PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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BANDUNG, Saco- Indonesia.com — Kepala Polrestabes Bandung Kombes Abdul Rakhman Baso menegaskan, Sekte Seks Bebas yang belakangan ramai diberitakan di media massa tidak pernah ada.

Menurutnya, sekte tersebut hanya karangan yang dibuat salah satu tersangka berinisial GL, yang bermotif mencari keuntungan. Dia memeras salah seorang pegawai Perpustakaan Daerah (Perpusda) Kota Bandung berinisial PP atau GM.

"Setelah kita geledah tempat pembuatan surat palsu tersebut yang seolah-olah dibuat oleh salah satu dinas di Pemkot Bandung, diketahui ternyata palsu," kata Abdul saat ditemui seusai gelar perkara di Mapolrestabes Bandung Jalan Merdeka, Kota Bandung, Senin (3/6/2013).

Abdul menambahkan, surat palsu berisi perintah menjalankan ritual seks bebas yang ternyata diberi cap asli dari Perpusda Kota Bandung itu dibuat di dua warnet berbeda, yaitu warnet milik tersangka dan warnet milik rekan AS yang berlokasi di Jalan Caringin, Kota Bandung.

"Surat perintah itu dikerjakan di suatu tempat dengan menyuruh orang. Dan saksi yang kita periksa sebanyak 17 orang," imbuhnya.

Akibat terbitnya surat perintah palsu tersebut, Kepala Perpusda Kota Bandung Muhammad Anwar mengaku telah dicemarkan nama baiknya. Pasalnya, dalam surat tersebut terdapat tanda tangan miliknya. "Muhammad Anwar mengatakan tidak pernah menandatangani surat perintah tersebut. Surat perintah itu juga tidak pernah ada di register," paparnya.

Akibat aksi nekatnya itu, GL terancam hukuman lebih dari lima tahun penjara karena telah melanggar Pasal 263 dan atau 310, dan atau 311 KUHP.

 
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Sumber:Kompas.com
Telah Terungkap Misteri Sekte Seks Bebas di Bandung

Saco-Indonesia.com - Ini hari, tepatnya 25 tahun lalu, internet pertama kali diperkenalkan pada dunia. Sejak hari itu pula dunia berubah.

Seperti yang dilansir oleh PBS (27/11), tepat pada 12 Maret 2014 ini, internet atau world wide web genap berusia setengah abad. Tak terasa, pada hari inilah pertama kalinya Sir Tim Berners-Lee memperkenalkan dunia maya pada khalayak lewat sebuah ceramah ilmiah.

Secara perlahan, internet pun mulai mengubah cara hidup manusia. Di 1995, hanya ada sekitar 14 persen saja orang Amerika yang memilikinya, namun kini siapa saja bisa mengaksesnya dengan mudah bahkan lewat ponsel murah.

Saat ini, hampir seluruh kegiatan kita dilakukan lewat layanan revolusioner ini. Mulai dari belajar, bekerja, bahkan bersosialisasi pun bisa dilakukan hanya dengan mengetik www di peramban internet.

Internet pun akhirnya membawa banyak dampak negatif dan positif dalam kehidupan kita. Ada yang terbantu dengan keberadaannya, namun tak sedikit yang jadi sial karenanya.

Apapun itu, dunia telah berubah akibat internet. Selamat ulang tahun internet!

 

Sumber : Merdeka.com

Editor : Maulana Lee

Ini Hari internet genap berusia seperempat abad

saco-indonesia.com, Tanah rekat yang telah terjadi di Desa Kalitengah, Kecamatan Panggungrejo, Kabupaten Blitar, Jawa Timur, telah mengakibatkan puluhan rumah rusak. Para warga yang rumahnya rusak langsung mengungsi ke tempat yang lebih aman.

"Mereka mengungsi ke rumah tetangga. Tadi, warga juga sudah melakukan kerja bakti, dan akan dilanjutkan besok (Kamis)," kata Kepala Pelaksana Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah (BPBD) Kabupaten Blitar Heru Irawan di Blitar.

Ia juga mengatakan, ada sekitar 20 rumah yang terkena dampak akibat retakan tanah tersebut. Dari jumlah itu, delapan unit di antaranya kondisinya rusak parah, sehingga pemilik rumah tidak berani menempatinya lagi.

Sementara itu, anggota RAPI Kabupaten Blitar Heru telah mengatakan tim juga sudah memantau lokasi bencana tersebut. Ia juga mengatakan, sejumlah rumah warga kondisinya memang mengkhawatirkan. Retakan di tanah itu telah membuat rumah mereka ambles dan sebagian ambruk, sehingga berbahaya jika digunakan untuk tempat tinggal.

"Beberapa hari ini hujan terus, dan melihat struktur tanah mirip tanah liat, itu yang kami prediksi menjadi pemicu tanah retak," katanya.

Sejumlah bencana telah terjadi di Kabupaten Blitar. Sampai saat ini, banjir yang telah terjadi di Kecamatan Sukorejo, belum surut. Sejumlah daerah lain juga telah mengalami bencana seperti di Kecamatan Panggungrejo ini.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

PULUHAN RUMAH DI BLITAR AMBLES

Rumah Penerjemah adalah sebuah lembaga penyedia jasa terjemahan dokumen yang sejak pertengahan tahun 2005 menyediakan jasa penerjemahan semua jenis dokumen, baik itu dokumen individu dan juga dokumen korporasi. Sejak memulai usahanya, Rumah Penerjemah, dengan megusung moto "mengedepankan kualitas ketimbang kuantitas" serta komistmen untuk memberikan yang terbaik bagi para pengguna jasa terjemahan, berupaya sepenuhnya untuk senantiasa siap menerima setiap order terjemahan dokumen dari pengguna-pengguna jasa kami.

Rumah Penerjemah sendiri dari awal pendirian hingga saat ini, tetap berkomitmen hanya menyediakan layanan jasa translate dokumen saja. Hal ini memang sengaja kami lakukan agar staf-staf penerjemah kami lebih fokus hanya pada terjemahan dokumen. Kebanyakan pengguna jasa penerjemahan di Rumah Penerjemah, umumnya datang dari kalangan korporasi, namun tidak sedikit pula dari kalangan individu atau perorangan.

Rumah Penerjemah memiliki staf-staf penerjemah bahasa  yang berpengalaman dan terampil serta cakap dalam ilmu bahasa. Staf-staf penerjemah di Rumah penerjemah pun telah banyak yang mengantungi sertifikat sebagai Sworn Translator, atau Penerjemah Tersumpah, setelah lulus dalam uji kemampuan bahasa yang diselenggarakan atas kerjasama Lembaga Bahasa Universitas Indonesia dan Kantor Gubernur DKI Jakarta. Sehingga semua staf penerjemah tersumpah kami adalah penerjemah resmi yang juga telah terdaftar di instansi-instansi pemerintah seperti Departemen Hukum dan HAM, Departemen Luar Negeri bahkan di Kedutaan-Kedutaan Besar negara-negara sahabat.

Dengan didukung sepenuhnya oleh staf penerjemah tersumpah berpengalaman dan juga staf-staf penerjemah biasa yang terampil dan cakap dalam menerjemahkan berbagai jenis dokumen, Rumah Penerjemah telah banyak dikenal oleh kalangan korporasi di seluruh Indonesia. Staf-staf penerjemah yang bekerja di Rumah Penerjemah, terdiri dari staf penerjemah bahasa Inggris, staf penerjemah bahasa Jepang, staf penerjemah bahasa Mandarin dan staf penerjemah bahasa Korea. Dari itu, bagi Anda yang membutuhkan layanan jasa penerjemah bahasa Jepang, Mandarin, Inggris dan Korea, kami persilahkan Anda menghubungi kontak pelanggan kami yang nomornya tercantum diatas.

 

RUMAH RUMAH PENERJEMAH

Oleh
Kumpulan Ulama

KEWAJIBAN-KEWAJIBAN BAGI JAMA'AH HAJI

[1]. Agar segera bertobat kepada Allah dengan sebenar-benarnya dari segala dosa, dan memilih harta yang halal untuk ibadah haji dan umrahnya.

[2]. Agar menjaga lidahnya dari dusta, menggunjing, mengadu domba dan menghina orang lain.

[3]. Dalam melaksanakan haji dan umrahnya, hendaklah bermaksud untuk mendapatkan ridha Illahi dan pahala akhirat, jauh dari rasa ingin dipandang, ingin tersohor dan berbangga diri.

[4]. Hendaklah mempelajari amalan-amalan yang disyariatkan dalam haji dan umrah, dan menanyakan hal-hal yang kurang jelas baginya.

[5]. Apabila telah sampai di miqat, diperbolehkan memilih antara haji Ifrad, Tammatu' dan Qiran. Haji Tammatu' lebih utama bagi yang tidak membawa binatang kurban, sedang bagi yang membawanya, lebih utama baginya melaksanakan haji Qiran.

[6]. Seseorang yang berihram, apabila ia merasa khawatir tidak dapat melanjutkan ibadah hajinya dikarenakan sakit, atau musuh, atau karena sebab lain, maka disyaratkan ketika berihram mengucapkan : "Inna mahallii haistuu habastanii" Artinya : Tempat tahallulku adalah di tempat ku tertahan".

[7]. Anak-anak yang masih kecil haji mereka adalah sah, hanya saja haji semacam itu belum termasuk haji fardhu.

[8]. Orang yang sedang berihram boleh mandi dan membasuh kepalanya atau menggaruknya dikala perlu.

[9]. Bagi wanita yang sedang berihram diperbolehkan untuk menutup wajahnya dengan kerudung apabila takut dilihat kaum pria.

[10]. Mengenakan ikat kepala dibawah kerudung agar mudah sewaktu membuka wajah, sebagaimana yang sering dilakukan oleh sebagian kaum wanita, tidak ada dasarnya dalam syari'at.

[11]. Bagi yang sedang berihram boleh mencuci kain ihramnya kemudian mengenakannya kembali dan boleh juga menggantinya dengan yang lain.

[12]. Seseorang yang sedang berihram, apabila ia mengenakan pakaian berjahit atau menutupi kepalanya atau memakai wangi-wangian karena lupa atau pun karena tidak tahu akan hukumnya, maka ia tidak dikenakan fidyah.

[13]. Bagi yang melakukan haji Tamattu' atau umrah, hendaklah menghentikan bacaan talbiyah apabila ia sampai di Ka'bah sebelum memulai Tawaf.

[14]. Ramal (lari-lari kecil) dan Idhtiba' (mengenakan selendang ihram dengan meletakkan sebagiannya di atas pundak kiri, dan bagian lain disebelah ketiak kanan), hanya dilakukan pada Tawaf Qudum saja, dan ramal itu dikhususkan pada tiga putaran pertama, lagi pula untuk kaum pria saja, tidak untuk wanita.

[15]. Seseorang yang sedang melakukan Tawaf, apabila ia ragu apakah sudah melakukan tiga putaran atau empat umpamanya, maka hendaklah dihitung tiga putaran. Demikian pula diwaktu Sa'i.

[16]. Boleh melakukan Tawaf dibelakang sumur Zamzam dan Maqam Ibrahim dikala penuh sesak, karena Masjid Haram seluruhnya merupakan tempat Tawaf.

[17]. Adalah termasuk perbuatan mungkar, jika seorang wanita melakukan Tawaf dengan memakai perhiasan dan wangi-wangian serta tidak menutup aurat.

[18]. Wanita yang sedang datang bulan atau baru bersalin setelah berihram, tidak boleh melakulan tawaf, kecuali setelah ia dalam keadaan suci.

[19]. Bagi wanita boleh berihram dengan mengenakan pakaian yang ia sukai, asalakan pakaian itu tidak menyerupai pakaian pria dan jangan sampai menampakkan perhiasan, tetapi hendaklah mengenakan pakaian yang tidak merangsang.

[20]. Melafalkan niat dalam ibadah selain Haji dan Umrah adalah bid'ah yang diada-adakan, lebih-lebih bila dilafalkan niat itu dengan suara keras.

[21]. Diharamkan bagi seorang muslim mukallaf melintasi miqat tanpa berihram, apabila ia bermaksud melakukan ibadah haji dan umrah.

[22]. Jama'ah haji atau umrah yang datang lewat udara, hendaklah berihram ketika berada sejajar dengan batas miqat, oleh karena itu hendaknya ia bersiap-siap untuk berihram sebelum naik pesawat.

[23]. Bagi yang tempat tinggalnya di daerah miqat, tidak perlu pergi ke salah satu tempat miqat, dan cukuplah tempat tinggalnya itu sebagi miqat untuk berihram haji dan umrah.

[24]. Memperbanyak umrah setelah menunaikan haji, dari Tan'im atau Jir'anah, sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh sebagian jama'ah, adalah hal yang tidak ada dalilnya.

[25]. Hendaklah para jama'ah haji pada hari tarwiyah berihram dari tempat tinggalnya di Mekkah, dan tidak perlu berihram dari dalam kota Mekkah atau dari bawah Pancuran Emas Ka'bah, sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh sebagian jama'ah haji. Dan tidak perlu baginya Tawaf Wada' ketika berangkat menuju Mina.

[26]. Berangkat dari Mina menuju Arafah pada tanggal 9 Dzu-l-Hijjah, lebih utama dilakukan setelah terbit matahari.

[27]. Tidak diperkenankan meninggalkan Arafah sebelum terbenam matahari.
Dan disaat berangkat setelah terbenam matahari, hendaknya dengan tenang dan penuh kekhusuan.

[28]. Shalat Maghrib dan Isya dilakukan setelah sampai di Muzdalifah, baik sampainya pada waktu Maghrib ataupun setelah masuk waktu Isya.

[29]. Memungut batu pelempar Jamrah, boleh dilakukan dimana saja, dan tidak harus dipungut dari Muzdalifah.

[30]. Tidak disunatkan mencuci batu-batu itu, sebab hal itu tidak pernah dilakukan oleh Rasulullah begitu pula para sahabat beliau. Dan agar jangan melontar dengan batu yang telah dipakai melontar.

[31]. Diperbolehkan bagi orang-orang yang lemah, seperti wanita, anak-anak kecil dan yang semisalnya, untuk berangkat menuju Mina saat lewat pertengahan malam.

[32]. Apabila telah sampai di Mina pada hari Raya, hendaknya jama'ah haji menghentikan bacaan Talbiyah, dan agar melontar Jamrah Aqabah dengan tujuh batu berturut-turut.

[33]. Tidak disyaratkan agar batu itu tinggal di tempat lontaran, tapi yang disyaratkan adalah jatuhnya batu di tempat lontaran itu.

[34]. Penyembelihan Qurban waktunya adalah sampai terbenam matahari pada hari Tasyriq yang ketiga menurut pendapat Ulama yang paling benar.

[35]. Tawaf Ifadhah atau Tawaf Ziyarah adalah salah satu rukun haji yang tidak dianggap sah haji seseorang apabila Tawaf itu ditinggalkan, dan ini hendaknya dilakukan pada Hari Raya, tapi boleh juga ditunda sampai setelah hari-hari Mina.

[36]. Bagi yang melakukan Haji Qiran, ia hanya wajib melakukan satu kali sa'i. Demikian pula bagi yang melakukan Haji Ifrad dan ia tetap berihram sampai hari nahr.

[37]. Bagi Jama'ah haji, lebih utama baginya melakukan amalan-amalan haji pada hari nahr dengan tertib, yaitu memulai dengan melontar Jamrah Aqabah kemudian menyembelih binatang kurban, lantas mencukur bersih atau memendekkan rambutnya, setelah itu Tawaf Ifadhah di Baitullah dan selanjutnya Sa'i. Dan boleh juga amalan-amalan tersebut dilakukan dengan tidak tertib, yaitu dengan mendahulukan atau mengakhirkan satu dari yang lainnya.

[38]. Tahalul penuh dapat dilaksanakan setelah melakukan hal-hal dibawah ini :
a). Melontar Jamrah Aqabah
b). Mencukur bersih atau memendekkan rambut
c). Tawaf Ifadhah dan Sa'i.

[39]. Apabila seorang jamaah haji menghendaki pulang secepatnya (pada tanggal 12) dari Mina. Maka harus keluar dari Mina sebelum terbenam matahari.

[40]. Anak kecil yang tidak mampu melontar, hendaklah diwakili oleh walinya setelah ia melontar untuk dirinya sendiri.

[41]. Begitu juga orang-orang yang tidak mampu melontar karena sakit atau lanjut usia atau karena hamil, boleh mewakilkan kepada orang lain untuk melontar.

[42]. Bagi yang mewakili, boleh melontar setiap jamrah dari ketiga jamrah itu untuk dirinya sendiri terlebih dahulu, kemudian untuk yang diwakilinya dalam satu tempat.

[43]. Bagi yang melakukan haji Tamattu' atau Qiran, sedang ia bukan penduduk Masjid Haram (Mekkah), wajib baginya membayar dam, yaitu seekor kambing, atau sepertujuh onta/sapi.

[44]. Bagi yang melakukan haji Tamattu' atau Qiran, dan ia tidak mampu menyembelih binatang kurban, maka ia diwajibkan untuk berpuasa tiga hari dalam masa haji dan tujuh hari apabila telah pulang ke keluarganya.

[45]. Puasa tiga hari itu lebih utama dilakukan sebelum Hari Arafah, agar pada Hari Arafah itu ia dalam keadaan tidak berpuasa. Jika puasa itu belum dilakukan makan hendaklah dilakukan pada hari-hari Tasyriq.

[46]. Puasa tiga hari tersebut boleh dilakukan secara berturut-turut atau terpisah-pisah. Begitu pula puasa yang tujuh hari.

[47]. Tawaf Wada' hukumnya wajib bagi setiap jama'ah haji, kecuali bagi wanita yang sedang datang bulan atau baru bersalin.

[48]. Disunahkan berziarah ke Masjid Rasul Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, baik sebelum haji ataupun sesudahnya.

[49]. Bagi yang berziarah ke Masjid Nabawi, disunatkan memulai dengan shalat dua rakaat Tahiyat al-Masjid dimana saja di dalam Masjid. Dan yang lebih utama shalat dilakukan di Raudhah yang mulia.

[50]. Ziarah ke kubur Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, dan ke pekuburan lain, hanya disyari'atkan untuk kaum pria, bukan untuk kaum wanita, dengan syarat agar dilakukan tanpa bersusah payah.

[51]. Mengusap-ngusap dinding kubur Rasul, atau menciumnya ataupun mengelilinginya (bertawaf di sekitarnya), adalah perbuatan bid'ah yang mungkar, yang tidak pernah dilakukan oleh ulama-ulama Salaf. Lebih-lebih apabila ia mengelilinginya dengan maksud mendekatkan diri kepada Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, maka hal itu adalah syirik besar.

[52]. Tidak boleh bagi seseorang memohon kepada Rasul agar beliau memenuhi hajatnya atau melepaskan dirinya dari kesulitan, sebab hal itu syirik.

[53]. Kehidupan Rasulullah Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, didalam kubur adalah kehidupan alam barzakh, bukan seperti hidup di dunia sebelum wafatnya. Dan kehidupan itu hanya Allah saja yang mengetahui hakekat dan keadaannya.

[54]. Mengutamakan berdo'a didekat kubur Rasul Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, sambil menghadap kearahnya dengan mengangkat kedua belah tangan, sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh sebagian penziarah, adalah termasuk bid'ah yang diada-adakan.

[55]. Ziarah ke kubur Rasul Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, bukanlah wajib, dan bukan merupakan suatu syarat dalam ibadah haji, sebagaimana anggapan sebagian orang awam.

[56]. Hadits-hadits yang dipergunakan sebagai dasar hukum oleh orang-orang yang membolehkan untuk bersusah-payah mendatangi kubur Rasul Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam adalah hadits-hadits yang lemah sanadnya atau hadits-hadits bikinan.

[Disalin dari buku Petunjuk Jamaa Haji dan Umrah serta Penziarah Masjid Rasul Shallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, pengarang Kumpulan Ulama, hal 42-45, Diterbitkan dan diedarkan oleh Department Agama, Waqaf, Dakwah dan Bimbingan Islam, Saudi Arabia]

Sumber : http://www.alquran-sunnah.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : SEPULUH KEUTAMAAN TENTANG HAJI

 

RANGKUMAN UNTUK JAMAAH HAJI DAN UMRAH

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BALTIMORE — In the afternoons, the streets of Locust Point are clean and nearly silent. In front of the rowhouses, potted plants rest next to steps of brick or concrete. There is a shopping center nearby with restaurants, and a grocery store filled with fresh foods.

And the National Guard and the police are largely absent. So, too, residents say, are worries about what happened a few miles away on April 27 when, in a space of hours, parts of this city became riot zones.

“They’re not our reality,” Ashley Fowler, 30, said on Monday at the restaurant where she works. “They’re not what we’re living right now. We live in, not to be racist, white America.”

As Baltimore considers its way forward after the violent unrest brought by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody, residents in its predominantly white neighborhoods acknowledge that they are sometimes struggling to understand what beyond Mr. Gray’s death spurred the turmoil here. For many, the poverty and troubled schools of gritty West Baltimore are distant troubles, glimpsed only when they pass through the area on their way somewhere else.

Photo
 
Officers blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues after reports that a gun was discharged in the area. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

And so neighborhoods of Baltimore are facing altogether different reckonings after Mr. Gray’s death. In mostly black communities like Sandtown-Winchester, where some of the most destructive rioting played out last week, residents are hoping businesses will reopen and that the police will change their strategies. But in mostly white areas like Canton and Locust Point, some residents wonder what role, if any, they should play in reimagining stretches of Baltimore where they do not live.

“Most of the people are kind of at a loss as to what they’re supposed to do,” said Dr. Richard Lamb, a dentist who has practiced in the same Locust Point office for nearly 39 years. “I listen to the news reports. I listen to the clergymen. I listen to the facts of the rampant unemployment and the lack of opportunities in the area. Listen, I pay my taxes. Exactly what can I do?”

And in Canton, where the restaurants have clever names like Nacho Mama’s and Holy Crepe Bakery and Café, Sara Bahr said solutions seemed out of reach for a proudly liberal city.

“I can only imagine how frustrated they must be,” said Ms. Bahr, 36, a nurse who was out with her 3-year-old daughter, Sally. “I just wish I knew how to solve poverty. I don’t know what to do to make it better.”

The day of unrest and the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that followed led to hundreds of arrests, often for violations of the curfew imposed on the city for five consecutive nights while National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets. Although there were isolated instances of trouble in Canton, the neighborhood association said on its website, many parts of southeast Baltimore were physically untouched by the tumult.

Tensions in the city bubbled anew on Monday after reports that the police had wounded a black man in Northwest Baltimore. The authorities denied those reports and sent officers to talk with the crowds that gathered while other officers clutching shields blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues.

Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, a community police officer, said officers had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun and that “one of those rounds was spent.”

Colonel Russell said officers had not opened fire, “so we couldn’t have shot him.”

Photo
 
Lambi Vasilakopoulos, right, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said he was incensed by last week's looting and predicted tensions would worsen. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

The colonel said the man had not been injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Nearby, many people stood in disbelief, despite the efforts by the authorities to quash reports they described as “unfounded.”

Monday’s episode was a brief moment in a larger drama that has yielded anger and confusion. Although many people said they were familiar with accounts of the police harassing or intimidating residents, many in Canton and Locust Point said they had never experienced it themselves. When they watched the unrest, which many protesters said was fueled by feelings that they lived only on Baltimore’s margins, even those like Ms. Bahr who were pained by what they saw said they could scarcely comprehend the emotions associated with it.

But others, like Lambi Vasilakopoulos, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said they were incensed by what unfolded last week.

“What happened wasn’t called for. Protests are one thing; looting is another thing,” he said, adding, “We’re very frustrated because we’re the ones who are going to pay for this.”

There were pockets of optimism, though, that Baltimore would enter a period of reconciliation.

“I’m just hoping for peace,” Natalie Boies, 53, said in front of the Locust Point home where she has lived for 50 years. “Learn to love each other; be patient with each other; find justice; and care.”

A skeptical Mr. Vasilakopoulos predicted tensions would worsen.

“It cannot be fixed,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Why? Because people don’t obey the laws. They don’t want to obey them.”

But there were few fears that the violence that plagued West Baltimore last week would play out on these relaxed streets. The authorities, Ms. Fowler said, would make sure of that.

“They kept us safe here,” she said. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was in my house three blocks away from here. I knew I was going to be O.K. because I knew they weren’t going to let anyone come and loot our properties or our businesses or burn our cars.”

Baltimore Residents Away From Turmoil Consider Their Role

HOBART, Tasmania — Few places seem out of reach for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has traveled from European capitals to obscure Pacific and Caribbean islands in pursuit of his nation’s strategic interests.

So perhaps it was not surprising when he turned up last fall in this city on the edge of the Southern Ocean to put down a long-distance marker in another faraway region, Antarctica, 2,000 miles south of this Australian port.

Standing on the deck of an icebreaker that ferries Chinese scientists from this last stop before the frozen continent, Mr. Xi pledged that China would continue to expand in one of the few places on earth that remain unexploited by humans.

He signed a five-year accord with the Australian government that allows Chinese vessels and, in the future, aircraft to resupply for fuel and food before heading south. That will help secure easier access to a region that is believed to have vast oil and mineral resources; huge quantities of high-protein sea life; and for times of possible future dire need, fresh water contained in icebergs.

It was not until 1985, about seven decades after Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen raced to the South Pole, that a team representing Beijing hoisted the Chinese flag over the nation’s first Antarctic research base, the Great Wall Station on King George Island.

But now China seems determined to catch up. As it has bolstered spending on Antarctic research, and as the early explorers, especially the United States and Australia, confront stagnant budgets, there is growing concern about its intentions.

China’s operations on the continent — it opened its fourth research station last year, chose a site for a fifth, and is investing in a second icebreaker and new ice-capable planes and helicopters — are already the fastest growing of the 52 signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. That gentlemen’s agreement reached in 1959 bans military activity on the continent and aims to preserve it as one of the world’s last wildernesses; a related pact prohibits mining.

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But Mr. Xi’s visit was another sign that China is positioning itself to take advantage of the continent’s resource potential when the treaty expires in 2048 — or in the event that it is ripped up before, Chinese and Australian experts say.

“So far, our research is natural-science based, but we know there is more and more concern about resource security,” said Yang Huigen, director general of the Polar Research Institute of China, who accompanied Mr. Xi last November on his visit to Hobart and stood with him on the icebreaker, Xue Long, or Snow Dragon.

With that in mind, the polar institute recently opened a new division devoted to the study of resources, law, geopolitics and governance in Antarctica and the Arctic, Mr. Yang said.

Australia, a strategic ally of the United States that has strong economic relations with China, is watching China’s buildup in the Antarctic with a mix of gratitude — China’s presence offers support for Australia’s Antarctic science program, which is short of cash — and wariness.

“We should have no illusions about the deeper agenda — one that has not even been agreed to by Chinese scientists but is driven by Xi, and most likely his successors,” said Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a former senior official in the Australian Department of Defense.

“This is part of a broader pattern of a mercantilist approach all around the world,” Mr. Jennings added. “A big driver of Chinese policy is to secure long-term energy supply and food supply.”

That approach was evident last month when a large Chinese agriculture enterprise announced an expansion of its fishing operations around Antarctica to catch more krill — small, protein-rich crustaceans that are abundant in Antarctic waters.

“The Antarctic is a treasure house for all human beings, and China should go there and share,” Liu Shenli, the chairman of the China National Agricultural Development Group, told China Daily, a state-owned newspaper. China would aim to fish up to two million tons of krill a year, he said, a substantial increase from what it currently harvests.

Because sovereignty over Antarctica is unclear, nations have sought to strengthen their claims over the ice-covered land by building research bases and naming geographic features. China’s fifth station will put it within reach of the six American facilities, and ahead of Australia’s three.

Chinese mappers have also given Chinese names to more than 300 sites, compared with the thousands of locations on the continent with English names.

In the unspoken competition for Antarctica’s future, scientific achievement can also translate into influence. Chinese scientists are driving to be the first to drill and recover an ice core containing tiny air bubbles that provide a record of climate change stretching as far back as 1.5 million years. It is an expensive and delicate effort at which others, including the European Union and Australia, have failed.

In a breakthrough a decade ago, European scientists extracted an ice core nearly two miles long that revealed 800,000 years of climate history. But finding an ice core going back further would allow scientists to examine a change in the earth’s climate cycles believed to have occurred 900,000 to 1.2 million years ago.

China is betting it has found the best location to drill, at an area called Dome A, or Dome Argus, the highest point on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Though it is considered one of the coldest places on the planet, with temperatures of 130 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, a Chinese expedition explored the area in 2005 and established a research station in 2009.

“The international community has drilled in lots of places, but no luck so far,” said Xiao Cunde, a member of the first party to reach the site and the deputy director of the Institute for Climate Change at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences. “We think at Dome A we will have a straight shot at the one-million-year ice core.”

Mr. Xiao said China had already begun drilling and hoped to find what scientists are looking for in four to five years.

To support its Antarctic aspirations, China is building a sophisticated $300 million icebreaker that is expected to be ready in a few years, said Xia Limin, deputy director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration in Beijing. It has also bought a high-tech fixed-wing aircraft, outfitted in the United States, for taking sensitive scientific soundings from the ice.

China has chosen the site for its fifth research station at Inexpressible Island, named by a group of British explorers who were stranded at the desolate site in 1912 and survived the winter by excavating a small ice cave.

Mr. Xia said the inhospitable spot was ideal because China did not have a presence in that part of Antarctica, and because the rocky site did not have much snow, making it relatively cheap to build there.

Anne-Marie Brady, a professor of political science at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and the author of a soon-to-be-released book, “China as a Polar Great Power,” said Chinese scientists also believed they had a good chance of finding mineral and energy resources near the site.

“China is playing a long game in Antarctica and keeping other states guessing about its true intentions and interests are part of its poker hand,” she said. But she noted that China’s interest in finding minerals was presented “loud and clear to domestic audiences” as the main reason it was investing in Antarctica.

Because commercial drilling is banned, estimates of energy and mineral resources in Antarctica rely on remote sensing data and comparisons with similar geological environments elsewhere, said Millard F. Coffin, executive director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart.

But the difficulty of extraction in such severe conditions and uncertainty about future commodity prices make it unlikely that China or any country would defy the ban on mining anytime soon.

Tourism, however, is already booming. Travelers from China are still a relatively small contingent in the Antarctic compared with the more than 13,000 Americans who visited in 2013, and as yet there are no licensed Chinese tour operators.

But that is about to change, said Anthony Bergin, deputy director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “I understand very soon there will be Chinese tourists on Chinese vessels with all-Chinese crew in the Antarctic,” he said.

 

Top News China’s Intents Are Questioned as It Builds in Antarctica

Fullmer, who reigned when fight clubs abounded and Friday night fights were a television staple, was known for his title bouts with Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio.

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83

As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”

Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.

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Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

At an event announcing the creation of a nonprofit focusing on young minority men, President Obama talked about the underlying reasons for recent protests in Baltimore and other cities.

By Associated Press on Publish Date May 4, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.

“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”

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Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.

Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.

The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.

“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”

The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.

But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.

After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”

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President Obama on Monday with Darinel Montero, a student at Bronx International High School who introduced him before remarks at Lehman College in the Bronx. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.

That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.

“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”

On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.

The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.

“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”

Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”

His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.

“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”

Advertisement Politics Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

WASHINGTON — The last three men to win the Republican nomination have been the prosperous son of a president (George W. Bush), a senator who could not recall how many homes his family owned (John McCain of Arizona; it was seven) and a private equity executive worth an estimated $200 million (Mitt Romney).

The candidates hoping to be the party’s nominee in 2016 are trying to create a very different set of associations. On Sunday, Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, joined the presidential field.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk, as he urges audiences not to forget “the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a preacher’s son, posts on Twitter about his ham-and-cheese sandwiches and boasts of his coupon-clipping frugality. His $1 Kohl’s sweater has become a campaign celebrity in its own right.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky laments the existence of “two Americas,” borrowing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase to describe economically and racially troubled communities like Ferguson, Mo., and Detroit.

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Senator Marco Rubio of Florida praises his parents, a bartender and a Kmart stock clerk. Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“Some say, ‘But Democrats care more about the poor,’ ” Mr. Paul likes to say. “If that’s true, why is black unemployment still twice white unemployment? Why has household income declined by $3,500 over the past six years?”

We are in the midst of the Empathy Primary — the rhetorical battleground shaping the Republican presidential field of 2016.

Harmed by the perception that they favor the wealthy at the expense of middle-of-the-road Americans, the party’s contenders are each trying their hardest to get across what the elder George Bush once inelegantly told recession-battered voters in 1992: “Message: I care.”

Their ability to do so — less bluntly, more sincerely — could prove decisive in an election year when power, privilege and family connections will loom large for both parties.

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Questions of understanding and compassion cost Republicans in the last election. Mr. Romney, who memorably dismissed the “47 percent” of Americans as freeloaders, lost to President Obama by 63 percentage points among voters who cast their ballots for the candidate who “cares about people like me,” according to exit polls.

And a Pew poll from February showed that people still believe Republicans are indifferent to working Americans: 54 percent said the Republican Party does not care about the middle class.

That taint of callousness explains why Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declared last week that Republicans “are and should be the party of the 47 percent” — and why another son of a president, Jeb Bush, has made economic opportunity the centerpiece of his message.

With his pedigree and considerable wealth — since he left the Florida governor’s office almost a decade ago he has earned millions of dollars sitting on corporate boards and advising banks — Mr. Bush probably has the most complicated task making the argument to voters that he understands their concerns.

On a visit last week to Puerto Rico, Mr. Bush sounded every bit the populist, railing against “elites” who have stifled economic growth and innovation. In the kind of economy he envisions leading, he said: “We wouldn’t have the middle being squeezed. People in poverty would have a chance to rise up. And the social strains that exist — because the haves and have-nots is the big debate in our country today — would subside.”

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Who Is Running for President (and Who’s Not)?

Republicans’ emphasis on poorer and working-class Americans now represents a shift from the party’s longstanding focus on business owners and “job creators” as the drivers of economic opportunity.

This is intentional, Republican operatives said.

In the last presidential election, Republicans rushed to defend business owners against what they saw as hostility by Democrats to successful, wealthy entrepreneurs.

“Part of what you had was a reaction to the Democrats’ dehumanization of business owners: ‘Oh, you think you started your plumbing company? No you didn’t,’ ” said Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

But now, Mr. Norquist said, Republicans should move past that. “Focus on the people in the room who know someone who couldn’t get a job, or a promotion, or a raise because taxes are too high or regulations eat up companies’ time,” he said. “The rich guy can take care of himself.”

Democrats argue that the public will ultimately see through such an approach because Republican positions like opposing a minimum-wage increase and giving private banks a larger role in student loans would hurt working Americans.

“If Republican candidates are just repeating the same tired policies, I’m not sure that smiling while saying it is going to be enough,” said Guy Cecil, a Democratic strategist who is joining a “super PAC” working on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Republicans have already attacked Mrs. Clinton over the wealth and power she and her husband have accumulated, caricaturing her as an out-of-touch multimillionaire who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech and has not driven a car since 1996.

Mr. Walker hit this theme recently on Fox News, pointing to Mrs. Clinton’s lucrative book deals and her multiple residences. “This is not someone who is connected with everyday Americans,” he said. His own net worth, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is less than a half-million dollars; Mr. Walker also owes tens of thousands of dollars on his credit cards.

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But showing off a cheap sweater or boasting of a bootstraps family background not only helps draw a contrast with Mrs. Clinton’s latter-day affluence, it is also an implicit argument against Mr. Bush.

Mr. Walker, who featured a 1998 Saturn with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer in a 2010 campaign ad during his first run for governor, likes to talk about flipping burgers at McDonald’s as a young person. His mother, he has said, grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing until she was in high school.

Mr. Rubio, among the least wealthy members of the Senate, with an estimated net worth of around a half-million dollars, uses his working-class upbringing as evidence of the “exceptionalism” of America, “where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege.”

Mr. Cruz alludes to his family’s dysfunction — his parents, he says, were heavy drinkers — and recounts his father’s tale of fleeing Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey notes that his father paid his way through college working nights at an ice cream plant.

But sometimes the attempts at projecting authenticity can seem forced. Mr. Christie recently found himself on the defensive after telling a New Hampshire audience, “I don’t consider myself a wealthy man.” Tax returns showed that he and his wife, a longtime Wall Street executive, earned nearly $700,000 in 2013.

The story of success against the odds is a political classic, even if it is one the Republican Party has not been able to tell for a long time. Ronald Reagan liked to say that while he had not been born on the wrong side of the tracks, he could always hear the whistle. Richard Nixon was fond of reminding voters how he was born in a house his father had built.

“Probably the idea that is most attractive to an average voter, and an idea that both Republicans and Democrats try to craft into their messages, is this idea that you can rise from nothing,” said Charles C. W. Cooke, a writer for National Review.

There is a certain delight Republicans take in turning that message to their advantage now.

“That’s what Obama did with Hillary,” Mr. Cooke said. “He acknowledged it openly: ‘This is ridiculous. Look at me, this one-term senator with dark skin and all of America’s unsolved racial problems, running against the wife of the last Democratic president.”

G.O.P. Hopefuls Now Aiming to Woo the Middle Class
Frontline  An installment of this PBS program looks at the effects of Ebola on Liberia and other countries, as well as the origins of the outbreak.
Frontline

Frontline An installment of this PBS program looks at the effects of Ebola on Liberia and other countries, as well as the origins of the outbreak.

The program traces the outbreak to its origin, thought to be a tree full of bats in Guinea.

Review: ‘9-Man’ Is More Than a Game for Chinese-Americans

A variation of volleyball with nine men on each side is profiled Tuesday night on the World Channel in an absorbing documentary called “9-Man.”

Television

‘Hard Earned’ Documents the Plight of the Working Poor

“Hard Earned,” an Al Jazeera America series, follows five working-class families scrambling to stay ahead on limited incomes.

Review: ‘Frontline’ Looks at Missteps During the Ebola Outbreak

Over the last five years or so, it seemed there was little that Dean G. Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, would not do for his son.

He pressed a powerful real estate executive to provide commissions to his son, a 32-year-old title insurance salesman, according to a federal criminal complaint. He helped get him a job at an environmental company and employed his influence to help the company get government work. He used his office to push natural gas drilling regulations that would have increased his son’s commissions.

He even tried to direct part of a $5.4 billion state budget windfall to fund government contracts that the company was seeking. And when the company was close to securing a storm-water contract from Nassau County, the senator, through an intermediary, pressured the company to pay his son more — or risk having the senator subvert the bid.

The criminal complaint, unsealed on Monday, lays out corruption charges against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos, the latest scandal to seize Albany, and potentially alter its power structure.

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Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, discussed the case involving Dean G. Skelos and his son, Adam. Credit Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The repeated and diverse efforts by Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to find work, or at least income, for his son could send both men to federal prison. If they are convicted of all six charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison for each of four of the six counts and up to 10 years for the remaining two.

Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, of Long Island, who serves as chairman of the Republican conference, emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday night to say that conference members agreed that Mr. Skelos should be benefited the “presumption of innocence,” and would stay in his leadership role.

“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader,” said Mr. LaValle, “and he has the support of the conference.” The case against Mr. Skelos and his son grew out of a broader inquiry into political corruption by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that has already changed the face of the state capital. It is based in part, according to the six-count complaint, on conversations secretly recorded by one of two cooperating witnesses, and wiretaps on the cellphones of the senator and his son. Those recordings revealed that both men were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.

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Adam Skelos took to using a “burner” phone, the complaint says, and told his father he wanted them to speak through a FaceTime video call in an apparent effort to avoid detection. They also used coded language at times.

At one point, Adam Skelos was recorded telling a Senate staff member of his frustration in not being able to speak openly to his father on the phone, noting that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon” carrying a message.

The 43-page complaint, sworn out by Paul M. Takla, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position; it also lays bare the extent to which a father sought to use his position to help his son.

The charges accuse the two men of extorting payments through a real estate developer, Glenwood Management, based on Long Island, and the environmental company, AbTech Industries, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.

Glenwood, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, had ties to AbTech through investments in the environmental firm’s parent company by Glenwood’s founding family and a senior executive.

The accusations in the complaint portray Senator Skelos as a man who, when it came to his son, was not shy about twisting arms, even in situations that might give other arm-twisters pause.

Seeking to help his son, Senator Skelos turned to the executive at Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City and has much at stake when it comes to real estate legislation in Albany. The senator urged him to direct business to his son, who sold title insurance.

After much prodding, the executive, Charles C. Dorego, engineered a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company even though he did no work for the money. But far more lucrative was a consultant position that Mr. Dorego arranged for Adam Skelos at AbTech, which seeks government contracts to treat storm water. (Mr. Dorego is not identified by name in the complaint, but referred to only as CW-1, for Cooperating Witness 1.)

Senator Skelos appeared to take an active interest in his son’s new line of work. Adam Skelos sent him several drafts of his consulting agreement with AbTech, the complaint says, as well as the final deal that was struck.

“Mazel tov,” his father replied.

Senator Skelos sent relevant news articles to his son, including one about a sewage leak near Albany. When AbTech wanted to seek government contracts after Hurricane Sandy, the senator got on a conference call with his son and an AbTech executive, Bjornulf White, and offered advice. (Like Mr. Dorego, Mr. White is not named in the complaint, but referred to as CW-2.)

The assistance paid off: With the senator’s help, AbTech secured a contract worth up to $12 million from Nassau County, a big break for a struggling small business.

But the money was slow to materialize. The senator expressed impatience with county officials.

Adam Skelos, in a phone call with Mr. White in late December, suggested that his father would seek to punish the county. “I tell you this, the state is not going to do a [expletive] thing for the county,” he said.

Three days later, Senator Skelos pressed his case with the Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, a fellow Republican. “Somebody feels like they’re just getting jerked around the last two years,” the senator said, referring to his son in what the complaint described as “coded language.”

The next day, the senator pursued the matter, as he and Mr. Mangano attended a wake for a slain New York City police officer. Senator Skelos then reassured his son, who called him while he was still at the wake. “All claims that are in will be taken care of,” the senator said.

AbTech’s fortunes appeared to weigh on his son. At one point in January, Adam Skelos told his father that if the company did not succeed, he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”

Making matters worse, in recent months, Senator Skelos and his son appeared to grow wary about who was watching them. In addition to making calls on the burner phone, Adam Skelos said he used the FaceTime video calling “because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill,” as he told Mr. White.

In late February, Adam Skelos arranged a pair of meetings between Mr. White and state senators; AbTech needed to win state legislation that would allow its contract to move beyond its initial stages. But Senator Skelos deemed the plan too risky and caused one of the meetings to be canceled.

In another recorded call, Adam Skelos, promising to be “very, very vague” on the phone, urged his father to allow the meeting. The senator offered a warning. “Right now we are in dangerous times, Adam,” he told him.

A month later, in another phone call that was recorded by the authorities, Adam Skelos complained that his father could not give him “real advice” about AbTech while the two men were speaking over the telephone.

“You can’t talk normally,” he told his father, “because it’s like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call. It’s just [expletive] frustrating.”

“It is,” his father agreed.

Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says

BEIJING (AP) — The head of Taiwan's Nationalists reaffirmed the party's support for eventual unification with the mainland when he met Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of continuing rapprochement between the former bitter enemies.

Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu, a likely presidential candidate next year, also affirmed Taiwan's desire to join the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank during the meeting in Beijing. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and doesn't want the island to join using a name that might imply it is an independent country.

Chu's comments during his meeting with Xi were carried live on Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television.

The Nationalists were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong's Communists during the Chinese civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides. Chu, who took over as party leader in January, is the third Nationalist chairman to visit the mainland and the first since 2009.

Relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan's formal independence from China, a position advocated by the island's Democratic Progressive Party.

Despite increasingly close economic ties, the prospect of political unification has grown increasingly unpopular on Taiwan, especially with younger voters. Opposition to the Nationalists' pro-China policies was seen as a driver behind heavy local electoral defeats for the party last year that led to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou resigning as party chairman.

Taiwan party leader affirms eventual reunion with China

WASHINGTON — A decade after emergency trailers meant to shelter Hurricane Katrina victims instead caused burning eyes, sore throats and other more serious ailments, the Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of regulating the culprit: formaldehyde, a chemical that can be found in commonplace things like clothes and furniture.

But an unusual assortment of players, including furniture makers, the Chinese government, Republicans from states with a large base of furniture manufacturing and even some Democrats who championed early regulatory efforts, have questioned the E.P.A. proposal. The sustained opposition has held sway, as the agency is now preparing to ease key testing requirements before it releases the landmark federal health standard.

The E.P.A.’s five-year effort to adopt this rule offers another example of how industry opposition can delay and hamper attempts by the federal government to issue regulations, even to control substances known to be harmful to human health.

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Document: The Formaldehyde Fight

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can also cause respiratory ailments like asthma, but the potential of long-term exposure to cause cancers like myeloid leukemia is less well understood.

The E.P.A.’s decision would be the first time that the federal government has regulated formaldehyde inside most American homes.

“The stakes are high for public health,” said Tom Neltner, senior adviser for regulatory affairs at the National Center for Healthy Housing, who has closely monitored the debate over the rules. “What we can’t have here is an outcome that fails to confront the health threat we all know exists.”

The proposal would not ban formaldehyde — commonly used as an ingredient in wood glue in furniture and flooring — but it would impose rules that prevent dangerous levels of the chemical’s vapors from those products, and would set testing standards to ensure that products sold in the United States comply with those limits. The debate has sharpened in the face of growing concern about the safety of formaldehyde-treated flooring imported from Asia, especially China.

What is certain is that a lot of money is at stake: American companies sell billions of dollars’ worth of wood products each year that contain formaldehyde, and some argue that the proposed regulation would impose unfair costs and restrictions.

Determined to block the agency’s rule as proposed, these industry players have turned to the White House, members of Congress and top E.P.A. officials, pressing them to roll back the testing requirements in particular, calling them redundant and too expensive.

“There are potentially over a million manufacturing jobs that will be impacted if the proposed rule is finalized without changes,” wrote Bill Perdue, the chief lobbyist at the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a leading critic of the testing requirements in the proposed regulation, in one letter to the E.P.A.

Industry opposition helped create an odd alignment of forces working to thwart the rule. The White House moved to strike out key aspects of the proposal. Subsequent appeals for more changes were voiced by players as varied as Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, and Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, as well as furniture industry lobbyists.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 helped ignite the public debate over formaldehyde, after the deadly storm destroyed or damaged hundreds of thousands of homes along the Gulf of Mexico, forcing families into temporary trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The displaced storm victims quickly began reporting respiratory problems, burning eyes and other issues, and tests then confirmed high levels of formaldehyde fumes leaking into the air inside the trailers, which in many cases had been hastily constructed.

Public health advocates petitioned the E.P.A. to issue limits on formaldehyde in building materials and furniture used in homes, given that limits already existed for exposure in workplaces. But three years after the storm, only California had issued such limits.

Industry groups like the American Chemistry Council have repeatedly challenged the science linking formaldehyde to cancer, a position championed by David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana, who is a major recipient of chemical industry campaign contributions, and whom environmental groups have mockingly nicknamed “Senator Formaldehyde.”

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Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

In laminate flooring, formaldehyde is used as a bonding agent in the fiberboard (or other composite wood) core layer and may also be used in glues that bind layers together. Concerns were raised in March when certain laminate flooring imported from China was reported to contain levels of formaldehyde far exceeding the limit permitted by California.

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in many industrial and household products as an adhesive, bonding agent or preservative. It is classified as a volatile organic compound. The term volatile means that, at room temperature, formaldehyde will vaporize, or become a gas. Products made with formaldehyde tend to release this gas into the air. If breathed in large quantities, it may cause health problems.

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

In cigarette smoke, or in the fumes from combustion of other materials, including wood, oil and gasoline.

Exposure to formaldehyde in sufficient amounts may cause eye, throat or skin irritation, allergic reactions, and respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing or asthma.

Long-term exposure to high levels has been associated with cancer in humans and laboratory animals.

Exposure to formaldehyde may affect some people more severely than others.

By 2010, public health advocates and some industry groups secured bipartisan support in Congress for legislation that ordered the E.P.A. to issue federal rules that largely mirrored California’s restrictions. At the time, concerns were rising over the growing number of lower-priced furniture imports from Asia that might include contaminated products, while also hurting sales of American-made products.

Maneuvering began almost immediately after the E.P.A. prepared draft rules to formally enact the new standards.

White House records show at least five meetings in mid-2012 with industry executives — kitchen cabinet makers, chemical manufacturers, furniture trade associations and their lobbyists, like Brock R. Landry, of the Venable law firm. These parties, along with Senator Vitter’s office, appealed to top administration officials, asking them to intervene to roll back the E.P.A. proposal.

The White House Office of Management and Budget, which reviews major federal regulations before they are adopted, apparently agreed. After the White House review, the E.P.A. “redlined” many of the estimates of the monetary benefits that would be gained by reductions in related health ailments, like asthma and fertility issues, documents reviewed by The New York Times show.

As a result, the estimated benefit of the proposed rule dropped to $48 million a year, from as much as $278 million a year. The much-reduced amount deeply weakened the agency’s justification for the sometimes costly new testing that would be required under the new rules, a federal official involved in the effort said.

“It’s a redlining blood bath,” said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University Law School professor and a former E.P.A. official, using the Washington phrase to describe when language is stricken from a proposed rule. “Almost the entire discussion of these potential benefits was excised.”

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

“That’s a huge difference,” said Luke Bolar, a spokesman for Mr. Vitter, of the reduced estimated financial benefits, saying the change was “clearly highlighting more mismanagement” at the E.P.A.

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The review’s outcome galvanized opponents in the furniture industry. They then targeted a provision that mandated new testing of laminated wood, a cheaper alternative to hardwood. (The California standard on which the law was based did not require such testing.)

But E.P.A. scientists had concluded that these laminate products — millions of which are sold annually in the United States — posed a particular risk. They said that when thin layers of wood, also known as laminate or veneer, are added to furniture or flooring in the final stages of manufacturing, the resulting product can generate dangerous levels of fumes from often-used formaldehyde-based glues.

Industry executives, outraged by what they considered an unnecessary and financially burdensome level of testing, turned every lever within reach to get the requirement removed. It would be particularly onerous, they argued, for small manufacturers that would have to repeatedly interrupt their work to do expensive new testing. The E.P.A. estimated that the expanded requirements for laminate products would cost the furniture industry tens of millions of dollars annually, while the industry said that the proposed rule over all would cost its 7,000 American manufacturing facilities over $200 million each year.

“A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate what a lot of these requirements do to a small operation,” said Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, whose members are predominantly small businesses. “A 10-person shop, for example, just really isn’t equipped to handle that type of thing.”

Photo
 
Becky Gillette wants strong regulation of formaldehyde. Credit Beth Hall for The New York Times

Big industry players also weighed in. Executives from companies including La-Z-Boy, Hooker Furniture and Ashley Furniture all flew to Washington for a series of meetings with the offices of lawmakers including House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and about a dozen other lawmakers, asking several of them to sign a letter prepared by the industry to press the E.P.A. to back down, according to an industry report describing the lobbying visit.

Within a matter of weeks, two letters — using nearly identical language — were sent by House and Senate lawmakers to the E.P.A. — with the industry group forwarding copies of the letters to the agency as well, and then posting them on its website.

The industry lobbyists also held their own meeting at E.P.A. headquarters, and they urged Jim Jones, who oversaw the rule-making process as the assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to visit a North Carolina furniture manufacturing plant. According to the trade group, Mr. Jones told them that the visit had “helped the agency shift its thinking” about the rules and how laminated products should be treated.

The resistance was particularly intense from lawmakers like Mr. Wicker of Mississippi, whose state is home to major manufacturing plants owned by Ashley Furniture Industries, the world’s largest furniture maker, and who is one of the biggest recipients in Congress of donations from the industry’s trade association. Asked if the political support played a role, a spokesman for Mr. Wicker replied: “Thousands of Mississippians depend on the furniture manufacturing industry for their livelihoods. Senator Wicker is committed to defending all Mississippians from government overreach.”

Individual companies like Ikea also intervened, as did the Chinese government, which claimed that the new rule would create a “great barrier” to the import of Chinese products because of higher costs.

Perhaps the most surprising objection came from Senator Boxer, of California, a longtime environmental advocate, whose office questioned why the E.P.A.’s rule went further than her home state’s in seeking testing on laminated products. “We did not advocate an outcome, other than safety,” her office said in a statement about why the senator raised concerns. “We said ‘Take a look to see if you have it right.’ ”

Safety advocates say that tighter restrictions — like the ones Ms. Boxer and Mr. Wicker, along with Representative Doris Matsui, a California Democrat, have questioned — are necessary, particularly for products coming from China, where items as varied as toys and Christmas lights have been found to violate American safety standards.

While Mr. Neltner, the environmental advocate who has been most involved in the review process, has been open to compromise, he has pressed the E.P.A. not to back down entirely, and to maintain a requirement that laminators verify that their products are safe.

An episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes” in March brought attention to the issue when it accused Lumber Liquidators, the discount flooring retailer, of selling laminate products with dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The company has disputed the show’s findings and test methods, maintaining that its products are safe.

“People think that just because Congress passed the legislation five years ago, the problem has been fixed,” said Becky Gillette, who then lived in coastal Mississippi, in the area hit by Hurricane Katrina, and was among the first to notice a pattern of complaints from people living in the trailers. “Real people’s faces and names come up in front of me when I think of the thousands of people who could get sick if this rule is not done right.”

An aide to Ms. Matsui rejected any suggestion that she was bending to industry pressure.

“From the beginning the public health has been our No. 1 concern,” said Kyle J. Victor, an aide to Ms. Matsui.

But further changes to the rule are likely, agency officials concede, as they say they are searching for a way to reduce the cost of complying with any final rule while maintaining public health goals. The question is just how radically the agency will revamp the testing requirement for laminated products — if it keeps it at all.

“It’s not a secret to anybody that is the most challenging issue,” said Mr. Jones, the E.P.A. official overseeing the process, adding that the health consequences from formaldehyde are real. “We have to reduce those exposures so that people can live healthy lives and not have to worry about being in their homes.”

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde

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Cher and Marc Jacobs

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