After President Obama outlines his strategy Wednesday for winding down the 10-year war in Afghanistan – including the rate of US troop withdrawals – it will be the duty of three men, all new in their roles, to get it done. It will be a tough job, and there is likely to be plenty of second-guessing not only about the strategy itself, but also their handling of it, from Congress, pundits, and ex-military types. Here are some clues into what priorities these three defense leaders might set and a look at the particular skills each brings to the task of managing America’s longest war.
Mexico declared a major victory Tuesday when it arrested the leader of the La Familia drug gang and 50 of its members, calling the group finished after the arrests. But the deadly drug war in Mexico is far from over. Many experts expect the remaining La Familia members to join allied groups and for its territory to be absorbed by other traffickers. Here’s a look at Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels:
The early February ruling by a federal appeals court in California—that Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional—reveals that gay marriage in the US is more than just a black and white issue. Officially, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage, but some individual states do. And plenty more have laws or constitutional amendments that offer limited rights to same-sex couples. Take a look at where states currently stand on gay marriage in the US.
As pro-democracy activists continue to battle the government of Bashar al-Assad, Syria looks likely to remain in the headlines for weeks and months to come. For those hoping to better understand one of the most influential countries in the current Mideast power dynamic, here are six books – a mix of literature, history, and politics – that offer insight.
New York legislators could vote as early as Wednesday to legalize gay marriage in the state. New York would become the sixth state (plus Washington, D.C.) to permit gay marriage, and the third to approve it via a legislative bill and not a court decision. With gay marriage in California in legal limbo, it would also become the most populous state with gay marriage, potentially influencing legislators in other states, such as Maryland and Rhode Island. As a gay marriage vote inches closer in New York, here’s a list six things that would – and wouldn’t – happen should the bill pass.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America?
Jon Meade Huntsman Jr. wants his boss's job. President Obama’s former China ambassador declared his candidacy for the presidency on June 21. Dubbed “the Republican Democrats fear most,” the tall, handsome, cerebral former governor of Utah often draws comparisons to Mr. Obama, the very man he’s struggling to distance himself from. Will that, and his centrist views and Mormon faith, keep him on the margins of the Republican field?
Existing home sales dipped below an annual rate of 5 million in May. Not counting condos and coops, single-family home sales stand at 4.2 million a year, which, if it held for all of 2011, would be lower than the worst of the slump in 2008. But home prices vary dramatically, depending upon where you live in the United States: the average listing for a typical four-bedroom, two bathroom house in the most expensive real-estate market is more than 40 times the average listing in the least expensive city, according to a recent survey of more than 2,300 markets by Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Here are the Top 5 most and least expensive cities. Is yours on the list?
As an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling nears, Congress is getting serious about where to find major spending cuts. Republicans have vowed not to support a potential $2.4 trillion increase to the debt ceiling unless they get an equal amount of budget savings to offset the increase. Finding $2.4 trillion in spending cuts is not easy, but Congress's search is beginning to show some signs of promise. In particular, three programs long protected by big, bipartisan majorities in the past now appear vulnerable.
It seems that new travel guides to Italy are being published every five minutes or so. But for those who want to keep it simple, here are the handful of absolute must-read books – three classic novels included – that no tourist to Italy should ever be without.
By Newsweek/Daily Beast Spokane? Fairmont? The origins of Father’s Day remain disputed – Spokane, Washington, often lays claim to holding the first modern Father’s Day in 1910 – but the first recorded Father’s Day celebration, in Fairmont, West Virginia, was anything but celebratory. More than a thousand children were left fatherless after the Monongah Mine disaster in 1907 killed more than 350 men. In July 1908, Father’s Day was held to honor the fathers lost in the disaster and, indeed, all Fairmont fathers. These days, of course, a new tie or a dinner out are more synonymous with Father’s Day than actually honoring dad. But that got us thinking – which cities do the best job of making dad’s job a little easier, year-round? Mirroring our Best Cities for Moms ranking, we decided to take a look at a few universal factors that can make a dad’s life more pleasant, and maybe more fun. Does a city have good schools? Does it have plenty of opportunities this Father’s Day for Dad to sneak off and play a few holes, or grab a beer and catch a baseball game? Again, almost all of the factors we looked at could apply to either Mom or Dad—but this month it’s Dad’s turn to take a break. IN PICTURES: Fathers around the world To compile the rankings, we started with the 100 biggest cities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. We then looked five factors, equally weighted, to tell us about the quality of life for resident fathers, using the most recent available data: Dads-per-capita: The percentage of fathers in each city with one or more children under 18 years old, according to the Census. Educational quality: The overall caliber of public schools in each city based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best. Scores are from Great Schools, which ranks schools based on standardized test performance. Quality time with kids: Sure there are lots of things Dad can do with the kids, but we decided to look at a ubiquitous American classic, played in big cities and small towns across the country: little league (specifically, the number of little leagues-per-dad), with data from Citysearch. Cardiologists: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men age 25-54, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Dad’s health, we decided to look at the number of cardiologists-per-dad, with data from HealthGrades. HealthGrades doctors must be affiliated with a high-quality hospital, free of state sanctions, disciplinary actions, malpractice judgments, and monetary settlements in the last five years, and be board certified in his/her practice specialty. Father’s Day fun: Again, we used Citysearch to find the number of public golf courses and sports bars-per-dad in each city. Do you live in a father-friendly city? Read on to find out.
Father's Day gifts may generate a little more boost to the economy this year. Americans will spend an average $106.49, slightly according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That would be the largest amount in at least eight years. Sure, you can always buy a power tool. In these tough times, however, dads might appreciate something that's equal parts flair and frugal. Here are five unusual Father’s Day gifts for less than $25, which could make June 19 especially memorable.
Passions are high. Crowds are big. Alcohol is consumed. That can be the toxic mix that sparks rioting at or after big sporting events – a phenomenon that can feed on itself by drawing in those who are at first bystanders, experts say. The history of fans turning rabid is a long one, with a new chapter added Wednesday night in Vancouver, where street riots erupted toward the end of pro hockey’s Stanley Cup final. No deaths were reported, but more than 100 people were injured, according to the Toronto Sun. Here are five notable riots linked to sporting events through history.
Countries ban all kinds of things, including clothing and accessories. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been in the headlines for unusual bans in the past, and its morality watchdogs have struck again, this time against necklaces. Below, some of the world’s strangest fashion bans:
TrustLaw, an organization that provides legal aid and information on women's rights, set out to determine which countries were the most dangerous for women. By polling more than 200 international gender experts on general perception of danger and six other issues – health threats, discrimination, cultural and religious norms, sexual violence, nonsexual violence, and trafficking – TrustLaw determined that women were at the most risk in the following five countries. (See full report here)
Experimenting with money – spending and managing it – is a college freedom that can quickly get out of hand. I should know; I graduated recently and my college financial habits over those four years had me drowning in debt after graduation. With unemployment high and an average debt load of more than $29,000, the Class of 2011 needs to be especially savvy about money as it moves into the working world. Here are five big financial mistakes 20-somethings often make – and how to avoid them.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America?
This week Italy became the most recent country to sideline nuclear power in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis. Nuclear fears are prompting countries to attempt to decrease their reliance on nuclear power.
With her announcement Monday that she is entering the presidential race, Michele Bachmann has given the tea party a candidate to call its own. Her conservative views and flame-throwing style have already attracted tangible support from evangelicals and the anti-Washington crowd. But is she capable of running a campaign that can withstand the rigors and scrutiny of the presidential process?
Looking for a good book for a Father's Day gift? Here are a handful of recommendations that run the gamut from quality nonfiction to fascinating history to page-turning thrillers.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was swept into office for a third term Sunday when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won 50 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections. He has been credited with presiding over an economic growth spurt and strengthening Turkey’s role on the world stage. But some Turks say the AKP has become increasingly authoritarian, compromising civil liberties. Who is Erdogan, and what are his policies?
The summer driving season is here, again – and so are high gas prices, again. While you won’t be able to control gas prices, there are a few simple things you can do to control your car’s fuel efficiency. The team of mechanics at AutoMD.com has put together a list of six things almost anyone can do to stretch those gas dollars:
For those hoping that the economy is merely going through a “soft patch” right now, the weight of evidence suggests something more serious. Two years after the Great Recession ended, the economic expansion has slowed to an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 versus 3.1 percent in the final quarter of 2010. Why is the rebound so tepid? Here are three key indicators, which historically help boost recoveries, but stand in the way this time:
The modest recovery in the US economy since 2009 has been marked by tepid job creation – a trend that needs to change if the nation is to return to the kind of low unemployment rates that prevailed before the recession. But how to do that? In one of the most detailed efforts the address that question, the McKinsey Global Institute put out a set of recommendations on how to create 21 million new jobs by 2020, bringing unemployment down to 5 percent. Here's a look at the institute's core proposals:
Syrian protesters have so far been unable to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in large part because physical repression has served as a powerful deterrent against their goals. The risk of death, torture, or imprisonment for life can shake even the most resolute, courageous, and determined demonstrator. Yet physical repression is not the only reason why the protesters have suffered serious setbacks. Middle East expert Bilal Y. Saab of The University of Maryland gives us seven other factors that explain why things might get worse before they get better for the protesters in Syria.