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Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

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Safety Tip: Listen to Those Boring Demos!
If you think flying safely is all up to the pilots, think again

Legend has it that 1,500 years ago a beautiful princess appeared in Imadate

Web Crawling
If it took you years to get back in the pool after seeing Jaws, it may take decades to get back on a plane after a visit to

Off the Shelf
The Forbidden City: This pocket-sized guide to Beijing's premier landmark accomplishes a great deal in a small space

Off the Shelf

The Forbidden City
By May Holdsworth
(Oxford University Press; 88 pages)

This pocket-sized guide to Beijing's premier landmark accomplishes a great deal in a small space. Most general guidebooks to historical monuments offer an architectural description and a cursory rundown of key dates, leaving potential visitors wondering if it's even worth making the trip. This book introduces the reader not only to the Forbidden City's bricks and mortar, but also to the emperors and eunuchs who peopled it over the years. Holdsworth provides a glimpse of the rich historical texture of imperial Peking through intimate details of court life: rituals, weddings, births and deaths, as well as the practical concerns of daily existence. For those interested in the art of feng shui, there is a chapter detailing the mindful arrangement of the buildings. A product of painstaking research in the archives, the guide is also a good read.

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