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Everything You Need to Know About the Chinese Version of Twitter

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:15

The first of China’s big 2014 IPOs arrives on U.S. shores Thursday. Weibo, a Chinese social network that allows people to post real-time messages of up to 140 Chinese characters, will list on the Nasdaq with shares priced at $17. The company will be valued at $3.46 billion and raise around $285 million in the offering, figures at the low end of the company’s IPO pricing range and far below analyst expectations earlier this year. The performance of the Beijing-based startup could portend the trajectory of both Chinese stocks and the overall tech sector, which has seen a precipitous decline on Wall Street in the past month.

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Weibo is a subsidiary of the Chinese Internet company Sina and is partially owned by the e-commerce giant Alibaba. Like Twitter, the website has become a digital water cooler where both ordinary people and celebrities gather to discuss events. It’s become a key resource for following news events in China, like the crash of an Asiana Airlines flight in San Francisco in July and the trial of former Chinese politician Xilai Bo in August. Weibo boasts 144 million monthly active users, making it more than half the size of Twitter.

Though initial reports indicated that Weibo would ride the coattails of Twitter’s successful November IPO to a valuation of as much as $7 billion, a confluence of factors have thrown some cold water on the company’s stock. The tech sector in general is has been on a slide for the last several weeks as investors abandon so-called momentum stocks, including Weibo’s parent company Sina. The first Chinese business to go public this year, an IT training firm called Tarena, has seen its share price drop more than 20 percent from its IPO price.

Weibo also faces its own, very specific set of challenges. The social network is heavily censored both by the Chinese government and the company itself to remove content that attempts to mobilize people toward political action. Such censorship could reduce user activity in the future. It also puts Weibo at a disadvantage against Tencent’s WeChat, a messaging service for smaller groups of people that allows people to more easily communicate away from the government’s prying eyes (though WeChat was hit with its own round of censorship last month). Weibo has also racked up more than $250 million in losses over the last three years, though it finally turned a small profit in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Still, it’s possible that with expectations now lowered, Weibo will shine. Investors have a keen interest in companies that target China’s quickly growing Internet population, which is expected to reach 800 million by 2015. The company is also linked to Alibaba, which is prepping a heavily anticipated IPO that could be be the largest for an Internet company since Facebook. Weibo will be a bellwether of the market’s appetite for both Chinese startups and tech stocks as a whole.

Categories: Magazines

How Breakfast Became the Most Important Meal of the Day

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:06
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Fast food chains generate the vast majority of their revenues during the lunch and dinner hours. So why does it seem all the industry’s biggest players care about lately is breakfast?

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It’s been a nasty couple of weeks in the fast food world. Not due to any new “pink slime” type scandals, but thanks to an increasingly aggressive, in-your-face ad and social media showdown between Taco Bell and McDonald’s. The war is all about breakfast, and it kicked off when Taco Bell featured Ronald McDonald—actually, a whole bunch of guys really named Ronald McDonald, not the McDonald spokesclown—in a commercial giving Taco Bell over-the-top endorsements for its new breakfast.

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McDonald’s countered by enticing the morning crowd with a promise of free coffee for a couple of weeks, followed up more recently by the launch of the McGriddle as a tempting new pancake-wrapped alternative to Taco Bell’s waffle-wrapped breakfast taco. The battles have continued on with braggy Tweets and more ads, and while plenty of smack has been talked, there’s something contrived about all of the bickering. Both of the combatants involved, of course, are well aware that they both stand to benefit thanks to the attention showered upon them.

What’s somewhat overlooked amid this colorful smackdown is that the players are fighting about a meal that has traditionally been something of an afterthought for fast food—but that has taken on enormous importance lately.

(MORE: Why Fast Food Chains Wish the Dollar Menu Would Disappear)

It’s not just Taco Bell and McDonald’s duking it out over breakfast. As Nation’s Restaurant News summed up earlier this year, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Jack in the Box, and sister chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. have all stepped up their breakfast game recently, rolling out new marketing campaigns and introducing new menu items. Likewise, Businessweek took note of White Castle’s new Belgian Waffle breakfast sandwich, which is available not only in the morning like you’d guess, but after midnight for the chain’s celebrated late-night munchers.

Why does it seem like breakfast has become the most important meal of the day among fast-food competitors? Why is it that the traditional marquee battlegrounds, lunch and dinner, seem to have taken a step back in terms of fast food priorities?

The answer is simply that throughout the fast food world, lunch and dinner sales have been flat for years, while breakfast sales have climbed steadily—up 4.8% annually from 2007 to 2012, according to The Motley Fool. Meanwhile, the food and beverage research firm Technomic just reported that fast food “burger chains have finally reached maturity” in the U.S., with minimal or nonexistent growth it terms of both sales and number of locations.

When it seems impossible for fast food outlets to increase sales during lunch and dinner, and it also seems impossible or at least infeasible to create more fast food franchise locations, there’s still one way to boost sales—and that’s to pull in more customers into existing restaurants at times other than the usual lunch and dinner periods. These other “dayparts,” as they call them in the business, include the post-dinner time, which has gotten a push with late-night menus and greasy “craver” snacks, and, of course, breakfast.

(MORE: Drinkers, Stoners, Insomniacs Wanted: Fast Food Expands Late-Night Menus)

“This decade, visits to restaurants have slowed, and especially during the recession they declined for two years—but the morning meal was the bright spot,” said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant analyst for NPD, which released a study earlier this year indicating breakfast sales increased 3% in 2013 across the entire restaurant industry, according to QSR Magazine. “It continues to grow strongly while the other dayparts are not.”

And why has breakfast been the anomaly? The frantic, on-the-go, no-time-to-cook nature of modern life is one reason. The Egg McMuffin-unemployment connection offers another explanation, showing a correlation between fast food breakfast sales and the jobs market. Basically, the theory holds that more people swing by the drive-thru in the morning when they actually have jobs to drive to—and when they’re jobless, there’s less reason to get out of bed, let alone feel compelled (or financially able) to fork over cash for a prepared morning meal.

What’s interesting is that the post-recession era has been notable in that the unemployment rate has declined, and that a disproportionate number of the jobs created lately have been low-paying gigs. Both of these factors actually bode well for restaurant breakfast sales because 1) when people have jobs, they’re more likely to eat breakfast out of the house on the way to work (see above); and 2) breakfast is the most affordable meal to eat at a restaurant, so it’s more within reach of today’s typical low-wage worker.

“It’s the cheapest meal you can get at a restaurant outside of a snack,” said the NPD’s Riggs. Among consumers, demand is high and rising for a fast, inexpensive restaurant breakfast, so it’s understandable that so many players in fast food want to win the battle for this growing, increasingly important time of day. “Those who are best able to meet consumers’ wants and needs at that daypart are the ones that will win market share.”

Categories: Magazines

Meet the Man Who Knows 1,700 Words For Sex

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00

Flipping through the thin pages of a dictionary, it can be hard to imagine the humans who actually put the thing together, deciding how each word would be defined and discovering how it trickled down through history. It is likely even harder to imagine the lexicographer who has studiously slaved away at identifying and defining more than 1,000 slang terms for penis and vagina over the past 20 years, as well as 1,700 for sex. But he exists.

Picture a British man in the middle age with a thick, quick accent and big round glasses (or look at him in the delightful short above by Ireland-based filmmaker Jenny Keogh). This is Jonathon Green, the lexicographer behind the most comprehensive dictionary of slang ever published, and he’s just written a memoir recounting how he made it from his mother’s womb through the drug-addled ’60s to eventually produce Green’s Dictionary of Slang. TIME spoke to Green about his new book, Odd Job Man, and asked what secrets of slang he had uncovered over the years. Here are a few legit hot tickets:

Slang is always older than you think.

Take the word booze, as in jick, jupe, John Hall, hooch, bivvy. You know, a buck-up. In his research, Green found evidence of booze being used as slang for alcohol as early as 1674. And he recently found an example of dis, as in slang for disrespect (“Ohh, that was a cold dis.”), in a 1906 Australian newspaper — evidence that the word is about 80 years older than people thought.

Your slang isn’t that different from your parents.

Watching an old movie where people are calling things groovy or talking about sealing the deal (as in parallel parking — elbow, elbow) might seem a million miles from ratchet and swerve. But Green says, the basics stay the same. “The new young people’s slang is basically the same as the old, old people’s because it’s still the same old themes,” he says. “It’s about drink, and it’s about drugs, and it’s about sex. It’s about parts of the body and what we do with them. It’s about being rude to other people … These things do not change.”

Slang reveals a darker side of humanity.

Green says other common themes in slang, going back for centuries, are racism, misogyny, homophobia and so on and so forth. “If you look at it in Freudian terms, it’s like the id. It’s this unmasked side of ourselves,” he says. In his dictionary, there are about terms 5,000 related to crime, thousands describing drugs and hundreds for ugly, mad and stupid. “If you try to look up caring and sharing and compassion,” Green says, “you’re going to be looking for a long time.”

Slang is all about secrets.

There is a rich world of slang related to crime because criminals have always needed a way to secretly talk about their illegal shenanigans, Green explains. There is a rich world of slang that young people use because they have long desired to keep things from their prying elders. The secrecy of slang can be positive, too, a statement of solidarity in a group that might be ostracized by a more powerful one — whether that’s a clique of nerdy kids in a high school or African-Americans circa 1960. “Slang is a counter-language,” Green says, “the sort of language that is spoken by marginal groups. They may criminal, they may be teenagers, they may be drug addicts. They may be whatever. But these are people who use anti-languages.”

Nobody really knows how most slang is spelled.

Much of language, Green says, “starts in the mouth.” Slang terms are often spoken first and written later, which means the “correct” way to spell something like ridonculous or cray-cray or sleazycheesin’ (i.e. taking drugs and wandering in pursuit of women willing to have relations with you) is really anybody’s guess. Green provides the example of moniker, a slang term for someone’s name, which has more than 20 spellings, from monoger to monicker, listed in the dictionary.

All slang dictionaries are not created equal.

Green bristles a bit when speaking about Urban Dictionary, the online, user-generated database of slang. He says he met the founder, Aaron Peckham, who questioned why an old man like Green should be telling young people what slang means, when young people are the ones using that slang in the first place. “It’s a very seductive theory,” Green says. “But the trouble is, when you see it in the Urban Dictionary, what you’re seeing is stuff that is patently nonsense.” He believes a dictionary has to have some oversight and authority, especially for the people who aren’t so hip. “When you’re not the kid who uses it in his circle of friends, but you come across it in a book, you need to be able to go somewhere upon which you can depend,” he says.

People love slang because it’s “a bit naughty.”

“People like the stories behind the words,” Green says, “And they like the fact, when it comes down to it, that it is about sex and drugs. It’s a bit naughty. It’s a bit rebellious. It’s a bit different.” Lately, Green has created timelines of such naughty words, showing when people first started using certain slang terms for sex and naughty bits, which will amuse no end and are definitely NSFW. Slang doesn’t take any prisoners. Slang is very uncompromising,” says the lexicographer. “I love it. It’s much braver than I am.”

Odd Job Man (336 p.) is out this month from Vintage Digital, an imprint of Random House.

Categories: Magazines

Mercado of America

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00
Categories: Magazines

Are You Making the Most Out of Life? Here’s How You Can.

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:00
When Does “More” Finally Become “Enough”?

You probably have far more now than you ever had in the past but you’re probably not much happier.

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And, instinctively, we think the problem can still be fixed by more. More of whatever.

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More money. More food. More things. Generically, more.

We’re not even sure what we need more of, but whatever we have now sure as hell isn’t doing it so turn it up to 11, Bertha.

This isn’t an anti-capitalist rant or your grandfather saying you kids don’t appreciate anything.

It’s another example of our instincts gone awry. So what’s the problem here?

Two researchers figured it out.

“Am I making the most out of my life?”

In their book Just Enough, Howard Stevenson and Laura Nash wanted an answer to the question we all ask ourselves:

“Am I making the most out of my life?“

The question wasn’t “What makes me feel good?” There’s no shortage of that.

The problem is that in the quest for “What makes me feel good” there’s no finish line. It’s a pie eating contest and first prize is more pie.

What combination of things makes us feel we have enough? What kills the need for more?

What, in this world of infinite perpetually screaming options, makes us lean back from the table and calmly say, “I’m good, thanks”?

So they studied really successful people. They did more than 60 interviews with very high achieving professionals.

Turns out most of those people didn’t know the answer either.

But what was interesting was that they made consistent mistakes.

And by looking at these mistakes the researchers were able to get a handle on what we need in life and the best way to go about it.

Mistake 1: You Can’t Use Just One Yardstick

We all know the good life means more than just money… but none of us is exactly sure what those other things are or how to get them.

Let’s face it: Money’s pretty easy to count and it consistently brings some happiness for at least a short period of time.

We all know love and friends and other stuff is important too…

But they’re a heck of a lot more complicated and you can’t just have them delivered to your house by Amazon Prime. So inconvenient.

But evaluating life by one metric turned out to be a key problem. In Just Enough they refer to it as a “collapsing strategy.”

Collapsing everything into one barometer of whether or not your life is on track.

Most of us find it easy to just focus on money and say “make the number go up.” It’s like a video game.

Convenient, simple and dead wrong.

The problem isn’t that money is a terrible metric, the problem is there’s more than one metric that matters.

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

Enduring success isn’t about one set of values, it’s about knowing how to apply values to multiple goals.

And we see this in our lives. A lot of people these days talk about FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.

Even insanely successful people felt they were missing out in another area of life.

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

Jim Warner’s study of 200 CEOs primarily drawn from the high-achieving Young Presidents Organization, revealed that 70 percent reported feeling “driven” to achieve financial independence and 60 percent felt ready for a life change for negative reasons: They felt they were losing out on something else.

Studying is good… but so is time with friends. When we try and collapse everything into one metric we inevitably get frustrated.

The researchers realized multiple yardsticks for life were necessary.

For instance, to have a good relationship with your family you need to spend time with them. So hours spent together is one way to measure.

But if that time is spent screaming at each other, that’s not good either. So you need to measure quantity and quality.

What metrics matter for a good life? The study came up with four.

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

  • 1. Happiness: Feelings of pleasure or contentment in and about your life.
  • 2. Achievement: Accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for.
  • 3. Significance: A positive impact on people you care about.
  • 4. Legacy: Establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success.

 

Just reading this list, it makes intuitive sense.

We all know people who succeed at number one… but eventually feel like losers because they ignored number 2. And vice versa.

Interestingly, some of those interviewed seemed aware of the four categories and did not try to condense them into a single bucket.

But they made another error: they figured they could handle them one at a time. Turns out that doesn’t work either.

Mistake #2: You Cannot Put The Good Life On Hold

“First I’ll work a job I hate and make a lot of money and THEN I’ll have a family and THEN I’ll do what I want and be happy.”

This is what Just Enough refers to as the “sequential strategy.”

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

Sequential strategies methodically take the idea of delayed gratification to an extreme. It’s the pattern of choice for many young people today, especially the so-called dot-comers who saw promises of fast riches just down the road.

Clay Christensen wisely addresses this problem in his powerful book, How Will You Measure Your Life?:

The relationships you have with family and close friends are going to be the most important sources of happiness in your life. But you have to be careful. When it seems like everything at home is going well, you will be lulled into believing that you can put your investments in these relationships onto the back burner. That would be an enormous mistake. By the time serious problems arise in those relationships, it often is too late to repair them. This means, almost paradoxically, that the time when it is most important to invest in building strong families and close friendships is when it appears, at the surface, as if it’s not necessary.

And nowhere is this more true than with children.

Via How Will You Measure Your Life?:

One of the most common versions of this mistake that high-potential young professionals make is believing that investments in life can be sequenced. The logic is, for example, “I can invest in my career during the early years when our children are small and parenting isn’t as critical. When our children are a bit older and begin to be interested in things that adults are interested in, then I can lift my foot off my career accelerator. That’s when I’ll focus on my family.” Guess what. By that time the game is already over. An investment in a child needs to have been made long before then, to provide him with the tools he needs to survive life’s challenges— even earlier than you might realize.

But does this theory hold up to scrutiny? It’s very hard to scientifically analyze the results but some informal proof came from talking to retirees.

Turns out the happiest older folks had balanced their lives across the four categories.

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

We learned this lesson most clearly from some of our interviewees who had experienced retirement. Those who’d saved up all their life for this moment of pleasure by never experiencing happiness had no idea what to do with themselves. They only had achievement skills. They had no community, and few social skills beyond those that could be bought with a corporate title. They often drove their spouses crazy. On the other hand, those who tried to keep up their former pace and make one more grand killing in the marketplace often found themselves not quite so satisfied about going to work, taking on the next problem. They feared that they may have lost their fast ball. Those who seemed most balanced in retirement had invested healthy doses of activity in all four categories over their lifetime.

We see more and more examples of overcommitment to one area and neglect of the others. The brilliant computer programmer with zero social skills.

The hard-charging businesswoman who waits too long to have kids. The career-climbing man who doesn’t spend any time with the kids he has.

We excel by focusing our effort, as with deliberate practice.

But the danger is that we become one dimensional — an efficient machine designed to do only one thing.

So that porridge was too hot, and that porridge was too cold. Which one is just right?

Success Is A Lifetime Process

In Just Enough, Stevenson and Nash call the good strategy “spiraling and linking.”

You cycle through the four needs on a regular, if not daily, basis.

If you ignore any of them you’re headed for a “collapsing” strategy and if you delay, you’re in “sequential” territory.

I’ve been experimenting with this. Frankly, it’s a pain in the ass because I’m wired to pick one thing and destroy everything in my path to get to it.

But I am happier. The Good Life is a balance, and must be, because there isn’t a finish line. This was one of their findings:

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

If you think, like many people today, that success is about delaying happiness while you achieve, and that the final point of success should be to put aside all effort and lead a happy life, you are unlikely to achieve real success or happiness. All scientific research shows that happiness has a fading quality: the first taste of the hot fudge sundae is terrific, but if you ate four of them, you would find little pleasure. You have to renew happiness on a regular basis, not look for some state of unending pleasure.

The comedian Steven Wright once quipped:

I took my dog for a walk, all the way from New York to Florida. I said to him “There, now you’re done.”

Very funny. It doesn’t work for dogs and it doesn’t work for us either.

Aim for a bit of the four each day:

Via Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life:

  • 1. Happiness: Feelings of pleasure or contentment in and about your life.
  • 2. Achievement: Accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for.
  • 3. Significance: A positive impact on people you care about.
  • 4. Legacy: Establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success.

Measuring life by one yardstick won’t work. And moving through the four sequentially is a mistake too.

A favorite quote of mine by Warren Buffett sums it up:

I always worry about people who say, “I’m going to do this for ten years; I really don’t like it very well. And then I’ll do this…” That’s a lot like saving sex up for your old age. Not a very good idea.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Categories: Magazines

Samples Collected From Oil Slick Not From Plane

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:55

(PERTH, Australia) — Investigators were analyzing data collected by a robotic submarine that completed its first successful scan of the seabed Thursday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane, but say tests have ruled out that a nearby oil slick came from the aircraft.

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The unmanned sub’s first two missions were cut short by technical problems and deep water, but the Bluefin 21 finally managed to complete a full 16-hour scan of the silt-covered seabed far off Australia’s west coast, the search coordination center said. While data collected during the mission, which ended overnight, were still being analyzed, nothing of note had yet been discovered, the center said. The sub has now covered 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) of seafloor.

Separately, the center said the oil analysis done in the western city of Perth came up empty when the samples tested negative for aircraft oil or hydraulic fluid. The oil was collected earlier this week from a slick about 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) from the area where equipment picked up underwater sounds consistent with an aircraft black box.

It was hoped that the oil would be evidence that officials are looking in the right place for Flight 370, which vanished March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. Searchers have yet to find any physical proof that the sounds that led them to the ocean floor where the Bluefin has been deployed were from the ill-fated jet.

Twelve planes and 11 ships were scouring a 40,300-square-kilometer (15,600-square-mile) patch of sea for any debris that may be floating on the ocean surface, about 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth.

Despite weeks of searching, no debris related to the jet has been found and earlier this week, search effort leader Angus Houston said the surface hunt would be ending within days. But the search coordination center on Thursday said crews would continue searching the ocean surface into next week.

Malaysia’s defense minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, confirmed that the search would continue through Easter weekend, but acknowledged that officials would have to rethink their strategy at some point if nothing is found.

“There will come a time when we need to regroup and reconsider, but in any event, the search will always continue. It’s just a matter of approach,” he said at a news conference Thursday.

Radar and satellite data show the Boeing 777 flew far off-course for an unknown reason and would have run out of fuel in a desolate patch of the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

A ship-towed device detected four underwater signals that are believed to have come from the plane’s black boxes shortly before the batteries powering the devices’ beacons likely died. The sounds helped narrow the search area to the waters where the Bluefin is now operating.

The U.S. Navy’s unmanned sub cut short its first mission on Monday because it exceeded its maximum operating depth of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet). Searchers moved it away from the deepest waters before redeploying the sub to scan the seabed with sonar to map a potential debris field.

But the center said Thursday that officials are now confident that the sub can safely go deeper than was thought, allowing it to cover the entire search area, which has been narrowed based on further analysis of the four underwater signals.

In addition to finding the plane itself, investigators want to recover the black boxes in hopes the cockpit voice and flight data recorders can explain why the plane lost communications and flew so far off-course before disappearing.

Categories: Magazines

The Patriot: Shinzo Abe Speaks To TIME

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:40
MoreShinzo Abe: The Patriot

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a rare electoral mandate in a nation that has churned through six premiers in just as many years. Called a brazen nationalist by some and a brave change agent by others, the 59-year-old Prime Minister—whose first term ended abruptly after a year in 2007 and who assumed office again in Dec. 2012—sat down at his Tokyo office on April 9 with TIME’s Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs and East Asia Correspondent Hannah Beech to discuss patriotism, “Abenomics” and his controversial grandfather.

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On Japan’s relations with the U.S.:

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“To preserve the national interests of Japan, first of all, I’d like to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. Japan became an ally of the U.S., whom it fought against in the past war. I think this alliance has largely contributed to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.”

On Japan’s relations with China:

“Because there is a problem that exists, the doors for communication between the two nations should not be closed. Japan always keeps our door for communication open. I’d like China to take the same attitude.”

On the territorial dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea:

“Japan considers the Senkaku Islands [known as the Diaoyu by China] as Japan’s inherent territory. Unfortunately, Chinese government vessels are repeatedly violating Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku. China has been acting the same [way] also in the South China Sea, and many ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nation] nations have strong concerns about [these maritime disputes].”

On Japan’s brutal wartime record and official Japanese apologies for it:

“In the previous war, Japan has given tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly those of Asia. Japan’s post-war era began based on this remorse. Previous Prime Ministers have expressed their feelings of remorse and apology. In my first administration I also did so.”

On his visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where the enshrined war dead include convicted war criminals:

“I paid a visit to Yasukuni Shrine to pray for the souls of those who had fought for the country and made ultimate sacrifices. I have made a pledge never to wage war again, that we must build a world that is free from the sufferings of the devastation of war.”

On the 1993 Kono Statement that recognized the Japanese military’s sexual enslavement of Asian “Comfort Women,” which Abe indicated during the 2012 campaign he would like to revise:

“At the time of the 1st Abe administration, a cabinet decision was made stating that there was no information that shows people were forcibly recruited. Lots of Japanese citizens did not hear that and it may have not been recognized internationally. I had been saying in the election campaign that this cabinet decision and the Kono Statement should be considered together. Because I have said this, lots of people are aware of this issue now. As for the Japanese government, we are not considering revising the Kono Statement.”

On patriotism and criticism:

“I am a patriot. I would think there are no politicians who are not patriots. Since I am a politician, I often get criticized, as I try to exercise what I believe to be right. However if you mind such criticism, I think you can’t protect people’s lives.”

On lessons learned from his father, former Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe:

“I have learned that being a politician is not an easy job. My father was trying to make progress in the peace treaty with the Soviet Union. At that time he was suffering from last-stage cancer, but he visited Moscow in the bitter cold. I learned from my father that you may have to risk your own life to make such a historic accomplishment.”

On his maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, a member of Japan’s wartime cabinet who was locked up (but never charged) by the Allied powers and later became Prime Minister:

“If I try to make it correct, my grandfather was arrested but not prosecuted. [As Prime Minister] my grandfather amended the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. He faced severe criticism. He passed the treaty and resigned as Prime Minister at the same time. Those who were against [revamping the treaty] are now overwhelmingly for [it]. Unfortunately, politicians don’t get applause.”

On his paternal grandfather, Kan Abe, a wartime legislator:

“He was one of the few Diet members who was against [wartime leader Hideki] Tojo’s cabinet and Japan going to war with [the] U.S. I have learned from each family member that politicians sometimes have to make decisions all alone.”

On the need to revise the post-war pacifist constitution, which was written by the Americans and precludes Japan from possessing a normal military:

“It has been believed for a long time in Japan that things such as the constitution can never be changed. I say we should change our constitution now. The U.S. has amended its constitution six times, but Japan has done it zero times.”

On the state of the nation when he assumed power in Dec. 2012:

“When I came to office, in terms of diplomacy and national security, as well as the economy, Japan was in a very severe situation.”

On his economic reform program, dubbed “Abenomics”:

“The economic policy that I am implementing now is a growth strategy, which includes radical financial relaxation, flexible monetary policy and encouragement of private investment. For a long time, we have been suffering from deflation. We haven’t overcome deflation yet, but the confidence of small and medium businesses has turned to positive after 21 years and 10 months.”

On the role of women in Japan:

“I often say to entrepreneurs: ‘if Lehman Brothers were Lehman Brothers & Sisters, it wouldn’t have gone into bankruptcy.’ Hillary Clinton says if Japan were to utilize women’s power more, Japan’s GDP would increase by 16%. We have decided that at least 30% of all new hires by our government should be female. We have requested at least one female board member in first-tier listed companies. She doesn’t have to be Japanese but could be a foreigner.”

Categories: Magazines

Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:28

Barbara Brown Taylor sets off from her front porch. The lights in her north Georgia farmhouse are off, the chickens have been cooped, and her husband Ed has cleaned the kitchen and gone upstairs to bed. A waning moon will not rise for hours. Time for a walk.

Most spiritual seekers spend their lives pursuing enlightenment. But this Eastertide, the woman who ranks among America’s leading theologians is encouraging believers and nonbelievers not only to seek the light but to face the darkness too, something that 21st century Americans tend to resist. For the past four years, the popular 62-year-old preacher and New York Times best-selling author has explored wild caves, lived as if blind, stared into her darkest emotions and, over and over, simply walked out into the night. The reasons, she says, are that contemporary spirituality is too feel-good, that darkness holds more lessons than light and that contrary to what many of us have long believed, it is sometimes in the bleakest void that God is nearest.

This appears in the April 28, 2014 issue of TIME.
Categories: Magazines

Shinzo Abe: The Patriot

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:27

Japan’s transformation from an imperial aggressor to the world’s second largest economy and champion of peaceful ideals was one of the most redemptive tales of the 20th century. But nearly 70 years since the end of World War II, the pistons have stalled. In 2011 the Japanese economy lost its No. 2 status to China. Beijing is flexing its muscles, aggressively pursuing territorial disputes with Japan and other neighbors. Meanwhile, Japan’s population is both aging and shrinking. For all its high-tech wizardry, the country feels sapped of the motivating power that propelled its rise.

As Japan searches for its soul, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has positioned himself as a national savior. Powered with a rare electoral mandate, Abe, 59, has vowed to halt Japan’s slow march toward international irrelevance. Two decades of economic deflation and the lingering weight of wartime loss, in the view of Abe and his allies, have forced the country into a submissive crouch. It was time for some backbone.

Whether Abe is a galvanizing change agent or a nationalist legatee who’s driving his country back to the future, there is no doubt that he is Japan’s—and possibly the continent’s—most consequential politician in some time.

This appears in the April 28, 2014 issue of TIME.
Categories: Magazines

Should U.S. Colleges Be Graded by the Government?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:27
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You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Lesley University. The small, private liberal arts school exists almost literally in the shadow of Harvard, scattered across a handful of brick buildings and Victorian mansions in Cambridge, Mass. With only 1,650 undergraduates and a Division III sports program, Lesley rarely makes headlines. But lately its president, Joseph Moore, has been making some noise.

What’s got him going is President Obama’s plan to assign an official government rating to every college and university in the country, from tiny faith-based schools to giant state flagships, and then allocate federal financial aid according to those ratings. “When I first heard about the plan, I thought, Holy smokes,” Moore says, “what kind of scientific nightmare are we getting ourselves into here?”

While the Administration hasn’t announced how it’ll go about determining ratings, schools across the country are clearly worried. Once the government imposes its promised tests to evaluate things like accessibility, affordability and student performance after graduation, chances are that small, pricey colleges like Lesley might not stack up well.

This appears in the April 28, 2014 issue of TIME.
Categories: Magazines

Mercado Of America

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:27

Built in 1962, Seminary South was the first mall in Fort Worth and, by all accounts, the archetypal American shopping center. At its peak, it was home to a Sears, a JCPenney and a Dillard’s. There was a bowling alley, a movie theater and a space for the Fort Worth Opera to practice. But like many other malls across the country, the shopping center began a steep decline in the 1990s. Big department stores left or closed. Gang activity became a problem, and shoppers stopped coming. “It’s where I used to buy my jeans as a kid,” recalls the city councilman for the district. “It was a nice little shopping area.”

And now it is again. Seminary South has been reborn as La Gran Plaza, a sprawling hive of commerce and community. Most Sunday mornings, 25,000 to 30,000 shoppers pack into the mall to socialize, eat and shop. To pull off this feat, the mall’s new owner has tapped into the most powerful new demographic in the U.S. economy: Hispanic consumers. Refashioned as a cultural center, it has at its core the mercado, or market, a labyrinthine three-story bazaar packed with small storefronts selling everything from piñatas to PlayStations.

This appears in the April 28, 2014 issue of TIME.
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10 Questions with Colin Firth

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:26

In your new movie The Railway Man, as in The King’s Speech, you play a historical figure. Is that your favorite kind of role?

Not necessarily. A good story is a good story. This one’s personal. It’s not trying to capture the whole of the fall of Singapore or the building of the “Death Railway.” It’s one man’s experience. I think a veteran’s story will probably always be interesting because it will be an experience very distant from mine. It becomes my job to understand it as best I can and hopefully relay something of it. I like my job when it’s just there for cheap laughs, but occasionally an experience like this makes you feel there’s some substance.

This appears in the April 28, 2014 issue of TIME.
Categories: Magazines

Living My Best Herbalife

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:24

I love when billionaires fight, because they do it with money, which is the third best way to fight, after Jell-O wrestling and dating your ex’s best friend. So I got very interested when hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman bet $1 billion that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme and Carl Icahn, who hates him, argued that it so totally isn’t and set out to prove it by buying $1 billion worth of the company. To put that in terms non–Wall Street people can understand, it means that whatever Herbalife is, there is more than $1 billion of it.

Ackman, after lobbying Congress, persuaded the FTC to investigate the company and has posed one question to audiences that I find very convincing: Have you ever bought a product from Herbalife?

This appears in the April 28, 2014 issue of TIME.
Categories: Magazines

X-Men Director Bryan Singer Accused of Teen Sex Abuse

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:09

X-Men director Bryan Singer stands accused of sexually abusing an aspiring teen actor 15 years ago, according to a civil suit filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii Wednesday.

Singer, 48, one of Hollywood’s most successful directors and producers, allegedly offered the plaintiff a film role in the Marvel Comics franchise if the the teen submitted to his sexual demands, and threatened to destroy his career if he refused.

The director’s legal representative said the “absurd and defamatory” accusations were “completely without merit” and he was certain his client would be vindicated.

“It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’s new movie is about to open in a few weeks,” said the attorney.

Most of the alleged sex abuse was supposed to have taken place at parties at a California mansion in 1998 and 1999 when the plaintiff was 17, according to court papers.

New York-born Singer rose to international prominence with his 1995 breakthrough smash hit The Usual Suspects, which won two Oscars.

Categories: Magazines

East Coast Colleges Follow the Money South and West

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:00

There aren’t any Greek columns or sprawling green lawns at Northeastern University’s satellite campus in Charlotte, N.C. But the location, on the 11th story of an office building in the middle of the city’s uptown district, is no accident.

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Charlotte is among the nation’s 10 fastest growing cities with more than one million people, according to the Census Bureau. And the school is in a neighborhood where economic activity is so hot that office vacancy rates are in the single digits.

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That’s how Landon White stumbled across it. The 31-year-old, who works in Charlotte as a project manager for Liberty Mutual, was driving by the uptown campus and saw the Northeastern logo. He’d been feeling the itch to go back to school to “get a competitive edge in my career,” but hadn’t found any suitable programs. White enrolled within four months, and he is on track to get a master’s degree in leadership this summer.

The Charlotte branch of the 116-year-old Boston university is an example of a new phenomenon in U.S. higher education: Rather than waiting for students to come to them, universities are coming to the students, launching money-making satellite graduate programs that generate revenues for the home campus.

Schools have been down a similar road before. In the early to mid 2000s, many American universities enthusiastically added international branch campuses, mostly in the Middle East and in Asia, in the hopes of attracting wealthy students seeking a western education closer to home. The trend reached its peak in 2008, when U.S. universities opened 11 foreign campuses. But many of the ventures failed to meet expectations, and at least 13 international branch campuses run by U.S., Irish, and Australian universities have since closed, according to the Cross-Border Education Research Team at the State University of New York at Albany.

Now, several older American colleges and universities, most of them from slow-growth areas in the East, are opening or expanding domestic campuses in U.S. cities with booming populations and economies, zeroing in on places where there is demand for mid-career education, but not enough supply.

Seeing unfulfilled demand in the Pacific Northwest, Northeastern also established a Seattle campus last year. Emerson College, also in Boston, recently opened a campus in Hollywood, while Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. last year added a branch in San Francisco. And a Bay Area campus of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — the nation’s oldest business school—established over a decade ago has been doing so well that it was recently expanded by one-third.

Like Charlotte, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles represent high-growth opportunities for higher education at a time when enrollment in the East is declining. San Francisco and Seattle are also among the 20 fastest-growing major U.S. metropolitan areas, census records show, and the Los Angeles area has the nation’s second-highest population, after metropolitan New York.

“It’s a growing phenomenon, and it’s going to continue,” says Matthew Hamill, senior vice president at the National Association of College and University Business Officers. “If your student population is not growing, you’re looking at what you do best and the future of your programs, and opportunities to enter a new market can be extremely beneficial.”

Private corporations expand in this way all the time, Hamill notes. “People think that colleges and universities should somehow be different, and shouldn’t have these instincts.”

If that was ever true, it isn’t any more.

Wharton’s original decision to set up in San Francisco back in 2001 was “a business decision,” says Bernadette Birt, that campus’s chief operating officer. The school anticipated that the growing population of young entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley was a great potential market for graduate business programs. “It was apparent this was the right thing to do, with all these smart, young people who really needed to learn how to run a business,” she says.

Nearly 400 miles down the California coast, Emerson College’s new $85 million, 10-story building on Sunset Boulevard will “announce in a big way that we are in Los Angeles,” Emerson president Lee Pelton says. The hope is that graduate programs in the college’s specialties of communications and the performing arts will appeal to those seeking a way into the entertainment industry.

Just as a corporation might have done, Northeastern spent 18 months conducting market research before deciding to open in Charlotte, says Philly Mantella, senior vice president for enrollment management and student life. She says university administrators “did a lot of listening” to more than 100 Charlotte-based companies to understand the local economy and “the nuances of the portfolio” Northeastern could successfully offer.

In response, the program was built to accommodate working students who needed to attend school part-time — for whom the university discovered there were few options in Charlotte. The average age of the graduate students in Northeastern’s Charlotte program is 37, and more than 90 percent work full-time, so the courses are delivered both online, and, every few weeks, in conventional classrooms.

Everything about those classes is meant to be practical. “I always ask myself, ‘Is what we’re teaching you today helping you in your job tomorrow?’” says Joseph Griffin, who joined the faculty after 12 years as a project manager in his family’s construction business in Lenoir, N.C.

That’s made a big difference for Landon White, who said he couldn’t find another nearby program that offered a similar experience. Sitting in the open space between classrooms that serves as a place to eat lunch, read a book, or just gaze at the still-expanding skyline full of shiny skyscrapers outside the floor-to-ceiling windows, White said that finding the Northeastern Charlotte campus “put me in exactly the position I wanted to be in.”

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet based at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Categories: Magazines

Eyefi Cloud Is the Best Wi-Fi Camera Experience Yet

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:00

You might think that the market for Eyefi cards–the SD cards that have built-in WiFi, providing any camera with wireless networking–would have dwindled away by now. After all, the first cameras that came with Wi-Fi debuted almost a decade ago. But Wi-Fi still only ships as standard equipment on slightly over a third of new models, giving Eyefi a big market to go after.

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I’ve used its cards with my cameras for years, especially since I started spending most of my time on my iPad, which otherwise only accepts SD cards through an external dongle I never remember to take with me. They’re indispensable. But in the past, I’ve never been overly impressed with the company’s software: It’s tended to be tough to set up and pretty clunky in everyday use.

Now that’s changing. The company is unveiling Eyefi Cloud, a new service designed to make it a cakewalk to to get your photos off the camera and onto every gadget you own: phones, tablets and PCs. And it’s coupling the service with all-new versions of its iOS and Android apps that are major improvements on their predecessors.

The service and apps work with Eyefi’s Mobi cards, which start at $49 for a model with 8GB of storage. The company’s more PC-centric X2 line remains on the market, and isn’t compatible with the new stuff.

As before, the apps snag photos wirelessly by connecting to the card while it’s still in your camera. But now they’re much meatier and modern-looking. Using an interface that reminds me of Dropbox’s new Carousel app, they cluster your pictures by date, present them more attractively and let you create tags and albums.

And now the apps automatically upload all your photos in full resolution, as well as snapshots you take with the camera on your phone or tablet, to Eyefi Cloud. (You can choose to have them do this over Wi-Fi and cellular connections, or only Wi-Fi.) Once they’re there, they’re available on all of your devices running the app, as well as in a browser-based version of the service you can use on your Windows PC or Mac. You can also share images and albums with other folks, who don’t need to have Eyefi Cloud accounts to view them.

The apps keep only recent photos on the devices themselves so they don’t gobble up all your storage. But you can quickly swipe backwards in time to get to any photo you ever took, and save it on any of your devices. (Any photo you took with your Eyefi card or device’s camera once you started using Eyefi Card, that is: The apps don’t provide a mechanism for getting your older pics into the service. But the company says it’s working on that.)

The Eyefi Cloud service lets you store an unlimited number of photos indefinitely at full resolution, so it shouldn’t come as stunning news that it’s not a freebie. After a 90-day trial period, you pay $49 a year. If you don’t want to spring for that, you can still use the new iOS and Android apps and take responsibility for moving your pictures between devices yourself.

Eyefi Cloud isn’t doing anything radically new: It’s already possible to automate the process of putting your Eyefi photos online by using the automatic uploading features provided by apps such as Dropbox, or the Google+ uploads built into Android. But it does what it does really well.

I do have one remaining beef, though. Each time you want to pair an Eyefi card with a phone or tablet, you need an activation code that’s in the original packaging. It’s possible to find the code online or in the app on an already-activated device if you’ve misplaced the printed version–which I did, inevitably, moments after buying my card. But the apps don’t explain that. And why do you need to re-enter the code manually, anyhow?

Nitpicks aside, this is the best user experience that Eyefi has ever offered. I recommended its cards in the past; now I do so more heartily than ever.

Categories: Magazines

Indian Election Favorite Modi Denies Shying Away From Gujarat Riots Issue

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:59

Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has denied keeping quiet over the violent riots that took place in Gujarat in 2002. “I was not silent,” the candidate for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) told Asian News International (ANI) in an April 16 interview. “I have said what I had to say. Now, I am in the people’s court, and I am waiting to hear from them, and their verdict.”

For years, Modi’s rise through India’s political ranks has been shadowed by communal violence that took place during his first year as the chief minister of Gujarat, a post he continues to hold today. In 2002, more than 1,000 people were killed in riots that swept the western Indian state. The majority of the victims were Muslim. Though many have accused Modi, as chief minister, of not doing enough to stop the violence, Indian courts have never found him criminally culpable, and have cleared him of any wrongdoing.

In the dozen years since, Modi’s reputation for effective administration and good economic management have helped put him where he is today: at the helm of the national party that polls suggest will have the strongest performance this election. Many give Modi direct credit for the BJP’s momentum over the past few months. But he continues to face questions about not apologizing for the riots, or to speak during the campaign at greater length about a difficult and polarizing period of India’s recent history. In response to a recent demand from the ruling Congress Party that he apologize, Modi told a local television station that Congress should “account for their own sins first,” according to NDTV.

Modi has said that he was shaken by the violence that took place during his early days in office. In a July interview with Reuters, Modi’s response to whether he regretted the 2002 violence made waves when he compared his feeling for the loss of life to being a passenger when somebody runs over a puppy on the road. “If I’m a chief minister or not, I’m a human being,” he said. “If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”

Modi told ANI this week that he has given up discussing the riots with the media. (In the past, he has walked out of an interview when pressed on the subject.) “I answered every top journalist in the country from 2002-2007, but noticed there was no exercise to understand truth,” he said. He also suggested that the media’s negative attention has, in fact, given his career a boost: “If the media had not worked to malign Modi,” he said, “Then who would known about Modi today?”

Categories: Magazines

Wisconsin Inks Bill to Prevent Parents From ‘Giving Away’ Adopted Children

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:42

Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on Wednesday aimed at limiting private custody transfers of their unwanted adopted children following a disturbing report that detailed the unregulated trade of adopted minors in the state.

The legislation is a national first and was launched following a five-part Reuters investigation into the practice of “re-homing children.”

According to the news outlet’s expose, hundreds of parents were using social media sites to advertise their adopted children and were then handing them over to strangers found through the Internet.

Without proper safeguards in place, numerous children were being given to abusive adults, and in one disturbing instance a mother handed over her nine-year-old adopted son in a motel parking lot to a pedophile hours after posting a notice about the child on a Yahoo message board.

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law. Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead,” said Republican state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation.

In accordance with the new law, parents seeking to transfer the custody of their children must receive judicial approval first. Those who fail to comply with the new regulation can face up to nine months in jail or be fined $10,000.

[Reuters]

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Overcoming Voter Apathy In India’s I.T. Hub

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:16

It’s the day before Good Friday, and many city dwellers in the IT mecca of Bangalore are getting ready to take advantage of the long weekend to escape the heat of the city. But at 7 AM in a polling booth in Whitefield, the city’s IT hub, some two dozen people line up, waiting to cast their ballot.

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“Before, if voting was on a long weekend, we would have stepped out of the city earlier to make the most of our holiday,” says Aditi Rao, a 29-year-old software professional. “Now we realize the value of our votes. We will head out after.”

That’s good news for the voting drive in urban India. Voters in Indian cities traditionally have low voter turnout, and Bangalore is no exception. Known for its young, upwardly mobile workforce, this should be the kind of place where it’s easy to mobilize voters to show up at the polls. But in 2009 national elections, the city’s voter turnout hovered around 45%.

The sustained apathy over several elections has prompted both industry and business groups in India to try to turn the situation around. This election will be different, says P.G. Bhat, a member of the electoral reforms commission of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). “People are taking active interest in the electoral process, and that’s heartening.”

Commercial groups like FICCI have worked hard this year to address the issue of urban voter apathy across the nation, says S.Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India. “It has substantially helped in registration of voters. I hope it improves voter turnout too.”

In Bangalore, the turnout may be helped by the fact that the IT city finally has a few candidates that it can relate to. Congress’ Nandan Nilakeni is the co-founder of one of India’s best known IT companies, Infosys, which many young professionals have worked for and admire. Running against him is Anant Kumar, the five-time BJP incumbent, who not only represents the popular prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi but has also promised the city hundreds of billions of rupees in special infrastructure grants if voted to power. Also in the mix is a former board member of Infosys, V Balakrishnan, who is running with the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the platform of, among other things, fighting the city’s garbage mafia.

But voter apathy won’t disappear overnight. A quick tour of polling booths in South Bangalore’s Girinagar and Padmanabhnagar areas revealed that the voter lists were old and had glaring omissions. Several people who had turned up to vote couldn’t spot their names. “An urban Indian voter used to professionalism would not forgive such an oversight and would begin to distance himself from the electoral process,” says the FICCI’s Bhat.

Many IT employees come to work in Bangalore from all over India. Though they can register in their new city of residence, many complain they don’t have the option of mailing their ballot back to their home constituency. “I don’t live and work in my voting constituency, and so I have never been able to exercise my franchise,” says Sanjeet Manchanda, a consultant at ITC Infotech, who is from Punjab. “I feel like an alien in my own country on the vote day.”

How the vote is going elsewhere in the country may also be discouraging to young voters. AAP, the new political party led by Arvind Kejriwal, has been a popular among young IT workers, who helped its online campaign. But in Bangalore, some early AAP supporters are disillusioned with what is shaping up to be nationwide showdown between Congress and the BJP, and say they will not vote at all.

“I am let down by the fact that there is a Modi wave in this country,” says Durgesh Gurnani, an employee of Oracle Financial Services and a registered voter in South Bangalore. “After all the work we did for AAP, we didn’t see any concrete results.”

Categories: Magazines

Pistorius Forensic Expert Continues Testimony

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 04:07

(PRETORIA, South Africa) — The prosecutor at the murder trial of double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius is continuing his cross-examination of one of the defense’s forensic experts.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel was questioning materials analyst and former policeman Roger Dixon Thursday on the expert’s findings regarding Pistorius’ fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year. Dixon has offered a different sequence for the shots that killed Steenkamp, contradicting testimony by a police ballistics expert and the pathologist who did the autopsy on Steenkamp’s body.

Nel criticized Dixon for testifying in areas he had no expertise in.

Dixon testified that Steenkamp’s wounds show she may have been in a different position than the prosecution says when she was shot multiple times through a toilet door by Pistorius. The athlete is charged with premeditated murder.

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