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Terdakwa kredit fiktif Bank Tabungan Negara Syariah Makassar, Syarifuddin Azhari, dituntut 9 tahun penjara. Kata jaksa penuntut umum Greafik Loserte, Syarifuddin Azhari terbukti memanipulasi data debitur untuk pencairan kredit. Ia pun diharuskan membayar denda Rp 500 juta. Jika mangkir, masa tahanan bertambah 6 bulan. "Terdakwa tidak terbukti menikmati uang negara," ujar Greafik, Rabu, 1 Mei 2013.

Dalam materi tuntutan jaksa, Syarifuddin dinyatakan bertindak sebagai Direktur Operasional PT Aditya Rezeki Abadi (ARA), perusahaan jual-beli kendaraan bermotor. Anak buah Jusmin Dawi itu bertugas mencari calon nasabah dengan mengumpulkan kartu tanda penduduk, kartu keluarga, dan surat keterangan penghasilan. Data-data itu kemudian disetor ke bank sebagai syarat administratif pengurusan kredit kendaraan bermotor. "Sekitar 700 data nasabah disetor ke bank," kata Greafik.

Hasil setoran itu, PT ARA mendapatkan siraman dana segar sebesar Rp 73 miliar. Duit itu masuk ke rekening Jusmin Dawi, selaku pemilik perusahaan. Sedangkan pencairan kreditnya berlangsung sejak 2005 hingga 2009. Kata Greafik, pengajuan data itu adalah modus. Sebab, para nasabah tidak bermaksud mengajukan kredit. "Dan untuk kelancaran pengurusan administrasi, Syarifuddin memberikan imbalan kepada para calon nasabah, Rp 500 ribu sampai Rp 1 juta," ujarnya.

Kredit fiktif ini terungkap setelah puluhan debitur tidak menunaikan kewajibannya. Hasil audit internal bank menemukan kredit macet mencapai Rp 44 miliar. Syarifuddin sendiri pernah menjadi buron Kejaksaan Tinggi Sulawesi Selatan. Menghilang selama hampir dua tahun, ia pun diringkus di kediaman pribadinya, Asrama Polisi Panaikang, Kecamatan Panakkukang, Makassar, September 2012.

ABDUL RAHMAN

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saco-indonesia.com,

    Terumbu Karang adalah sekumpulan hewan karang yang telah bersimbiosis dengan jenis tumbuhan. Koloni karang yang dibentuk oleh ribuan hewan kecil (Polip). Dalam kebanyakan spesies, satu individu polip karang telah berkembang menjadi banyak individu yang disebut koloni. Hewan ini telah memiliki bentuk yang unik dan warna yang beraneka rupa. Terumbu karang merupakan habitat bagi spesies tumbuhan laut, hewan laut, dan mikroorganisme.
     Keberadaan terumbu karang telah menjadi sesuatu yang sangat penting bagi ekosistem laut. Selain telah menjadi penahan abrasi akibat gelombang laut sebelum menyapu pesisir, terumbu karang juga merupakan habitat yang sangat penting sebagai rumah ikan. Selain itu, keunikan terumbu karang telah menjadi keindahan tersendiri dan bermanfaat sebagai tujuan wisata atau lokasi olahraga selam, dan tentunya sebagai tempat penelitian.
     Kabupaten Ketapang yang telah memiliki lebih dari 200 km garis pantai, dan 41 pulau kecil telah memiliki potensi yang cukup baik bagi keberadaan terumbu karang. "Inilah yang kemudian telah menginspirasi para pegiat lingkungan yang tergabung dalam komunitas "Ketapang Biodiversity Keeping" (KBK), yang dulunya lebih dikenal sebagai Kawan Burung Ketapang untuk berkontribusi dalam upaya pelestarian terumbu karang di wilayah laut Kabupaten Ketapang!" kata Abdurahman Al Qadrie, Ketua KBK.
      Pemerintah Kabupaten Ketapang, dalam hal in Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan Kabupaten Ketapang (DKP), dalam melalui Kabid Kelautan Pesisir dan Pulau-pulau Kecil (KP3K), sangat menaruh perhatian yang besar terhadap keberadaan dan kelestarian terumbu karang. Hal ini telah disampaikan oleh Kepala Bidang KP3K, Ir. Zamzani pada saat penulis berkunjung ke kantornya di Jalan Jendral Sudirman, Ketapang (12/11/2013). Menurut beliau, tindakan nyata yang akan dilaksanakan dalam waktu dekat ini adalah dengan mengadakan kajian potensi bawah air laut. Adapun tujuan dari kegiatan ini adalah untuk dapat memetakan lokasi keberadaan terumbu karang, tingkat keterancaman, dan langkah-langkah yang harus dilakukan kedepannya.
      "Prioritas utama kita adalah pulau-pulau kecil yang telah berpenghuni, karena terumbu karang akan mudah rentan terhadap kegiatan manusia!" tambahnya. Terumbu karang di sektar Pulau Bawal juga merupakan prioritas utama, mengingat di pulau ini juga terdapat aktivitas yang cukup besar dibanding Pulau Cempedak dan Pulau Sawi.
       "Sebagai rumah ikan yang telah menyediakan perlindungan dan sumber makanan bagi ikan, sudah barang tentu terumbu karang telah menjadi pendukung utama perkembangan populasi ikan di sekitarnya. Hal ini tentu juga menjadi penopang sumber pendapatan bagi nelayan laut. Semestinya lah kita harus menjaga dan melestarikan terumbu karang!" kata Junaidi, SP, anggota DPRD Kabupaten Ketapang yang menyempatkan diri melihat dari dekat kehidupan nelayan di Pulau Sawi dan Potensi terumbu karangnya. "Dan Pemerintah juga telah berupaya membantu masyarakat nelayan laut yang tidak memiliki terumbu karang di sekitar wilayah laut tangkapan mereka, yaitu dengan membuat rumpun-rumpun tempat ikan berlindung. Setidaknya kita telah membuat 2 rumpun yang berukuran besar atau yang diistilahkan dengan "Fish Apartment" yaitu di wilayah laut Pulau Cempedak dan wilayah laut Pagarmentimun, selain rumpun-rumpun kecil lainnya!" tambahnya.
      "Harapan kita adalah, bagaimana semua pihak dapat menyadari pentingnya keberadaan terumbu karang bagi kehidupan bawah laut dan manusia, kemudian serius dalam melakukan tindakan penjagaan dan pelestariannya!" tambah Abdurahman Al Qadrie.

  Beberapa aktivitas manusia yang dapat merusak terumbu karangadalah sebagai berikut:
·         membuang sampah ke laut dan pantai yang dapat mencemari air laut,
·   membawa pulang ataupun menyentuh terumbu karang saat menyelam, satu sentuhan saja dapat membunuh terumbu karang,
·    pemborosan air, semakin banyak air yang digunakan maka semakin banyak pula limbah air yang dihasilkan dan dibuang ke laut,
·      penggunaan pupuk dan pestisida buatan, seberapapun jauh letak pertanian tersebut dari laut residu kimia dari pupuk dan pestisida buatan pada akhinya akan terbuang ke laut juga,
·    Membuang jangkar pada pesisir pantai secara tidak sengaja akan dapat merusak terumbu karang yang berada di bawahnya,
·         terdapatnya predator terumbu karang, seperti sejenis siput drupella,
·         penambangan,
·         pembangunan permukiman,
·         reklamasi pantai,
·         polusi,
·        penangkapan ikan dengan cara yang salah, seperti pemakaian bom ikan.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

CARA MERAWAT TERUMBU KARANG

Saco-Indonesia.com - Tidak usah takut orang-orang KPK asalkan bkerja tulus iklas karena Alloh untuk memakmurkan bangsa ini sehebat apapun dukun yang akan menyerang orang-orang KPK tidak akan mampu melawan kekuatan Alloh. karena orang-orang Koruptor itu jumlahnya kalah banya dengan orang-orang disakiti oleh Koruptor itu sendiri, jadi dengan banyaknya doa dari orang-orang tersakiti oleh koruptor maka santet apapun tidak akan berhasil untuk memerangi orang-orang KPK, terus berjuang tegakan hukum sesuai Quran dan Hadist. Percaya tidak percaya klenik juga berhubungan dengan Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi ( KPK ). Sejumlah paranormal menyebut ada upaya dari pihak sakit hati menyerang pimpinan lembaga antirasuah secara gaib.

Kabar itu makin santer ketika KPK mengusut dugaan korupsi yang menjerat dinasti Gubernur Banten Ratu Atut Chosiyah . Tanpa diminta beberapa paranormal datang untuk memberikan pengamanan.

Tokoh Banten Ahmad Subadri sempat bertemu dengan Ketua KPK Abraham Samad dan Wakil Adnan Pandu Praja agar tidak terpengaruh dengan serangan gaib. Sudah menjadi rahasia umum, Banten memang diidentikkan dengan hal-hal gaib yang demikian.

"KPK mengatakan tidak khawatir. Pak Abraham, Pandu mengatakan mereka siap lahir batin untuk memberantas korupsi di Banten," ujarnya.

Berikut cerita klenik di lembaga antikorupsi:

1. Ada serangan gaib, bola api & awan hitam masuk ke KPK

Serangan balik terhadap Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) ternyata dilakukan juga secara gaib. Paranormal Permadi mengaku dapat melihat KPK 'dikerjai' oleh para koruptor yang memakai jasa dukun.


"KPK kalau malam ada bola api masuk, ada awan hitam masuk," kata Permadi di Gedung KPK Jalan HR Rasuna Said, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan, Selasa (17/12).

Politikus Gerindra itu berpesan agar nyali lembaga anti korupsi tak ciut menghadapi serangan seperti itu. Pria yang dikenal gemar berpakaian hitam-hitam tersebut mengaku sudah membentengi KPK.

"Saya akan bantu KPK dengan Eyang Subur, enggak perlu takut. Saya sudah membersihkan KPK," kata mantan anggota DPR itu.

2. Santet diarahkan ke ketua dan wakil KPK

Paranormal Ki Sabdo Jagad Royo mendatangi Gedung KPK. Ki Sabdo mengaku datang ke KPK untuk memberitahu ada ancaman serius bagi para pimpinan KPK. Apa ancaman yang dimaksud Ki Sabdo?


"Ya banyak pokoknya. Dan itu dilakukan dengan cara-cara gaib yang tidak terlihat," imbuh paranormal asal Surabaya itu.

Saat ditanya siapa yang mengirimkan santet kepada pimpinan KPK tersebut, Ki Sabdo enggan menyebutkan secara detail. Menurutnya pihak-pihak yang saat ini ini sedang diendus korupsinya tidak senang dan akan menyantet para pimpinan KPK.

"Saya ingatkan kepada Ketua KPK dan wakilnya ada ancaman serius. Bahkan mengarah ke nyawa anda," ujar Ki Sabdo.

3. Ditemukan kantong plastik hitam isi kulit kayu

Gundukan tanah tidak wajar ditemukan di halaman KPK oleh petugas keamanan. Setelah digali ditemukan benda berupa bungkusan kantong plastik hitam berisikan kulit kayu berbau wangi kembang.


Selain itu ditemukan juga bungkus balsem dalam plastik putih. Benda-benda itu diduga sengaja dikirim oleh pihak bermasalah secara gaib dengan keperluan jahat seperti santet.

"Awalnya penjaga melihat ada gundukan tanah yang tidak wajar di halaman KPK, ketika digali kami menemukan benda tersebut," terang Juru Bicara KPK Johan Budi.

4. Anak buah hakim mau santet KPK

Hakim Agung Andi Abu Ayub Saleh mengungkapkan anak buahnya berencana mengirim teluh alias santet ke Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK). Menurut dia, anak buahnya, Suprapto, ingin melakukan itu karena takut ditangkap.


"Dia (Suprapto) bilang mau santet Mario, Djodi, KPK. Saya bilang, 'Mana bisa kau santet KPK'. KPK itu gedung," kata Andi.

Hal itu disampaikan Mario saat bersaksi dalam persidangan terdakwa kasus dugaan suap pengurusan kasasi perkara Hutomo Wijaya Ongowarsito di Mahkamah Agung dengan terdakwa Mario Cornelio Bernardo.

5. Serpihan garam di halaman KPK

Suatu hari para penjaga di Gedung KPK dikejutkan dengan berserakannya garam di halaman. Juru Bicara KPK Johan budi mengatakan hal tersebut memang sudah berulang kali terjadi.

"Ini bukan pertama kali kami menemukan benda-benda aneh di area gedung KPK," kata Johan.

 

Editor : Liwon Maulana

Sumber : Merdeka.com

Jangan Takut Dengan Beberapa Cerita klenik yang beredar di KPK

sejumlah khasiat buah pisang untuk menu diet harian anda

Manfaat Buah Pisang Dalam Diet : Tekstur lembut dan lunak telah merupakan ciri dari buah pisang yang menjadikannya mudah untuk dicerna dan diserap oleh tubuh. Selain itu kandungan gizi didalamnya juga sangat baik untuk tubuh anda

Dibawah ini adalah kandungan nutrisi buah pisang / 100 gr :

    kalori: 97 Kkal
    protein: 1,3 g
    lemak: 0,6 g
    serat: 21,6 g
    kalsium: 13 mg
    fosfor: 19 mg
    zat besi: 0,4 mg
    kalium: 370 mg
    beta karotena: 77 mikrogram
    vitamin B1: 0,004 mg
    vitamin B2: 0,04 mg
    vitamin B3:  0,6 mg
    vitamin C: 8 mg.

Dengan kandungan nutrisi tersebut, buah ini juga memang layak untuk dimasukkan kedalam menu diet, karena dapat menjadikan tubuh tetap bugar walaupun anda sedang mengurangi asupan makanan.

Salah satu hal yang telah menjadikan buah dengan wana kulit kuning pada umumnya ini adalah karena kandungan karbohidrat tak larutnya diklaim dapat membantu pengendalian berat badan. Karbohidrat jenis ini juga berkontribusi besar dalam memicu pembakaran lemak serta menimbulkan efek mengenyangkan.

Kandungan nutrisi lainnya seperti serat dan vitamin dalam buah pisang seperti A, B, dan C, juga dapat membantu untuk memperlancar sistem metabolisme tubuh, meningkatkan daya tahan tubuh dari radikal bebas penyebab penyakit. Serta menjaga kondisi perut anda tetap kenyang dalam waktu lama.

Untuk jenis pisangnya sendiri, para ahli gizi lebih menganjurkan untuk dapat menggunakan pisang Ambon dan Cavendish.

Agar mendapatkan manfaat buah pisang secara maksimal dalam diet anda, sebaiknya anda mengganti menu sarapan anda dengan buah pisang + segelas air hangat. Kemudian usahakan untuk tidak makan sesudah jam 08 hingga tiba makan siang.

 

MANFAAT BUAH PISANG DALAM DIET

Saco-Indonesia.com - Seperti halnya dengan kaset dan komunikasi tatap muka, jam tangan kini juga mulai kehilangan makna pentingnya dalam kehidupan modern. Apalagi kita punya ponsel yang bisa menunjukkan waktu, belum lagi komputer, tablet, dan berbagai gadget lainnya.

Namun, jam tangan disukai bukan hanya karena fungsinya saja. Sebagian besar wanita mengganggap jam tangan sebagai aksesoris yang bisa menunjang penampilan.

Berikut ada alasan lain mengapa jam tangan masih penting untuk dipakai:

1. Tak sopan cek ponsel terus menerus
Walau Anda bisa melihat dengan jelas jam yang tertera di ponsel, tetapi tak sopan jika sebentar-sebentar Anda membuka ponsel hanya untuk melihat jam.

2. Cek waktu tanpa repot
Tentu merepotkan saat kedua tangan Anda membawa tas, buku, tentengan belanja, atau menggandeng anak, namun Anda masih harus membuka ponsel untuk melihat jam. Jam tangan adalah solusinya.

3. Bagian dari fashion
Tak sulit menemukan jam tangan yang trendi dan terlihat indah saat dipakai. Jam tangan memang bagian dari fashion. Apalagi jika Anda malas memadukan pakaian dengan kalung, cincin, atau gelang. Cukup pilih jam tangan dengan strap yang menarik, penampilan pun terasa komplet.

4. Bagian dari identitas
Seperti halnya tas, jam tangan juga menjadi simbol dari status, asosiasi, dan identitas. Perhatikan seorang eksekutif muda yang memakai Rolex dan seorang mahasiswa yang memakai jam karet digital, sengaja atau tidak masing-masing memberi pesan tersendiri terhadap apa yang mereka pakai.

5. Bagian dari orang dewasa
Dibelikan jam tangan saat kita masih anak-anak menjadi sebuah milestone tersendiri karena itu berarti kita sudah mampu mengenali waktu. Sebagai orang dewasa, memakai jam tangan juga membuat kita merasa benar-benar seperti orang dewasa.

Sumber:kompas.com

Editor : Maulana Lee

5 Alasan untuk Tak Meninggalkan Jam Tangan

With 12 tournament victories in his career, Mr. Peete was the most successful black professional golfer before Tiger Woods.

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UNITED NATIONS — Wearing pinstripes and a pince-nez, Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, arrived at the Security Council one Tuesday afternoon in February and announced that President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to halt airstrikes over Aleppo. Would the rebels, Mr. de Mistura suggested, agree to halt their shelling?

What he did not announce, but everyone knew by then, was that the Assad government had begun a military offensive to encircle opposition-held enclaves in Aleppo and that fierce fighting was underway. It would take only a few days for rebel leaders, having pushed back Syrian government forces, to outright reject Mr. de Mistura’s proposed freeze in the fighting, dooming the latest diplomatic overture on Syria.

Diplomacy is often about appearing to be doing something until the time is ripe for a deal to be done.

 

 

Now, with Mr. Assad’s forces having suffered a string of losses on the battlefield and the United States reaching at least a partial rapprochement with Mr. Assad’s main backer, Iran, Mr. de Mistura is changing course. Starting Monday, he is set to hold a series of closed talks in Geneva with the warring sides and their main supporters. Iran will be among them.

In an interview at United Nations headquarters last week, Mr. de Mistura hinted that the changing circumstances, both military and diplomatic, may have prompted various backers of the war to question how much longer the bloodshed could go on.

“Will that have an impact in accelerating the willingness for a political solution? We need to test it,” he said. “The Geneva consultations may be a good umbrella for testing that. It’s an occasion for asking everyone, including the government, if there is any new way that they are looking at a political solution, as they too claim they want.”

He said he would have a better assessment at the end of June, when he expects to wrap up his consultations. That coincides with the deadline for a final agreement in the Iran nuclear talks.

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Whether a nuclear deal with Iran will pave the way for a new opening on peace talks in Syria remains to be seen. Increasingly, though, world leaders are explicitly linking the two, with the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, suggesting last week that a nuclear agreement could spur Tehran to play “a major but positive role in Syria.”

It could hardly come soon enough. Now in its fifth year, the Syrian war has claimed 220,000 lives, prompted an exodus of more than three million refugees and unleashed jihadist groups across the region. “This conflict is producing a question mark in many — where is it leading and whether this can be sustained,” Mr. de Mistura said.

Part Italian, part Swedish, Mr. de Mistura has worked with the United Nations for more than 40 years, but he is more widely known for his dapper style than for any diplomatic coups. Syria is by far the toughest assignment of his career — indeed, two of the organization’s most seasoned diplomats, Lakhdar Brahimi and Kofi Annan, tried to do the job and gave up — and critics have wondered aloud whether Mr. de Mistura is up to the task.

He served as a United Nations envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and before that in Lebanon, where a former minister recalled, with some scorn, that he spent many hours sunbathing at a private club in the hills above Beirut. Those who know him say he has a taste for fine suits and can sometimes speak too soon and too much, just as they point to his diplomatic missteps and hyperbole.

They cite, for instance, a news conference in October, when he raised the specter of Srebrenica, where thousands of Muslims were massacred in 1995 during the Balkans war, in warning that the Syrian border town of Kobani could fall to the Islamic State. In February, he was photographed at a party in Damascus, the Syrian capital, celebrating the anniversary of the Iranian revolution just as Syrian forces, aided by Iran, were pummeling rebel-held suburbs of Damascus; critics seized on that as evidence of his coziness with the government.

Mouin Rabbani, who served briefly as the head of Mr. de Mistura’s political affairs unit and has since emerged as one of his most outspoken critics, said Mr. de Mistura did not have the background necessary for the job. “This isn’t someone well known for his political vision or political imagination, and his closest confidants lack the requisite knowledge and experience,” Mr. Rabbani said.

As a deputy foreign minister in the Italian government, Mr. de Mistura was tasked in 2012 with freeing two Italian marines detained in India for shooting at Indian fishermen. He made 19 trips to India, to little effect. One marine was allowed to return to Italy for medical reasons; the other remains in India.

He said he initially turned down the Syria job when the United Nations secretary general approached him last August, only to change his mind the next day, after a sleepless, guilt-ridden night.

Mr. de Mistura compared his role in Syria to that of a doctor faced with a terminally ill patient. His goal in brokering a freeze in the fighting, he said, was to alleviate suffering. He settled on Aleppo as the location for its “fame,” he said, a decision that some questioned, considering that Aleppo was far trickier than the many other lesser-known towns where activists had negotiated temporary local cease-fires.

“Everybody, at least in Europe, are very familiar with the value of Aleppo,” Mr. de Mistura said. “So I was using that as an icebreaker.”

The cease-fire negotiations, to which he had devoted six months, fell apart quickly because of the government’s military offensive in Aleppo the very day of his announcement at the Security Council. Privately, United Nations diplomats said Mr. de Mistura had been manipulated. To this, Mr. de Mistura said only that he was “disappointed and concerned.”

Tarek Fares, a former rebel fighter, said after a recent visit to Aleppo that no Syrian would admit publicly to supporting Mr. de Mistura’s cease-fire proposal. “If anyone said they went to a de Mistura meeting in Gaziantep, they would be arrested,” is how he put it, referring to the Turkish city where negotiations between the two sides were held.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remains staunchly behind Mr. de Mistura’s efforts. His defenders point out that he is at the center of one of the world’s toughest diplomatic problems, charged with mediating a conflict in which two of the world’s most powerful nations — Russia, which supports Mr. Assad, and the United States, which has called for his ouster — remain deadlocked.

R. Nicholas Burns, a former State Department official who now teaches at Harvard, credited Mr. de Mistura for trying to negotiate a cease-fire even when the chances of success were exceedingly small — and the chances of a political deal even smaller. For his efforts to work, Professor Burns argued, the world powers will first have to come to an agreement of their own.

“He needs the help of outside powers,” he said. “It starts with backers of Assad. That’s Russia and Iran. De Mistura is there, waiting.”

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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.

Continue reading the main story
 

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.”

Continue reading the main story

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

Ms. Crough played the youngest daughter on the hit ’70s sitcom starring David Cassidy and Shirley Jones.

Suzanne Crough, Actress in ‘The Partridge Family,’ Dies at 52

The 2015 Met Gala has only officially begun, but there's a clear leader in the race for best couple, no small feat at an event that threatens to sap Hollywood of every celebrity it has for the duration of an East Coast evening.

That would be Marc Jacobs and his surprise guest (who, by some miracle, remained under wraps until their red carpet debut), Cher.

“This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,” Mr. Jacobs said.

It is Cher's first appearance at the Met Gala since 1997, when she arrived on the arm of Donatella Versace.

– MATTHEW SCHNEIER

Cher and Marc Jacobs

A lapsed seminarian, Mr. Chambers succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of the social justice umbrella group Industrial Areas Foundation.

Edward Chambers, Early Leader in Community Organizing, Dies at 85

Mr. Fox, known for his well-honed countrified voice, wrote about things dear to South Carolina and won over Yankee critics.

William Price Fox, Admired Southern Novelist and Humorist, Dies at 89

Public perceptions of race relations in America have grown substantially more negative in the aftermath of the death of a young black man who was injured while in police custody in Baltimore and the subsequent unrest, far eclipsing the sentiment recorded in the wake of turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.

Americans are also increasingly likely to say that the police are more apt to use deadly force against a black person, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.

The poll findings highlight the challenges for local leaders and police officials in trying to maintain order while sustaining faith in the criminal justice system in a racially polarized nation.

Sixty-one percent of Americans now say race relations in this country are generally bad. That figure is up sharply from 44 percent after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and the unrest that followed in Ferguson in August, and 43 percent in December. In a CBS News poll just two months ago, 38 percent said race relations were generally bad. Current views are by far the worst of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The negative sentiment is echoed by broad majorities of blacks and whites alike, a stark change from earlier this year, when 58 percent of blacks thought race relations were bad, but just 35 percent of whites agreed. In August, 48 percent of blacks and 41 percent of whites said they felt that way.

Looking ahead, 44 percent of Americans think race relations are worsening, up from 36 percent in December. Forty-one percent of blacks and 46 percent of whites think so. Pessimism among whites has increased 10 points since December.

Continue reading the main story
Do you think race relations in the United States are generally good or generally bad?
60
40
20
0
White
Black
May '14
May '15
Generally bad
Continue reading the main story
Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?
Getting worse
Staying the same
Getting better
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
44%
37
17
46
36
16
41
42
15

The poll finds that profound racial divisions in views of how the police use deadly force remain. Blacks are more than twice as likely to say police in most communities are more apt to use deadly force against a black person — 79 percent of blacks say so compared with 37 percent of whites. A slim majority of whites say race is not a factor in a police officer’s decision to use deadly force.

Overall, 44 percent of Americans say deadly force is more likely to be used against a black person, up from 37 percent in August and 40 percent in December.

Blacks also remain far more likely than whites to say they feel mostly anxious about the police in their community. Forty-two percent say so, while 51 percent feel mostly safe. Among whites, 8 in 10 feel mostly safe.

One proposal to address the matter — having on-duty police officers wear body cameras — receives overwhelming support. More than 9 in 10 whites and blacks alike favor it.

Continue reading the main story
How would you describe your feelings about the police in your community? Would you say they make you feel mostly safe or mostly anxious?
Mostly safe
Mostly anxious
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
75%
21
3
81
16
3
51
42
7
Continue reading the main story
In general, do you think the police in most communities are more likely to use deadly force against a black person, or more likely to use it against a white person, or don’t you think race affects police use of deadly force?
Police more likely to use deadly force against a black person
Police more likely to use deadly force against a white person
Race DOES NOT affect police use of deadly force
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
44%
37%
79%
2%
2%
1%
46%
53%
16%
9%
8%
4%
Continue reading the main story
Do you favor or oppose on-duty police officers wearing video cameras that would record events and actions as they occur?
Favor
Oppose
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
92%
93%
93%
6%
5%
5%
2%
2%
2%

Asked specifically about the situation in Baltimore, most Americans expressed at least some confidence that the investigation by local authorities would be conducted fairly. But while nearly two-thirds of whites think so, fewer than half of blacks agree. Still, more blacks are confident now than were in August regarding the investigation in Ferguson. On Friday, six members of the police force involved in the arrest of Mr. Gray were charged with serious offenses, including manslaughter. The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday; results from before charges were announced are similar to those from after.

Reaction to the recent turmoil in Baltimore, however, is similar among blacks and whites. Most Americans, 61 percent, say the unrest after Mr. Gray’s death was not justified. That includes 64 percent of whites and 57 percent of blacks.

Continue reading the main story
As you may know, a Baltimore man, Freddie Gray, recently died after being in the custody of the Baltimore police. How much confidence do you have that the investigation by local authorities into this matter will be conducted fairly?
A lot
Some
Not much
None at all
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
29%
31
22
14
5
31
33
20
11
5
20
26
30
22
In general, do you think the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray was justified, or do you think the unrest was not justified?
Justified
Not justified
Don't know/No answer
All adults
Whites
Blacks
28%
61
11
26
64
11
37
57
6

Negative View of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds

Ms. Rendell was a prolific writer of intricately plotted mystery novels that combined psychological insight, social conscience and teeth-chattering terror.

Ruth Rendell, Novelist Who Thrilled and Educated, Dies at 85

Mr. Tepper was not a musical child and had no formal training, but he grew up to write both lyrics and tunes, trading off duties with the other member of the team, Roy C. Bennett.

Sid Tepper Dies at 96; Delivered ‘Red Roses for a Blue Lady’ and Other Songs
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