COVER: Biology Reborn. (All overseas editions). In recent months, a perfect storm of new technology and research has blown apart 20th-century dogma in the fields of biology and genetics, writes Lee Silver, a professor of molecular biology at Princeton. He writes that many scientists now believe that heredity is the result of an incredibly complex interplay among the basic components of the genome, scattered among many different genes and even the vast stretches of "junk DNA" once thought to serve no purpose. The result of this seemingly modest conceptual breakthrough has been a torrent of new discoveries. Scientists around the world have identified alterations in the sequence of DNA that play causative roles in a range of common diseases, including types 1 and 2 diabetes; schizophrenia; bipolar disorder; glaucoma; inflammatory bowel disease; rheumatoid arthritis; hypertension; restless legs syndrome; susceptibility to gallstone formation; lupus; multiple sclerosis; coronary heart disease; colorectal, prostate and breast cancer, and the pace at which HIV infection causes full-blown AIDS. While still far from cures, researchers hope these discoveries will eventually enable physicians to prescribe genome-specific preventions and treatments for diseases.
China's New Guard. Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu and Special Correspondent Jonathan Ansfield report on a young new generation of Chinese leaders who could transform China's Communist Party. Next week, more than 2,000 select Chinese Communist Party cadres will gather for a pivotal meeting at Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The No. 1 item on this party congress's agenda is the advancement of China's future leaders, the people that could be China's best hope for political change. Chinese have begun calling them the Sixth Generation. They are also known as the '60s Generation and are seen as worldlier, more traveled and less doctrinaire than any previous Chinese generation. And-though China's state-run media would never admit it-some Gen-Sixers were probably among the students who rallied at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
'Strong Like Saddam.' Jerusalem Bureau Chief Kevin Peraino, on assignment in Iraq, reports on Iraq's tangled network of tribal leaders and their roles in keeping the peace. Last summer American military commanders spent millions of dollars on "concerned local citizens" programs-essentially paying off tribal sheiks to keep their followers from planting roadside bombs. Critics, however, say that empowering regional strongmen is creating a warlord state in Iraq. At best, the breakdown of Iraq into local fiefdoms is not necessarily consistent with political reconciliation at the center. At worst, power struggles among local leaders could erupt into an all-out civil war.
Seeking Center Ground. London Bureau Chief Stryker McGuire writes that just because former British prime minister Tony Blair is out of the spotlight does not mean his brand of politics has disappeared. McGuire writes that current Prime Minister Gordon Brown's leadership style is beginning to look very familiar. "He's [Gordon] amassed impressive popular support as the anti-Blair with a serious, nonflashy style that sets him apart from Blair, whose presentational pizzazz came to be deplored as spin by an electorate that turned angry after the invasion of Iraq. And yet, like Blair before him, he's continued to develop hardline policies on such issues as immigration and crime."
The Longest Shadow. Special Correspondent Sarah Wildman reports that a proposed law in Spain that would officially, morally and financially acknowledge those who died in the Civil War and were persecuted during Francisco Franco's dictatorship has stalled in debate over the benefits of exhuming the past. The political left says the law doesn't go far enough. The political right argues the law is unnecessary and divisive. If the law fails, Spain will remain one of the few democratic nations that have yet to have a reckoning with their past.
A Stressful Situation. Special Correspondent Karin Rives reports that Sweden's latest plans to limit paid sick leave for people suffering from mental burnout angered many of its citizens who accused the government of trying to kill off its weakest citizens. The conflict mirrors similar debates throughout Europe, where politicians and constituents are gradually realizing that competing against other Western nations, and emerging powerhouses like India and China, will be impossible without more- flexible labor laws and fewer expensive entitlements.
Rwanda Turns Off. Special Correspondent Silvia Spring reports that President Paul Kagame's increasingly strong-armed policies and extreme restrictions on the media may be threatening Rwanda's economic future. Rwanda is in the midst of a major campaign to develop a high-tech sector to make the country an IT services hub. Although outside donors are helping to achieve this goal, many analysts say that trying to build an information economy while tightening government control over the flow of that information may not be possible.
WORLD VIEW: Sleepwalking to Sanctions, Again. Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria writes that diplomacy, not sanctions, should be used in resolving conflicts with countries like Burma. The problem with sanctions is, while they do impact a country's economy by shrinking it, the parts of the economy they shrink most are those that aren't under total state control. "If the purpose of sanctions is to bring about a better system for that country, devastating its society is a strange path to the new order," he writes.
THE LAST WORD: Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, Commander of the United Nations- African Union. Last week Agwai's peacekeeping mission in Darfur suffered a serious setback when unidentified rebel forces overran an AU base. He spoke with Newsweek about the difficulties of his mission and how to be a peacekeeper where peace does not yet exist. "We are here as peacekeepers, and our job would be easier and smoother if there were a peace deal brokered for us. Unfortunately, right now, there is no peace to keep. So it has become another Herculean task to see that people are protected," he says.
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