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Saturday, 17 October 2015

18 oct 2015

prepared by ashok sharma

Newyork Times (15 oct)

The Cycle of Violence in Israel

The latest wave of violence that has spread through Jerusalem and parts of Israel is both new and terribly familiar. What is new is the method, the knives used by young Palestinians instead of the stones or suicide bombs of the major uprisings of the past, and the role of social media in driving lone-wolf attackers to violence and often to their death.

But there are also the frightening echoes of intifadas past — the spreading rings of attacks and reprisals; the fearful knowledge that this could be only the beginning.

So far, the series of knife attacks that have left at least seven Israelis dead this month, along with at least 12 Palestinian suspects, is not on the scale of the intifadas that broke out in 1987 and in 2000. But what these attacks demonstrate is that a new generation of Palestinians is ready to turn to suicidal violence, and that these youths do not need an organization to mobilize them.

Israel has every right to defend its citizens, and it should. But breaking these cycles of violence will require more than self-defense. It will require creating an independent Palestinian state alongside an Israel whose right to exist is fully acknowledged by all Palestinians. In the heat of the stabbings, shootings, roadblocks and checkpoints, it is not an argument that can be expected to find many supporters on either side.

The first major Palestinian uprising in 1987 led to what is arguably the best attempt the Israelis and Palestinians have made to reach peace, the Oslo accords of 1993. But that was when one leader, Yasir Arafat, could speak for all Palestinians, and when a genuine Israeli war hero, Yitzhak Rabin, had the courage to take the risk peace entailed.

Mahmoud Abbas is bitter and unpopular, and his Palestinian Authority has lost control over Gaza to the Islamists of Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demonstrated little interest in a two-state solution and has shown a penchant for raising ever more Jewish settlements on occupied land.

The sight of Palestinian teenagers who were small children when the last intifada ended attacking Jews with knives and being shot dead themselves should be sufficiently terrifying to both their intended victims and their parents, as well as to Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas, to try again.

The cost of violence is known to both sides; so is the template for peace: There's no shortage of road maps on how to do it. And after all this time, it should be clear that a peace agreement is the only chance Israelis and Palestinians have to stop the cycles of stabbings, shootings, bombings and fear.



·        lone wolf


n a person who avoids the company or assistance of others


·        in·ti·fa·da

The Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginning in 1987.


·        re·pris·al

An act of retaliation.


·        en·tail

Involve (something) as a necessary or inevitable part or consequence.


·        pen·chant

A strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something.


NewYork Times (16 oct)

A Grim Decision on Afghanistan

President Obama was upbeat last Christmas, standing before American troops in Hawaii as he proclaimed the end of the United States' combat mission in Afghanistan.

"Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country," Mr. Obama said. "We are safer. It's not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again."

The president's grim tone and body language on Thursday stood in sharp contrast as he explained why he has given up on leaving Afghanistan, one of the wars he inherited in 2009.

"The bottom line is, in key areas of the country, the security situation is still very fragile, and in some places there is risk of deterioration," Mr. Obama said in a televised address, standing next to the vice president, the secretary of defense and the nation's top military commander.

Mr. Obama's decision to keep roughly 9,800 troops in Afghanistan next year — rather than drawing down to 1,000 troops by the end of 2016, as the White House had once intended — comes amid Taliban advances and other alarming changes in the region. While Mr. Obama's shift is disturbing and may not put Afghanistan on a path toward stability, he has no good options.The administration's decision is almost certainly driven by the advances of radical militant Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, where they have taken advantage of weak governments to seize ever expanding territory. American officials say the Islamic State, the largest and most brutal among them, has a growing presence in Afghanistan, which could allow it to tap into the country's profitable opium trade.

Keeping a military contingent in Afghanistan in the short term, the officials say, may make the country less hospitable to the Islamic State and fighters who are attracted to its barbaric ideology. It might help the Afghan Army maintain control of the cities at a time when the Taliban is making alarming inroads across the country. It could dissuade more Afghans from joining the refugee exodus.

These are optimistic prospects; the most likely scenario might only be to maintain the security status quo for another year. It would be foolish to expect the drawdown delay to turn the war around, nor should this decision become an open-ended commitment that costs American taxpayers billions of dollars and takes American lives each year. The Obama administration and the Pentagon have been disingenuous, and at times downright dishonest, in their public assessment of the progress American forces and civilians have made in Afghanistan in recent years.The key to ending the Afghan war remains a negotiated truce between the government and the leading factions of the Taliban, which has entered into talks with the Kabul government in recent years, but has not been persuaded to join the political process. It would also require that Afghan leaders take far clearer and bolder steps to root out the country's entrenched corruption and turn a hollow, dysfunctional government into a state Afghans start to believe in.

Whether those goals are attainable will ultimately depend on the competency and tenacity of Afghanistan's leaders. President Ashraf Ghani, who has been in office for a little over a year, has been a marked improvement over his erratic predecessor, Hamid Karzai.

"In the Afghan government, we have a serious partner who wants our help," Mr. Obama said on Thursday.

The administration must redouble efforts during its remaining time in office to ensure that help is rendered as a part of a coherent, realistic strategy that ultimately cannot depend on American troops scrambling to hold the country together.


·        grim > forbidding or uninviting.

·        up·beat

(in music) an unaccented beat preceding an accented beat.

·        frag·ile

(of an object) easily broken or damaged.


·        con·tin·gent

Subject to chance.


·        dis·suade

Persuade (someone) not to take a particular course of action.


·        dis·in·gen·u·ous

Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.


·        truce

An agreement between enemies or opponents to stop fighting or arguing for a certain time.


·        en·trench

Establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely


·        te·nac·i·ty

The quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.


·        re·dou·ble

Make or become much greater, more intense, or more numerous.


·        co·her·ent

(of an argument, theory, or policy) logical and consistent.


·        troop

A group of soldiers, especially a cavalry unit commanded by a captain, or an airborne unit.


·        scram·ble

Make one's way quickly or awkwardly up a steep slope or over rough ground by using one's hands as well as one's feet


newyork times (17 oct)

Stirring Up the Restaurant World

Danny Meyer has spoken. Will the restaurant industry and political leaders listen?

Mr. Meyer, the New York restaurateur and head of the Union Square Hospitality Group, announced this week that tipping would be ended at the group's 13 restaurants, including upscale spots like the Gramercy Tavern and the Union Square Cafe.

The no-tip policy is intended to close the widening wage gap between servers who earn tips and kitchen staff who don't. According to Mr. Meyer, ending tips and raising menu prices will allow non-tipped employees to be paid more, while server pay and the overall cost to eat out remain about the same.

This particular wage gap, however, is only one of the many corrosive aspects of tipping, and it mainly afflicts people working at high-end restaurants. The real power in Mr. Meyer's no-tip policy is its potential to force a broader debate on tipped work, including how to change laws that have made tipped work a path to poverty for most servers.Under federal law, employers can pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 an hour, as long as that amount plus tips is at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. States can set higher minimums, but most follow the federal law or have their own two-tiered systems.Subminimum tipped wages reflect historical gender gaps in the restaurant industry, where most servers are women and are low paid. The restaurant lobby has fought successfully to keep server pay down, and the result, borne out in census data, is a high rate of poverty among servers.

Democratic bills now before Congress would end the subminimum tipped wage in favor of a single federal minimum for all workers, either $12 or $15 an hour. But passage will require supportive congressional majorities that have yet to materialize.

In the meantime, states need to do more, especially New York, where Mr. Meyer has gotten people talking about restaurant workers. Earlier this year, a wage board convened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo squandered the chance to end the state's two-tiered minimum wage. Instead, it called for raising the tipped minimum, now $5 an hour, to $7.25 by the end of 2015.

That is well short of the scheduled increase of the non-tipped minimum wage to $9 an hour. Although Mr. Cuomo in September called for a statewide minimum of $15 an hour, it remains to be seen whether any eventual increase will include tipped workers.

No state should have a separate and unequal wage system in which restaurants profit by underpaying workers — nor should the nation as a whole.


·        stir up


v provoke or stir up


·        bear out


v support with evidence or authority or make more certain or confirm


·        squandered


adj not used to good advantage


NewYork TTimes (16 oct)

The Great 'Sanctuary City' Slander

Lawmakers in Washington and around the country are in an uproar over what they derisively call "sanctuary cities." These are jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, or try in other ways to protect unauthorized immigrants from unjust deportation.

The Senate is voting Tuesday on a bill from David Vitter of Louisiana to punish these cities by denying them federal law-enforcement funds. The House passed its version in July. North Carolina's Legislature has passed a bill forbidding sanctuary policies. Lawmakers in Michigan and Texas are seeking similar laws.

These laws are a false fix for a concocted problem. They are based on the lie, now infecting the Republican presidential campaign, that all unauthorized immigrants are dangerous criminals who must be subdued by extraordinary means.

The laws are a class-action slander against an immigrant population that has been scapegoated for the crimes of a few, and left stranded by the failure of legislative reform that would open a path for them to live fully within the law. And because crackdowns on sanctuary cities seek to thwart sound law-enforcement policies and the integration of immigrants, they are an invitation to more crime and mayhem, not less.

This is not what the Republicans want you to believe. They have seized on the tragic death of a woman, Kathryn Steinle, shot in July on a San Francisco pier by an unauthorized Mexican immigrant, to denounce that city's sanctuary policies and those of other cities. Donald Trump, who began his campaign by slandering Mexico as a nation of drug-toting rapists, used the accused, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, as exhibit A. Like a racist pied piper, Mr. Trump has gotten his party to fall in line behind him. Two of his rivals, the demagogic Ted Cruz and the former immigration moderate Marco Rubio, have signed on to the Vitter bill.

Mr. Lopez-Sanchez was a homeless man with drug convictions but no record of violent crime; the bullet he fired was found to have ricocheted off the pier, suggesting that he had not targeted anyone. The suggestion that it was a horrific accident could well be true. What is clearly false is the claim that he moved to San Francisco to take advantage of its sanctuary policies. He was sent there by federal officials to answer an old, minor drug charge, then released.

Republicans tend not to be moved by senseless gun violence. But here was a case they couldn't resist. They have turned Mr. Lopez-Sanchez, absurdly, into a stand-in for 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States.

For this case of collective guilt by association, President Obama and his first homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, share some blame. They were the ones who greatly expanded the deportation machinery in a program called Secure Communities, proudly broadcasting their efforts to deport "criminal aliens." It was a tragically misguided attempt to gain, through extreme harshness, Republican support for immigration reform.

It failed. And Mr. Obama's unprecedented deportations of more than two million people, many of them not criminals at all, are what made the sanctuary-city movement necessary in the first place.

The country needs more sanctuary cities. It needs them to underscore what should be a bright line between civil immigration enforcement, a federal responsibility, and the state and local criminal-justice systems.

It's odd to see Republicans muddying that line. They tend to like it when states act like policy laboratories, filling the gaps where the federal government has failed — except when it comes to treating recent immigrants with common sense and decency. Then they love a monolithic enforcement state, one that commandeers local and state resources in a united push to get millions of people — including those with minor infractions or no criminal records at all — out of the country.

That is Mr. Trump's policy. Any sanctuary-city crackdown should be called Trump's Law, but with a hat tip to Mr. Obama, who was legitimizing the conflation of immigrants and criminals long before Mr. Trump weighed in. Long after both men leave the scene, that damage will still be with us.

The best hope for a return to sanity lies not in Washington but locally. More than 320 jurisdictions have policies, like California's Trust Act, to disentangle themselves from the federal deportation dragnet. They recognize that communities are safer and crime is reduced when law-abiding immigrants don't fear and shun the police, and when they have access to services like libraries and banks.

The answer to an immigrant population in the shadows is — as it has been throughout our history — integration and welcome instead of scapegoating and oppression. And leaving local law enforcement free to focus on catching criminals and protecting public safety.


·        slanderer


n one who attacks the reputation of another by slander or libel


·        sanc·tu·ar·y

A place of refuge or safety.


·        con·coct

Make (a dish or meal) by combining various ingredients.


·        sub·dued

(of a person or their manner) quiet and rather reflective or depressed.


·        scape·goat

(in the Bible) a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16).


·        strand·ed

(of a boat, sailor, or sea creature) left aground on a shore.



·        may·hem

Violent or damaging disorder; chaos.


·        demagogic

Characteristic of or resembling a demagogue; "demagogic speeches"


·        dem·a·gogue

A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.


·        ricochet


v spring back; spring away from an impact


·        dis·en·tan·gle

Free (something or someone) from an entanglement; extricate.


·        op·pres·sion

Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.