1.A) Trump’s misstep

     White nationalist rallies are not new in the United States. But the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday were unprecedented in recent American history in terms of the number of participants and the scale of violence that followed. Those who turned up in Charlottesville, barely 200 km from Washington DC, have sent a clear message that the far right in the U.S. is ready for a long battle on a white supremacist agenda. On Friday night they took out a torch-bearing procession reminiscent of the Hitler Youth night rallies, shouting, “blood and soil”, protesting plans to remove a Confederate monument from the city. Saturday’s demonstration turned violent as counter-protesters mobilised an equally strong group against the white nationalists. This took a tragic turn when a demonstrator rammed a car into the counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring several others. For years, the Alt-Right movement of white nationalists has been mobilising using online platforms. They supported Mr. Trump in the November election. Steve Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News that gave a “platform” to the Alt-Right, was chief executive of Mr. Trump’s campaign, and is now his chief strategist. With Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon in the White House, the Alt-Right clearly feels emboldened. David Duke, a former “Imperial Wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan, who took part in the Charlottesville rally, admitted as much in plain words when he said, “It is the fulfilment of President Donald Trump’s vision for America.” Mr. Trump could have shown leadership by instantly denouncing the ultra-nationalists and upholding values enshrined in the Constitution. But he failed the test, completely. He first condemned the violence “on many sides”. Two days later, apparently under pressure from his team, he criticised “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate gangs”. But within a day he made another U-turn, holding both “the Alt-Right and the Alt-Left” responsible for Saturday’s events. In effect, Mr. Trump failed to make a moral distinction between the neo-Nazis who rallied with swastikas, Confederate battle flags and anti-Semitic banners and those who assembled to protest that intolerance. Mr. Trump also launched a Twitter attack against Merck CEO Ken Frazier, an African-American, who quit the President’s advisory council over his response to the Charlottesville violence. And he told Fox News that he was “seriously considering” a pardon for Joe Arpaio, a former Sheri who faces allegations of racial profiling and discriminatory police conduct. Organisers of the Alt-Right demonstration have thanked Mr. Trump for his “honesty and courage” and vowed to hold many more such rallies. Unfortunately, the U.S. President does not see such endorsement from neo-Nazi groups as a problem.

1.B) The health checklist

The frail nature of rural India’s health systems and the extraordinary patient load on a few referral hospitals have become even more evident from the crisis at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur. The institution has come under the spotlight after reports emerged of the death of several children over a short period, although epidemics and a high mortality level are chronic features here. Medical infrastructure in several surrounding districts and even neighbouring States is so weak that a large number of very sick patients are sent to such apex hospitals as a last resort. The dysfunctional aspects of the system are evident from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on reproductive and child health under the National Rural Health Mission for the year ended March 2016. Even if the audit objections on financial administration were to be ignored, the picture that emerges in several States is one of inability to absorb the funds allocated, shortage of staff at primary health centres (PHCs), community health centres (CHCs) and district hospitals, lack of essential medicines, broken-down equipment and unfilled doctor vacancies. In the case of Uttar Pradesh, the CAG found that about 50% of the PHCs it audited did not have a doctor, while 13 States had significant levels of vacancies. Basic facilities in the form of health sub-centres, PHCs and CHCs met only half the need in Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, putting pressure on a handful of referral institutions such as the Gorakhpur hospital. Templates for an upgraded rural health system have long been finalised and the Indian Public Health Standards were issued in 2007 and 2012, covering facilities from health sub-centres upwards. The Centre has set ambitious health goals for 2020 and is in the process of deciding the financial outlay for various targets under the National Health Mission, including reduction of the infant mortality rate to 30 per 1,000 live births, from the recent estimate of 40. This will require sustained investment and monitoring, and ensuring that the prescribed standard of access to a health facility with the requisite medical and nursing resources within a 3-km radius is achieved on priority. Such a commitment is vital for scaling up reproductive and child health care to achieve a sharp reduction in India’s deplorable infant and maternal mortality levels, besides preventing the spread of infectious diseases across States. It is imperative for the government to recognise the limitations of a market-led mechanism, as the NITI Aayog has pointed out in its action agenda for 2020, in providing for a pure public good such as health. We need to move to a single-payer system with cost controls that make efficient strategic purchase of health care from private and public facilities possible. Bringing equity in access to doctors, diagnostics and medicines for the rural population has to be a priority for the National Health Mission.

Words/ Vocabulary:

1) Rallies

Meaning: A mass meeting of people making a political protest or showing support for a cause.

Example: The Trojans rally again and continue to push onward.

Synonym: Regroup, Reunite

Antonym: Regression

2) Unprecedented

Meaning: Never done or known before.

Example: The government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence.

Synonym: Unparalleled, Unequalled

Antonym: Common, Familiar

3) Supremacist

Meaning: Relating to or advocating the supremacy of a particular group.

Example: The white supremacists do not act in a vacuum, however.

4) Agenda

Meaning: The underlying intentions or motives of a particular person or group.

Example: Miller has his own agenda and it has nothing to do with football.

Synonym: List of items, Schedule.

5) Procession

Meaning: A relentless succession of people or things.

Example: Magistrates complain that they see a procession of recidivist minor offenders.

Synonym: Series, Succession

Antonym: Halt, Disorganization

6) Reminiscent

Meaning: Tending to remind one of something.

Example: The sights were reminiscent of my childhood.

Synonym: Similar to, Comparable with

7) Mobilised

Meaning: Prepare and organize (troops) for active service.

Example: The government mobilized regular forces, reservists, and militia.

Synonym: Marshal, Deploy

8) Tragic

Meaning: Causing or characterized by extreme distress or sorrow.

Example: The shooting was a tragic accident.

Synonym: Disastrous, Calamitous

Antonym: Fortunate, Good

9) Rammed

Meaning: (of a vehicle or vessel) be driven violently into (another vehicle or vessel) in an attempt to stop or damage it.

Example: Their boat was rammed by a Japanese warship.

Synonym: Hit, Strike, Crash into

10) Emboldened

Meaning: Give (someone) the courage or confidence to do something.

Example: Emboldened by the claret, he pressed his knee against hers.

Synonym: Give courage, Make brave

Antonym: Discourage

11) Denouncing

Meaning: Publicly declare to be wrong or evil.

Example: The Assembly denounced the use of violence.

Synonym: Condemn, Criticize, Attack

Antonym: Applaud, Approve

12) Enshrined

Meaning: Preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected.

Example: The right of all workers to strike was enshrined in the new constitution.

Synonym: Represent, Contain, Include, Preserve

13) Allegations

Meaning: A claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof.

Example: He made allegations of corruption against the administration.

Synonym: Claim, Assertion, Declaration

14) Vowed

Meaning: Solemnly promise to do a specified thing.

Example: I vowed that my family would never go hungry.

Synonym: Swear, Oath

Antonym: Disavow

15) Endorsement

Meaning: The action of endorsing someone or something.

Example: The issue of full independence received overwhelming endorsement.

Synonym: Support, Backing, Approval

Antonym: Disfavour, Disapproval

16) Frail

Meaning: Easily damaged or broken; weak.

Example: The balcony is frail

Synonym: Fragile, Breakable

Antonym: Strong, Firm

17) Referral

Meaning: An act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action.

Example: Anyway, here are some of the latest search engine referrals.

Synonym: Passing on, Transfer, Redirection

18) Spotlight

Meaning: Intense scrutiny or public attention.

Example: The protest spotlighted the overcrowding in British prisons.

Synonym: Focus attention on, Highlight

19) Epidemics

Meaning: A sudden, widespread occurrence of an undesirable phenomenon.

Example: An epidemic of violent crime.

Synonym: Outbreak, Plague, Scourge

20) Chronic

Meaning: (of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.

Example: Sodium sulfites can be fatal to chronic asthmatics.

Synonym: Persistent, Long-standing

Antonym: Occasional, Ceasing

21) Apex

Meaning: The top or highest part of something, especially one forming a point.

Example: The apex of the roof.

Synonym: Tip, Peak, Summit

Antonym: Base, Bottom

22) Dysfunctional

Meaning: Not operating normally or properly.

Example: The telephones are dysfunctional.

Synonym: Troubled, Distressed

Antonym: Functional

23) Broken-down

Meaning: (of a machine or vehicle) not functioning, due to mechanical failure.

Example: A broken-down lorry also led to lengthy delays on Friday.

Synonym: Defective, Broken, Damaged

Antonym: Good, Healthy

24) Template

Meaning: Something that serves as a model for others to copy.

Example: The proposed model could serve as a template for such studies.

Synonym: Model, Pattern, Blueprint

25) Outlay

Meaning: An amount of money spent on something.

Example: A modest outlay on local advertising

Synonym: Expenditure, Expenses

Antonym: Savings

26) Requisite

Meaning: Made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations.

Example: The application will not be processed until the requisite fee is paid.

Synonym: Necessary, Required

Antonym: Nonessential

27) Deplorable

Meaning: Deserving strong condemnation; completely unacceptable.

Example: Children living in deplorable conditions.

Synonym: Disgraceful, Shameful

Antonym: Acceptable, Fortunate

28) Imperative

Meaning: Giving an authoritative command; peremptory.

Example: The bell pealed again, a final imperative call.

Synonym: Peremptory, Commanding

29) Equity

Meaning: The quality of being fair and impartial.

Example: Equity of treatment.

Synonym: Fairness, Fair-mindedness

Antonym: Bias, Partiality

30) Diagnostics

Meaning:  (of a symptom) distinctive, and so indicating the nature of an illness.

Example: Reduced enzyme activity is diagnostic of the disease.

Synonym: Typical, Usual

Antonym: Healthy