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In cities that vote blue, no immunity from racism
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As she has watched white leftists engage in street battles with white nationalists on Portland’s waterfront, Debi Smith has been struck with a sense of gratitude for those willing to fight, in a sense, for her. After all, Ms. Smith has also watched black people, by both choice and force of circumstances, leaving the City of Roses, their numbers declining since 2010. Progressive to its core, Portland is also America’s whitest big city – in part the troubling legacy of Oregon’s founding goal in the 19th century of creating a white utopia through exclusionary laws.
A common thread in curbing racist expression
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
After last weekend’s violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., many Americans feel a need to make better choices about public expressions of racism, such as in Confederate symbols or hate-filled Facebook postings. The responses are quite diverse, ranging from the farcical to the coercive, which makes it important to look for a common thread that ultimately makes a difference. In a “Saturday Night Live” skit, comedian Tina Fey urged Americans to respond to neo-Nazi hatred by ordering “a cake with the American flag on it ... and just eat it.” That is the “ignore it” response.
Why GOP Congress will soldier on with Trump
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It is perhaps the most serious, direct criticism of President Trump by one of his fellow Republicans in Congress since his remarks about last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. On Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters in his home state of Tennessee that Mr. Trump has yet to demonstrate the “stability” or “competence” to be a successful president – which the world needs, he said.
Grenfell fire casts harsh light on London's dwindling low
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It was just after 1 a.m. when Tomassina Hessel heard the knock on her door. The tower was Grenfell, a 24-story residential block that Ms. Hessel’s low-rise building abutted, part of the same public-housing estate. Grenfell Tower was a torch in the dark night, a charnel house that would claim at least 80 lives in London’s deadliest fire since the Nazi bombing in World War II.
In the heartland, a David and Goliath battle over a pipeline
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On Art and Helen Tanderup’s small farm, the land is something else. Helen grew up here, in the two-story farmhouse that she and her husband got when her mother passed away. “I don’t want something like this to happen to what my grandparents built up,” says Helen.
Driven from US shores, neo
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Russian critics have long worried about the propensity of the country’s communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor (RKZ), to cast an overly wide net in censoring “extremist” content on the internet. “This is one of the few times when we can feel like RKZ’s intervention is totally warranted,” says Alexey Kovalev, a blogger and media critic. Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia?
Fallout from modern protests: naming and shaming online
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When hundreds of white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend in their largest public appearance in decades, it put faces to ideologies that have become increasingly high-profile over the past year. In response to the rally – which descended into violence in clashes with counter-protesters that left 19 injured and one counter-protester, Heather Heyer, dead – various online crowdsourced campaigns have been trying to publicly shame and punish individual protesters. Some observers have long-criticized such online shaming campaigns as little more than mistake-prone mob vigilantism energized by social media.
Facing elections in Venezuela’s new normal, opposition asks: Do we want in?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Since April, Venezuela’s opposition coalition seemed to be gaining the kind of support and momentum it was long criticized for lacking. Its calls for peaceful protests and boycotts were met by a broad, consistent turnout, and an unofficial referendum it organized in July led more than 7 million Venezuelans at home and abroad to condemn the increasingly authoritarian moves of President Nicolás Maduro’s government. The coalition was making powerful promises, like plans to set up a parallel government if President Maduro moved forward with a July 30th vote to create a Constituent Assembly.
What post
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The collapse of Islamic State (ISIS) strongholds in Iraq is proving to be more than a military victory over terrorists. The two-year battle against the militant sectarian group has also awakened Iraqi leaders to the need to mend relations between Sunnis and Shiites – and not only in Iraq. With a renewed drive for national unity, Iraq also now sees itself as a possible mediator between the region’s rival powers, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
After brinkmanship, a diplomatic opening with North Korea
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For more than two decades, North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them long distances has prompted recurring international crises. Sudden bursts of heightened tension, primarily between the North and the United States, were interspersed with diplomacy that never definitively halted the gathering storm. After a week of brinkmanship and escalating rhetoric between the two sides, Pyongyang and Washington suddenly found themselves at perhaps the most dangerous moment in more than 60 years – with some declaring that the window to anything but a military solution to the crisis had nearly closed.
Finding Somaliland's ancient cave art is hard. Protecting it could be harder.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Hidden in the Somali desert, beneath stunning, ancient rock cave paintings, the thin trail of a snake traces a winding line across the dust. Somaliland’s most prized archaeological treasures – which locals fearfully called “the place of the devils” for centuries – could not be more remote. Exposed to the elements, the colors have changed since caretaker Musa Abdi Jama first saw them at a distance in 1969.
Why there's been a big drop in women coaches under Title IX
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As a synchronized swimmer in college, Kathy Delaney-Smith did not seem destined to become Harvard’s star women’s basketball coach. When she interviewed for a swim coach position in Boston’s southwestern suburbs back in the early 1970s, the superintendent asked if she could also coach their basketball team.
Solar eclipses as lessons in lifting shadows of hate
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
During a total solar eclipse in 1988, a remote tribe in the Philippines called the Tboli did what it had done for centuries during previous eclipses. This story about the human senses misreading a celestial event as eternal darkness might be useful as many Americans prepare to experience a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The hate is being measured in rallies by white supremacists, in hate crimes against minorities, in public diatribes against elected leaders, in internet postings by hate groups, and even in arguments between friends and neighbors.
Meet the Raging Grannies, Portland's not
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
One of the most beloved social activist groups in this Pacific Northwest city, they are the Raging Grannies. “Grannying is the least understood and most powerful weapon we have,” says Granny Rose de Shaw.
Moral leadership in the wake of Charlottesville
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
President Trump finally denounced white supremacism on Monday, uttering a detailed if belated message that both Democrats and Republicans said was urgently needed from America’s leader, given the violent weekend protests in Charlottesville, Va. “Well done Mr. President,” tweeted one of his sharpest critics, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina. The United States is dotted with hundreds of Confederate monuments whose potential removal, as is planned in the Virginia college town, is expected to galvanize the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist groups, who feel they have an ally in the president.
Sanctions haven’t stopped North Korea yet. But could latest ones help?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As it considers how to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, the Trump administration confronts an uncomfortable truth: The more sanctions the West has piled on the regime, the more progress it has made in missile technology. Instead of blunting its nuclear ambitions, more than a decade’s worth of sanctions have pushed North Korea into the arms of China, which so far has resisted turning the screws on its troublesome ally. The stepped-up pressure by itself isn't likely to convince North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear ambitions. But it does create a glimmer of fresh hope for a seemingly intractable predicament: What's possible, though far from certain, is that economic pressure from the US on China and from China on North Korea – coupled with robust US military preparation for any kind of action from Pyongyang – could set the stage for talks that lead to a diplomatic breakthrough on the larger geopolitical issues.
After Thatcher, New Labour, and austerity, has Britain decided to turn left again?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As a foot soldier in the Labour Party, Peter Chowney is a veteran of the doorstop pitch. Come election time, Mr. Chowney, a district councilor, canvasses for Labour in this seaside town. “This was the first time I actually got out with a Labour manifesto that I fully supported.
In call to cancel debt, Cambodia asks: When war is over, who cleans up the mess?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On Aug. 15, 1973, a flurry of American planes flew at least 225 military missions over Cambodia. The Vietnam War was right next door, and the United States aimed to stop the North Vietnamese from moving troops and equipment into South Vietnam along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, part of which ran through Cambodia. To that end, US forces dropped 2.7 million tons of ordnance on more than 100,000 Cambodian sites – more than Allied forces dropped during all of World War II.
Why the US demands China innovate, not steal
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The US complained that China prefers to take the technology and intellectual property of foreign companies rather than rely mainly on its own ingenuity to build a more competitive economy. The complaint was in the form of an order by President Trump to investigate China’s alleged theft of specific US patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property. In particular, the US wants to stop China from targeting American companies and forcing them to hand over their trade secrets when they try to enter the large Chinese market.
How a colorful Iowa newspaperman is taking on big interests
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Art Cullen is not afraid of horsewhipping, but he allows that some folks really don’t like what he writes in his newspaper. Mr. Cullen, too, has a penchant for telling it like he sees it. In the small town of Storm Lake, Iowa, where agriculture and slaughterhouses rule, he has taken on powerful interests.
In Charlottesville aftermath, Europe sees widening divide with US
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
President Trump’s initially vague critique of the white supremacist march through Charlottesville, Va., is being viewed in Europe as a clear sign of divergence between American and European leadership in the face of new expressions of hate in the West. Europeans have expressed doubts about Trump's commitment to post-war bodies such as NATO and to the liberal ideals that undergird the transatlantic relationship. Trump more forcefully denounced white nationalism Monday, telling journalists at the White House that “racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups.” For some observers, however – even across the Atlantic – the delay meant it rang hollow.
Libraries obsolete? No way, say Millennials
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Ms. Charry, who is in her mid-20s, recently earned her master’s in library science and now works as a part-time librarian for various Boston Public Library (BPL) branches. Charry says “more and more” Millennials are interested in being librarians. And just as we need to rethink the stereotypical librarian, she says, we need to reimagine what libraries can do for young people. “Before I started working in a library I would hang out in libraries all the time, just as a place where people are willing to have a conversation or make recommendations for me,” says Charry, in between helping patrons at Boston's South End branch.
After Charlottesville, a calling out of claims on racial superiority
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Whether through peaceful rallies, prayer vigils, or family discussions, many Americans gave a strong reproof to the claims of racial superiority that were behind the Aug. 12 violence in Charlottesville, Va. Their president may have failed to quickly join the widespread condemnation. The popular rebuke of racial hatred after Charlottesville, however, seems hardly enough after so many high-profile cases of racially charged violence in the United States.
Washington's response to Charlottesville attack: three questions
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
August is supposed to be quiet in Washington. But sudden violence in Charlottesville, Va., is roiling US politics and confronting officials from the president to vacationing lawmakers with a test of their ability to respond to the nation’s bitter and enduring racial divisions.
Will Charlottesville mark a tipping point for the United States?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Everyone from the governor of Virginia to his mom and dad were telling Fintan Horan to stay away from this weekend’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. “You have people coming here who say they want to incite violence, so as someone who lives in Charlottesville – you know, this is my back yard … how can I not [get involved]?” says Mr. Horan, a computer science student at the University of Virginia, who lives near where a man, in a possible act of domestic terrorism, was arrested for allegedly plowing his car into a crowd of people, killing one woman and injuring 19. Horan, who joined a counter-protest Saturday, is far from the only one to have been thrust into the middle of the boldest show of violent white supremacy in the United States in generations.
Can you please talk, not text? Parenting the Instagram generation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Jake Lee, a tanned California teenager in baggy shorts and a T-shirt, is lounging on the floor of his parents’ midcentury home. “I’m on social media every waking moment of my life,” he says, with no particular pride. Equidistant between the headquarters of Apple and Facebook, two of the world’s biggest tech companies, the Lee household is something of a petri dish for the way technology has altered American family life.
Readers write: Nuclear options, heartbreaking but illuminating, adults’ guidance
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Regarding the July 5 article “North Korea missile test: How big a technological breakthrough?” (CSMonitor.com): Rather than impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, perhaps the United States should undergo a complete nuclear disarmament. North Korea’s efforts to become a nuclear state are their way of “keeping up with the Joneses.” They want to show the world that they are just as good as everyone else. As long as the US remains a nuclear state, it should not have jurisdiction to cherry-pick those nations allowed to have nuclear weapons.
Impact of elections, Support investigation, Training high
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“[W]hy do the elections in Kenya matter not just to Kenyans but to the rest of the African continent and the world?” writes Hamza Mohamed. “Nairobi is East Africa’s economic hub, and the country is the second-largest economy in the region.... The port in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa serves neighboring landlocked countries.... If elections disrupt this transport corridor ... the price of everyday goods, such as rice and cooking oil, could rise significantly.... Kenya is home to several UN and humanitarian agencies that oversee relief efforts in the region.
When presidents talk tough
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When US presidents talk tough to foreign leaders, does it work? This question arises, of course, due to President Trump’s strong rhetoric this week about North Korea and its developing nuclear program. First Mr. Trump vowed to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea if it threatened the US.
In 'liberated' Mosul, ISIS still imperils the path to city's revival
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The first sign Ghaith Ali had that Islamic State militants were still active in “liberated” western Mosul was a mysterious square object on the floor of a house he entered to make it ready for returning families. “Our mission was to clear houses before civilians come back, to say ‘Your house is good,’” says Ali, a short-haired young man with a thin mustache and slight build, speaking in an Erbil hospital for war victims run by the Italian agency Emergency.
Retirement? No thanks. In 'graying' Japan, these women are just getting started
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
In this sleepy, mountainous city, 85-year-old Yoshiko Zakoji starts her day with exercises before cooking rice and simmering vegetables for pre-ordered boxed lunches – as she has done for more than a decade. “I need to keep myself fit to continue my business,” says Ms. Zakoji, who owns a shop in Iida, located 110 miles west of Tokyo.
Behind North Korea's dash to the nuclear finish line, a cold war push
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Tensions arcing across the Pacific Ocean between North Korea and the United States have scaled fresh heights in recent days, with President Trump threatening “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” and Pyongyang responding by declaring its intent to prepare a missile assault on the waters around Guam. Precipitating the verbal showdown was North Korea’s latest apparent breakthrough in its nuclear weapons program, which was just the most recent in a string of rapid advances that appear to have taken experts and analysts by surprise. According to media reports Tuesday, the Defense Intelligence Agency has assessed that Pyongyang is now capable of sufficiently miniaturizing nuclear warheads so they can be affixed to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
The lesson of the Google firing for innovation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Just days after Google fired an engineer for writing a memo that stereotypes women for traits that allegedly hinder innovation, Americans received a federal report about their pace of innovation reflected in the workplace. The United States must do better in boosting its inventiveness, efficiency, and investment in ideas. Here’s why: “If labor productivity grows an average of 2 percent per year, average living standards for our children’s generation will be twice what we experienced,” Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in a July speech.
Coming home again: What brings people back to a dying town?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The settling quiet of Main Street in small-town America – so few cars now, shops closed, not so many people – is like a seashell held to the ear: It sounds different to each one who listens. To a stranger coming to this central Indiana town, it is the silence of empty storefronts, of the stoplight blinking at the main crossroad with no traffic in sight, of a far-off lawn mower snarl echoing down empty avenues. To Sandy Ploss, it is a quiet that rings with the history of circuses that once filled this town with performers and trainers and riggers at their winter quarters – a history she helps preserve with the kids of Peru, who put on an annual Amateur Circus.
Famed horse fest spotlights Tibetan culture, with politics in the wings
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The opening ceremony of the annual Tibetan horse festival here officially begins by lighting a bundle of mulberry branches at the north end of the stadium, which sits in a treeless valley ringed by rolling hills. As the fire begins to smolder, 20 People’s Liberation Army soldiers march onto the field in tight formation.
Why Poland's crisis may come down to a president and a puppet master
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“The Chairman’s Ear,” a popular online satirical video series in Poland about the country's ruling party, leaves little doubt over who wields the power in Polish political life. Episode after episode, he eagerly waits to get into the chairman's office to speak with the true kingmaker in Polish politics. The chairman is an obvious stand-in for the leader of the ruling, ultraconservative Law & Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
How can Democrats win back trust of disaffected Trump voters?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Daren Ware believes in single-payer health care. Mr. Ware is a commercial painter in Warren, Mich., who voted for Donald Trump last year. It’s a play on the “New Deal” offered by iconic Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, and focuses squarely on the economy.
What Carla Del Ponte's resignation means for search for justice in Syria
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Swiss prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has taken on the Italian and Russian mafias, served as the chief prosecutor in two international tribunals, and spent the last five years fiercely advocating for justice in Syria, scene of some of the worst crimes against humanity the world has witnessed in real time. Ms. Del Ponte announced her resignation with trademark aplomb Sunday on the sidelines of the Locarno Film Festival. Recommended: How well do you understand the conflict in Syria?
How North Korea wars with itself
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As North Korea’s capability for nuclear war has grown, so too has its war of words with the United States. The rhetorical warfare peaked this week with President Trump promising “fire and fury” if North Korea makes more threats. Amid the nuclear brinkmanship and the tit-for-tat diktats, it is important to remember where North Korea is at its weakest and most vulnerable.
Across the Arab world, a 'Women’s Spring' comes into view
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On July 26, Tunisia voted to criminalize sexual harassment and discrimination against women. On Aug. 1, Jordan’s Parliament voted to scrap a law that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims. Lebanon and Iraq now look to follow suit later this year and end their marry-your-rapist laws and criminalize violence against women.
Kenya’s learning curve in democracy
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When Kenyans cast their ballots on Aug. 8, they were not only voting on the issues and candidates but also to ensure the future of their democracy. This is important for the rest of Africa, where fair and free elections are still a rarity. If Kenya can demonstrate a learning curve in holding credible and peaceful votes, the rest of the continent will take note.
As Kenyans await on
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Amid international concerns of post-election violence, Kenyans are casting their ballots on Tuesday in one of most tightly contested presidential elections in the eastern African nation’s history. “I will cast my ballot first thing in the morning and leave,” Michael Otieno, a carpenter based in Nairobi, said Sunday. Mr. Otieno was one of thousands of Kenyans fleeing major cities for their rural homes to wait out the election, as memories of violence after a contested 2007 presidential election bubble to the surface.
Can Congress keep Robert Mueller from being fired?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Does Robert Mueller need congressional protection? Senators introduced two bills last week intended to block an unwarranted Mueller dismissal. Both would etch in law the principle that Department of Justice special counsels can’t be ousted just because the president feels like it.
Why these parents want their kids to have an 'old
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When parents ask Julie Turchin why she allows her two daughters so much independence – including freedom to roam their California neighborhood and walk home from school – she often cites an experience she had when she was 9. Six years later, when Ms. Turchin got separated from her high-school classmates in Russia, she didn’t panic, but used her broken Russian to figure out the transit system. “It wasn’t a big deal, because I’d been figuring out how to get home, lost on the subway, since I was 9,” says Turchin.
Burning river reborn: How Cleveland saved the Cuyahoga – and itself
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Tim Gottshall paused in mid-paddle, his kayak drifting for a moment on the Cuyahoga River, to consider the question: Is the water safe? Nearby on Wendy Park, where the river meets Lake Erie, Jermaine Eggleton was pulling catfish and bass out of the Cuyahoga. Recommended: Climate change: Is your opinion informed by science?
Bearing up: How the US deters Russia
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
After a meeting last weekend with Russia’s foreign minister, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States harbors an “extraordinary” mistrust of Moscow, caused in large part by its hacking of the 2016 US election. In recent days, that mistrust has resulted in tougher sanctions on Russia and a beefed-up US military presence along its borders. Many US allies have followed suit after Russia meddled in their democracies.
Mike Pence's job: Navigating most challenging vice presidency in US history
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Mr. Trump has come to rely on Mr. Pence’s advice and guidance, say people familiar with the workings of the West Wing, who add that Pence is often at his side. The office of vice president gained real stature only 40 years ago.
Civil activism: Are Russians exiting the Soviet eclipse?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For the past four years, Oksana Dubinina has been working with stray animals, particularly the estimated 30,000 homeless dogs who roam the streets of Moscow. Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia? Statistics show, and activists affirm, that people in their local communities are increasingly identifying problems and appointing themselves to address them – something virtually unheard of in the past.
North Korea’s impending famine, President Trump’s siding with Sunni leaders, Nigeria’s agencies can learn from offshore professionals, Jerusalem
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Warnings that North Korea may soon encounter its worst food shortages in decades raise three interconnected questions for the rest of the world,” states an editorial. “The first is what those other nations can do to alleviate suffering in North Korea. The second addresses the strategic dimension of assistance.... The third concerns the morality of linking the two – the humanitarian dimension and the security problem.... It is generally agreed that humanitarian aid and politics should not be linked, but the world has tried to link food aid to the state’s nuclear programs, to little if any effect.
On one tiny Greek island, a warm welcome for Syrian refugees
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans are stuck in limbo, waiting to hear whether they will be granted asylum and allowed to settle in the European Union – or rejected and sent back to Turkey, from where they crossed in boats to Greece. Ever since the migration crisis erupted in 2015, the island has embraced asylum seekers. The islanders are keen to integrate the newcomers as much as possible and hope they will forge new lives amid the olive trees and ancient stone terraces of Tilos.