THE HINDU EDITORIAL : APRIL 16, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL : APRIL 16, 2018
a) War for war: On U.S. strikes on Syria
By launching a missile attack on Syria, U.S. President Donald Trump has made good on his threat to use force if chemical weapons are used in the civil war-stricken country, but he has also escalated the devastating, multi-sided conflict. This is the second time Mr. Trump has ordered a missile attack on Syria. Last year, after a chemical attack in Idlib province, the U.S. fired 59 cruise missiles at an airbase of President Bashar al-Assad. This time, after a suspected chemical attack in Douma near Damascus, the U.K. and France joined hands with the U.S. to punish Mr. Assad’s regime. On Friday night, over 100 missiles targeted three regime facilities; with this, the Pentagon said, Syria’s chemical weapons programme has been gutted. While the use of chemical agents against civilians cannot and must not go unpunished, the manner in which the U.S. and its allies have acted raises serious questions. The U.S. undertook the strike before the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons even began its investigation in Douma to ascertain if chemical weapons had in fact been used. It should have waited till the inter-governmental watchdog completed its investigation and then presented the case for action in the UN Security Council with requisite evidence. By acting merely on the basis of inputs from their intelligence agencies, the U.S.-led alliance flouted international law. It is also doubtful if Mr. Trump’s “mission accomplished” bravado is justified. The fact that a provocation was perceived for a second strike within a year suggests that the first one failed to deter the Assad regime. On the other hand, Mr. Trump has dragged the U.S. deeper into the Syrian civil war. If there is a future chemical attack, either by Mr. Assad or by his rivals, the U.S. will be forced to act again, perhaps more harshly. Worryingly, every time the U.S. bombs Syria, the chances of a military confrontation in the country between the U.S. and Russia heightens, given that Moscow remains firmly behind Mr. Assad. What Syrians need is not more bombs and missiles, but an end to the war, which has killed at least 400,000 people in seven years. There is no dispute that Mr. Assad is presiding over a monstrous military machine that has used brute force against his own people. But the ground reality in Syria is so complex that a sudden collapse of the regime would push the country and the millions who live in relative stability in regime-held territories into further misery. That is the last thing anyone wants. The focus of the West needs to shift from unilateral military action to aggressive multilateral diplomacy to find an immediate end to violence and then a long-lasting political solution. For that, the U.S. and Russia have to work together under a UN mandate. There is no other path to peace in Syria.
b) A golden hue: On India’s CWG medals haul
The Olympics has a global allure and the Asian Games basks in its continental spread. Compared to these two, the Commonwealth Games may look like an unflattering vestige of Britain’s colonial past. Yet there is no denying the CWG’s relevance as a stepping stone to greater sporting glory. For India, the relatively limited competition means it remains a frontrunner. This was underlined over the last fortnight at the Gold Coast in Australia, where India won 66 medals and improved on the haul of 64 from the 2014 edition at Glasgow. Importantly, the number of golds rose from 15 to 26. In wrestling, weightlifting, shooting, boxing, badminton and particularly table tennis, India dominated. There were world-class efforts from the Indians. Five-time world boxing champion Mary Kom, two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar, world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, 2016 world junior javelin champion Neeraj Chopra and teen shooting sensations Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala produced splendid performances to clinch gold. In badminton, the unexpected gold in the mixed team event, the much-anticipated women’s final featuring P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, and the emergence of some doubles combinations were the high points. From the table tennis arena, India provided the biggest surprises. It won a medal in all seven events — an unprecedented sweep of team golds and a historic gold in the women’s singles for Manika Batra, highlighting the hard work done also by the coaching and support team. The 22-year-old Delhi player returned with four medals, including two golds, and proved to be India’s most valuable player. However, India’s reputation took a beating when A.V. Rakesh Babu and K.T. Irfan were packed off from the Games for violation of the ‘no needle’ policy after needles were found in their rooms. This aberration must not go unaddressed against the backdrop of successes of other Indian athletes. With the next Asian Games scheduled in August-September in Jakarta, Indonesia, India is expected to build on the gains from the Gold Coast. Based on the quality of recent performances, India could improve upon its 2014 tally of 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze medals. Considering the Asian standards of table tennis, badminton, shooting, wrestling, weightlifting and field events in athletics, it will be over-optimistic to expect a gold haul anywhere close to what the Indians managed from the Gold Coast. Chopra, Chanu, Sushil, the badminton players in singles, besides select shooters, will hope to do well. But India will certainly try to register a better show in hockey where the men’s team will defend its Asian Games title, and automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Till then, the CWG has held a mirror up to Indian sport and found a refreshing reflection.
Meaning: Seriously affected by an undesirable condition or unpleasant feeling.
Example: “the pilot landed the stricken aircraft”
Synonyms: Troubled, Affected
Meaning: Make or become more intense or serious.
Example: “the disturbance escalated into a full-scale riot”
Synonyms: Grow, Develop
Meaning: Causing severe shock, distress, or grief.
Example: “the news came as a devastating blow”
Synonyms: Shocking, Savage
Meaning: A serious incompatibility between two or more opinions, principles, or interests.
Example: “there was a conflict between his business and domestic life”
Synonyms: Variance, Difference
Meaning: The building in Washington where the US Defense Department is based, or the US Defense Department itself.
Example: The Pentagon is aiming to cut US forces by over 25 percent in the next five years.
Meaning: Extremely disappointed and unhappy.
Example: He was gutted when she finished the relationship.
Synonyms: Disappointed, Destroy
Meaning: Find (something) out for certain; make sure of.
Example: “an attempt to ascertain the cause of the accident”
Synonyms: Discover, Learn
Meaning: A person or group that monitors the practices of companies providing a particular service or utility.
Example: “the consumer watchdog for transport in London”
Synonyms: Monitor, Observer
Meaning: Made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations.
Example: “the application will not be processed until the requisite fee is paid”
Synonyms: Necessary, Required
Antonyms: Optional, Unnecessary
Meaning: Openly disregard (a rule, law, or convention).
Example: “the advertising code is being flouted”
Synonyms: Defy, Scorn
Meaning: A bold manner or a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate.
Example: “he possesses none of the classic wheeler-dealer’s casual bravado”
Synonyms: Boldness, Bluster
Meaning: Action or speech that makes someone angry, especially deliberately.
Example: “you should remain calm and not respond to provocation”
Synonyms: Incitement, Stimulation
Meaning: Become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.
Example: “his mouth fell open as he perceived the truth”
Synonyms: Discern, Recognize
Meaning: Prevent the occurrence of.
Example: “strategists think not only about how to deter war, but about how war might occur”
Synonyms: Prevent, Avert
Meaning: A hostile or argumentative situation or meeting between opposing parties.
Example: “a confrontation with the legislature”
Synonyms: Conflict, Battle
Meaning: Make or become more intense.
Example: “the pleasure was heightened by the sense of guilt that accompanied it”
Synonyms: Intensify, Increase
Meaning: A disagreement or argument.
Example: “a territorial dispute between the two countries”
Synonyms: Debate, Discourse
Meaning: Be in charge of (a place or situation).
Example: “Johnson has presided over eight matches since Beck’s dismissal”
Synonyms: Manage, Organize
Meaning: Very cruel.
Example: Monstrous cruelty.
Synonyms: Morally wrong, Bad
Meaning: Great physical force or strength.
Example: In the end she used brute force to push him out.
Synonyms: Crude, Violent
Meaning: A cause or source of great distress or discomfort.
Example: “the miseries of war”
Synonyms: Affliction, Misfortune
Meaning: Involving only one group or country.
Example: The party leader has actually declared her support for unilateral nuclear disarmament (= giving up her country’s nuclear weapons without first waiting for other countries to do the same).
Synonyms: Single, Alone
Meaning: Enduring or having endured for a long period of time.
Example: “long-lasting effects”
Synonyms: Enduring, Lasting
Antonyms: Short-lived, Ephemeral
Meaning: The quality of being powerfully and mysteriously attractive or fascinating.
Example: “people for whom gold holds no allure”
Synonyms: Attraction, Appeal
Meaning: Revel in and make the most of (something pleasing).
Example: “he went on basking in the glory of his first book”
Synonyms: Revel, Delight
Meaning: Not flattering.
Example: “the reviews of the book were very unflattering”
Synonyms: Unfavourable, Scathing
Antonyms: Flattering, Complimentary
Meaning: A small part or amount of something larger, stronger, or more important that still exists from something that existed in the past.
Example: These old buildings are the last vestiges of a colonial past.
Synonyms: Things remaining
Meaning: The quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate.
Example: “this film has contemporary relevance”
29) Stepping stone
Meaning: An action or event that helps one to make progress towards a specified goal.
Example: “the school championships are a stepping stone to international competition”
Meaning: High renown or honour won by notable achievements.
Example: “to fight and die for the glory of one’s nation”
Synonyms: Renown, Fame
Antonyms: Shame, Obscurity
Meaning: The contestant that is leading in a race or other competition.
Example: “the front runner for the presidential nomination”
Meaning: Magnificent; very impressive.
Example: “a splendid view of Windsor Castle”
Synonyms: Grand, Impressive
Antonyms: Modest, Ordinary
Meaning: Confirm the winning or achievement of (a match, competition, or victory).
Example: “Johnson scored the goals which clinched victory”
Synonyms: Win, Victory
Meaning: To imagine or expect that something will happen.
Example: We don’t anticipate any trouble.
Synonyms: Expect, Predict
Meaning: Never done or known before.
Example: “the government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence”
Synonyms: Unequalled, Unmatched
Antonyms: Normal, Common
36) Packed off
Meaning: To send someone to another place.
Example: We’ve packed the kids off for the weekend.
Meaning: A departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically an unwelcome one.
Example: “they described the outbreak of violence in the area as an aberration”
Synonyms: Irregularity, Variation
Meaning: Not considered or dealt with.
Example: “wider questions remain unaddressed”
Meaning: Too hopeful, or too ready to believe that good things will happen in the future.
Example: He fears that analysts are being over-optimistic about future company earnings.
40) Held a mirror up to
Meaning: Hold a mirror up to nature – Shakespeare Quotes. Literally, to hold a mirror means to put a mirror in front of someone so they can see their reflection. Metaphorically, it usually means reveal to someone what they look like to the rest of the world.
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