THE HINDU EDITORIAL – May 12, 2017
THE HINDU EDITORIAL
A clear misire
President Donald Trump’s decision to fire James Comey as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at a time when the agency is expanding a probe into the possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Moscow could well be a turning point in a scandal that is engulfing his administration. No incumbent of the White House since Richard Nixon has fired a top law enforcement official probing the President or his close aides. Nixon’s decision to sack the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal backfired, unleashing a chain of events that led to his eventual resignation. The reason Mr. Trump has given for ousting Mr. Comey is hardly convincing. The administration accuses Mr. Comey of having been unfair to Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, in an investigation concerning her private email server while serving as Secretary of State, and of incompetence. To be sure, Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton case was very controversial and had triggered sharp criticism, especially from the Democrats. She said that Mr. Comey’s public statement just days before the November 2016 election that the FBI had reopened the probe into the server issue cost her many votes. The irony is that Mr. Trump had then appreciated Mr. Comey’s “guts”. So now when he cites Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton server probe as the reason to get rid of him, naturally it finds few takers. On the other side, available facts suggest that the investigation into the Russia scandal was closing in on Mr. Trump’s associates and that the White House has had little control over Mr. Comey’s FBI. Earlier, Mr. Comey confirmed to Congress that the Bureau was conducting a “criminal investigation” into any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Mr. Trump has already lost Michael Flynn, his original pick for National Security Adviser, from the Cabinet. Jeff Sessions, his Attorney General, has recused himself from the Russia probe, given his past ties to Moscow. Other Trump associates, such as Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone, also face accusations in the scandal. Besides, as the American media reported, Mr. Comey had asked the Justice Department for more resources for the investigation. But what he got was a dismissal letter from the President. This reinforces the perception that Mr. Trump was wary of the investigation and that he fired Mr. Comey to stop, or at least disrupt, the process. He now has the opportunity to choose the next FBI chief, who will oversee the probe going forward. But the political storm his action has triggered in Washington and the growing calls for an independent investigation into the entire ‘Russia’ scandal suggest that Mr. Trump has overplayed his hand — both ethically and tactically. The Comey firing has, in fact, taken him closer to Russiagate, which he had tried so hard over the past three months to distance himself from.
Nearly two months after the Health Ministry set the ambitious target of working towards elimination of tuberculosis by 2025, a study published in The Lancet indicates that India’s TB crisis is set to snowball by 2040 when one in 10 cases could be drug resistant — both multidrug-resistant TB (or MDR-TB, resistant to more than one of the first-line drugs) and extensively drug-resistant TB (or XDR-TB, also resistant to fluoroquinolones and at least one of the second-line injectable drugs). What is even more alarming is the projection that the increased number of drug-resistant cases will come from direct transmission from infected people to others rather than by strains acquiring resistance to TB drugs during treatment due to inadequate treatment or discontinuation of treatment midway. The study found that “most incident” MDR cases are “not caused” by acquired drug resistance, which will become a “decreasing cause” of drug-resistant TB. The increased availability of drugs to fight drug-sensitive TB has led to the emergence of MDR-TB strains. With an increasing number of MDR-TB cases, there has been a shift in the way people get infected with drug-resistant TB — from strains acquiring drug resistance during treatment to direct transmission of MDR-TB strains from an infected person. The same trend is seen in the case of XDR-TB too. As a result, in high MDR-TB burden countries such as India, improved treatment outcomes in people might only reduce and not eliminate drug-resistant TB. Till 2015, only about 93,000 people with MDR-TB had been diagnosed and put on treatment. The study, based on a mathematical model to forecast how TB is likely to progress in the four most-affected countries (Russia, the Philippines, South Africa, India), suggests that new MDR-TB cases a year in India will touch 12.4% by 2040, up from 7.9% in 2000. With respect to XDR-TB, the incident cases will rise to 8.9%, from 0.9% in 2000. In 2015, the four countries accounted for about 40% (more than 230,000) of all drug-resistant TB cases in the world. Besides targeting early diagnosis and treatment of those with the disease, India’s TB control programme has identified enhanced interventions to break the transmission cycle of the bacteria in the community. Contact screening of family members and preventive treatment of all children below the age of five who have not developed the disease are already a part of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, but rarely done. Another important strategy that has to be adopted is making drug–susceptibility testing universal and mandatory. Developing more accurate, cheaper and effective diagnostic tests and improving treatment regimens that are less expensive and of shorter duration will also go a long way in winning the war against the disease.
Meaning: Agreement between people to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive or cheat someone.
Example: It is thought that they worked in collusion with the terrorist network.
Synonyms: Conspiracy, Plotting
Meaning To surround and cover something or someone completely.
Example: The flames rapidly engulfed the house.
Synonyms: Enclosing, Surrounding and immersing
Meaning: Necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility.
Example: The government realized that it was incumbent on them to act.
Meaning: (of an official or regime) currently holding office.
Example: The incumbent President was defeated.
Synonyms: Mandatory, Existing
Antonyms: Optional, Future
Meaning To suddenly release a violent force that cannot be controlled.
Example: At worst, nuclear war could be unleashed.
Synonyms: Producing, Release
Antonyms: Restrain, Hold
Meaning:Happening or existing at a later time or at the end, especially after a lot of effort, problems, etc
Example: The Dukes were the eventual winners of the competition.
Synonyms: Final, Ultimate
Meaning: An event or situation that causes something to start.
Example: Some people find that certain foods trigger their headaches.
Synonyms: Precipitate, Cause
Meaning: Challenge (a judge or juror) as unqualified to perform legal duties because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.
Example: He will have to recuse himself from that hearing.
Meaning: A statement saying that someone has done something morally wrong, illegal, or unkind, or the fact of accusing someone.
Example: You can’t just make wild accusations like that!
Synonyms: Allegation, Charge
Antonyms: Approval, Praise
Meaning: If something reinforces an idea or opinion, it provides more proof or support for it and makes it seem true.
Example: His behaviour merely reinforced my dislike of him.
Synonyms: Strengthen, Fortify and Augmenting
Antonyms: Diminish, Discourage
Meaning: The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
Example: The normal limits to human perception.
Synonyms: Insight, Recognition
Meaning: Having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed; Intended to satisfy high aspirations and therefore difficult to achieve.
Example: A ruthlessly ambitious woman.
Synonyms: Aspiring, Determined and Difficult
Antonyms: Lazy, Modest
Meaning: Not wanting to accept something, especially changes or new ideas.
Example: Why are you so resistant to change?
Synonyms: Opposing, Against
Meaning: To get something.
Example: He acquired the firm in 2008.
Synonyms: Obtain, Receive
Meaning: Not confident enough to deal with a situation; Not good enough or too low in quality.
Example: This work is woefully inadequate – you’ll have to do it again.
Synonyms: Insufficient, Not enough
Antonyms: Adequate, Sufficient
Meaning: The fact of something becoming known or starting to exist.
Example: China’s emergence as an economic power.
Synonyms: Appearance, Arrival
Meaning: Intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.
Example: His refusal does nothing to enhance his reputation.
Synonyms: Increase, Magnify
Meaning: The act or fact of becoming involved intentionally in a difficult situation.
Example: The intervention by UN troops prevented fighting from breaking out.
Meaning: The evaluation or investigation of something as part of a methodical survey, to assess suitability for a particular role or purpose.
Example: Nowhere is drug screening more common than in the federal criminal justice system.
Synonyms: Evaluate, Scan
Meaning: The fact that someone or something can easily be influenced, harmed, or infected.
Example: I didn’t mean to offend/upset/hurt your susceptibilities.
Synonyms: Weakness, Vulnerability
Antonyms: Immunity, Resistance
Meaning: Any set of rules about food and exercise that someone follows, especially in order to improve their health.
Example: After his heart attack the doctor put him on a strict regimen.