5 minute read
Ishaan Tharoor; Andrew Katz



It’s not just to Paris and London. By year’s end, the cities below will each have a sizable jump in visitor numbers since 2009, according to MasterCard’s forecast of flight plans.


RIYADH 219.4%


MUMBAI 113.3%


Progress Report

The Global Smokeout

A comprehensive antismoking law took effect in Russia on June 1 to encourage that country’s smokers to kick the habit. But will it work? Here’s how such efforts played out in four other countries.


In 2004, it became the first country to impose a no-smoking rule in workplaces. A year later, researchers found a 17% drop in nonsmoking bar workers with respiratory issues. Since then, the heart-disease rate has dropped 26%, and strokes are down 32%. Officials say 3,726 deaths have been prevented.


Indoor smoking at public venues was outlawed in 2011 in an attempt to cut the number of smokers, then 300 million, and the 1.2 million annual deaths from related illnesses. Two years later, patchy enforcement and a mediocre abstinence campaign have made success hard to find.


Bar and restaurant owners decried legislation enacted in 2005 to stamp out puffing in public places, claiming the measure would erode their storied culture. It didn’t. Instead, cigarette sales slowed, the number of heart attacks decreased, and smoking frequency dropped.


Guidelines took effect in October 2008 to inspire the country’s 120 million smokers to cut back. Antismoking advocacy and enforcement are lax, and offenders, who face a $4 fine, are not deterred. Smoke-free jobs led to more smokeless homes, but violations are still rampant.

CHINA $26,000

Amount that Wuhan officials may fine women who “knowingly” have a child out of wedlock–six times the city’s annual per capita disposable income


‘He released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place.’

DAVID COOMBS, defense attorney at the court-martial of Private First Class Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who confessed to leaking war logs to WikiLeaks while in Baghdad; Coombs portrayed Manning as a naive then 22-year-old who sought to carefully expose governmental wrongdoing, while prosecutors painted him as a calculating rogue who disclosed military secrets, thereby aiding the enemy


Cuba’s Slow but Steady Reforms

Cuban authorities recently expanded Web access by adding more Internet locations (an hour of use costs $4.50, out of the $20 average monthly salary), the latest sign of change on the communist isle. Here are three others:


Legislation enacted in late 2011 gave Cubans the ability to buy and sell cars and real estate. Following the 2010 layoffs of half a million state workers, thousands of private-business licenses were granted. And in May, an eight-year ban on imports of personal appliances was lifted.


President Raúl Castro ended a five-decade policy in January that limited citizens’ international travel. He streamlined exit visas and increased the allowed time abroad to 24 months, up from 11, with the hope that travelers would study, work and send cash home.


In mid-May, antihomophobia demonstrators beat drums and danced through Havana’s streets during a government-sponsored march, a marked departure from past policy outlawing homosexuality. “We must change consciousness,” said Mariela Castro, the President’s daughter, who led the procession.


Turbulence Meets Arrogance in Istanbul


What started as a protest over a few trees grew into a full-blown national crisis. Angry environmentalists and leftist activists camped out at a sliver of greenery off Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square called Gezi Park, which city planners intended to raze to make way for a shopping mall. On May 31, the police violently waded in to disperse the demonstrators. Their heavy-handedness hit a nerve, triggering mass protests in Istanbul; the capital, Ankara; and other cities across Turkey that lasted into the next week. Hundreds were arrested, and at least two died in clashes with police.

At the eye of the storm is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s leader for more than a decade, whose autocratic governance, critics say, is undermining Turkish democracy and stripping away freedoms. Demolishing Gezi Park’s grove for another commercial development was just the last straw. As authorities backed down from Taksim Square and protesters flooded in, parallels were drawn between the plaza and Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of Egypt’s 2011 revolution.

But Taksim is unlikely to be Erdogan’s Tahrir. His AKP party, which is pro-business and socially conservative, still has an overwhelming mandate from last year’s election, with strong support among the growing middle class and in the Anatolian hinterland. Since coming to power, Erdogan has not only revved up Turkey’s economy but also reined in its long meddling military.

Still, the protests aren’t a flash in the pan. They reflect widespread frustration with Erdogan’s authoritarian streak. Erdogan initially dismissed the protests, but other party officials were more conciliatory, a mark of growing divisions within the AKP camp. It’s believed that Erdogan, whose tenure as Prime Minister is up next year and can’t be renewed, harbors plans to extend his mandate. But as Turkey’s protests fade, so too may his political ambitions.

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