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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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Hear This
Get with the plug-ins to enhance Web cruising
From ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Wandering the World Wide Web with a naked browser is like heading out onto the autobahn in a station wagon: you'll get around, but it's more fun with a Maserati. Fortunately, there are free, easy-to-install browser add-ons, called plug-ins, to enhance your surfing. These days it's harder to be truly interactive when your engine's working without them. Here are three must-haves:

Realplayer (www.real.com) is the quintessential plug-in for music and video. By playing files as they "stream" to your PC, you can view all the sites and sounds of the Net without having to serve time in download hell. These work best with movie-studio sites that post trailers and interviews on their domains: for the ultimate trip, check out the site for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (www.fear-and-loathing.com). A basic player is free, but the $29.99 RealPlayer Plus can be personalized with your favorite Internet radio and TV "stations."

While it helps if you have a fast connection, Shockwave (www.macromedia.com) gives your browser the ability to play zippy animations. Macromedia's own "ShockRave" showcases the best: watch those bandits kill Kenny again and again in the latest South Park 'toons or play not-so-educational games like Destroy Alpha Prime.

Ichat (www.ichat.com) proves you don't need to be a techno-geek for real-time chatting, whether the subject is Frasier or Harley Davidsons. Visit an ichat-enabled site, such as the Glittertown gabfest at www.realhollywood.com, and the plug-in automatically puts you in contact with like-minded yakkers worldwide.

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   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


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