My Interview With a Rohingya Refugee: What Do You Say to a Woman Whose Baby Was Thrown Into a Fire? – by Jeffrey Gettleman – NYT

“As I walked out of the refugee camp, my phone rang. The instant I said hello, my wife could hear it in my voice.“What’s wrong?” she asked.“I just finished the worst interview of my life,” I said.

I was standing near the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh, where half a million Rohingya people, probably one of the most unwanted ethnic groups on the planet, fled after government massacres in Myanmar. I had just said goodbye to a young woman named Rajuma and watched her — a frail figure in a red veil — disappear into a crowd with one of the most horrible stories I had ever heard.

I’ve covered genocide in Sudan and children being blown apart in Iraq. I’ve been dispatched to earthquakes, hurricanes, civil wars, international wars, insurgencies and famines. As foreign correspondents, this is what we do, rush into the world’s biggest disasters. In 20 years of doing this, I’ve become a specialist in despair.But Rajuma’s story stopped me.”

David Lindsay:

This news reporting lifts Jefrey Gettleman up to a new level, in my awareness, up to Nicholas Kristof.
Thank you Jeffrey for this report.

Here are the top comments. I read deep into the comments section, for solace.

mjb

Tucson 1 hour ago

This is what genocide looks like, sounds like, feels like to witness.

And on the same online front page of the NYTimes, we are treated to the story of big game “hunting” ranches in Texas where the extremely wealthy can go to kill animals and call it love.

Anger, hatred, dehumanization, disrespect for life…is contagious. We are seeing it everywhere, and our current President is aiding and abetting this social turn.

The Rohingya must get true sanctuary somewhere, and we must help them–all of us on this planet must help. Otherwise, we have reached a state where all of us are dehumanized. Not humane, and therefore not human. Compassion is a human birthright–having, expressing it, receiving it. It is genetically encoded. That we are in an era of so many instances where compassion is replaced with anger and hatefulness, is just appalling beyond words.

P. Dutta

Berlin, Germany 1 hour ago

Thank you for covering these horrific events. Journalists like you go to places that everyone else turns a blind eye to. ‘Ami Dukkhito’ doesn’t actually mean ‘I’m sorry’ in Bengali though. It literally means ‘I’m sad’. It is an appropriate thing to say under the circumstances as we don’t have an equivalent word to ‘sorry’ in Bengali. ‘Ami Dukkhito’ implies that you share her pain. Please do keep shining the light of awareness on these darkest of places.

Janet

is a trusted commenter Salt Lake City, UT 3 hours ago

Thank you for telling the world about Rajuma and the murder of her baby. Something good will come of this telling because there are still very good people in this world who express kindness all around us.

Vera Chasan

USA 1 hour ago

Thank you for a beautifully written story – and for bearing witness to this. I can’t begin to fathom the depth of pain Ms. Rajuma must know, but I weep for her and her family. I wish I believed that something good will come of this story – and perhaps, for some readers, we are more sensitive to the Rohingya plight and more ready to offer support.

ASHRAF CHOWDHURY

NEW YORK 1 hour ago

Anybody cares what is happening in Rohingya ethnic cleansing ? The answer is NO. Because there is no oil or gas or mineral resources for western economic powerhouse countries .Even UN is very quiet about this genocide. Because Rohingya people are extremely poor Muslims. I am glad that the NYT publishes some news of atrocities there now and then. Bangladesh, a densely populated country is one of the poorest in the world. I thank the government and the people of Bangladesh for opening their door to shelter these unfortunate people with their limited resource. Some Muslim countries, specially Turkey came forward to help them. What happened to other oil rich Muslim countries? India is not helping that much as expected. China is helping Myanmar with arms and money to expedite this cleansing process. Where is humanity ? Where are compassionate heart of good human beings? Where are Buddhist religious teachings of love and AHIMSA (abstain from killings) to attain Nirvana? May God help these poor people.

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Posted in Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide, India and Bangladesh, Myanmar | Tagged | Leave a comment

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More. – The New York Times

“When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled “foundation” as “fandation.”

Even so, Kim Jong-un’s minions still got away with $81 million in that heist.Then only sheer luck enabled a 22-year-old British hacker to defuse the biggest North Korean cyberattack to date, a ransomware attack last May that failed to generate much cash but brought down hundreds of thousands of computers across dozens of countries — and briefly crippled Britain’s National Health Service.

Their track record is mixed, but North Korea’s army of more than 6,000 hackers is undeniably persistent, and undeniably improving, according to American and British security officials who have traced these attacks and others back to the North.Amid all the attention on Pyongyang’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the continental United States, the North Koreans have also quietly developed a cyberprogram that is stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and proving capable of unleashing global havoc.”

Scary. Here are three comments I endorsed.

Donald J. Bluff

BLUFF TOWER 6 hours ago

Every password-protected account (email, bank, retail, etc.) should send a text message to the account holder’s smartphone the instant someone logs into the account. It would not stop all hackers, but it would notify account holders if/when something is amiss.

Private companies that discover they have been hacked should be required to notify the FBI within 24 hours, or face a $1 million daily fine. The fine would be split with private whistleblowers, and announced in the press as a warning to customers. Government officials who fail to notify the FBI of a breach of their agency’s computers within 24 hours should be fired and lose their government pension.

Amateur hour for the internet has come to an end. The top infrastructure need of the USA is a secure internet backbone.

Hugh Massengill

Eugene Oregon 6 hours ago

If I wander over to my neighbor’s property and plant a surveillance camera, I have no right to complain if they do the same.
We murdered Iranian scientists who were working on peaceful nuclear devices, just so Israel could be the only power in the Middle East with hundreds of nuclear bombs aimed at its neighbors. Iran has every right to fear the US and to defend itself against its regional enemy, Israel. I have no link to Iran, but have a hunch that one day we will have a documentary series on our fight with them that rivals the latest Ken Burns series outlining the absolute stupidity of American leaders’ actions there.
All this is not done in my name. We now are at war with many countries, including Iran, Russia, and North Korea, and my representatives in Congress never got to vote on these attacks.
We created this horrid cyberwar nightmare, and one day we will reap its whirlwind.
America is as stupid today as it was when we thoughtlessly invaded Vietnam.
Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

NYT Pick

doktorij

is a trusted commenter Eastern Tn 6 hours ago

Cyber warfare is subtle and devastating.

It is far more likely to affect each one of us than any physical terrorist event. Yet we are still reactionary to such attacks, versus being pro-active to protect against them. I suppose this is an American trait with blinders on until something horrible happens.

NK is not the only country or even entity we should be concerned with either.

Posted in Information Technology, Korea North & South | Tagged | Leave a comment

Trump’s Sellout of American Heritage – by Timothy Egan – NYT

“We can count on this seasonal miracle, healthy fish returning to their birthplaces and then on to the dinner table, so long as the fragile balance of nature remains intact. But with a president who is going after clean air, clean water and the world’s most valuable wild salmon fishery, the fate of creation and all the myriad wonders within it is at stake.

I use “creation” as an appeal to creationists to look at what your president is doing to Eden, or what’s left of it. I also want to appeal to economic nationalists. For the U.S.A. has the greatest home for sockeye salmon on the planet in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The Trump administration is putting it at risk in order to aid a foreign mining conglomerate.

This American carnage is led by a man whose job is to protect the natural world within our borders, the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt. As you may have heard, he has sealed himself off from the public with a $25,000 phone security system and an 18-member security detail. It took a court order to pry loose some of the details of his meetings. No surprise, he holds daily lap-dog sessions with the companies he is supposed to regulate.

Pruitt is the swamp, the only wetland the Trump administration wants to protect. He serves the oil, chemical and mining interests that propped him up when he was attorney general of Oklahoma. He now runs the oil, chemical and mining protection agency out of Washington, with our money. You would never guess that this toady in a suit works for us.”

Amen.

Excellent op-ed piece, and comments after it, such as:

Meg

Troy, Ohio 1 day ago

Folks, it’s time to get out the pictures of America in the late 60s and early 70s when smog ruled LA and the Cuyahoga River in Ohio was on fire. This pre-EPA world is where we are headed. If you have asthma or other breathing issues you will be more at risk in this world. Have you seen the film of Puerto Ricans without safe water who are drinking what they can get from streams–and getting sick and dying from it? Welcome to Trump-Pruitt post EPA American. No clean air or water–but plenty of profits for the corporations who can ante up the bribes to the Trump Administration.

Posted in climate change and the environment, Pollution | Tagged | Leave a comment

Erick Erickson: How to Find Common Ground – The New York Times

“. . . The truth, though, is that our Facebook friends are probably not going to water our flowers while we are on vacation and our Twitter followers will not bring us a meal if we are sick. But the actual human being next door might do both if we meet him.

This is what I want my children to know if I should die before they wake. The kitchen table is the most important tool they have to reshape their community. Preparing a home-cooked meal and inviting people over, both those we know and those we want to know, forces us to find common ground.

Not everything should be political, and we can only make everything political when we decide the other side is evil just because they disagree with us. We can see the world only in this polarized way if we never take the time to know anyone on the other side, if we never find ways to build friendship despite our differences.

Every person has an interesting story to tell. I want my children to know my story. But I also want them to know that the stranger next door has one, too, and that even if they disagree on much, they can still be friends.

We may also never find that common ground with people whose politics or faith conflicts with ours. But we owe it to one another to disagree agreeably, without anger or intimidation, whether on a front porch or a Facebook page. A little more grace among us all would go a long way toward healing the nation.”

Words from the wise.

 

 

Erick-Woods Erickson is the editor of the website The Resurgent and a talk-show host on radio station WSB.

 

Posted in Community Development, Journalism Media and Social Media, Life leadership and spirituality | Tagged | Leave a comment

From Amazon- a Change That Hurts Authors – by Douglas Preston – NYT

LAST March, Amazon quietly changed the way it sells books. An obscure and seemingly harmless modification to its website has opened the door for some third-party sellers to deceive Amazon’s customers by selling books as “new” that may not come straight from a publisher or its wholesaler, thus depriving authors of royalties they should have earned from the sale of a new book.

Amazon decided to allow third-party sellers to be featured atop the primary purchase button for new books, a spot previously reserved for Amazon’s own inventory, which comes directly from the publishers. Approved third-party sellers “win” this placement through a secret algorithm that considers, among other things, price, availability, seller’s rating and shipping time. In doing so, Amazon abdicates its role as the prime retailer on its own website. The main requirement is that the books offered by the third-party seller must be “new.”

So when you, the customer, hit that main buy button, you should always expect to get a brand-new book, right?Not necessarily.To explain why, we have to take a journey into the underbelly of the book market. Have you ever asked yourself, when shopping for books on Amazon, how third-party sellers can be offering dozens of “new” books at prices way below even the discounted Amazon price? The reason is that such books could have been bought in bulk by a handful of giant online third-party sellers to be re-sold through Amazon as “new” books, when some are not.Where do these gray market books originate? There are several possible sources.”

Ouch. Here is comment I liked.

AN AMERICAN ABROAD

France 6 hours ago

As always, Douglas Preston has something valuable to say about how books are marketed — and about how those of us who write them are too often deprived of our royalties.

Those who love books, buy them. And Mr. Preston’s sharp analysis of Amazon’s behavior here can only help devoted readers make better choices.
Bravo.

Posted in Business and Finance, Publishing | Tagged | Leave a comment

China Hastens the World Toward an Electric-Car Future – by Kieth Bradsher – NYT News

“SHENZHEN, China — There is a powerful reason that automakers worldwide are speeding up their efforts to develop electric vehicles — and that reason is China.

Propelled by vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies, China has become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars. That is forcing automakers from Detroit to Yokohama and Seoul to Stuttgart to pick up the pace of transformation or risk being left behind in the world’s largest car market.

Beijing has already called for one out of every five cars sold in China to run on alternative fuel by 2025. Last month, China issued new rules that would require the world’s carmakers to sell more alternative-energy cars here if they wanted to continue selling regular ones. A Chinese official recently said the country would eventually do away with the internal combustion engine in new cars.

“We are seeing ourselves at a crossroads in the development of the automobile industry in this country, with a global scale in mind,” said Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen’s top executive for VW brand sales and marketing, during a visit to Shanghai.China has reshaped industries before — clothing, steel making, even lace — through a potent mix of government support and cheap labor. More recently it has transformed green-energy businesses like solar and wind power.”

David LIndsay: God Bless the Chinese.

Here are the top comments, which I endorsed:

Chico

New Hampshire 2 hours ago

I think Scott Pruitt should stand next to that picture of the heavy haze of Pollution in Beijing due to the country’s reliance on power from coal.

It seems like even China is moving in the right direction while the Trump policy is to reverse all of the environmental improvements we’ve made and return us to the good old days of smog, haze and polluted waters.

Jane O’Kelly

NC 2 hours ago

China considers the very long term in its economic planning. The US – Republicans in particular- considers only next year’s business profits when making environmental and economic policy.

msf

NYC 2 hours ago

“unfair government support”?
We have that as well, it just is for 19th century coal + 20th cent oil. Welcome to “Make America Last”.

I WISH, our government had the foresight to set incentives for industry and consumers that protect the planet we need to live on.

arty

is a trusted commenter ma 2 hours ago

Let’s see if the Russian Troll Farm attacks this comment like they did the last time we had this topic. Some facts:

1. If electricity is generated by anything but a coal plant, there is a very large benefit to plug-in vehicles (hybrid or pure EV), in terms of CO2 and local pollution.

2. Coal plants, like most thermal plants, burn 24/7, because the system temperature has to be maintained. This means that CO2 is being produced when there is low demand for electricity, at night. EV charging at night means that this “wasted” CO2 production *replaces* the CO2 an ICE car would produce on the morning commute, rather than being *in addition* to it.

3. The net result, in general, when you take all factors into account, is that *even* if electricity is being supplied by coal, switching to plug-in vehicles is a positive step; depending on combinations of efficiencies, in the short term as well as over time.

So, please think critically when the trolls start filling the thread with nonsensical claims that are intended to keep the oil flowing out of Siberia or wherever.

Pat Roberts

Golden, CO 2 hours ago

If you watch the NOVA program “In Search of the Superbattery,” you will see that improvements in battery electrolytes (plastic in the NOVA program, and now glass) will likely lead to improvements in energy density of lithium batteries by a factor of about 3. When this happens (and I suspect within the next 3 years), range of electric cars will increase from about 200 miles to about 600 miles. This will quickly result in the death of the internal combustion engine as a common energy source for cars. Automobile manufacturers, aware that this is about to happen, are scrambling to adopt electric car technology, so as to not be left behind with this disruptive change. The US government would do well to take notice.

Posted in Climate Change Remediation, Sustainable Technologies | Tagged | Leave a comment

Inside North Korea- and Feeling the Drums of War – by NIcholas Kristof – NYT

Nicholas Kristof reports on his five days in North Korea.

“Ultimately, the best hope that is realistic may be a variant of what’s called a “freeze for a freeze,” with North Korea halting its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a reduction in sanctions and in U.S.-South Korean military exercises — as an interim step, preserving the long-term goal of denuclearization. Unfortunately, both sides resist this approach; I was disappointed in the lack of North Korean interest.”

Comments.

Tom Ray

St. Louis 3 hours ago

One has to wonder what Beijing’s leaders are thinking. A ticking time bomb on their border, and a bellicose president in the White House. “Minutes to go” seems an applicable phrase for all parties involved, and will China ever consider their client state/buffer not worth the price? It is especially dangerous for the region how the respective leaders of NK and this nation do not instill any impression of enlightened leadership. Minutes to go…brinksmanship on display.

In Reply to the above comment:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

What are the Chinese thinking, good question. My guess is that some of them are pleased that we are so preoccupied with the little dictator of North Korea, that we are distracted from our roles of world leadership, and the slow military take over by China of the South China Sea.

Here are the two leading comments to date, which I endorsed:

Kathryn

Upstate NY 3 hours ago

In six decades, I’ve never felt more helpless about the state of the world. We elected a president with the demeanor of a elementary school bully who appears to be eager to either push the red button or goad North Korea to do it first so he has an excuse to retaliate. I implore Republicans to do their patriotic duty and somehow remove Trump from the Oval office. I deplore everything Mike Pence stands for, but at a minimum, I believe he does not have the temperament to taunt both world leaders and his own cabinet. For Trump to deride our Secretary of State for attempting diplomatic talks is – in a legion of impulsive tweets – the most frightening act of recklessness yet.

hddvt

Vermont 4 hours ago

A stunning article. Thank you, Mr. Kristof. As in most interpersonal relationships, the only thing we can control is ourselves. We must figure out how we can control our significantly flawed president, who has considerable power to defuse this situation, but who seems totally uninterested in doing so.

Posted in Korea North & South | Tagged | Leave a comment

‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown – by Janet Maslin – NYT book review

“But it takes more than geography to keep a Brown escapade spinning. The formula also calls for sinister cultism of some sort, and in this case the dark scheming involves overpopulation. One character, Zobrist, is a wealthy Malthusian with a powerful, secretive, high-tech army at his command (Mr. Brown says it is real, but he has given it “the Consortium” as a fake name) and a doomsday plot to implement. While talking about controlling the rapid growth in population with the head of the World Health Organization, Zobrist is told, “We’re at seven billion now, so it’s a little late for that.” His reply, a fine specimen of mustache-twirling villainy: “Is it?”

There’s a lot more in “Inferno” along these lines. And it all ties together. Dante’s nightmare vision becomes the book’s visual correlative for what its scientific calculations suggest. And eventually the book involves itself with Transhumanism, genetic manipulation and the potential for pandemics. Just as Mr. Brown’s “Lost Symbol” tried to stir interest in the noetic sciences (studying mind-body connections). “Inferno” puts the idea of a plague front and center, invoking the black plague, its casualty count and its culling effect on mankind. Mr. Brown is more serious than usual when he invokes Dante’s dire warning: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

But the main emphasis here is hardly on gloom. It is on the prodigious research and love of trivia that inform Mr. Brown’s stories (this one makes mincemeat of all those factoid-heavy wannabes, like Matthew Pearl’s “Dante Club”), the ease with which he sets them in motion, the nifty tricks (Dante’s plaster death mask is pilfered from its museum setting, then toted through the secret passageways of Florence in a Ziploc bag) and the cliffhangers. (Sienna: “Don’t tell me we’re in the wrong museum.” Robert: “Sienna, we’re in the wrong country.”) There is the gamesmanship that goes with crypto-bits like “PPPPPPP.” (Sienna: “Seven Ps is … a message?” Robert, grinning: “It is. And if you’ve studied Dante, it’s a very clear one.”)

And finally there is the sense of play that saves Mr. Brown’s books from ponderousness, even when he is waxing wise about some ancient mystery or architectural wonder. Once the globe-trotting begins in earnest, private planes figure in the story and Langdon calls his publisher to ask for one. No, says the publisher, then adds: “Let me rephrase that. We don’t have access to private jets for authors of tomes about religious history. If you want to write ‘Fifty Shades of Iconography,’ we can talk.”Guess what: Mr. Brown has already written it. And then some.”

Posted in European Issues, Fiction Theater Music and Art, Population Growth Issues | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Wrong Time to Cut Back on Refugees – by Michael Mullen – NYT

“In slashing resettlement, the president is taking a recklessly narrow view of how best to put America first. Shutting out refugees would not only increase human suffering; it would also weaken the country and undermine its foreign policy.

There are more than 22 million refugees in the world, the highest number since World War II. Even before the Trump presidency, the United States response to this crisis was relatively modest. In fiscal year 2016, the United States resettled about 84,000 refugees, the most of any year under President Barack Obama. For comparison’s sake, the country took in roughly 200,000 refugees a year in the early 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.

Nonetheless, the resettlement effort under President Obama served American interests. For one thing, it helped the states that host the vast majority of Syrian refugees: Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. (In fiscal year 2016, 12,500 of the refugees resettled by the United States came from Jordan, a key American ally in a strategically crucial region.) The huge influx of refugees into these nations has strained their resources and infrastructure, becoming a potential source of instability and even conflict. By resettling refugees, the United States helps preserve stability and sends a message of support to countries whose cooperation it needs on a range of issues.”

“It’s no wonder that numerous studies have found that refugees are a net benefit to the American economy. The administration’s own study — which the president solicited from the Department of Health and Human Resources — concluded that refugees added $63 billion to the economy between 2005 and 2014.

Support for refugees creates another form of currency for the United States. Call it respect or admiration or credibility, this currency accrues when the United States leads by example and champions human rights on the world stage. It’s an invaluable and fungible resource, amassed over many decades. It enables the United States to forge ties with democratic movements. It also helps Washington persuade allies to do difficult things and pressure foes to stop their bad behavior. It is crucial to forging trade pacts, military coalitions and peace deals.

More than any other resource — including military and economic might — this accounts for American greatness. We sacrifice it at our peril.”

Posted in Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Refugees | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Wrong Time to Cut Back on Refugees – By Michael Mullen – NYT

“In slashing resettlement, the president is taking a recklessly narrow view of how best to put America first. Shutting out refugees would not only increase human suffering; it would also weaken the country and undermine its foreign policy.

There are more than 22 million refugees in the world, the highest number since World War II. Even before the Trump presidency, the United States response to this crisis was relatively modest. In fiscal year 2016, the United States resettled about 84,000 refugees, the most of any year under President Barack Obama. For comparison’s sake, the country took in roughly 200,000 refugees a year in the early 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.

Nonetheless, the resettlement effort under President Obama served American interests. For one thing, it helped the states that host the vast majority of Syrian refugees: Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. (In fiscal year 2016, 12,500 of the refugees resettled by the United States came from Jordan, a key American ally in a strategically crucial region.) The huge influx of refugees into these nations has strained their resources and infrastructure, becoming a potential source of instability and even conflict. By resettling refugees, the United States helps preserve stability and sends a message of support to countries whose cooperation it needs on a range of issues.”

“It’s no wonder that numerous studies have found that refugees are a net benefit to the American economy. The administration’s own study — which the president solicited from the Department of Health and Human Resources — concluded that refugees added $63 billion to the economy between 2005 and 2014.

Support for refugees creates another form of currency for the United States. Call it respect or admiration or credibility, this currency accrues when the United States leads by example and champions human rights on the world stage. It’s an invaluable and fungible resource, amassed over many decades. It enables the United States to forge ties with democratic movements. It also helps Washington persuade allies to do difficult things and pressure foes to stop their bad behavior. It is crucial to forging trade pacts, military coalitions and peace deals.More than any other resource — including military and economic might — this accounts for American greatness. We sacrifice it at our peril.”

Posted in Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Immigration | Tagged | Leave a comment