis takes anywhere from six to 10 years. In Lakshmi’s case, it took 23 years of being sent home with medicines that did nothing and dealing with doctors who cut away at her reproductive system to no avail. A conversa-

DOWNTIME/BOOKS

tion with a fellow patient, a teenager, led her to finally realize that if anyone was going to speak up about it, it would have to be her. “If I had erectile dysfunction or a prostate problem,” she says, echoing an argument used frequently by women’s health advocates, “there would be 14 drugs and all sorts of research available!” With the help of Dr. Tamer Seckin, who correctly diagnosed and treated her, she founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America. Since then, she has become a vocal crusader, speaking up about her illness before senators and students. “I was conditioned to think I have to suck it up and that it’s my lot in life,” she says. “It’s not.” Two days after her conversation with Newsweek, she attended a briefing in Washington, D.C., to talk to a roomful of senators, where she opened with the line “I’m going to be talking about my vagina, but you’ll make it out of here—it will be OK.” With the publication of Love, Loss, and What We Ate, Lakshmi’s takeover of the headlines

“I WOUND UP WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING MUCH DEEPER, ABOUT SOMETHING THAT FEEDS ME.”

NEWSWEEK

begins once again. Stories will probably be written to test if her book’s recipe for “Cranberry Drano” really helps keep that Top Chef weight off, and tabloids will titter over that time Rushdie called her a “bad investment.” But this time, she won’t have to depend on those headlines to tell her story. And for those who want to know about Padma Lakshmi—the immigrant living in a cramped studio apartment with her mother, the teenager who named herself Angelique to hide her ethnicity in high school, the actress who was once too brown and too past her prime to land a Hollywood agent— they can get the dish directly from her.

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DO W N T I M E / S P ORTS

CHALK AND AWE

AT LAST WEEK’S women’s Final Four in Indianapolis, the coaches drawing up the X’s and O’s on the grease board had just XY chromosomes. For the first time since women’s basketball began staging national championships 44 years ago, all four coaches in the semifinals were men. As 1995 Final Four most outstanding player and current ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo hashtagged in a tweet before those contests, #YouveGotMale. As Geno Auriemma’s Connecticut Huskies chased their 11th national title (in 11 tries), the UConn legend was joined in Indy by Scott Rueck of Oregon State, Mike Neighbors of Washington and Quentin Hillsman of Syracuse. “It doesn’t bother me that four men are bringing their teams to the Final Four,” says former Tennessee guard and ESPN analyst Kara Lawson. “It bothers me that nobody wonders why there aren’t any women coaching men’s college basketball teams.” As landmark moments in women’s athletics go, #YouveGotMale is the antipode of Billie Jean King shaming Bobby Riggs, a clash between Title IX, the federal gender-equity statute enacted the same year as the first women’s national championship (1972), and the Entitled XY chromosomal group. “It’s a disturbing trend,” says Lawson, who played for the most towering female figure in the history of women’s basketball, Pat Summitt, at Tennessee. “Why is it so easy to hand over a woman’s program to a male?” And why is women’s basketball the only popular Division I sport in which the majority of head coaches are female? According to

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FiveThirtyEight, 58.6 percent of the head coaches in Division I women’s basketball last year were female (in women’s soccer, the figure was 26.5 percent). Five years ago, that number was 66 percent. Of course, 0.0 percent of the head coaches in Division I men’s basketball last year, or in any year, were female. “There is a slow and steady

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BY JOHN WALTERS @jdubs88

I CO N S P O RTSW I R E /A P

What’s behind the male coaching creep in women’s college hoops?


BATTLE OF THE X’s AND O’s: Auriem-

ma, who rang up his 900th win at UConn last year, may be fooling some schools into thinking coaching is a man’s job. +

decline in the number of female coaches across not just basketball but all sports,” says Danielle Donehew, the executive director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). “We’re committed to working to reverse the trend.” The irony is that Title IX was installed to provide women more opportunities in athletics, and it has—as participants. Forty-four years of steadily increasing participation should have yielded a dramatically expanded pool of female head coaching candidates, so how come males are encroaching on women’s head coaching jobs at the Division I level like never before? “I don’t like to deal in generalizations,” says Lawson, who played for both men and women during her 13-year WNBA career. “I do like facts, though, and the facts are that an overwhelming majority of Division I athletic directors are male. “What baffles me is how there are no women on men’s coaching staffs” adds Lawson. “In any workplace, how do you expect to have a successful team when you eliminate 50 percent of the possible workforce from consideration without even examining if they’re qualified? As a woman, you have to be overqualified to be considered.” Every trend in women’s college hoops the past quarter-century has been shaped by the Auriemma-Summitt rivalry, and that includes male coaching creep. On January 16, 1995, UConn and Tennessee played for the first time. The topranked Lady Vols were the game’s established vanguard, winners of three of the past eight national titles. The number two Huskies, led by Auriemma, then a brash young male coach with matinee-idol looks, were the upstarts. The game was timed perfectly. Michael Jordan was in the second year of his NBA hiatus. Major League Baseball was in the midst of its longest strike, and the NHL had just ended its three-month lockout. The sports landscape was barren: Auriemma and his charismatic team, led by Lobo, were a welcome splash of color. UConn 77, Tennessee 66 was not the first televised game in women’s college basketball history. It was just the first one that any casual fan could remember. A heated rivalry ensued, fueled by the friction between Auriemma and Summitt. Here were two coaches with almost nothing in common beyond their absurd win percentages (Auriemma, .877, 10 national championships; Summitt, .841, eight national championships). One of them, Auriemma, relished the opportunity to crack wise about his nemesis. “They’re the Evil Empire,” he once said. The animus bred television ratings for ESPN

and a magnificent windfall at UConn, where women’s basketball always plays to sold-out arenas. How many athletic directors coast to coast have tuned in to a UConn game, observed the passionate support of Huskies fans and the exquisite play of the team, and wondered, Is there another Geno Auriemma out there? Meanwhile, as coaches’ salaries increased, thanks in no small part to the runaway success of Connecticut’s and Tennessee’s programs, more male coaches submitted their resumes for women’s team jobs. “As the money got bigger, the jobs became more prized,” says Lawson. “And in turn, those jobs got tougher to keep. There’s a lot more turnover in women’s coaching than there used to be because it’s now supposed to be a revenue sport.” To be fair, there have long been more men seeking careers in coaching than women, and the competition for jobs in men’s basketball is fierce, particularly if you are a man with limited or no college playing experience. Auriemma, whose team brought a 73-game win streak into this year’s Final Four (not to be confused with a previous 90-game win streak) pursued a career in women’s basketball only after realizing how limited the opportunities were for a 5-foot-9inch Italian immigrant who had never gotten off the bench for his college team. A few years ago, the WBCA launched an annual two-day seminar to help head coaches and assis-

IT’S A CLASH BETWEEN TITLE IX AND THE ENTITLED XY CHROMOSOMAL GROUP.

NEWSWEEK

tant coaches become more savvy. “It’s called the Center for Coaching Excellence,” says Donehew. “It’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s about the business side of coaching basketball at this level and how to succeed in that aspect of your job.” The seminar is open to male and female coaches, but it may prove most valuable to young female assistant coaches hoping to one day interview for the job of CEO of a Division I program. Most likely an interview conducted by a male athletic director. “The Center for Coaching Excellence has been around six or seven years and is one of our most popular programs,” says Donehew. “What’s interesting is that the initial funding for it came from a grant from the NCAA—and a donation from Geno Auriemma.”

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REWIND20 APRIL 15, 1996

YEARS

IN “DEATH OF A VILLAGE” BY ROD NORDLAND, ABOUT WAR CRIMES IN BOSNIA AND THEIR AFTERMATH, FOCUSING ON ONE VILLAGE CALLED LEHOVICI

“Zina Hasanovic takes out her most treasured possession, a picture of her husband, Haris. She smiles down at her year-old daughter, Lejla. 'See, it’s Papa. Give him a kiss,' she says. The toddler grabs the photograph, kisses it and proudly says, 'Papa.' Her grandmother weeps in the corner of their one-room home, which is shared by eight refugees from the Muslim village of Lehovici, outside Srebrenica. The women are teaching Lejla to say 'father' and 'uncle' and 'brother,' despite the fact that most of her male relatives are almost certainly dead.”


Newsweek april 15, 2016