INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE n°131231 - Page 1 - 2 | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES . . . . page two Printed in ATHENS | BALI | BANGKOK | BEIRUT | BELGIUM | DHAKA | DOHA | DUBAI | FRANKFURT | GALLARGUES | HONG KONG | ISLAMABAD | ISTANBUL | JAKARTA | KARACHI | KUALA LUMPUR | LAHORE | LONDON | MADRID | MALTA | MANILA | MILAN | NEPAL NAGOYA | OSAKA | PARIS | SÃO PAULO | SEOUL | SINGAPORE | SWEDEN | SWITZERLAND | SYDNEY | TAIPEI | TEL AVIV | TOKYO | U.S. | YANGON • Subscription Inquiries: Europe 00 800 44 48 78 27 (toll-free) Other countries +33 1 41 43 93 61; E-mail email@example.com; Fax +33 1 41 43 92 10 Advertising Inquiries: +33 1 41 43 92 06; Fax +33 1 41 43 92 12 • Printer: Paris Offset Print, 30, rue Raspail, 93120 La Courneuve. Find a retrospective of news from 1887 to 2013 in The International Herald Tribune at iht-retrospective.blogs.nytimes.com See what readers are talking about and leave your own comments at inyt.com 1913 Montreal Left Without Water MONTREAL The fifth day of the water famine here was signaled by another outbreak of fire this morning [Dec. 30], which destroyed several shops, the damage being estimated at $100,000. The water engineer who was in charge of the conduit the collapse of which cut the water supply, has been suspended from duty. Indignation meetings have been called by business owners to adopt resolutions denouncing those responsible for the scandal. One death has occurred in consequence of shock occasioned by the fire yesterday. 1938 French Pun Irks Shah of Iran PARIS The Kingdom of Iran, formerly Persia, broke off diplomatic relations with France today because of puns which appeared in three Paris newspapers on December 3, likening the Shah Mirza Reza Pahlevi to a cat. When the annual cat show was opened the first of this month, the newspapers said that once again ‘‘the cat is king’’ or, in French, ‘‘le chat (pronounced shah) est roi.’’ The Persian ruler, who in 1937 broke off diplomatic relations with France for the same reason, flew into a rage when he read the stories, sent to him by the Argus de la Presse, the clipping bureau to which he subscribes. entire uterus. That procedure, called a hysterectomy, required a large abdominal incision and could carry increased risks of infection and complications. Women could not become pregnant after having a hysterectomy. In the late 1960s, Dr. Neuwirth developed an alternative method that used a camera and tiny instruments, inserted through the vagina, to remove fibroids individually, leaving the uterus in place. The recovery period following the procedure, called an operative hysteroscopy, was much quicker, and many women were able to become pregnant afterwards. By the 1980s, operative hysteroscopies were becoming common, and hundreds of thousands are now performed in the United States each year, many by doctors first taught by Dr. Neuwirth. Dr. Neuwirth’s innovations often involved what is known as endometrial ablation, in which the tissue lining the uterus is deliberately reduced or destroyed to reduce heavy bleeding, called menorrhagia. Several years after popularizing hysteroscopy, he received a patent for a technique that involves inserting a balloon-like device into the uterus and BY WILLIAM YARDLEY Dr. Robert Neuwirth, a prominent gynecologist who developed minimally invasive techniques that helped many women avoid hysterectomies, died on Dec. 17 in Newark. He was 80. The cause was complications from a stroke, said his son Michael. Dr. Neuwirth, who for much of his career was chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Luke’sRoosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan as well as a professor at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, was both a physician and a tinkerer. He spent decades inventing, refining and revising his own techniques with the goal of finding simpler, more efficient ways to reduce painful and excessive menstrual bleeding. One of the earliest methods he developed was to remove fibroids, the benign tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus and can cause excessive bleeding. In the past, surgeons who wanted to remove fibroids did so by removing the filling it with hot water to essentially burn away part of the uterine wall. That procedure, which can be conducted in a doctor’s office, has also become commonplace. In recent years, he was working on still another method, a chemical treatment that involves applying silver nitrate to parts of the uterine wall. One of his consistent goals was to create treatments that were relatively easy and inexpensive, in part so they could be used in countries with less sophisticated medical care. ‘‘He didn’t want to make these complex,’’ said Dr. Jacques Moritz, a longtime colleague who is director of the gynecology division at St. Luke’sRoosevelt. ‘‘He always wanted to keep it as simple as possible so that more people could do it.’’ Robert Samuel Neuwirth was born on July 11, 1933, in Floral Park, N.Y., on Long Island. He was the only child of Phyllis and Abraham, a physician. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Yale in 1955 and a medical degree from Yale in 1958; he completed his residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 1962. Twelve years later, he was named head of the obstetrics and gynecology department at St. Luke’s. He stayed in that role until 1991, well after it had become St. Luke’s-Roosevelt. From 1977 to 2000, he was a professor at Columbia. He served as an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1982 to 1988. ‘‘He was a brilliant physician-scientist, pushing forward new knowledge, but he was also a brilliant physician educator,’’ said Dr. Frank A. Chervenak, a former student who is chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Presbyterian Hospital and at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. In addition to his son Michael, survivors include four other children, Susan Neuwirth-Guerra, Jessica, Laura and Alexander; and six grandchildren. He was married twice; both marriages ended in divorce. He lived in Tampa, Fla., and had a home in Englewood, N.J. Dr. Neuwirth often did follow-up studies to test the long-term consequences and safety of his techniques. He studied menstrual function in women who had hysteroscopic surgery and he tested whether ablation techniques could mask cancer. He found that they did not. Dr. Alan DeCherney, the program director for reproductive biology and medicine at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health, was among several people who emphasized that Dr. Neuwirth was a modest man who was not inclined to professional networking or self-promotion. ‘‘He didn’t sell his ideas, he just did his stuff,’’ Dr. DeCherney said. ‘‘People saw it was good and they picked it up.’’ RCL PHOTOS Dr. Robert developed simple ways to help women avoid hysterectomies. Suicide bombings in Russia Why hasn’t the U.S. pulled out from competition? Clearly, security measures are not working now. The race for gold medals does not justify putting our citizens in danger. STOCKST0710, GREENVILLE, N.C. It might be worth stripping back the politics for the moment and just looking at this as a horrible attack that should be acknowledged with the same compassion as the Boston Marathon bombing. AIAS, PERTH, AUSTRALIA The price of drugs in India If a drug that ‘costs’ $4,500 can be actually manufactured and put on sale for $140, isn’t it clear that patent-holding drug companies are ripping people off? American patients should be the first to rise in protest against this exploitation of misery and suffering. It’s a pity that their voices aren’t being raised at all. B. N. CHANDRASEKHAR, SINGAPORE Medical costs have risen to the point that they are sucking the liquidity and growth out of everything else. We just don’t have the money. We can no longer afford to finance the huge profits that these drugs create. But if the potential for billions in profits was not there, why make the risky investment up front? That’s the dilemma in a market based system. We are either going to have to legislate a reduction in profits by shortening the protection period for life saving drugs, or limit prices, or fund research with tax dollars to take development costs and risk out of pricing. BRUCE ROZENBLIT, KANSAS CITY Where there is a will, there is a way. Pharma companies can think creatively and come up with a solution that protects their intellectual property and save lives that desperately need the medicine. READER, INDIA Celestine Bohlen LETTER FROM EUROPE PARIS When Razan Zaitouneh didn’t answer her emails on the night of Dec. 9, her colleagues worried. When the 36year-old Syrian human rights activist, living under siege in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, hadn’t responded by the next morning, they became alarmed. For good reason. That night, masked men stormed her apartment, which doubles as the Violations Documentation Center, piled Ms. Zaitouneh, her husband and two colleagues, their files and computers, into a Kia car and drove off. Since then, nothing has been heard from the missing four, nor from their captors, widely suspected to be from the Army of Islam, which now controls Douma. The idea that insurgents against President Bashar al-Assad could abduct a defender of human rights has been a terrible shock for Ms. Zaitouneh’s colleagues, inside and outside the country. ‘‘I used to find Razan online 24 hours a day,’’ said Maha Assabalani, a 28-year-old Yemeni citizen who has been assisting the Violations Documentation Center from Paris. ‘‘She never slept; she was always there. Now the screen is empty.’’ Ms. Zaitouneh is a lawyer and a longtime member of Syria’s human rights movement whose tenacity has earned her the reverence of her colleagues. Before the uprising began in 2011, she defended political prisoners and later opened the first information bank that cataloged and verified abuses by the Assad regime. Denounced by the Syrian government as a ‘‘spokesman for terrorists,’’ she went into hiding in Douma, a ‘‘liberated’’ town in the eastern Ghouta region now under siege by government forces. She was among the first to document the Aug. 21 chemical attacks on rebel-held neighborhoods. More recently, Ms. Zaitouneh opened a center for the women of Douma, where they can learn the skills they need to survive a war. It is part of a broader effort to help civil initiatives in ‘‘liberated’’ zones. ‘‘What Razan was doing in Douma was a good example, proof that there is still room for peaceful activities,’’ said Ms. Assabalani. ‘‘She wanted to let these women learn something, let them build something. It’s a country we’re talking about, not just a crisis.’’ Now Ms. Zaitouneh has vanished into the yawning black hole of the Syrian war, where lines between friend and foe have become treacherously blurred, where to be ‘‘liberated’’ no longer means to be safe. Yassin al Haj Saleh, a Syrian journalist married to one of Ms. Zaitouneh’s kidnapped colleagues, has publicly accused the Army of Islam, part of the broader non-Qaeda-linked Islamic Front, a possible partner in future peace talks, of her kidnapping. Muhammed Aloush, who heads the group, has denied any role in it. ‘‘There’s no evidence that he’s behind it, and there's no evidence that he isn’t,’’ said Ms. Assabalani, who worked with Syrian human rights activists in Damascus before she had to flee in 2012. ‘‘There’s no place you can go and ask.’’ Friends and colleagues thought Ms. Zaitouneh would be safe in Douma, where she continued to document violence after the chemical attacks last August. ‘‘I thought no one would touch her; it’s a matter of respect,’’ Ms. Assabalani said. ‘‘She stayed neutral and went ahead with documentation, no matter who was guilty. It is a moral issue.’’ But in Syria today, moral issues, and political allegiances, are being pushed aside as the war moves to a more unforgiving phase. Samira al-Khalil, one of the four kidnapping victims and wife of Mr. Saleh, had also thought she would be safe in Douma — where she had once served prison time as a political prisoner of the Assad regime. Instead of finding shelter, both she and Ms. Zaitouneh found themselves in a trap. Ms. Zaitouneh has never left Syria; she didn’t go to Europe or the United States to collect the several human rights prizes awarded her during the past three years. That loyalty has won her a big following, said Ms. Assabalani. ‘‘Razan is a hope for every single Syrian,’’ she said. ‘‘Talk to anyone and they will says she’s our hope. She’s a candle in the dark.’’ EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org Rights voice silenced in Syrian war IN OUR PAGES IN YOUR WORDS Robert Neuwirth, 80, pioneering physician and inventor A portrait of Mexican cowboys OBITUARY She ‘‘went ahead with documentation, no matter who was guilty.’’ PHOTOGRAPHS BY WERNER SEGARRA ROOTS OF A PASSION The cowhands in Huásabas, Mexico, inspired Werner Segarra to document their lives through photography after first visiting there in 1981 as a high school student and becoming a cowboy himself. His images have an emotional intimacy that reveals itself not just in the faces of cowboys at work and rest but also in the small details of past and present inside rough-walled adobe houses. Not that long ago, he relocated his architectural photography business from Puerto Rico, where he was born, to Phoenix, so he can drive to Mexico in a few hours to continue work on this most personal of projects. More photographs at lens. blogs.nytimes.com TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 | 3INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES . . . . INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES4 | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 . . . . World News europe MOSCOW BY STEVEN LEE MYERS President Vladimir V. Putin ordered security to be tightened across Russia after a suicide bombing on a trolley bus in Volgograd killed at least 15 people and wounded dozens on Monday, the second bombing in the city in two days. The bomb exploded during the morning rush hour, a little more than a mile and a half from Volgograd’s main rail station, where an attacker detonated a backpack filled with explosives and shrapnel on Sunday. The bombings appeared to be part of a deadly campaign of terrorism ahead of the Winter Olympic Games, which are scheduled to begin in six weeks in Sochi, a resort on the Black Sea that is 400 miles from Volgograd. Together, the attacks killed at least 32 people and sowed panic across the country, prompting false reports of other bombings and the brief evacuation of Red Square in Moscow after a woman left a package or bag near St. Basil’s Cathedral. Mr. Putin had made no public remarks by Monday evening, but he held a series of meetings with senior government and security officials, according to the Kremlin. He also dispatched the chief of the Federal Security Service, Aleksandr V. Bortnikov, to Volgograd to oversee the investigation and enhanced security measures. ‘‘I think we will be able to solve these crimes, particularly because we have some clues,’’ Mr. Bortnikov said after arriving there, without elaborating. He said that additional security had been deployed at public places, including the city’s transportation and energy facilities. Vladimir I. Markin, a spokesman for the main national criminal investigation agency in Russia, the Investigative Committee, said a man had carried out the second attack, detonating a bomb with more than eight pounds of explosives on Trolley Bus No. 15, which witnesses said was full of morning commuters. The force of the blast tore the bus open, hurling bodies into the street and breaking windows in nearby fivestory apartment buildings. In a statement on the committee’s website, Mr. Markin said the bombs used in both attacks were similar, packed with shrapnel to make them more lethal. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they have renewed attention on a threat issued in July by Doku Umarov, the Chechen leader who heads the Caucasus Emirate, a nebulous organization that seeks to carve an independent state out of Russia’s mostly Muslim republics in the south. In a video at the time, he called on his followers to do whatever possible to disrupt the Games in Sochi, which begin on Feb. 7. Aleksandr D. Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee and the first deputy speaker of Parliament, said all necessary security measures had been taken to protect athletes and visitors in Sochi. The White House condemned the attacks and held out the possibility of increased security ties with Russia for the Games, The Associated Press reported. A spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said Monday that the United States had already offered ‘‘full support’’ to Russia as it made security preparations for the Games and would welcome ‘‘closer cooperation’’ to ensure the safety of athletes, spectators and other participants. Suicide bombings have become a favored tactic of Mr. Umarov’s fighters and other Islamic extremists along Russia’s southern frontier in the North Caucasus. Mr. Markin initially said that the attack on the railroad station had been carried out by a woman, but by Monday officials suggested that both attacks had been carried out by men. The attack Monday was the third suicide bombing in recent months in Volgograd, a city of a million people that is the nearest major city to the Caucasus. In October, a woman identified as Naida Asiyalova detonated a vest of explosives aboard a bus in the city, killing herself and six others. In that case, the authorities said that she was linked by marriage to an explosives expert working with an Islamist group in Dagestan, a republic in the North Caucasus where the police have struggled to suppress such extremism. A month later, the authorities announced that they had killed her husband and four others in a raid. Reporting was contributed by Nikolai Khalip and Viktor Klimenko from Moscow and Michael S. Schmidt from Washington. Putin stiffens security after second bomb in Volgograd GARMENTS, FROM PAGE 1 every time they visit a store. But these brands depend on factories in developing countries like Bangladesh, where wages are very low and the pressure to work faster and more cheaply has spawned familiar problems: unsafe buildings, substandard work conditions and repeated wage and labor violations. Consumers know little about these factories, even as global brands promise that their clothes are made in safe environments. Phantom Tac could be regarded as an unlikely attempt to prove that a Bangladeshi factory could be socially responsible and make a profit. It was partly owned by a Spaniard, David Mayor, who had won orders from several Spanish brands. He had teamed up with a Vatican missionary in rural Bangladesh to offer a training program for female workers.And he had experimented with creating a website to allow consumers in the West to connect virtually with the workers sewing their clothes. But the pressures on Phantom Tac to meet deadlines and make money made those social goals difficult to achieve. Employees said the factory was busy but had suffered setbacks: Inditex, the global clothing giant that owns Zara and Lefties, had canceled orders a year earlier after the factory had failed a social compliance audit. And several employees said a different crisis had arisen after underage workers were discovered working as helpers. Now, Mr. Mayor has disappeared. He did not respond to email requests for interviews, and his family in Spain declined to reveal his whereabouts. His Bangladeshi business partner, Aminul Islam, is in jail. Factories like Phantom Tac in Bangladesh and the Mango operations in Spain are part of the same supply chains but might as well be from different worlds. In Spain, visitors to Mango’s design center, located a short drive from the distribution warehouse, are greeted in the lobby by an installation from the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. A Picasso hangs in the office of Mango’s chairman, Isak Andic.Employeeseatinalight-filledcafeteria or can relax in an upstairs area filled with ferns called ‘‘the greenhouse.’’ These state-of-the-art facilities are just the beginning: Mango already operatesotherdistributioncentersinTurkey, China and Hong Kong, and it has broken ground for a big new complex in Spain. Last year, Mango produced 105 million garments; by 2024, the company’s goal is to top 300 million garments and to quintuple annual sales to more than 10 billion euros, or $13.7 billion. This growth strategy comes after Mango responded to the global recession by sharply cutting prices, expanding offerings and opening new stores in countries like Russia and China. This increased sales but has placed a premium on efficiency, cost and speed. In the past, Mango sent new items to stores every four to six weeks; now it is every 15 days. Technology has enabled Mango’s distribution center in Spain to track global sales, down to a single item in a single store, and then ship out boxes of refill orders within eight hours. ‘‘The new facility will be faster, bigger and more efficient,’’ said Jordi Torra Marin, a project manager. In Bangladesh, the business environment presents a sharp contrast. Phantom Tac was located on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza, which was named after the building’s owner, Sohel Rana. Mr. Rana, now in jail, was a local political strongman, with close ties to elected officials in Savar and a reputation for criminal activities. Workers inside Rana Plaza say that when Mr. Rana needed people to stage a political march or a protest, he demanded that factory bosses release some workers from each factory to participate. Mr. Rana also extracted profits: He controlled food services that served snacks to workers during overtime. Several workers complained about the foul taste of the food. Mr. Rana also claimed the leftover remnants of fabric produced by each factory and sold them into the lucrative local recycling market. And, workers say, he took any garments that did not meet quality standards and sold them in local markets. David Mayor was a buyer when he met Aminul Islam, who was operating a different factory in the center of Dhaka, the national capital. Going into business together seemed like a good fit, since Mr. Mayor had connections with foreign brands, especially those in Spain. Soon, Mr. Mayor was bringing in orders, workers said, or leading foreign buyers on tours of the factory. Mr. Mayor also had a social agenda. In 2007, Mr. Mayor joined with Brother Massimo Cattaneo, a Roman Catholic missionary, and financed a training program for young girls from rural Bangladesh. He eventually hired about a dozen of the graduates into his own factory. He also wanted to give consumers a better understanding of how their clothes were made. Ashley Wheaton, who had worked for a nonprofit group in Dhaka, was hired to develop a website where consumers could type in a code taken from the sales tag of an item and then learn about the Bangladeshi women who made the garment they had bought. As an experiment, Mr. Mayor opened a shop in Dhaka where the clothes were marked with the codes. ‘‘He had this idea about what he wanted to accomplish,’’ Ms. Wheaton said. ‘‘He really did want to change the way things are done. But he was pragmatic. He knew it had to make money and be sustainable.’’ But money became a problem. Ms. Wheaton said she left after about seven months, as she sensed that the cash flow was drying up. Within about 18 months, Mr. Mayor stopped financing the training program, which Brother Massimo has kept afloat through church money and donations. Within Phantom Tac, the pressures were relentless, even as the factory stayed busy, workers say. Profit margins were so tight that several workers say that midlevel managers used two sets of accounting ledgers to hide excessive overtimeorotherwageviolations.Workers also said that a problem with child labor arose in 2012, after a buyer discovered several underage ‘‘helpers.’’ By January 2013, Phantom Tac had corrected the child labor issue and was trying to win new business, including orders from Mango, which had sent buyers to the factory as well as inspectors to conduct an audit of working conditions, workers say. ‘‘We all knew about Mango’s audit team,’’ said Mr. Hossain, the man from the cutting section. ‘‘There was an announcement on the loudspeaker. They told everyone to work properly. They wanted to impress them.’’ It worked. Labor activists searching the rubble of Rana Plaza found order forms from Mango to Phantom Tac for adult polo shirts and some children’s items. By April, but before the collapse, the fabric for the Mango order had arrived, several employees say. Work was underway on samples to be sent to Mango for approval. One worker, Mohammad Sohel, said some sample shirts had already been sent for quality testing by Mango, only to be identified as having a flaw in the collar. ‘‘David came to the factory and explained how to correct the collar,’’ Mr. Sohel said. In a recent interview conducted at Mango’s design center in Spain, José Gómez, vice president for international business development, cited Mango’s involvement in a major consortium of brands that have agreed to help finance safety upgrades to Bangladeshi factories as evidence of the company’s commitment to improve conditions. But on the separate issue of compensation for victims, Mr. Gómez denied that Mango had started production at Phantom Tac because he said the company’s auditing process was not complete. Asked if he was certain no work was underway, Mr. Gómez said, ‘‘What I understand is what I told you.’’ Eva Kreisler, coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign in Spain, said that Mango’s explanation is unconvincing and that the company has a moral obligation to help the victims of Rana Plaza. AnotherSpanishretailer,ElCorteInglés, is one of four brands that have agreed to contribute to the $40 million fund. Officials say other brands must come forward if full funding is to be achieved. ‘‘Definitely, they should contribute to the fund,’’ Ms. Kreisler said of Mango. ‘‘It isquiteshamefulthattheystillwon’tcontribute to bring justice to the workers.’’ On the day before Rana Plaza collapsed,cracksappearedinthethirdfloor ofthebuilding.Itwastemporarilyclosed and an engineer, upon inspecting the cracks, said the building should remain closed. But Mr. Islam, the co-owner of Phantom Tac, called a longtime factory supervisor and implored him and others to return to work, citing deadlines. Jim Yardley reported from Parets del Vallés, Spain, and Savar, Bangladesh. Julfikar Ali Manik contributed reporting from Savar, and Silvia Taules from Parets del Vallés. The suicide attacks appear to be part of a campaign of terrorism ahead of the Winter Olympic Games. Fashion’s reckoning in Bangladesh disaster BERLIN BY ALISON SMALE Switzerland has granted a three-month visa to Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, the former oil tycoon who was freed this month from a Russian prison, a spokeswoman for the Swiss Embassy in Berlin said on Monday. Mr. Khodorkovsky’s wife has reportedly lived in Switzerland for at least part of the decade he spent in Russian prisons. The application for the visa was made on Dec. 24, and the visa was collected on Monday, said the spokeswoman, Alexandra Baumann. Ms. Baumann said it was not an unusually swift procedure, and she declined to confirm whether Mr. Khodorkovsky’s wife, Inna, and the couple’s twin sons lived in Switzerland. A statement on Mr. Khodorkovsky’s website said he was ‘‘very grateful to the Swiss authorities for the speed and efficiency with which they have dealt with his visa application.’’ ‘‘So soon after his decade of unjust imprisonment, Mr Khodorkovsky is delighted that Switzerland will be the second country in which he can breathe the air of freedom,’’ the website said. Mr. Khodorkovsky was freed so suddenly after being granted clemency by President Vladimir V. Putin that Germany, which used back channels to broker the deal, had issued only an entry permit for a hastily issued Russian passport. The visa covers Switzerland and the 25 other nations in the Schengen agreement, which allows unrestricted travel. The agreement includes most major countries, with the notable exception of Britain. Once Russia’s wealthiest man, Mr. Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2003 after increasingly bitter confrontations with Mr. Putin’s Kremlin. He was sentenced in two cases that centered on his oil firm Yukos, which has now been largely dismantled and much of it reconstituted as Rosneft, the oil company run by Mr. Putin’s ally Igor I. Sechin. After his arrival in Berlin on Dec. 20, Mr. Khodorkovsky said he would stay out of day-to-day Russian politics, though he has commented on various developments, including last week’s release of two members of the punk performance act Pussy Riot, and he said he would not seek to recover any shares of Yukos. He and his family have been staying at a luxury hotel in Berlin. BY LIZ ALDERMAN Assailants raked the German ambassador’s residence in Athens with gunfire earlyonMondayinanattackthatcaused no injuries, Greek police officials said. The police found 60 spent bullet casings at the scene and detained six people in connection with the shooting, which happened around 3:30 a.m. in an affluent suburb north of Athens. The bullet casings came from two Kalashnikov rifles, the police said. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, in which four bullets hit a security gate. But anti-German sentiment has been festering among many Greeks struggling with record unemployment and reduced salaries under a harsh austerity plan required for Greece’s internationalbailout,whosetermsGermanyhad a major role in selecting. ‘‘Nothing, but really nothing, can justify such an attack on a representative of our country,’’ the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said in a statement in Berlin. He said Germany took the attack seriously,andaForeignMinistryspokesman said the Greek authorities had reacted swiftly and assured Germany that they would strengthen security in Athens. Chancellor Angela Merkel received a phone call from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, said a German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert. He added that Greece, which on Wednesday will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union, could count on Germany’s full support. The Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement: ‘‘The Greek government expresses its abhorrence and utter condemnation of today’s cowardly act of terrorism, the sole and obvious target of which was Greece’s image abroad just a few days before the start of the Hellenic presidency of the Council of the E.U.’’ Germany is the largest contributor to Greece’s bailout, which is worth 240 billion euros, or about $330 billion. Mr. Samaras has recently been pressing Germany to reduce and renegotiate Athens’s delinquent debts as it grapples with a wrenching five-year recession, but Germany has refused to do. This refusal has also fed a persistent low-grade anger over hundreds of billions of euros in reparations that Greeks say Germany owes the country from World War II, money that some say should go toward helping to forgive Greece’s debt bill. Greek newspapers regularly publish articles on how much money Germany owes Greece. German officials have insisted that there is no legal basis for Greece to claim the reparations. Greece has made some progress in improving its finances to meet the terms of the bailout — so much so that it is forecast to have a primary surplus before debt payments in 2014 for the first time in five years. But Greece still faces a mountain of debt that economists say is all but unpayable unless some new form of debt forgiveness is extended to Athens. Over the weekend, Jens Weidmann, the chairman of the German central bank and a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, ruled out another reduction in Greece’s state debt, saying in a German newspaper interview that Athens still needed to press ahead with a number of reforms as required by the terms of its bailout. His remarks echoed those of the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, who is widely reviled in Greece. Representatives of the so-called troika of lenders — the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission — are scheduled to return to Athens in January to resume talks over a fresh installment of ¤4.9 billion in aid. Liz Alderman reported from Paris. Niki Kitsantonis contributed reporting from Athens, and Alison Smale from Berlin. Shots hit German envoy’s Athens home Police detain 6 suspects; no injuries are reported in early morning attack Freed Russian dissident gets short-term Swiss visa PHOTOGRAPHS BY SAMUEL ARANDA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES The Mango clothing company near Barcelona. Mango already operates other distribution centers in Turkey, China and Hong Kong. Mango’s design center near Barcelona. Many brands depend on garment workers in developing countries laboring in unsafe conditions. ‘‘Definitely, they should contribute to the fund. It is quite shameful that they still won’t contribute.’’ TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 | 5INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES . . . . Dear frienDs anD guests Best wishes for a spiriteD, sparkling start to a healthy, happy anD wholesome new year 2014! Manfred & Christina Hörger, Hoteliers Savoy Hotel baur en ville ZuriCH, SwitZerland www.savoy-zuerich.ch · email@example.com middle east africa world news JERUSALEM BY JODI RUDOREN AND ISABEL KERSHNER As Israel prepared to release another groupof26long-servingPalestinianprisoners overnight Monday — and was expected to follow quickly with another announcement of new construction in West Bank settlements — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced withering criticism from all corners, including conservative members of his own coalition. Palestinian leaders said any new settlement activity could lead them to open a case against Israel in the International Criminal Court, a move they had promised not to take during the duration of the peace talks that started this summer. European diplomats warned Israelis in a series of high-level meetings over the past week against pairing the prisoner release with a construction announcement, as was done twice before. Even the Israeli right-wing forces Mr. Netanyahu aimed to appease with the settlement initiative distanced themselves from the plan, denouncing any linkage between prisoners and construction as unfortunate or even immoral. ‘‘Heiswrongbecausehetriestoplease all sides — the result is nobody is happy with his steps,’’ said Eitan Haber, a veteran Israeli commentator who was a close adviser to Yitzhak Rabin when he was prime minister. ‘‘If you are a true leader, a real leader, you must choose your way, and go and try to implement your ideas.’’ The Israeli news media reported that plans for 1,400 new housing units, including 600 in East Jerusalem, would be unveiled this week as Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to make his 10th visit to the region to push for a peace agreement. Mr. Netanyahu, who agreed to release a total of 104 Palestinian prisoners over nine months of negotiations rather than freeze settlement construction, said Monday that ‘‘the protection of settlement in the land of Israel’’ is one of the nation’s ‘‘vital interests.’’ ‘‘Leadership is judged by its ability to take hard decisions,’’ Mr. Netanyahu told lawmakers with his Likud faction. ‘‘The State of Israel, I believe, has a strategic interest in the existence of diplomatic negotiations whose goal is to achieve an agreement that will end the conflict.’’ The prisoners scheduled for release have served 19 to 28 years, most for involvement in the murder of Israelis. They included Kamil Awad Ali Ahmad, who was convicted in the killing of an Israeli soldier as well as 15 Arabs suspected of collaborating with Israel, and Adnan Afandi, who was 21 when he stabbed and wounded two Israeli teenagers at a Jerusalem market in 1992. Bella Freund, an Israeli mother of eight, recalled in an interview on Monday that she had used her body to protect Mr. Afandi from a furious mob for 27 minutes until the police arrived that day, and now felt betrayed. ‘‘I delivered the terrorist alive to justice, and justice gave me a slap in the face,’’ she said. The prisoner group also included, for the first time, at least five residents of East Jerusalem, which sparked particular outrage among Israelis. ‘‘These people will be neighbors of the families of the victims they murdered,’’ Ortal Tammam, whose uncle, Moshe, was killed at age 19 by Israeli-Arabs in 1984, complained in the Israeli daily Maariv. ‘‘They’ll be able to go to the same places of recreation, ride the same buses,’’ she said, ‘‘so the blow is even greater.’’ Further highlighting the complicated politics Mr. Netanyahu faces at home, a ministerial committee voted on Sunday to push forward legislation annexing the Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to freeze the legislation. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Monday that ‘‘this step finishes all that is called the peace process’’ and that the negotiations had ‘‘failed,’’ because such an annexation would preclude an eastern border with Jordan for a future Palestinian state. Mr. Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio that the Jordan Valley vote should spur efforts to seek full Palestinian membership in 63 international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, something Israel and the United States vehemently oppose. Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister and one of its two lead negotiators, called the Jordan Valley annexation proposal ‘‘delusional.’’ ‘‘It is impossible to enlist the world to help the real national interests of the state of Israel,’’ she said at a conference Monday, ‘‘when every day there are some who try to sabotage this.’’ Israelis opposed to the prisoner release have spent several days camped outside the prime minister’s office in a tent adorned with portraits of people killed in recent attacks alongside victims of decades ago. Lizi Hameiri, 32, a volunteer for the Israeli victims’ group that has led protests against the releases, said Mr. Netanyahu’s repeated announcements of new settlement construction only ‘‘adds insult to injury.’’ ‘‘Can a house compensate for the loss of a human life?’’ Ms. Hameiri asked. ‘‘It’s insane, infuriating, and immoral.’’ Israeli politicians who criticized the anticipated settlement announcement included Isaac Herzog, head of the opposition Labor Party; Yaakov Peri, a centrist minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet; and Orit Struk, a right-wing member of the Jewish Home Party who is herself a settler. BAGHDAD BY YASIR GHAZI Heavy fighting erupted in Anbar Province on Monday after the police moved to dismantle a Sunni protest camp there, Iraqi officials said. The government cut communications in the province and imposed a curfew in parts of it. Militant forces seized military matériel and deployed on the streets of Ramadi, the capital of the province, which stretches from the outskirts of Baghdad to the western borders of Iraq. Battles also broke out elsewhere in the province, including Falluja, and a Sunni cleric called for a holy war against the Shiite-led national government. A security official, speaking the on condition of anonymity, said 12 civilians had been killed in Ramadi and a nearby city, Hit, while five soldiers had died in Falluja. A hospital official in Ramadi put the death toll there at 14 and said ambulances could not reach other victims because of the fighting. Both sides in Ramadi reportedly used mediumandheavyweapons,rocketsand mortars. A police official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the security forces had pulled out of Ramadi and Falluja and had begun shelling the positions of militants in the two cities. The security forces cut communications, including the Internet, throughout the province, which has been the scene of protests against the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for more than a year. On Saturday, a leader of the protest, Ahmed al-Alwani, who is a member of Parliament, was arrested after a shootout with government forces who were raiding his home. The government acted on Monday after forces from Al Qaeda fled to Ramadi, Ali Musawi, a government spokesman, said in a statement. ‘‘The local police and the tribes, in coordination with the local government in Anbar, have completed the removal of tents in the sit-in site and opened the streets, and found two car bombs,’’ he said. ‘‘The dismantling of the camp was done without any losses.’’ But a Sunni cleric, Sheikh Abdul Malik al-Saadi, said the government’s reference to Al Qaeda was a ‘‘pretext’’ and urged Shiite forces not to participate in ‘‘this blatant aggression.’’ In scenes reminiscent of 2005, when Anbar was under the control of militants, gunmen in Ramadi deployed two tanks and seven Humvees they had seized from the military. ‘‘We will not kneel to the army of Maliki — he should know that dealing with the people of Anbar is no picnic,’’ one of the fighters in Ramadi said. ‘‘He thought that he can deceive the world by fighting Al Qaeda, but in reality he is fighting the Sunnis.’’ The government imposed a curfew west of Baghdad in areas including Abu Ghraib, a suburb of the capital. Saturday’s raid on Mr. Alwani’s home left his brother and five bodyguards dead, along with one soldier. Sunnis from Ramadi and Defense Ministry officials subsequently reached a deal, Lt. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, a ministry spokesman, told state television on Monday, according to news agencies. He said the decision to remove the camp came after the deal was reached. Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations envoy to Iraq, issued a statement calling for all sides ‘‘to remain calm and to abide by the agreements reached in the course of the last two days.’’ JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN BY NICHOLAS KULISH As the South Sudanese military warned that a rebel column of armed youths advanced toward the city of Bor on Monday, the president of neighboring Uganda threatened to intervene if the rebels kept fighting, introducing the possibility of a broader regional conflict. Col. Philip Aguer, a South Sudanese military spokesman, said that rebel forces, known as the White Army for the ash that fighters rub onto their skin, were 18 miles from Bor on Monday afternoon and had fought skirmishes with government troops on Sunday. He said the advance of the rebel forces sent civilians fleeing across the White Nile by the hundreds as fighters burned homes in their path. In the battles that have gripped this young nation this month, Bor was briefly captured by rebels and then quickly retaken by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, as the South Sudanese military is known. ‘‘The S.P.L.A. is ready to defend the town and protect themselves,’’ Colonel Aguer said. With troops marching on Bor, last week’s diplomatic effort by East African leaders to push for a negotiated ceasefire to the conflict seemed to have failed, at least for the time being. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda called on regional nations Monday to intervene to ‘‘defeat’’ the rebel forces if they did not agree to a cease-fire. Fighting began on Dec. 15 with clashes between soldiers from the Republican Guard. President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of trying to mount a coup. Mr. Machar went into hiding and has been demanding Mr. Kiir’s resignation. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the ensuing clashes, including large numbers of civilians, and close to 180,000 people have been displaced over the two weeks of conflict. ‘‘We gave Riek Machar four days to respond, and if he doesn’t we shall have to go for him, all of us, that is what we agreed in Nairobi,’’ Mr. Museveni told reporters, referring to a summit meeting of East African leaders in the Kenyan capital last week. That raised the prospect of an escalation or even cross-border spillover, adding to a worrying picture for a region already suffering from bloodshed in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Museveni and Mr. Kiir have been close for years, and the Uganda People’s Defense Force provided significant support to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the civil war against the Sudanese government in Khartoum, analysts said. ‘‘The U.P.D.F. has always been a very good friend of the S.P.L.A.,’’ said Mareike Schomerus, a researcher on South Sudan at the London School of Economics. ‘‘Some would say without U.P.D.F., the S.P.L.A. would never have been able to fight the war in that way.’’ Mr. Machar has said that Ugandan aircraft have bombed White Army positions, an assertion Uganda has denied. ‘‘That remains speculative and I have no idea that we’ve engaged in such an action at all,’’ said Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the Ugandan military. ‘‘But our briefing is very clear. Should we be attacked, our soldiers have a right to defend themselves.’’ There have been conflicting reports about the advance of the White Army. South Sudan’s information minister said last week that 25,000 Nuer youths had gathered; others have put the number at a few thousand, saying that elders from their community had persuaded many to turn back. The United Nations confirmed through a helicopter surveillance flight Sunday that a group was marching toward Bor, saying in a statement that it was ‘‘extremely concerned’’ about the reports. Many of the fleeing civilians have crossed the river into a neighboring state. The Nuer fighters were carrying AK-47s and had several heavy machine guns and 30 vehicles and trucks, Colonel Aguer said. South Sudanese officials say that Mr. Machar controls the White Army, which he has denied. ‘‘This is a group of loyalists to Riek Machar,’’ Colonel Aguer said. He said Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile State, where the two sides in the conflict have clashed in recent days, was calm and under the control of the military. Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, was also peaceful but under rebel control, he said. BEIRUT, LEBANON BY ANNE BARNARD Gravelly, windswept Martyrs’ Square, a vastblankspacecarvedfromtheheartof Beirut by civil war, teemed on March 14, 2005, with hundreds of thousands of Lebanese, galvanized by the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister, to build a mass movement that would help push the Syrian Army out of Lebanon. Not so on Sunday, when barely 1,000 people appeared on the square under an overcast sky for the funeral of Mohamad B. Chatah, who was killed on Friday the same way Mr. Hariri was, by a car bomb in central Beirut that many mourners said was the work of the Syrian government and its Lebanese allies. A former finance minister, Mr. Chatah was a prominent critic of the Syrian government. Few traces could be seen on Sunday of the optimism of the March 14th Movement, or of its nonsectarian appeal. A forlorn handful of March 14 veterans were there; others, they said, stayed home because they were ‘‘depressed’’ and ‘‘resigned’’ after nearly nine years, dozens more unsolved assassinations in Lebanon and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria still in power. The handful appeared to be far outnumbered by young followers of militant Sunni sheikhs, carrying the black flag flown by jihadists in Syria. Some had fought there, and others vowed to join what they saw as a coming sectarian war against the Shiite militia Hezbollah, which is backing Mr. Assad. It was a measure of the shrunken hopes of Lebanon’s democracy movement that the loudest expressions of outrage over the death of Mr. Chatah came not from liberals lamenting the murder of one of their most admired figures, but fromSunniclericswhoframedthebombing primarily as an attack on their sect. ‘‘The Sunnis are being targeted,’’ one cleric said at the funeral of Mohammed Chaar, 16, one of six other people killed in the same bombing as Mr. Chatah. More passion was evident at that funeral than in the square, from both democracy activists and from Sunni partisans—asignofhowdisillusionedpeople are with traditional leaders, both March 14 figures and old-school Sunni notables. At Mr. Chaar’s funeral, held at the KhashoggiMosqueintheQasqasdistrict across town from the square, Lebanon’s grand mufti was harried by an angry crowd and had to be spirited away by the security forces. The mufti is despised by some Sunnis, who call him a Hezbollah stooge for failing to condemn Mr. Assad’s crackdown. Another cleric then spoke, insulting Hezbollah as ‘‘Hezb alShaytan,’’ the party of the devil. After the funerals, Lebanon’s president, Michel Suleiman, announced that Saudi Arabia was donating $3 billion to the Lebanon Army, the largest grant ever to the institution to ‘‘fight terrorism.’’ That, too, played into divisions; the army is one of few national agencies with broad-based support, but it is seen as growing closer to Hezbollah. Supporters of the move saw an effort to bolster a national institution; critics saw an act of sectarian patronage by Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, the regional rival of Shiite-led Iran, Hezbollah’s patron. The protesters of 2005 tried to reach beyond Lebanon’s fractured sectand clan-based politics to create a movement that teamed some traditional parties — including the Hariri family’s Sunni and pro-Saudi Future Movement — with independents who were eager to build a strong sense of Lebanese identity. Popular frustration drew millions of Lebanese — perhaps half the population — into the streets to demand that Syria end its direct control of the country. Syria withdrew its troops, and Lebanon elected a March 14th government determined to curtail Hezbollah’s power. But in the years that followed, dozens of Lebanese politicians and officials were assassinated, almost all of them from what became known as the March 14th Coalition, and Hezbollah fought a war with Israel, emerging stronger than ever both politically and militarily. By 2008, Hezbollah controlled the government, and the March 14th Coalition had fragmented into competing fiefdoms. ‘‘We’re depressed,’’ said Fida Hajjeh, who came from Tripoli for Mr. Chatah’s funeral along with the sister-in-law of Wissam al-Hassan, a senior security official who was killed in a bombing last year. Most of Beirut’s intellectuals stayed home on Sunday, she said, because they believed that turning out in protest at the killing ‘‘will do nothing.’’ Thanassis Cambanis contributed reporting. Grief and apathy haunt Lebanon ABIR SULTAN/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY Relatives of Israelis who were killed by Palestinians militants protested over the weekend outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem before a planned prisoner release. Iraqi police and militants engage in deadly clashes Uganda vows action as South Sudan rebels advance ‘‘We gave Riek Machar four days to respond.’’ MOHAMED AZAKIR/REUTERS A photo of Mohammed Chaar, 16, who died in the Friday blast that killed Finance Minister Mohamad B. Chatah and six others, being carried at a march on Monday in Beirut. Troubles are crowding in on Netanyahu Pairing new settlements with Palestinian prisoner release brings criticism ‘‘If you are a true leader, a real leader, you must choose your way, and go and try to implement your ideas.’’ INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES6 | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 . . . . world news americas asia PHOTOGRAPHS BY SIM CHI YIN FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES Farmers in Hengyang, China, searching for recyclable materials, surrounded by mounds of industrial waste. The area’s crops have been found to be at risk of heavy metal contamination. BY HENRY FOUNTAIN The passengers and some crew members of a Russian research ship that has been stuck in thick Antarctic ice for nearly a week will be evacuated by helicopter, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday. In a statement, the ministry said that because icebreakers had been unable to clear a path to the ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, a helicopter aboard one of the icebreakers would be used to ferry 52 scientists, graduate students, journalists and tourists and four crew members to safety when weather conditions permit. The rest of the 22-member crew will remain on board to maintain the ship. High winds and snow earlier Monday forced an Australian icebreaker to abandon its attempt to reach the icebound ship. A Chinese icebreaker failed in a similar attempt on Saturday; it carries a helicopter that will be used in the evacuation. The ministry said the evacuated passengers and crew would be brought aboard the Chinese ship, the Xue Long. The Shokalskiy, 233 feet long, became stuck in the ice last Tuesday when strong winds pushed loose pack ice up against it near Cape de la Motte, about 1,700 miles south of Hobart, Tasmania. It is carrying the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, scientists and tourists who are studying changes to the environment of East Antarctica in the century since the region was first explored. The Australian icebreaker, the Aurora Australis reached the area on Monday, entered the pack ice and got within 12 miles of the Shokalskiy, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue operation. But the authority said in a statement that poor visibility due to the snow and winds of up to 35 miles an hour made it unsafe for the icebreaker to continue. The Russian ministry statement did not say where those evacuated from the Shokalskiy would be taken, but there is a French station at Dumont d’Urville, about 100 miles to the east. In an earlier phone interview from the ship, Chris Turney, a research expedition leader and professor of climate change at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, said that all aboard were well and that morale was high. The ship has enough food and other necessities to last several weeks. The expedition, including 20 tourists, set sail from Bluff, New Zealand, on Dec. 8 on what was to be a monthlong voyage. The expedition is retracing some of the travels and replicating some of the studies of the Australian geologist Douglas Mawson, who first explored East Antarctica from 1911 to 1914. The ship anchored at the edge of pack ice on Dec. 18, and Dr. Turney and others spent a day journeying about 45 miles across the ice to Mawson’s hut. The ship then headed east through open water. Butasitbeganheadingnorth,Dr.Turney said, it ‘‘ran afoul of very strong winds’’ that pushed the loose ice in its way. ‘‘It pegged us in,’’ he said, and the frozen expanse quickly grew as more ice piled up. ‘‘At first we were just two nautical miles from getting to open water, and now it’s 20.’’ and making it more difficult to pinpoint the offending factories and for ordinary Chinese to judge what they eat. On Monday, a vice minister of land and resources, Wang Shiyuan, gave an alarming glimpse of official findings when he said at a news conference in Beijing that eight million acres of China’s farmland had become so polluted that planting crops on it ‘‘should not be allowed.’’ A signal moment came earlier, in May, when officials in Guangdong Province, in the far south, said they had discovered excessive levels of cadmium in 155 batches of rice collected from markets, restaurants and storehouses. Of those, 89 were from Hunan Province, where Ms. Ge farms. The report set off a nationwide scare. In June, China Daily, an official Englishlanguage newspaper, published an editorial saying that ‘‘soil contaminated with heavy metals is eroding the foundation of the country’s food safety and becoming a looming public health hazard.’’ A sixth of China’s arable land, about 50 million acres, equal to half of California, suffers from soil pollution, according to a book published in 2013 by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The book, ‘‘Soil Pollution and Physical Health,’’ said that more than 13 million tons of crops per year were contaminated with heavy metals and that 22 million acres of farmland were affected by pesticides. The government has refused to divulge details of the pollution, leaving farmers and consumers in the dark about the levels of contaminants in the food chain. The soil survey, completed in 2010 at a cost of at least $160 million, has been locked away as a ‘‘state secret.’’ ‘‘We think it’s always the right of the public to know how bad the situation is,’’ said Ma Tianjie, an advocate at Greenpeace East Asia who is researching toxic soil. ‘‘The Chinese public can accept the fact that our environment is polluted. The important thing is to give them the means to challenge polluters and improve the environment, and not just keep them in the dark.’’ There has been some acknowledgement of the problem at the top levels of the Communist Party. In October 2012, at a meeting of the State Council that was led by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, officials said ‘‘high attention’’ needed to be paid to soil pollution, whose major causes were ‘‘human activities like industrial mining and agriculture,’’ according to Xinhua, the state-run news agency. In January 2013, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced that it would set up systems by 2015 to monitor soil pollution and that it would promote pilot projects for treatment. Scholars say soil pollution is especially acute in Hunan Province, China’s rice bowl. In 2012, Hunan produced 17 million tons of rice, 16 percent of the national total, according to one market research company. The province is also one of China’s top producers of nonferrous metals. As a result, Hunan is the leading polluter of cadmium, chromium, lead and nonmetal arsenic, according to data collected in 2011 by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a research group based in Beijing. That year, the province was responsible for 41 percent of the nation’s cadmium pollution when measured by its presence in industrial wastewater; the number has not dropped below 30 percent since 2004, when the data was first collected by the group. The wastewater flows into irrigation channels after being discharged into rivers. Hunan’s abundance of raw metals has led to a government push to develop industry there, leaving officials caught in what Mr. Ma, the Greenpeace advocate, calls a clash of two imperatives: ‘‘They have to feed the country with their rice, but they want to grow their economy.’’ Among the heavy metals seeping into Hunan’s crops, the worst may be cadmium, which at high levels has been linked to organ failure, weakening of bones and cancer, scientists say. ‘‘Cadmium has a tendency to accumulate in the kidney and liver,’’ said Chen Nengchang, a scientist at the Guangdong Institute of Eco-environment and Soil Sciences. ‘‘When the accumulation reaches a certain point, it will pose a serious health risk for the organs.’’ Cadmium that accumulates in rice plants gets into not only the rice on China’s tables but also the meat, since the husks are fed to farm animals. There is no public data, though, that shows the level of cadmium pollution in food. Increasingly, Chinese news organizations are reporting on clusters of villages that have high rates of cancer. This has raised questions about the potential link between cancer and pollution of the soil, water and air, and some scientists are conducting studies. In July, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published some findings from a study that drew a direct connection between pollution of the Huai River, which crosses several provinces in central China, and high rates of cancer among people living by the river. Here in Hunan, and particularly in this area administered by Hengyang City, which includes Ms. Ge’s village, stories of cancer are common. One widow in the village of Liujiacun said her husband died in his 50s of liver cancer. ‘‘He didn’t do heavy labor, didn’t smoke and he would drink only a little bit,’’ said the widow, who gave only her surname, Li. As in other nearby villages, crops here appear wilted, and the village well is clogged with green muck. These were sharp changes from Ms. Li’s childhood, she said. Ms. Ge said a woman from a nearby village began feeling ill while working in her field this fall. What she thought was a cold turned out to be latestage liver cancer. ‘‘Within two months, she had passed away,’’ Ms. Ge said. Mr. Chen, the soil scientist, said Chinese farmers had a profound connection with the land. ‘‘Since China’s household registration system makes it difficult for them to relocate to other areas,’’ he said, ‘‘there is a sense of fatalism, and they accept whatever comes their way.’’ Sitting in an alley next to a pail of carrots, Ms. Ge agreed, saying: ‘‘You’re born on this earth, you grow up on this earth and you can’t do anything about it. Those who are most vulnerable have died. We’re still here wasting away.’’ Chris Buckley contributed reporting from Hong Kong, and Patrick Zuo contributed research from Beijing and Chenjiawan. at least $650 million on a wide variety of perks and bonuses, political campaigns and advocacy work, charitable giving and social causes, not to mention travel and lodging, connected to his time and role as mayor. (His estimated tab for a multiday trip to China, with aides and security in tow: $500,000.) In the process, he has entirely upended the financial dynamics surrounding New York’s top job. In the past, the city paid its mayor; Mr. Bloomberg paid to be the city’s mayor. In moves that would make a financial planner’s head spin, he rejected the $2.7 million worth of salary to which he was entitled (accepting just $1 a year) and, starting in 2001, turned on a spigot of cash that has never stopped gushing. He pouredatleast$268millionofhispersonal funds into three campaigns for mayor. He donated at least $263 million to New York arts, civic, health and cultural groups, personally and through his company, Bloomberg LP. Campaign donations? He handed out about $23 million of them. He even chipped in $5 million to renovate an official mayoral residence that he never inhabited.(He preferredthe familiar privacy of his own nearby mansion.) ‘‘A modern Medici’’ is how Mark Green, the former New York public advocate, described him, reaching back to 15th-century Italy for a precedent. Mr. Bloomberg’s all-expense-paid mayoralty was, depending on the vantage point, exhilarating (for his aides), infuriating (for his rivals), cost-saving (for his constituents) or selfless (for the beneficiaries of his largess). But for anyone who interacted with the billionaire, his gilded approach to governing was a breathtaking thing to behold. Guy V. Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president, recalled the time Mr. Bloomberg invited him to see the new commuter ferries that would bear Mr. Molinari’s name. Mr. Molinari had assumed that the invitation would mean visiting the boats in the humble waters of Staten Island. Mr. Bloomberg had a grander plan: He whisked Mr. Molinari to Wisconsin on his pristine private plane to view the factory where the ships were being built. ‘‘It’s a beautiful plane,’’ Mr. Molinari said, ‘‘and I remember asking him, ‘What does it cost, a plane like this?’’’ The mayor’s reply: $28 million. ‘‘I thought to myself,’’ Mr. Molinari said, ‘‘how many people could just take $28 million out of your bank account to buy a plane?’’ In the eyes of Chris McNickle, a historian who has written about the city’s mayors, Mr. Bloomberg’s financial might made him the most potent mayor since the birth of modern New York City in the late 1800s. Because he was largely liberated from the demands of campaign donors, interest groups or political parties, ‘‘his power was both intensified and expanded,’’ Mr. McNickle said. To calculate Mr. Bloomberg’s spending, The Times relied on public documents, travel records, philanthropy databases, conversations with vendors and interviews with his government employees. The $650 million minimum estimate is undoubtedly low. Up-to-date annual reports were not available for several Bloomberg-financed organizations and a wide range of expenses were impossible to firmly establish, like the dinner parties he hosted at his townhouse, meals he bought for government aides and landing fees paid at foreign airports. Still, the data suggests that Mr. Bloomberg’s fortune has left few corners of the city untouched, from the biggest cultural institutions to the smallest theater troupes. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has received over $30 million from the mayor since 2002, Mr. Bloomberg has paid for audio guides and wireless Internet, reaching ‘‘everyone who walks through our doors,’’ said Harold Holzer, a senior vice president there. At the Queens Theater in the Park, Mr. Bloomberg’s annual gifts of $100,000, delivered anonymously starting the year he took office, amounted to a financial life raft that seemed to drop from the sky. ‘‘It was beyond our realm of comprehension,’’ the theater’s former director, Jeffrey Rosenstock, recalled of the windfall. The common touch has long eluded the mayor as an orator, but down-andout New Yorkers were a recurring focus of his financial outlays. He wrote a $30 million check to create a city program to improve the lives of disadvantaged black and Latino men. Mr. Bloomberg’s opponents complained that his free-spending ways purchased political acquiescence, access to ballot lines and a national platform. In moments of candor, his own advisers conceded that without his money, he probably would never have won the office, let alone secured a third term. But from the perspective of City Hall, his fortune brought benefits far beyond Mr. Bloomberg’s electoral success, encouraging gun control ($7 million), immigration reform ($5.7 million) and volunteerism ($6.2 million). On this, New Yorkers remain divided: In a poll conducted in August by The Times, 30 percent said Mr. Bloomberg’s wealth had made him a better mayor; 27 percent said it had made him a worse mayor; and 35 percent said it had made no difference. Mr. Bloomberg loathes discussion of his wealth. His office declined to comment for this article or on the analysis of his spending. Mr. Green, who felt the full force of Mr. Bloomberg’s money during his mayoral bid 12 years ago, once tried broaching the wealth issue with him a year after the election. Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign had just plowed through $73 million to defeat him — four times what Mr. Green had spent. ‘‘Yeah, well, it was expensive,’’ he recalled the mayor telling him. And that, more or less, was that. As the Bloomberg era winds down, placing the future of those fish tanks in doubt, there is a widespread sense that making the city’s richest man its leader was a kind of grand experiment: novel and momentous, sometimes heady, other times unsettling, but unlikely to be repeated. ‘‘We’ve never had anybody like him before,’’ Mr. Molinari said. ‘‘And we are never going to see anybody like this again.’’ Andrew Boryga contributed reporting. Russia plans evacuation of icebound ship Antarctic weather stops ice-breaking missions, forcing helicopter rescue Bloomberg spent a fortune in office BLOOMBERG, FROM PAGE 1 Chinese official says Abe honored ‘the Nazis of Asia’ BEIJING BY EDWARD WONG The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that China’s leaders would not meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he visited a controversial war shrine in Tokyo last week. A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said at a regularly scheduled news conference in Beijing that Mr. Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which has the remains of some convicted war criminals, was tantamount to honoring ‘‘fascists’’ and ‘‘the Nazis of Asia.’’ Mr. Qin’s statements were the strongest public ones that China has made against Mr. Abe, who has been asking for high-level talks with China in order to discuss points of tension in East Asia. Most recently, Japan and other countries have expressed surprise and anger over China’s decision to expand its flight identification zone in the East China Sea. ‘‘They have to feed the country with their rice, but they want to grow their economy.’’ China’s tainted soil stirs fear in ‘rice bowl’ CHINA, FROM PAGE 1 OZIER MUHAMMAD/THE NEW YORK TIMES Michael R. Bloomberg will leave office as New York’s mayor at midnight Tuesday. CORRECTION • An article in the Saturday-Sunday editions about delivery services that were overwhelmed by the volume of lastminute holiday packages misstated the surname of an analyst with the research firm eMarketer who commented on the issue. She is Krista Garcia, not Clark. Mr. Bloomberg rejected the $2.7 million worth of salary to which he was entitled (accepting just $1 a year). With the chimney of a lead factory in the background, a resident of Chenjiawan, China, prepared land for crops. Anxiety about soil pollution has been growing among Chinese. 1st/Business Class Worldwide Flights up to 50% off. Special fares for round-the-worlds, cruises, hotels. Frequent flyer points redemption service. 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Most credit cards accepted Need to place a classified ad? IHT Classifieds SAINT JOSEPH'S English speaking Catholic Church Mon-Fri. Masses 8:30am Sat. 11am & 6:30pm (Vigil), Sunday 9:30, 11, 12:30 & 6:30pm. New Year's Day Mass at 11:00am. 50 ave Hoche, Paris 8th. Tel 01 42 27 28 56 Metro Charles de Gaulle - Etoile. www.stjoeparis.org Paris and Suburbs Religious Services TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 | 7INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES . . . . Style ONLINE: INTERNATIONAL STYLE More photographs depicting important moments in the past 12 months in fashion. inyt.com/style Surprises and deals: A year in fashion NEW YORK BY CATHY HORYN No one really talks about fabulous, must-have clothes anymore. Have you noticed? Instead, in 2013, the conversation focused on business deals (which luxury brand would go public next, the further designs of Amazon) and how celebrities faced their baby fat. Still, the year had its ironic moments and leftfield surprises, plus a few artists who refused to be complacent. 1. John Galliano helped Oscar de la Renta with his fall collection and then shared his addiction-recoverystorywith Vanity Fair and Charlie Rose, the television inteviewer. It was a classic, P.R.managed bid to reclaim a reputation. While some were skeptical of this media performance, Mr. de la Renta heaped praise on their brief collaboration, saying that Mr. Galliano’s designs were commercial winners. Mr. de la Renta, 81, is looking for a successor. But maybe Mr. Galliano wants to buy back his eponymous label from LVMH, if he can. 2. At Dior, Raf Simons elevated the fashion conversation in a way that few could have imagined in 2012, when he was hired by the Paris house. He linked his own modern sensibility to that of Christian Dior’s, surprising the audience at his fall ready-to-wear show with calm and beautiful clothes that evoked Dior’s 1950ssilhouetteyetbrokefreeofit.Aflaring black skirt seemed to crash through the opening of an elegant red coat. There were references to Surrealism and Warhol, in color and embroideries. Mr. Simons said he was trying to recreate the reality of having strong sensitivities — clashes are inevitable. This was much more than a postmodern riff. 3. Baz Luhrmann’s ‘‘Great Gatsby’’ attempted to be a modernized version of the liberal 1920s, but, oddly, despite the Prada dresses and music by Jay Z, the director completely missed the decade’s real sense of freedom, especially among women. Adolescent flappers wore practically nothing: just a shift, step-ins and shoes with rolled stockings. That nearnaked look would have certainly given Mr. Luhrmann’s movie a modern edge. 4. Nicolas Ghesquière took over Louis Vuitton as Marc Jacobs exited to devote himselftohislabel(andapossibleI.P.O.). Mr. Jacobs once characterized Vuitton’s clothes as ‘‘window dressing’’ for its bags. That may be, but he helped define fashion at Vuitton. And clothing and shoes do not represent insignificant sales. A year away from the limelight and Balenciaga, where he made his name, Mr. Ghesquière now has a chance to do something powerful. We can hardly wait. 5. At the Grammys in February, Adele shed black for a sumptuous red floral number by Valentino. She looked borne from a Renaissance painting to the red carpet, where typically the choices of celebrities are cushioned against complaint. Adele’s choice suited her beauty and charms, and, no, the cut was not ‘‘old lady,’’ as some moaned. It was a couture classic. She followed up in December with a similar cut by Stella McCartney, in a blue-and-green feather pattern. 6. After Rick Owens’s men’s show in late June, when he featured a crazy bunch of guys from Estonia in werewolf masks, nobody could complain that runway shows lacked energy. The men, members of a band called Winny Puhh, performed while suspended upside down. Then, for his women’s show in September, Mr. Owens invited a bunch of Americanstepdancers.Fiercetheywere as the young women got up in people’s faces, and the designer gracefully created a more inclusive experience. 7. In 2012, bloggers were a big story. This year, the influence seemed to shift to YouTube, as more and more fashion companies, as well as editors and photographers, used it for mini-movies and other programming. 8. Americans will continue to buy clothing made overseas, but this year United States-made gained ground as more foreign-owned apparel makers invested in textile and yarn-spinning factories in the United States, mainly in the South. That’s because of rising energy and labor costs in Asia. Meanwhile, manufacturers like Robert Kidder of the New England Shirt Company, in Fall River, Mass., have shown that there’s a creative reason to have a factory close by. You can actually get products that are distinctive, something the local-food movement has long understood. 9. In September, New York Fashion Week drew enough boos for the cheesy atmosphere of its Lincoln Center hub that the Council of Fashion Designers of America (that is, Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb, the organization’s chief executive) stepped in. The council will now be involved in the show calendar, just as its counterparts in Paris and Milan control their schedules. That’s a start, but with headliners saying they will leave the tents — Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, among them — N.Y.F.W.’s new owners, William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners, still must fix an image problem. 10.Hundredswaitedinlineattheopening of the Azzedine Alaïa retrospective in September at the Palais Galliera in Paris. The evening was a celebration of both Mr. Alaïa’s remarkable fashion and his long association with the city. Olivier Saillard curated the starkly dramatic exhibition. Mr. Saillard, who in the last year staged a Paris couture exhibition and a performance piece with the actress Tilda Swinton, works from the premise that visitors will engage with historical fashion when there are no hyper effects. 11. Ann Demeulemeester, one of the original Antwerp Six, transmitted a handwritten note to the news media saying she was leaving her company, bowing out. The decision, while initially surprising, didn’t seem as eventful as it might have a few years ago. 12. Before Christmas, Dover Street Market, a creation of the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and her husband, AdrianJoffe,openedaNewYorkoutpost. There’s a lot to discover, even among the familiar labels, because the edit is sharp. 2013 headlines included Galliano’s return and Marc Jacobs’s departure Online, influence seemed to shift to YouTube, with more fashion mini-movies and other kinds of programming. Above, Marc Jacobs at his last show for Louis Vuitton, during Paris Fashion Week in October. The designer left the fashion house to concentrate on his own line; Nicolas Ghesquière has taken over. Right, the carnival atmosphere at the Lincoln Center hub of New York Fashion Week drew so many complaints in September that major designers, including Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, vowed not to return. From top right, the Azzedine Alaïa retrospective at the Palais Galliera in Paris; American step dancers at the Rick Owens show in October; at Dior, Raf Simons evoked the house’s 1950s silhouette yet broke free of it; and the fall collection created by Oscar de la Renta with the help of John Galliano. 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Reichert WASHINGTON In 1971, an unexpected series of interactions between international table tennis players turned out to be the first indication of China’s willingness to engage with the United States after decades of estrangement. It presaged President Richard M. Nixon’s watershed visit to the country. This unlikely set of events later came to be known as Ping-Pong diplomacy. Now we could be witnessing the equivalent — call it shark-fin diplomacy — by which China signifies to the world that it is ready to step forward into new arenas of environmental protection. The world’s most populous nation faces serious issues: Air pollution has become a growing concern, with recent emissions of particulate matter so high in the northeastern city of Harbin that its official website stated, ‘‘You can’t see your own fingers in front of you.’’ Meanwhile, supplying wood for more than 80 billion sets of disposable chopsticks each year has decimated forests, and water pollution renders large sections of major rivers unfit for drinking and swimming. International concerns also loom large: Greenhouse gas emissions don’t respect borders. And trade in endangered plants and animals threatens to undermine the global ecosystems. Oceans, in particular, are at great risk because they are increasingly overfished, polluted and stressed by rising temperatures and acidification resulting from climate change. Fortunately, China has begun to take steps. The country consistently ranks No.1 or 2 in attracting private investment in clean energy. It has a national renewable-energy standard and has adopted some of the strongest vehicle fuel efficiency regulations on the planet. People have been called on to reuse chopsticks. And the government has announced a policy that will help stem the killing of a crucial ocean species: sharks. The new attitude toward sharks is particularly instructive, since shark-fin soup has long been considered a delicacy in China, served at banquets and weddings. But its popularity has contributed to a sharp decline in the worldwide populations of these apex predators, which help maintain healthy marine ecosystems. It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year, primarily for their fins. The first sign of a shift came in February, when President Xi Jinping issued instructions to all levels of the Chinese government that high-cost ingredients, including shark fins and specialties culled from other protected species, were not to be consumed at official meetings. In large part, this regulation stems from a crackdown on corruption and lavish spending, since shark-fin soup is expensive and has often represented a display of wealth. But language in the notice also acknowledged the importance of promoting ‘‘green, eco-friendly and low-carbon’’ consumption habits. Then, in September, came news from Hong Kong that the city government would ban shark fins from official functions there to ‘‘demonstrate its commitment to green living and sustainability.’’ Since 50 percent of the world’s annual trade in shark fins passes through Hong Kong, the move was highly encouraging. Together, those decisions are expected to reduce the global trade in fins and aid conservation initiatives, such as the establishment of shark sanctuaries. In those sanctuaries, which encompass 12.5 million square kilometers, catching, possessing and trading in shark products are prohibited. Open sea-dwelling species of sharks swim vast distances each year, passing in and out of national territorial waters where they are caught and killed. Sanctuaries will help to reduce the risk to these imperiled animals, which are slow growing, bear few young and play a vital role in ocean ecologies. Given China’s immense size and expanding influence, it has the potential to play a key role in helping to solve the problems of climate change, overfishing, pollution and conservation. The new shark-fin diplomacy may prove to be a pivotal event — but only if China adopts the environmental leadership that the world so desperately needs. JOSHUA S. REICHERT is the executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, directing Pew’s environmental work. Andrew S. Weiss WASHINGTON The czarist trappings of President Vladimir V. Putin’s surprise move to free Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, announced at a marathon news conference on Dec. 19, were hard to miss. Mr. Putin’s offhand, backstage comment that 10 years of imprisonment had been punishment enough for Mr. Khodorkovsky, his onetime nemesis (and once Russia’s richest man), conveyed just the right mix of omnipotence, benevolence and piety. Inside the hall, the atmosphere had been far less dignified than what Mr. Putin’s role model, Czar Alexander II, might have tolerated. Fawning reporters had waved stuffed animals to get Mr. Putin’s attention, and one reporter read a poem beseeching him to renationalize the energy industry so that the Russian people would repay the favor by asking him ‘‘to rule for the rest of your life.’’ At first glance, this turn of events seems to illustrate just how much Russia has changed since October 2003, when Mr. Khodorkovsky’s jet was stormed on the tarmac of a Siberian airport by masked agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service. The familiar narrative holds that Mr. Putin enjoys nearly limitless power, having brought the oligarchs to heel, recentralized political authority, dismantled fledgling democratic institutions and put most of the economy back under state control. By confounding expectations that Mr. Khodorkovsky would rot in prison forever, Mr. Putin left little doubt about his near-total domination of the Russian political scene. Yet Russia’s oligarchy (that is, the control of the state and economy by a small group of well-placed, extremely wealthy insiders) is alive and well. The supposedly all-powerful Mr. Putin actually devotes much of his time to refereeing bitter disputes between oligarchs like Igor I. Sechin, the head of the state oil company Rosneft, and Gennady N. Timchenko, a co-owner of Russia’s largest oil trading company and an independent natural gas producer. These latter-day oligarchs, many of whom have built vast business empires on the back of longstanding connections to Mr. Putin, are part of a political tradition that dates back to the rapid expansion of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy in the 1400s. The most authoritative description of Russia’s peculiar style of rule can be found in an unusual place: a little-known academic essay by the Harvard medieval historian Edward L. Keenan, originally prepared for the State Department in the mid-1970s. Professor Keenan’s vivid account of the conspiracies, secrecy and power politics of the Muscovite czarist court will be readily recognizable to viewers of ‘‘Game of Thrones.’’ Most important, Professor Keenan punctures the myth of an all-powerful czar. He explains how a system dominated by elite groups of boyars (the top rung of the aristocracy and the forebears of today’s oligarchs) and bureaucrats, who imposed constraints on the country’s ruler, became so entrenched in the political culture. After a devastating civil war in the 1400s, these groups decided that it was in their interest to carve out a role for a leader capable of mediating disputes and distributing power and property among them. They deliberately shrouded the system in secrecy and exaggerated the role of the czar to maintain their freedom to maneuver and keep outsiders at bay. This approach was combined with an inefficient yet extremely centralized system that has clear parallels to contemporary Russia, specifically the need to maintain control over an unpredictable population and a vast, underpopulated territory. (To cite one of Professor Keenan’s most vivid examples, ‘‘In the later 16th century, when the round trip to the capital could occupy the better part of a year, even simple real estate transactions conducted in tiny villages on the Arctic Circle were registered and approved in Moscow.’’) Unfortunately, our understanding of Mr. Putin’s regime and its most important players remains heavily distorted by our disappointment that Russia has failed to develop along Western lines. By fixating on Mr. Putin’s authoritarian streak, hostility to outside influences and resistance to Western-style reforms, we generally overlook that his value to the system, like that of the czars who preceded him, is based on maintaining the balance among competing vested interests. Just as it was five centuries ago, the main battles inside the Kremlin among these groups are about power, money and access to special privileges, not ideology. Eventually, the day will come when Mr. Putin is no longer in power. Yet it seems highly unlikely that his informal style of rule will be replaced by a rule of law system based on strong institutions and checks and balances. Rather, the West must brace itself for the possibility that the oligarchic system itself, with its deep roots in Russian political culture, will outlive its current master. ANDREW S. WEISS is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Peter Funt Late December is traditionally a time to recap the year’s news, but do we really have the stomach for it in 2013? Let’s look ahead, with a precap of news sure to happen in 2014. Jan. 1 A White House brunch ends abruptly as participants fail to agree on a New Year’s toast. Democrats reportedly favored ‘‘Here’s to health and prosperity,’’ while G.O.P. leaders objected to the term ‘‘health.’’ Jan. 18 Bill O’Reilly’s new book, ‘‘Killing Literature,’’ debuts at No.3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Feb. 2 At the Super Bowl, N.F.L. officials announce a new protocol for evaluating possible concussions. Injured players will be required to recite three gay slurs in 60 seconds before being allowed back on the field. Feb. 10 Following months of protests by disgruntled workers, the Labor Department finally cracks down on the nation’s largest employer by demanding it decide once and for all whether its name should be spelled Walmart or Wal-Mart. March 11 Delta Air Lines clarifies that standing room at airport boarding areas ‘‘will remain free for the foreseeable future,’’ but that seats for passengers waiting to board will now cost $25. March 18 Hillary Rodham Clinton begins her 12-state ‘‘Set the Record Straight’’ tour, aimed at convincing voters that she has not decided whether she will seek the presidency in 2016. March 30 Hoping to silence critics, NBC’s ‘‘Saturday Night Live’’ hires a female cast member who is part black, part Native American and part Republican. April 16 Kellogg’s unveils a new breakfast cereal called Cholester-Os, ‘‘A tasty blend of sugar, oats and Lipitor,’’ providing 90 percent of the new recommended daily dose of statins. April 21 The White House releases figures for its first ‘‘National Online Easter Egg Hunt.’’ A total of nine children were able to log on — four in Massachusetts, three in California and two in New Jersey. A White House spokesman, Jay Carney, tells reporters, ‘‘This gives us something to build on.’’ May 9 Google and Warner Bros. reveal that ‘‘Gravity’’ will have its mobile device debut on Google Glass. For full effect, viewers will wear Google 3-D contact lenses under their Google glasses. May 22 The Gallup Organization says it is suspending congressional approval polls, newspaper readership polls and Kanye West Q ratings, until data return to ‘‘scientifically measurable levels.’’ May 26 President Obama delivers a Memorial Day speech, with signing provided by Cedric the Entertainer. June 3 CNN changes the name of Anderson Cooper’s show to ‘‘AC 1,095.’’ According to a news release, ‘‘The new title more accurately reflects the number of times Mr. Cooper’s show appears on CNN each year.’’ July 4 Macy’s kicks off the holiday season by having Santa ride in the final float of its Fourth of July Parade. Aug. 9 The police in Palo Alto, Calif., crack down on people begging for bitcoins. Aug. 12 Bill O’Reilly’s new book, ‘‘Killing Conversation,’’ becomes the first title delivered by Amazon’s fleet of drones. The recipient, Edith Johnston of West Palm Beach, Fla., is unharmed, but three Pakistani civilians at a wedding are injured in the delivery. Sept. 18 A Pew poll reveals, ‘‘If the 2024 presidential election were held today, Chelsea Clinton would get 54 percent of the undecided female vote.’’ Oct. 4 Oregon becomes the first state to recognize business partnerships between same-sex marijuana growers. Nov. 4 Bowing to pressure from its authors, Macmillan announces that in 2015 it will limit Bill O’Reilly to 16 new books per annum. Dec. 31 In a year-end message to the nation via YouTube, Mr. Obama says he ‘‘misspoke’’ a week earlier when he promised, ‘‘If you don’t like your holiday gifts, you don’t have to keep them.’’ The president concedes that ‘‘a small percentage of Americans will not be able to return socks and mittens from grandparents.’’ PETER FUNT is a writer and television host. Russia’s oligarchy, alive and well The year that will be Save the shark, save the world The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is moving to lift Japan’s ban on the export of weapons. This is an integral part of Mr. Abe’s ‘‘proactive pacifism,’’ his political slogan for policies that would make a greater contribution to world order and peace. But it is not at all clear how the world would benefit from having another arms-exporting state — a potentially huge exporter given Japan’s economic and technological base. In 1967, Japan began to restrict weapons exports to Communist states, states under United Nationssanctioned embargoes, and states involved in international conflicts. In 1976, the restriction was made nearly total, in the spirit of Japan’s pacifist Constitution, whose preamble resolves ‘‘that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government,’’ and ‘‘that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace.’’ This was understood to mean that any military with offensive capability is a cause of war. The ban on weapons exports took effect just as Japan began to acquire economic prowess, so it curtailed the development of a military-industrial complex hungry for export markets, which in other countries, like the United States, Russia, France and Britain, have contributed to the militarization of foreign policies with dubious effect. Now, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera says that unless Japan lifts the weapons export ban that hinders the joint development of weapons with other countries, Japan’s defense industry will be left behind. Japan cannot now develop weapons with another country, which may then export that weapon to a third country. The Defense Ministry expects to unveil a plan to enhance the defense industry next March. In the meantime, Mr. Abe has been developing policies to remake the military, now strictly designed for territorial defense, into one that can go to war abroad. Mr. Abe’s advisers are discussing the acquisition of cruise missiles as part of ‘‘proactive pacifism.’’ It is doubtful that Japan or other Asian nations can resolve the many differences in the region by enhancing their military capabilities, which only aggravates a futile arms race. The use of military power cannot by itself create stability and peace, as the United States has learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as China is likely to learn. Japan should be exporting not weapons but its constitutional principle of peace through rigorous diplomacy — and, in that spirit, it should be an ardent advocate of arms control. The United States should demand better working conditions in factories that make government uniforms. The American government has pushed retailers like Walmart and the Gap to demand better working conditions at factories in the developing world that make their merchandise. But it turns out that the government, which buys more than $1.5 billion of clothes from overseas factories, does not follow its own advice. Factories in Bangladesh, Haiti and Cambodia that make uniforms for federal workers often violate basic labor standards. (Most American military uniforms are made in the United States.) One Cambodian factory that makes clothes sold on Army and Air Force bases has employed children as young as 15. A Bangladesh factory that makes uniforms for the General Services Administration beats its workers. These conditions are common in poor countries where governments are too weak or corrupt to enforce their own labor laws. That is why it’s important that retailers and American government agencies monitor factories to make sure they are not buying from businesses that exploit workers. A building collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 workers in April drove that message home to many clothes companies. More than 120 Western retailers have since agreed to seek better conditions. Administration officials say they understand the importance of this issue; a presidential executive order tightened rules against using factories that employ forced labor. But many government agencies that use middlemen exercise little oversight over the factories that are used. And stores that sell more than $1 billion in clothes on military bases every year outsource factory inspections to private retailers that have done a poor job of monitoring suppliers. The government must do better. Federal agencies can start by disclosing the names of all factories they use; Congress could then order an investigation of the labor violations in those facilities. Next, agencies should develop a code of conduct for overseas factories and an inspection regimen. Washington might also consider joining retailers who have agreed to improve building safety in Bangladesh. A TROUBLING MOVE ON ARMS EXPORTS UNCLE SAM’S SWEATSHOPS Altering Japan’s longstanding weapons export ban would harm its constitutional principles. Much of Putin’s power comes from his ability to settle disputes between oligarchs. A shark-fin ban raises hopes that China will lead on the environment. WILL STAEHLE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 | 9INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES . . . . The International New York Times is an exciting new offering that delivers essential global news, business insights and cultural content. Fifty bureaus and editing hubs around the world provide relevant and timely coverage 24/7, resulting in a truly global sensibility. Experience all the International New York Times has to offer today. inyt.com/euro try the international new york times. unDer ¤1 for your first 12 weeks. global intelligence crease your opinion Sara Khorshid CAIRO Egyptians who frequently take the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road have lately noticed that the fee they usually pay to toll collectors now goes to the Ministry of Defense. In a press conference in November, the Minister of Transportation announced one of the armed forces’ companies had been granted legal rights, for 50 years, to develop the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road. The army, a state within a state that used to protect its interests from the shadows, is now taking bolder steps to cement its power and asserting, increasingly overtly, that it is accountable to no one. The party is over for the democratization drive that was heralded by the January 2011 uprising — none of the revolution’s demands have been achieved; none of the Interior Ministry’s notorious practices have stopped; and the ministry seems to be on a mission to silence all dissent. The army has been empowered by popular support from a considerable segment of the population as an ultranationalist mood sweeps the country. Its absolute dominance will be more solidly institutionalized if the 2013 draft Constitution gets ratified in the January referendum, as is widely expected. Pundits can debate the Constitution’s 240-plus articles as much as they want, but all the details are overshadowed by the articles enshrining the military’s special privileges. Article 234 gives the military the final say over who may be appointed as defense minister. Others mandate that the military’s budget be listed as a single entry in national accounts and that civilians may be tried before military courts if they assault members of the armed forces in military zones and military-owned properties, which in Egypt includes everything from gas stations to wedding halls. The army runs its own shadow economy, which reportedly constitutes at least a quarter of the country’s economy and there is no transparency to speak of. This is particularly disturbing given that Transparency International already ranks Egypt 114 out of 177 countries on its Corruption Perception Index. Articles on rights, including women’s rights, have dominated the media frenzy over the Constitution. But such articles are of little value in a country where extreme poverty already forces some families to sell their underage daughters into temporary, recurrent marriages to Arab Gulf millionaires. The military has maintained its autonomy for decades, including under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, who wooed the army in the hope that it would protect his rule (which it didn’t). The now-suspended 2012 Constitution that Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood backed also institutionalized military trials for civilians and immunized the military’s budget from civilian scrutiny. But after July 3, the army has fortified its powers in a way that hasn’t been so open since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s heyday. Contrary to the hopes of a segment of democrats, the masses who went out in the streets against Mr. Morsi welcomed the army’s stronger role in Egypt’s politics. Instead of insisting on democratic values and civilian rule as a framework for the transitional period, many Egyptians seemed nostalgic about a romantic image of the army as the only savior from ‘‘foreign conspiracies.’’ Moreover, in the past months the army has capitalized on the public’s fear of the Muslim Brotherhood. Suddenly many of the self-proclaimed liberals who were outspoken during Mr. Morsi’s rule have revealed another face, showing that they don’t mind authoritarianism and human rights violations as long as such violations don’t come from Islamists. A majority of Egyptians are expected to vote yes on the new Constitution, perhaps in the hope that this will bring them stability and will consolidate the army’s victory over the Muslim Brotherhood, which is regarded as the source of all evil thanks to a vigorous anti-Islamist media campaign as well as the Brotherhood’s own mistakes. Other political forces have largely lost their credibility: Egyptians seem to be tired of watching them compete with no regard for the needs of a country that has been drained by three years of upheaval and economic decline. But with time, and as more and more Muslim Brothers fill the country’s prisons, it will become clearer to Egyptians that the real sources of evil are military hegemony; corruption; lack of transparency, rule of law, social justice, human rights and freedoms. With all the privileges and powers it enjoys, the army has so far failed to bring stability. Last week’s bombing of a police station in Mansoura killed 16 people, reminding Egyptians of the Islamist violence that rocked Egypt in the 1980s and 1990s. There are elites who seem to believe that their interests will be guaranteed by the army’s hegemony, namely Egypt’s upper-middle class citizens whose priority is to sustain their comfortable lives. They are joined by corrupt businessmen, who fear that if real democracy ever takes root it will be coupled by the imposition of transparency measures. Ultimately, those who saw the military as a better alternative to the Brotherhood will realize the magnitude of injustice that the military’s wideranging authorities could bring to all aspects of Egyptian life. SARA KHORSHID is an Egyptian journalist and a former editor of Islam Online. Paul Krugman In 2012 President Obama, ever hopeful that reason will prevail, predicted that his re-election would finally break the G.O.P.’s ‘‘fever.’’ It didn’t. But the intransigence of the right wasn’t the only disease troubling America’s body politic in 2012. We were also suffering from fiscal fever: the insistence by virtually the entire political and media establishment that budget deficits were our most important and urgent economic problem, even though the federal government could borrow at incredibly low interest rates. Instead of talking about mass unemployment and soaring inequality, Washington was almost exclusively focused on the alleged need to slash spending (which would worsen the jobs crisis) and hack away at the social safety net (which would worsen inequality). So the good news is that this fever, unlike the fever of the Tea Party, has finally broken. True, the fiscal scolds are still out there, and still getting worshipful treatment from some news organizations. As the Columbia Journalism Review recently noted, many reporters retain the habit of ‘‘treating deficit-cutting as a non-ideological objective while portraying other points of view as partisan or political.’’ But the scolds are no longer able to define the bounds of respectable opinion. For example, when the usual suspects recently piled on Senator Elizabeth Warren over her call for an expansion of Social Security, they clearly ended up enhancing her stature. What changed? I’d suggest that at least four things happened to discredit deficit-cutting ideology. First, the political premise behind ‘‘centrism’’ — that moderate Republicans would be willing to meet Democrats halfway in a Grand Bargain combining tax hikes and spending cuts — became untenable. There are no moderate Republicans. To the extent that there are debates between the Tea Party and non-Tea Party wings of the G.O.P., they’re about political strategy, not policy substance. Second, a combination of rising tax receipts and falling spending has caused federal borrowing to plunge. This is actually a bad thing, because premature deficit-cutting damages our still-weak economy — in fact, we’d probably be close to full employment now but for the unprecedented fiscal austerity of the past three years. But a falling deficit has undermined the scare tactics so central to the ‘‘centrist’’ cause. Even longer-term projections of federal debt no longer look at all alarming. Speaking of scare tactics, 2013 was the year journalists and the public finally grew weary of the boys who cried wolf. There was a time when audiences listened raptly to forecasts of fiscal doom — for example, when Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of Mr. Obama’s debt commission, warned that a severe fiscal crisis was likely within two years. But that was almost three years ago. Finally, over the course of 2013 the intellectual case for debt panic collapsed. Normally, technical debates among economists have relatively little impact on the political world, because politicians can almost always find experts — or, in many cases, ‘‘experts’’ — to tell them what they want to hear. But what happened in the year behind us may have been an exception. For those who missed it or have forgotten, for several years fiscal scolds in both Europe and the United States leaned heavily on a paper by two highly-respected economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, suggesting that government debt has severe negative effects on growth when it exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P. From the beginning, many economists expressed skepticism about this claim. In particular, it seemed immediately obvious that slow growth often causes high debt, not the other way around — as has surely been the case, for example, in both Japan and Italy. But in political circles the 90 percent claim nonetheless became gospel. Then Thomas Herndon, a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, reworked the data, and found that the apparent cliff at 90 percent disappeared once you corrected a minor error and added a few more data points. Now, it’s not as if fiscal scolds really arrived at their position based on statistical evidence. As the old saying goes, they used Reinhart-Rogoff the way a drunk uses a lamppost — for support, not illumination. Still, they suddenly lost that support, and with it the ability to pretend that economic necessity justified their ideological agenda. Still, does any of this matter? You could argue that it doesn’t — that fiscal scolds may have lost control of the conversation, but that we’re still doing terrible things like cutting off benefits to the long-term unemployed. But while policy remains terrible, we’re finally starting to talk about real issues like inequality, not a fake fiscal crisis. And that has to be a move in the right direction. Alaa Al Aswany Contributing Writer CAIRO Novelists work hard to acquire human experience. They search for characters who might inspire them. They go to unusual places to collect the necessary material for their novels. I am lucky not to have had to undertake these adventures because I am both a novelist and a dentist. The dentist’s profession enables him to see so many varied examples of humanity that his clinic sometimes resembles the backstage of a theater, where the performers, out of costume and minus makeup, are no longer acting. I have treated the teeth of thousands of people, from the poorest peasant farmers to society ladies and government ministers, and I am always learning something new about human behavior. A government minister in Egypt does not go to the dentist on his own. Instead, an entourage of sycophantic staffers sniffs all around the clinic like bloodhounds to make sure that everything is as it should be. This tawdry drama epitomizes the philosophy of rule in dictatorial regimes, in which loyalty always comes ahead of efficiency as a condition for promotion. I used to work as a dentist in a government institution. One day, as I was about to do a filling for a staffer, having placed a rubber dam over his mouth, the door opened and the director’s secretary came in to tell me that the big boss was on his way to the clinic to have his teeth looked at. ‘‘The director doesn’t have an appointment,’’ I stated calmly. ‘‘The director doesn’t need to have an appointment,’’ he said with incredulity. ‘‘Please get rid of this patient so that you can see the director.’’ ‘‘I haven’t finished with this patient yet,’’ I told him angrily. ‘‘I don’t think you understand that the director is just a patient here.’’ The secretary looked at me wideeyed, then left, slamming the door behind him. I realized I was in for trouble, but I was not afraid. Nor was I sorry for having stood up for the principle. During my exchange with the secretary, however, I had forgotten about the patient with the rubber dam over his mouth. He was gurgling and gesticulating as he tried to tell me something. The moment I removed the rubber dam, he leapt from the chair. ‘‘Doctor, you’re wrong,’’ he shouted. ‘‘The director is entitled to be seen by you whenever he feels like it, and I am handing over my appointment with you to him.’’ The patient did not wait for my response, but rushed out of the surgery, his cavity unfilled. He apologized to the director and led him into the surgery. This was a lesson for me in just how difficult and usually abortive it was to defend the rights of people who have lived an eternity under oppression. Another issue I increasingly encounter is that according to the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, which is ever more influential in Egypt, women should cover their faces with the niqab and not have any dealings with men — even for medical treatment. However sick she may be, a woman must be seen by a female physician even if the latter is less experienced than her male colleague. On one occasion, a woman in a niqab came to see me. She was accompanied by her bearded husband, who looked me and my staff over as if we were potential kidnappers. I asked the patient to take a seat in the chair. Her husband, who insisted on standing next to her, suddenly said: ‘‘If you need my wife to remove her niqab, then you can stay — but the others have to leave the room right now.’’ ‘‘Those in the room are not here to look at your wife’s face,’’ I replied. ‘‘They are dental assistants and they are indispensable. ‘‘Furthermore, if your wife turns out to have an exposed nerve, she will be treated by our specialist, who is a Christian.’’ I uttered this last phrase with a dramatic flourish and then stepped back. The man grabbed his wife as if to leave, but to our surprise, she refused. They exchanged whispers, which turned to shouting, and we understood that the poor woman was distressed by the fact that her husband’s extremist views were preventing her getting treatment. This made me realize that many women we’d considered fundamentalists were simply prisoners of their husbands’ dogmatism. One evening, a man with a toothache came to see me; I saw in his file that he was a secret-police officer. The state security headquarters in Cairo is a grim place where tens of thousands of political opponents were tortured over the 30 years of the Mubarak regime. The officer had a rotten tooth stump, which I took great care to extract painlessly. The officer’s face relaxed, but when he shook my hand warmly, I could not control myself. ‘‘Why do you torture detainees,’’ I asked him. ‘‘Aren’t they flesh and blood? Don’t they deserve some respect?’’ His expression changed. Ignoring the cotton wad in his mouth, he barked back at me: ‘‘They’re traitors paid by foreign organizations to sabotage the state. In my opinion, they don’t deserve any rights because fundamentally, they’re not humans.’’ An executioner always needs to dehumanize his victims, remove their individuality. Envisaging them as a hostile, dangerous and amorphous mass makes it easier for him to torture or even kill without suffering pangs of conscience. After 30 years of practicing dentistry and writing, I am no longer convinced that they are two completely separate professions. Dentistry delivers people of their pain and writing conveys human pain and sorrow to the readers in an attempt to make them become more humane, more sensitive and open, less inclined to rush to judgment on others, more capable of understanding their weakness and more forgiving of their errors. They both treat one subject: humanity. ALAA AL ASWANY is the author of ‘‘The Yacoubian Building.’’ This article was translated by Russell Harris from the Arabic. The fiscal fever breaks We’re finally starting to talk about real issues like inequality, not a fake fiscal crisis. And that has to be good. Those who hoped the army would be better than the Brotherhood will be disappointed. All humanity — from the peasant farmer to the society lady to the secret policeman — comes through the dentist’s clinic. Egypt in the dentist’s chair Egypt’s counterrevolution INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES10 | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 . . . . Culture dance music ANDREA MOHIN/THE NEW YORK TIMES (ABOVE AND TOP RIGHT); JONATHAN TICHLER/METROPOLITAN OPERA (BELOW); PAUL KOLNIK BY MICHAEL COOPER Even the most devoted ballet fans, who catch ‘‘George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker’’ every year at the David H. Koch Theater, tend not to realize that Balanchine still makes a cameo appearance in each performance of the dance, which he created in 1954. The moment comes in the second act, when the Spanish dancers who perform the ‘‘Hot Chocolate’’ divertissement emerge in rich brown ruffled dresses: The bodice of the principal dancer is adorned with a small oval cameo-style portrait of Balanchine. The women in the corps de ballet wear cameos of Lincoln Kirstein, who founded New York City Ballet with Balanchine. ‘‘It’s something that only we know about — the audience doesn’t really see that,’’ said Marc Happel, the director of costumes at City Ballet, as he showed the cameos on the dresses, designed by Karinska, who often worked for Balanchine. ‘‘We will never stop doing this. For us, it’s just such a link to the past.’’ City Ballet’s sly nod to its founders — part homage, part inside joke — is not uncommon in the world of the performing arts. Like the medieval stonemasons who immortalized themselves and their friends with the gargoyles they carved on cathedrals, the artists who create ballets, operas and other shows sometimes find ways to leave their marks subtly on costumes, sets and props. Another small insider homage could befoundonthestageoftheMetropolitan Opera this month, in its lavish production of ‘‘Der Rosenkavalier,’’ by Richard Strauss. In the third act, after the boorish Baron Ochs’s attempted assignation at a tavern goes disastrously and hilariously wrong, he is besieged with bills from the innkeeper and a host of others. Invisible to the audience — whether sitting in the back of the Family Circle or the front of the orchestra — is what the long paper bills thrust at him actually say. In flowing cursive writing, the bills list the cast from the current production’s 1969 premiere, starting with the conductor, Karl Böhm, and naming everyone from Leonie Rysanek, who sang the Marschallin, to Christa Ludwig, who sang Octavian, to Charles Anthony, who was the innkeeper that night (and who sang some 2,928 mostly small roles at the Met during his long career). The tradition of these kinds of in jokes goes back centuries. Mozart’s ‘‘Don Giovanni’’ has an allusion in the last act to his own ‘‘Le Nozze di Figaro.’’ Bach has delighted generations of musicologists by slipping his name into his works in musical code. More recently, Alfred Hitchcock teased fans with walk-on roles in his movies, and, these days, the makers of films, television shows and videogamesoftenhidejokes,sometimes called ‘‘Easter eggs,’’ in their works for true devotees to find. But the jokes get a special immediacy in live performances. At a close-knit troupe like City Ballet, where a living tradition is still passed on from dancer to dancer, little allusions and nods to the past are woven into many productions. Balanchine’s love of cats — one of his cats, Mourka, could do dancelike tricks — inspired his frequent set designer, Rouben Ter-Arutunian, to put a cat in a window in the first act of ‘‘The Nutcracker’’ (it’s on the audience’s left), and to put two cats (along with three mice) on the roof of Dr. Coppélius’s workshop in the second act of the comic ballet ‘‘Coppélia.’’ City Ballet’s production of ‘‘Coppélia,’’ which will be staged again this February, wears its history proudly in the third act, when the stage is bedecked with bells that, upon closer inspection, honor many of the ballet’s creators, both old and new. The largest bell, in the center of the stage, is inscribed with the name of Léo Delibes, who composed the ballet’s music, along with the date of its premiere. Other bells are inscribed with the initials of E.T.A. Hoffmann, who wrote the story upon which the ballet was based; Arthur St. Léon, its original choreographer; Marius Petipa, who restaged it in Russia; and Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova, who choreographed the current production in 1974. Other bells bear the initials of New York City Ballet, Kirstein and Ter-Arutunian himself. Sometimes people who are less famous, at least outside of the company, are honored. Perry Silvey — who has been at City Ballet for nearly three decades as a stage manager, director of productions and now as technical director — said that when the company decided over a decade ago that it was time to replace the painted Old West backdrop in Balanchine’s ‘‘Western Symphony,’’ he learned, to his surprise, that a pair of names painted faintly on the wall of the livery stable behind the saloon belonged to the painters who made the original drop. The studio called and asked if it could replace the names, Mr. Silvey recalled: ‘‘I said, ‘Well, you can put something there, as long as it’s not risqué or embarrassing, or anything.’’’ When the new drop arrived, Mr. Silvey said, it had two barely legible new names on the stable: ‘‘Peter,’’ for Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, and ‘‘Perry.’’ ‘‘So the ‘Western’ drop now has our names on it,’’ he said with a laugh. ‘‘I was a little surprised.’’ The other night at the Koch Theater, Savannah Lowery, a soloist who is one of the Hot Chocolate dancers in ‘‘The Nutcracker’’ this year, said that wearing the elaborate ruffled Spanish dress, which is quite heavy, poses special challenges in a role that requires quick movements, jumps and partnering. But she said that the small Balanchine cameo that she wears served as a reLAS VEGAS BY JON CARAMANICA For the last six years, the state of Britney Spears has been summed up best — and most frequently — by the simple phrase she intoned at the top of ‘‘Gimme More,’’ from 2007, that has since become a catchphrase: ‘‘It’s Britney, bitch.’’ Not a tease, nor a boast, nor a taunt, it’s almost apologetic, an apt tagline for a star whose power is self-evident, but also blank and tautological. It’s what might appear on the business card of a performer with nothing left to add. No surprise then that at 32, with more than two decades of performing under her belt, Ms. Spears has already arrived at the laurel-resting portion of her career, landing in a greatest-hits production so winning that it barely needs her at all. Mostly, she’s a pinball during the 90-minute extravaganza ‘‘Britney: Piece of Me,’’ her new residency at the Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino here that had its debut on Friday. Magical things are happening all around her — ornate sets, clever video displays, fiery dancing — but Ms. Spears is there mostly to activate memories, to be a souvenir for the eyes. Rarely did the voice booming out over the speakers appear to be coming directly from Ms. Spears’s mouth. Always a notch or three less committed than her backup dancers, she was at times downright listless. But that’s not new: Ms. Spears has long been the pop star most obscured by her own songs. Especially in the second half of her career, since the mid-2000s, the period that followed her tabloid-documented meltdowns, she’s been putty for producers, who give her muscular tracks that ask little of her vocally — and even less emotionally — but leave her with an air of power and control. Judging by the show’s narrative, she was invested with that power by dark forces. Early in the night, during the melancholic ‘‘Everytime,’’ she was a winged angel falling to earth, swarmed by vampiric dancers in all black when she landed. When they fled, Ms. Spears was remade. Now in a goth dominatrix outfit, she shifted gears to a medley of ‘‘...Baby One More Time’’ and ‘‘Oops! ...I Did It Again,’’ the two early hits that cemented Ms. Spears’s image as knowing naïf. This was Ms. Spears at her toughest during this show, which covers about two dozen songs from the whole span of her career, and which she’ll repeat When inside jokes take the stage minder of a man who, though he died before she was born, is still spoken of reverently as ‘‘Mr. B’’ at City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, which he founded with Kirstein. ‘‘You feel like, at least if I’m going to wear this difficult costume, at least I have some good juju behind it,’’ Ms. Lowery said of wearing the Balanchine portrait. ‘‘He’s kind of always around — you don’t feel like you get too far away.’’ Homages and sly winks are often hidden in details of costumes and sets Singer enters new phase with greatest-hits show on her own stage some 100 times over the next two years. In general, the set design was more imposing than she was. At points she performed from inside a ring of fire, on top of a rolling pyramid, jumping off a huge prop tree and under a sheet of water falling from the ceiling. Even during ‘‘Freakshow,’’ when she had an audience member — in this case, the ‘‘Extra’’ host Mario Lopez — bound in a harness so she could walk him like a dog, she came off playful, not salacious. (Ms. Spears then signed a T-shirt for him.) ‘‘Britney: Piece of Me’’ comes on the heels of Ms. Spears’s energetic but rarely inspiring eighth album ‘‘Britney Jean’’ (RCA), which sold only about 107,000 copies in its first week, the lowest opening of her career. She may have the name recognition of a global superstar, but not the drawing power she had even a few years ago. Performing here, in this 4,600-seat hall, is a relatively low-risk proposition, and doesn’t demand that she extend her relevance. This is also a transitional moment for Las Vegas, a town becoming less reliant on older-audience-skewing musical revues and leaning more heavily on nightclubs. Ms. Spears’s show is a midpoint between the then and now, a legacy act with cross-generational appeal offering a show that might as well have been run by a D.J. (This newly renovated theater, too, is a hybrid, with two standing-room pits and a row of V.I.P. bottleservice tables abutting the stage’s lip.) ‘‘Piece of Me’’ is probably the least staid of the single-artist Vegas residencies; everything about it, save Ms. Spears, is splashy and top volume. The costumes, by Marco Marco, were vibrant, and the choreography, by the Squared Division, was powerful, particularly during ‘‘Scream & Shout,’’ when dancers maneuvered a pair of circular hamster-wheel-like structures. As for Ms. Spears, the version of her displayed on screen — from old videos and the like — almost always looked more confident than the Ms. Spears who was onstage. That contrast was only heightened by the fact that throughout the night, one of Ms. Spears’s disciples, Miley Cyrus, was at a front row V.I.P. table, dancing enthusiastically and singing along. If Ms. Spears is one of the last Stepford pop stars, Ms. Cyrus is a new model — unpredictable, self-determining, actually fun. Ms. Cyrus has long pledged loyalty to Ms. Spears as her childhood idol, and even collaborated with her on a song from Ms. Cyrus’s album, ‘‘Bangerz’’ (RCA), though Ms. Spears sounds robotic, especially up against Ms. Cyrus’s natural effervescence. But Ms. Cyrus’s presence in Las Vegas — Katy Perry and Selena Gomez were also in attendance — wasn’t wholly to display her devotion to Ms. Spears. Later that night, she hosted the opening of Beacher’s Madhouse at the MGM Grand, an extension of the rowdy Los Angeles nightclub of the same name. What had seemed like a night for Ms. Spears’s coronation as the latest marquee name in Las Vegas was in fact a prelude. Ms. Spears may have hosted a cool party, but the night went on without her. ‘‘Britney: Piece of Me’’ continues through 2015 at the Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas; www.planethollywoodresort.com. DENISE TRUSCELLO/CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT, VIA AP Ms. Spears in ‘‘Britney: Piece of Me.’’ Left, Megan LeCrone and Daniel Applebaum with fellow members of the New York City Ballet performing ‘‘The Nutcracker,’’ which contains a nod to George Ballanchine in the form of cameos on some costumes, above. Below, the 1969 ‘‘Der Rosenkavalier’’ cast list used as a prop at the Metropolitan Opera this month. City Ballet’s production of ‘‘Coppélia,’’ bottom, hides a tribute in the bells of its set. Ms. Spears is there mostly to activate memories, to be a souvenir for the eyes. MUSIC REVIEW With heckfire and brimstone, Britney Spears does Las Vegas TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2013 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2014 | 11INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES . . . . only last for one day,’’ he said. In the interview, he appeared to connect the flowers to a work that got him into serious trouble with the authorities after years of increasing outspokenness: a name-by-name commemoration of the child victims of the Sichuan earthquake of May 12, 2008, a theme he reprises in a current exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington. Mr. Ai called for an investigation amid allegations of shoddy construction as schools collapsed, and was physically attacked by police. ‘‘When you discover the names of every student in the 512 quake,’’ he said, using Chinese shorthand for the date, ‘‘you discover their birthdays, who their parents are, at that moment I say, we can’t just record a number, we have to record every freshly-lived life.’’ Where would he go, if he had a passport? Mr. Ai says he is still building his studio in Berlin, though for now it’s more a symbolic than a practical gesture, since he can’t personally use it. He said it will be ready ‘‘in a month or two.’’ It’s not that he even wants to leave, particularly, he said. ‘‘The day I was detained they put a black hood over my head and took me to a secret location,’’ he said. The police refused to give him access to a lawyer or to hisrelatives.‘‘Ithought,whyamIsostupid? I could have had an American passport’’ that might have protected him. Mr. Ai lived in the United States for 12 years. ‘‘But after I came out I wasn’t anxious to leave. I feel I have so much to do here, I have a lot of friends, my family is here,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve even thought, the day you give me back my passport, I might tear it up in front of your eyes. You can’t take it from me. That choice is mine, not yours.’’ Barred from exhibiting at home, Mr. Ai shows outside China. ‘‘Ai Weiwei: According to What?,’’ now at the Hirshhorn in Washington, will move to the Brooklyn Museum in April. In September, he will exhibit in the former prison on Alcatraz Island in California. BEIJING BY DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW Every morning at 9 a.m. the artist and dissident Ai Weiwei opens the bluishgreen door to his Beijing studio at No.258, Caochangdi, and places a bouquet of fresh flowers in the basket of a black bicycle outside, a pretty protest at something serious: a government ban on his freedom to travel. Then he photographs the flowers and uploads them to his Twitter or Instagram accounts. In an interview on Monday morning immediately after he had placed the flowers, Mr. Ai said he would continue his daily performance art protest until he regained his freedom to travel. The flowers are ‘‘an art work of mine that is very powerfully tied to my life,’’ Mr. Ai said. ‘‘Today is the 1,001st day since I lost my passport,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know how long it will go on for. Another 1,000 days? Thousands more days? It’s all possible,’’ he said, adding he is followed everywhere he goes inside the country. ‘‘When I get off a train, there are people there to photograph me. They follow me if I go to a hotel.’’ The government took away Mr. Ai’s passport after he was detained for 81 days in early April 2011 on charges of tax evasion and distributing pornography. Mr. Ai has said it was for his outspoken criticism of the government and increasingly edgy art. While Mr. Ai may move around Beijing, he must tell the police whenever he leaves the city. The overwhelming feeling is one of personal insecurity, he said. ‘‘This feeling of ‘not knowing,’ in Chinese culture it’s very normal,’’ he said. ‘‘Because we don’t know when we will’’ have elections, he added. ‘‘Sixty years have passed, and no one has seen one.’’ Why flowers? ‘‘I think flowers are the most common language. For one, they’re about life. And I use fresh flowers, new ones every day. In this cold weather now they may exhibitions art books culture BY ROBERTA SMITH Anyone who visits museums has spent time looking at costly luxury goods and status symbols cherished by the upper echelons and ruling classes of bygone eras. The list of objects elevated to unprecedented heights of artistry includes Japanese lacquer boxes, Fabergé eggs, French porcelain, Roentgen furniture, bejeweled objects from the treasuries of this cathedral or that court. Almost without exception, they dazzle the eye with astounding craftsmanship, superb design and carefully orchestrated material extravagance. But when such baubles are contemporary, when they belong to the upper class of today, the situation becomes more fraught. Especially with the gap between the wealthiest and everyone else so wide, it is dicey for a major museum to celebrate the often frivolous objects on which the rich spend their ever increasing surplus income. Such a show must be beyond reproach in every way: transparent in organization, impeccable in exhibition design, illuminating in catalog and labeling and, most of all, self-evidently excellent in the quality of the objects on display. Unfortunately, the exhibition ‘‘Jewels by JAR,’’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, largely falls short in every respect. It is one of the most superficial shows I have ever seen at this great museum. ‘‘Jewels by JAR’’ is devoted to the work of Joel Arthur Rosenthal, a mysterious New York-born, Harvard-educated jeweler, now 70, known by his initials, J.A.R., and primarily to a privileged few. For years, Mr. Rosenthal has catered to a handpicked clientele from his shop in Paris, creating one-ofa-kind jewels that have fetched as much as $4.3 million at auction. The ‘‘JAR’’ show has already generated comments. Some have looked askance at the inevitable après-show gift shop, this one selling less expensive resin earrings and such, designed specially by JAR for the museum. (The title of one series of earrings — ‘‘Tickle Me Feather’’ — is a good index of the level of charm.) Others have been upset that the Met staged a trunk show of these items for invited guests. Unappetizing as these tactics may be, they are nothing new. Far more dismaying are the shortcomings of the exhibition itself. ‘‘JAR’’ is not up to the Met’s standards in either curatorial framework or the material it presents. It is a show that the Met seems to have done in hopes of attracting a broad public, and done lazily. Mr. Rosenthal has been described by the Met’s director, Thomas P. Campbell, as ‘‘almost a sculptor in gems,’’ but, as seen here, his work is for the most part pedestrian and unimaginative, if undeniably extravagant, more craft than art. His most frequent design approach is representational: Repeatedly we see animals, butterflies and all kinds of botanical subjects, especially flowers, converted into precious metals and gems. Trompe l’oeil is standard, with occasional forays into hyper-realism, like large brooches depicting the heads of two sheep, a zebra and an elephant, in agate or aluminum. When Mr. Rosenthal turns to geometry, with spirals prevailing in numerous forms, the results are especially generic. The most frequent technique is pavé, the paving of surfaces with thousands of tiny, individually set stones, which allows unusual freedom of both form and color. It can depict the striped irregular petals of a parrot tulip or the blushing tones of pansies. Despite such potential for refinement, many JAR pieces look so bulky and encrusted, they barely seem intended to be worn, much less to adorn. ‘‘Jewels by JAR’’ does not look much like a Met show. Jane Adlin, an associate curator in Modern and contemporary art, is cited as the organizing curator in the exhibition’s news release, but the installation and design suggest that the subject himself had far too much control. First, the exhibition is visibly unedited: It crowds more than 400 often redundant jewels — quantities of pavé roses, for example — into a gallery too small for them. While some of the jewels and other small objects are alluring, others represent startling lapses of taste: a wood box that portrays a nut tart in crude trompe l’oeil; a relatively convincing bagel, also wood; and a pair of large disc earrings, one of which says, ‘‘Over the,’’ while the other is decorated with a crescent moon, in diamonds. This is not an exhibition that has been carefully culled and shaped. Second, the mise-en-scène is not people-friendly. With lighting limited primarily to the many vitrines — which evoke a boutique atmosphere — the gallery is unpleasantly dark, as if to discourage close inspection. There are no mirrors to reveal the backs of these bibelots, a usual device in jewelry exhibitions, and no labels, except for a seemingly photocopied booklet that is hard to read under the circumstances. The entries, matched to numbers beside the pieces, provide only the basics. There are no explanations of technique; the properties or source of the gems used; stylistic precedents or even terms. Does everyone know what a fibula brooch is? Not I. The visitor is left in the dark in more ways than one. It would have been useful to know the weight of some of these things — a pair of brooches in the form of lilac blooms, for example — to gauge the challenge of wearing them; such information is frequently available in other museum displays of pieces ranging from royal crowns to non-Western headdresses. And if the JAR pieces look heavy but are generally lightweight because of his use of aluminum, that would be even more interesting to know. There are virtually no text panels providing a broader context. It would be interesting to learn that Mr. Rosenthal once worked for Bulgari, which is also known for floral designs, but not so much for pavé. And the catalog is not much help, either. For one thing, it reproduces only 70 of the 400 items in the show, which suggests that the Met was cheap or that the exhibition kept growing after the book went to press. The only essay is a fawning piece by Adrian Sassoon, a London dealer in contemporary ceramics, glass, silver and jewelry, that nonetheless provides helpful glimpses of Mr. Rosenthal’s preferences in stones and cuts, for example, and his working techniques and sensibility, but only glimpses. he volume lacks a scholarly essay by a Met curator making a case for the importance of the work (as Ms. Adlin did for Alexander Calder’s jewelry in 2008). Occasionally, there are wonderful things, especially among Mr. Rosenthal’s earrings, including some handsome quatrefoil pendant pairs, a sumptuous set based on weeping willows, and several in which the use of stones or even the designs are deliberately dissimilar. An especially striking mismatched pair features a large oriental pearl for one ear and a large, unfaceted spinel for the other. The plainer, smaller flower brooches (pansies, violets, wild roses) are often arresting. Unusually spare ones based on freesia and wild oats look appealing in photographs but are too large, signaling a frequent scale problem. My favorite brooch is a fairly modest one of a wave that is not relatively abstract. Too much of Mr. Rosenthal’s jewelry lacks a sense of inherent abstract form or wholeness. It does not settle peacefully into itself, which makes it hard to imagine most of his efforts resting on the body in a manner comfortable to either wearer or observer. The possibility of discomfort is especially stark in the bracelets whose pavé flowers are held to the wrist by bent and angled trompe l’oeil branches fashioned from platinum, bronze or silver. Mr. Sassoon writes in the catalog that ‘‘Joel Rosenthal never set out to push the boundaries of jewelry design’’ without returning to this idea, except to note that the designer’s penchant for black diamonds and darkened metals has influenced others. But it is really the Met that leaves us, and Mr. Rosenthal, hanging. We all deserved a better presentation and a better argument for his work. ‘‘Jewels by JAR’’ is on view through March 9 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org. Jack London: An American Life. By Earle Labor. Illustrated. 461 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $30. BY HENRY GIARDINA ‘‘The superficial reader will get the love story & the adventure,’’ Jack London wrote, in 1903, of the story that would become ‘‘The Sea-Wolf,’’ ‘‘while the deeper reader will get all of this, plus the bigger thing lying underneath.’’ These are the typically blunt words of a writer who seemed to think of his work in terms of purchase value. Here, he might have been describing his own life: much adventure, a sort of love story, a weird bang of a finish. In a new biography by Earle Labor, a scholar of London, the ‘‘bigger thing’’ has a harder time coming out: Perhaps it doesn’t exist. As a rollicking, turn-of-the-century tale in his own style, the London story reads well. Born in 1876, London was the illegitimate child of a philandering astrologist (who later, in a creative move, denied paternity by claiming impotence). He came of age in a golden era of political corruption, when the octopus of the Southern Pacific Railroad monopoly still held the West Coast in its grip. Growing up, he found himself in places where human cruelty flourished, was formed by witnessing it and developed a rare aptitude for conveying it in fiction. By the age of 22, he had worked as an oyster pirate, served time in prison, ridden the rails as a tramp, joined a seal-hunting schooner bound for Japan, marched with Coxey’s army of the unemployed and searched for gold in the Klondike rush. In an effort to make a go at writing (the goal of which, ironically, was to help him avoid a life of hard labor), he turned these firsthand experiences into profitable novels and stories, among them the brilliant ‘‘The Sea-Wolf,’’ ‘‘The Call of the Wild,’’ ‘‘Martin Eden’’ and the nonfiction ‘‘The People of the Abyss.’’ By his mid-30s, he had established himself as one of the most popular storytellers in a genre he helped create: a particularly violent style of naturalism in which one man battles the cruel, capricious ways of both human nature and Mother Nature, and often loses. By 40, he had settled at his Beauty Ranch in Glen Ellen, Calif., where he would feast for a time on a two-mallard-a-day diet (a delicacy) before dying of uremia in November 1916. The final frame reveals a person perhaps not innately contradictory but forced, by his time, into contradiction: London as both lawbreaker and abider, no sooner giving up poaching oysters from the San Francisco Bay than taking a job with something called the California Fish Patrol, arresting the very sort of person he used to be. He was caught early between the warring forces of socialism and capitalistic success, a magnet at each pole. He became, consequently, both a dedicated socialist and a dedicated maker of money in the capitalist style. His personal life was fraught with the same unconscious tensions as his politics. Mr. Labor’s ‘‘Jack London: An American Life’’ is biography proper, as opposed to a study, which means there are, refreshingly, no claims about London having invented or even really changed anything. Mr. Labor, the curator of the Jack London Museum in Shreveport, La., is that rare biographer who understands that his subject need not have exactly rocked the world to have led a fascinating life. Yet fascination, in the London case, is not exactly a bridge to empathetic engagement. Interest in the man as artist is hard to begin with, thanks to the dated nature of his work: Emotional involvement with him as a character is nearly impossible. London seems to have consistently preferred animals to humans. At one point during a grueling, ambitious but doomed sailing venture on his boat the Snark (named after Lewis Carroll’s poem), he remains blind to the suffering of the crew (as well as his second wife, who tagged along) yet is prevailed upon to turn course to return a stray bird to shore. Details like this serve to keep the London mystery alive rather than illuminating it, leaving us with a singularly unflattering picture. Mr. Labor does not talk about any of London’s works in great detail, and offers little historical or literary context. Of course, it cannot be surprising that Mr. Labor spends so little time on the work: After all, there is so much of the life. Then there is the second Mrs. London: Charmian Kittredge, whose oddly equitable relationship with London turns the contradictions of his character into complexity — a bit late in the game, but welcome nonetheless. Once she appears in 1900, Mr. Labor quotes heavily from her diaries, mostly first-person accounts of life with Jack. These range from the useful (April 18, 1906: ‘‘earthquake’’) to the saccharine (‘‘Lovely days .. . Mate so sweet to me’’). Here things begin to get interesting on a deeper level, as we are given insight into a union that seems a departure from the genteel mores of a ‘‘Victorian AmerSUZANNE DECHILLO/THE NEW YORK TIMES At the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ‘‘Jewels by JAR’’ show, the gallery is unpleasantly dark, as if to discourage close inspection. ica.’’ Charmian’s relationship with London let her enter the sorts of male spaces that, in an earlier time, or as a different man’s wife, she would have been barred from: as a passenger on the demanding Snark voyage, charting unsafe territory; and as a spectator of a boxing match in 1908, from which women had been banned as a rule. The Londons also and curiously referred to each other by the gender-neutral term ‘‘mate,’’ and engaged for a time in regular boxing sessions that allowed Charmian once, in the presence of London’s mother, to pummel Jack against the door ‘‘so ferociously that the redwood panel was cracked.’’ Did London like being pummeled? Wouldn’t we love to know. Of course, this is not that sort of biography, chiefly because it was not that sort of life. London is not the kind of sexually or even morally interesting, shock-and-awe artist whose bold, unthinkingly progressive acts might save him, on closer inspection, from a certain irrelevance in our own time. There are points of serious interest to latch on to, ultimately: the troubled relationship to success, the problems with capitalism, the issue of being born into an especially awkward, unemotional and corrupt moment in American history. But the ‘‘bigger thing’’ remains submerged, while the tip of the iceberg we get is only interesting in bizarre flashes. The invention remains more interesting than the inventor, and has the same fish-out-of-water problem from being scrutinized in a century not its own. Henry Giardina’s work has appeared in New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books and other publications. All that glitters is not artistic gold The unconscious tensions of Jack London’s life ONLINE: THE LITERARY LIFE Read reviews, profiles of authors and more at nytimes.com/books PEOPLE The United States Supreme Court Justice SONIA SOTOMAYOR will press the button to lower the countdown ball in New York’s Times Square Tuesday night, organizers said. Ms. Sotomayor, a New York native, joins LADY GAGA, MUHAMMAD ALI and BILL and HILLARY CLINTON as those who have started the ball drop, which organizers said will be watched by about 1 billion people around the world. The ball will drop a few minutes after MILEY CYRUS performs. (REUTERS) The pop singer CARLY RAE JEPSEN, who rose to fame in 2012 with her pop single ‘‘Call Me Maybe,’’ will make her Broadway debut in the title role of ‘‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,’’ the show’s producers announced. Ms. Jepsen will begin a 12-week run on Feb. 4, joining FRAN DRESCHER, who will also make her debut on that date and has been cast as the cruel stepmother. Ms. Jepsen is to replace LAURA OSNES, who will complete her yearlong run in January. Ms. Jepsen is also working on a new album planned for release next year. ‘‘Call Me Maybe’’ sold over 10 million copies in 2012, when it was the best-selling digital single worldwide. BIM Distribuzione, the film distribution company that is marketing ‘‘12 Years a Slave’’ in Italy, has formally apologized for distributing posters and publicity materials that played down CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, the black actor who is the film’s protagonist, while prominently featuring two white supporting actors: MICHAEL FASSBENDER, who plays a sadistic slave owner, and BRAD PITT, who has a small role as a laborer. ‘‘We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused,’’ the company, based in Rome, said in a statement. The ‘‘distraction’’ included protests on both sides of the Atlantic, with viewers calling the posters racist. The furor prompted Summit Entertainment, the studio handling the film’s international release, to distance itself from the materials and to demand that they be recalled. BIM recalled the posters before Christmas. — Allan Kozinn ‘‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,’’ directed by PETER JACKSON, dominated the North American box office over the post-Christmas weekend, collecting $29.9 million. Walt Disney’s animated film ‘‘Frozen’’ was second with ticket sales of $28.8 million in its third week, ahead of WILL FERRELL’s quirky comedy ‘‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,’’ DAVID O. RUSSELL’s ‘‘American Hustle’’ and MARTIN SCORSESE’s ‘‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’’ (REUTERS) PHOTOGRAPHS: REUTERS, AP, EPA, REUTERS BOOK REVIEW An exhibition of jewelry at the Met disappoints on numerous counts SONIA SOTOMAYOR, CARLY RAE JEPSEN, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, PETER JACKSON The fascinating details of London’s life serve to keep the mystery alive rather than illuminating it. Ai Weiwei uses flowers in a bike basket to mark loss of freedom Protesting travel ban with daily bouquet The exhibition is visibly unedited: It crowds more than 400 often redundant jewels into a gallery too small for them. ‘‘I’ve even thought, the day you give me back my passport, I might tear it up in front of your eyes.’’ EXHIBITION REVIEW ADAM DEAN FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES The bicycle in Beijing. Ai Weiwei hasn’t been able to leave China since April 2011.
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