Those who said that "winds of change" were blowing through the Middle East were right. The past two months have seen a series of stunning political shifts that began with Tunisians' ousting of their former president in mid-January. Tunis and Cairo's cries, first of first anger and then of jubilation, have been beamed into living rooms across the region and are now reverberating along the North African coast, through the Gulf, and up into the Levant. Here is a look at where those "winds of change" are taking us. (Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story that originally ran on Feb. 2 and will be continually updated.)
President Obama's proposed $3.7 trillion dollar federal government budget works some economic magic, from disappearing programs to mystery funding sources. Here’s a look at five key head-scratchers in the 2012 budget:
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Oh, those amazing canines on display at the Westminster Dog Show! They're gorgeous and we all love to eye them, everything from the Affenpinscher to the Xoloitzcuinti. But for some beautiful true stories about the hearts of dogs – and the way that they star in our everyday lives – try one or all of the following books.
Financial aid dwindling. Rising tuition. College debt over $20,000. Financing a college education can be as hard as paying off a McMansion on an adjustable-rate mortgage. So why is Zac Bissonnette smiling? The senior art-history major at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is set to graduate debt-free. "The great thing about graduating debt-free is that you have tremendous flexibility in terms of your postgraduation plans," says Mr. Bissonnette, author of "Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships or Mooching Off My Parents." "You don't have to rush out and take the highest-paying job to make your sacrifices to the almighty church of Sallie Mae." Here are six ways you, too, can trim or eliminate college debt:
Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia's richest men – and the owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team – has announced that he will challenge Vladimir Putin in the March 2012 presidential elections. His move to throw his hat in the ring has thrown the spotlight once again on Russia's billionaires. A record number of billionaires now call Russia home – 114 of them, according to an annual list of the 500 richest Russians published in February by the Moscow-based Finans magazine. The number of billionaires is up from a mere 77 in 2009. To make this year's list, a Russian tycoon had to be worth at least $160 million. The assets of the top 10 grew last year by a whopping 30 percent to a combined worth of $182 billion. The bonanza has yet to reach Russia's struggling middle class; average incomes rose a paltry 4 percent last year, according to the state statistics agency Rostat. To be a former associate of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin helps, apparently. According to the magazine, Arkady Rotenberg, who did judo training with a teenaged Mr. Putin, jumped 17 places to become Russia's 63rd richest person, worth $1.75 billion. Two neighbors from Putin's summer home community near St. Petersburg also shot through the ranks this year to become the 115th and 184th richest persons. Here are the top five:
It's official. On Feb. 14, China was recognized as the world's second-largest economy after the United States. Japan released its 2010 economic figures, announcing that its full-year GDP was $5.47 trillion – about 7 percent smaller than China's. But read between the lines and look beyond the top three rankings. You find that Americans are already convinced that the US has fallen behind China, that Japanese are not necessarily dismayed at the news that they've fallen to No. 3, and that other nations are showing notable economic changes.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and those “sexiest cars” lists are rolling in. Silly? A little, but it’s too much fun not to play along. We looked at 2011 cars that were attainable (sorry, Dr. Porsche, Jaguar, Tesla), not overly obvious (Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, BMW 3-series), and sporting a noticeably new look. We like the Volvo C30, but it didn’t much improve a reliably pretty fleet. I haven’t driven all these vehicles, but over several years of test-driving I did race through several of these cars’ predecessors. You can still see the skid marks. Here, in random order, are my seven hot cars for Valentine’s Day 2011:
It seems Valentine's Day, when 10 percent of all marriage proposals take place, is one of the few constants in the institution of marriage. Fifty years ago, marriage was between a man and a woman barely into their twenties, of the same race and social class, till death did them part. But marriage today is wildly different. In increasing numbers, Americans no longer feel the need to marry to have sex, have a baby, or even to have financial stability. In short, Americans are redefining what marriage is and why they marry. Here are seven marriage trends in the US.
The Westminster Dog Show in New York draws nearly 2,500 entrants a year, with handlers spending as much as $1 million a year on a single dog. Here are the dogs who won Best in Show in each of the past five years.
Chocolates disappear, flowers fade, and jewelry goes out of style. But books remain forever. If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift, one of the following titles is sure to suit.
So far, 10 senators have announced that they will retire at the end of of their terms rather than seek reelection. With the 2012 campaigns not far off, the departures of these seven Democrats (well, one is an Independent, technically) and three Republicans are shaking things up. Here's how.
With Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appearing to be headed out of office, it’s likely he has thought about where he’d head next if he’s forced out of the country as well as the presidency. Ousted world leaders have a history of slipping away to other countries and living a life of relative anonymity and leisure in exile. If President Mubarak joins the ranks of those who fled their countries to live out the rest of their days elsewhere, where will he go? Some of his predecessors’ choices could give some guidance.
If e-books were the new family on the block in 2010, they’re putting down roots and settling in for good in 2011. Here are five reasons why you can be sure that e-books are here to stay.
As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says in his new memoir, "Known and Unknown," he is not one for wrestling with remorse. “Never much of a handwringer,” he writes. When Mr. Rumsfeld does share moments of decisionmaking doubt, he tends to emphasize the role that “others” played in leading him or the American public astray. Throughout the memoir, Rumsfeld is not averse to settling some old scores. Here are five mistakes that Rumsfeld acknowledges having made, and the people he wishes would get blamed right along with him.
Among the demands of Egyptian protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, one of the most central is constitutional reform that will prevent a repeat of the concentration of power achieved under President Hosni Mubarak. Vice President Omar Suleiman announced Feb. 8 that a committee had been formed to discuss constitutional reforms necessary for free and fair elections, but many protesters are wary that the reforms will be only superficial. Below are a few of the constitutional provisions that have served to limit Egypt’s opposition and cement the government’s power.
Coming off the most-watched Super Bowl of all time, reality is about to hit football fans hard. Owners and players must agree to a new collective-bargaining agreement by March 4, or the owners will lock out the players, essentially suspending pro football indefinitely. Behind the NFL's recent success are stark concerns. Here are five of the most important sticking points to be overcome to avoid the league's first labor-related work stoppage since 1987.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Donald Rumsfeld has a new book out, called “Known and Unknown.” The ex-secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush has been out on the chat circuit talking up the book, as authors do. Here are five things we learned from the memoir and/or Donald Rumsfeld interviews.
The South Sudan referendum ended with an overwhelming vote for independence – 99.57 percent of those polled voted for it – and put the region officially on track to become independent in July. How often is a country born? (Or wrested from territory of an already existing one?) Here’s a look at five of the most recent declarations of independence:
Lovely pictures and deft prose bring history to life for young readers first encountering the Civil Rights movement, Gullah heritage, the Underground Railroad, and other chapters of the African American experience.
The Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial made six-year-old Max Page an advertising wunderkind even before the public had seen his face. As the pint-sized Darth Vader in the VW ad, Max became an Internet phenomenon for using "The Force," or trying to. The Super Bowl commercial went viral on the Internet in the run-up to the big game. Since the Super Bowl, Max has gotten even more attention. On Monday's "Today" show, he took off his Vader mask, letting America see his face. Here's a look at Max and five other child actors who starred in ads. Can you guess which of the five made the big time?
From gritty memoir to evocative fiction, these stories offer powerful lessons about race in America.
Super Bowl commercials have become a mini-film festival, keeping the less-than-diehard football fans in front of the tube. But this year’s top spots are singled out for their misses as much as their hits.
American's 40th president, Ronald Reagan, would have turned 100 on Sunday. He presided during the last legs of the cold war and argued for smaller government. As much of the US political world notes the centennial of his birth, here are 10 things that define Reagan, and through which, he helped define the world.