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Indonesia memiliki perjalanan sejarah panjang dalam perkembangan agama - agama, dimana didalamnya juga terdapat warisan peninggalan sejarah dan budaya nusantara.

Saat ini kami memiliki paket - paket wisata rohani Islam yang dapat dijadikan wacana dan wawasan pengetahuan dan pendalaman keimanan peserta wisata paket rohani ini.

Walisongo

Walisongo  dikenal sebagai penyebar agama Islam di tanah Jawa pada abad ke 15 dan 16. Mereka tinggal di tiga wilayah penting pantai utara Pulau Jawa, yaitu Surabaya-Gresik-Lamongan di Jawa Timur, Demak-Kudus-Muria di Jawa Tengah, dan Cirebon di Jawa Barat. Yakni Surabaya-Gresik-Lamongan di Jawa Timur, Demak-Kudus-Muria di Jawa Tengah, serta Cirebon di Jawa Barat. Mereka adalah para intelektual yang menjadi pembaharu masyarakat pada masanya.

Mereka mengenalkan berbagai bentuk peradaban baru: mulai dari kesehatan, bercocok tanam, niaga, kebudayaan dan kesenian, kemasyarakatan hingga pemerintahan. Era Walisongo adalah era berakhirnya dominasi Hindu-Budha dalam budaya Nusantara untuk digantikan dengan kebudayaan Islam. Mereka adalah simbol penyebaran Islam di Indonesia, disamping tokoh - tokoh terkemuka penyebaran Islam khususnya di tanah Jawa. Namun peranan mereka yang sangat besar dalam mendirikan Kerajaan Islam di Jawa, juga pengaruhnya terhadap kebudayaan masyarakat secara luas serta dakwah secara langsung, membuat para Walisongo ini lebih banyak disebut dibanding yang lain.

Berwisata rohani dengan melakukan napak tilas, mengunjungi makam mereka  (ziarah makam walisongo) merupakan satu bentuk wisata rohani yang banyak dilakukan oleh wisatawan lokal, dan banyak juga wisatawan asing yang berkunjung dan berziarah ke makam para wali songo ini.

Ziarah wali songo banyak dilakukan juga oleh rombongan  kelompok pengajian yang ingin mengenal lebih dekat para wali songo melalui ziarah makam para wali songo (wali songo) ini, untuk meningkatkan pengetahuan dan keimanan islam yang sedang didalami / dipelajari.

Paket wisata ziarah walisongo / ziarah wali songo ini dapat dipilih per - masing - masing wali, beberapa wali atau ke-sembilan wali tersebut.

Paket Wisata Ziarah Wali Songo juga menyajikan akomodasi dan aneka keperluan wisata ziarah wali songo; konsumsi, transportasi, bakar kambing, door prize dll.

Banten Lama

Banten memiliki sejarah panjang sebagai satu bagian dari jejak perkembangan islam & perlawanan terhadap penjajahan Belanda di tanah air. Sejarah Sunda Lama - Kerajaan Mataram - merupakan bagian dari histori Banten.

Ternyata memang sejarah Kerajaan Islam Banten sejak abad ke-16 hingga abad ke-19 belum terkuak secara detail hingga saat ini. Potongan-potongan sejarah Kerajaan Islam Banten masih ditelusuri dan dikumpulkan oleh para sejarawan sampai detik ini.

Terdapat Situs Keraton Surosowan (pada tahun 1552), Keraton Kaibon (Ratu Aisyah - Ibunda Sultan Maulana Hasanudin), Masjid Agung (Masjid Agung Tanara - peninggalan Kesultanan Banten dibawah Sultan Maulana Hasanudin 1552 - 1570), Masjid Kasunyatan (terdapat makam syeikh Abdul Syukur Sepuh, Syeikh Abdul Syukur Putra - sejaman dengan wali songo), Kompleks pemakaman Sultan Maulana Yusuf

Dipandu oleh Tour Guide yang sangat memahami obyek wisata rohani tersebut, serta dapat memandu ritual ibadah yang tidak menyimpang dan tidak menyalahi kaidah - kaidah dalam islam.

Sumber : http://www.bandungtourtravel.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : HAKEKAT WISATA ISLAM

PAKET WISATA ROHANI

saco-indonesia.com, Mabes Polri telah menggerebek tempat penampungan calon Tenaga Kerja Wanita ilegal di Kota Bekasi, Jawa Barat. Dari 161 calon pekerja, 20 di antaranya telah diketahui masih di bawah umur.

Informasi yang telah berhasil dihimpun, dari para calon TKW tersebut telah didatangkan oleh salah satu agen ketenagakerjaan dari berbagai wilayah di Indonesia. Di antaranya, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Nusa Tenggara Barat, berbagai wilayah di Pulau Jawa, dan Kalimantan.

Para calon TKW tersebut tiba di tempat penampungan sejak tiga bulan yang lalu. Oleh agen ketenagakerjaan yang telah membawa, mereka akan dijanjikan pekerjaan ke luar negeri dan diberi uang saku sebesar Rp 1 juta. Namun, hingga saat ini tak ada kepastian.

"Sampai sekarang belum berangkat," kata RH yang berusia (17) tahun di lokasi, Selasa (24/12).

Kanit Traficking Inperson Subdit 3 Pidum Mabes Polri, Kompol Arie Dharmanto, juga mengatakan, pihaknya masih harus melakukan penyelidikan kasus tersebut guna untuk melakukan pengembangan.

Pagi ini, rencananya para calon TKW tersebut akan ditampung kembali di Save House Kementerian Sosial di Jakarta. Usai didata kembali, mereka juga akan dipulangkan ke daerah asal masing-masing.

Mabes Polri telah menggerebek tempat penampungan calon Tenaga Kerja Wanita di sebuah rumah mewah di Jalan Cendana, Perumahan Jakasampurna, Kecamatan Bekasi Barat. Pembongkaran kasus itu atas pengembangan kasus yang tengah ditangani oleh Pengadilan Tinggi Malaysia.

Polisi juga telah mengamankan dua orang tersangka atas dugaan kasus traficking tersebut. Keduanya Y dan V telah diamankan di NTT, dan kini masih harus menjalani pemeriksaan intensif penyidik.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

161 CALON TKI DIAMANKAN OLEH POLISI

Saco-Indonesia.com - Penderita kanker di negara ini mendapat beban vonis dua kali. Selain usia dipastikan berakhir oleh dokter saat stadium mencapai tahap lanjut, vonis kedua adalah mahalnya ongkos harus dikeluarkan untuk obatnya.

Ambil contoh harga sorafenib, zat kimia penting bagi penderita kanker hati atau ginjal supaya perkembangan sel jahat berkurang. Seorang pasien butuh hingga Rp 50-an juta menebus obat itu buat konsumsi rutin sebulan.

Itu di luar biaya kemoterapi Rp 2-6 juta sekali sesi. Tak salah bila Yayasan Kanker Indonesia melansir kira-kira satu penderita butuh biaya Rp 102 juta per bulan untuk mempertahankan hidupnya.

Komponen obat jadi salah satu paling membebani. Hal itu dibenarkan oleh Marius Widjajarta, dokter masuk tim perumus harga obat Kementerian Kesehatan. "Obat riset itu mencakup 20 persen dari yang beredar di pasaran. Rata-rata memang untuk penyakit-penyakit berat, kanker, HIV, flu burung, dan semacamnya. Harganya mahal karena ada paten yang harus dibayarkan pada perusahaan sebagai penemunya," ujarnya kepada merdeka.com awal bulan ini.

Akan tetapi kondisi ini bukannya tanpa jalan keluar. Khususnya supaya harga obat lebih terjangkau bagi penderita penyakit kronis. Akar dari mahalnya obat paten adalah Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Ini beleid perlindungan hak paten produsen obat hasil riset wajib dipatuhi Organisasi Perdagangan Dunia (WTO).

Hal itu disampaikan pengamat isu kesehatan dari lembaga swadaya Indonesia for Global Justice, Rachmi Hertanti. Dia meyakini beban ongkos paten menjerat itu masih bisa dilobi pemerintah.

Itu berkaca pada artikel nomor 31 dari ketentuan WTO mengenai TRIPS. "Setiap anggota bebas menggunakan metode sesuai dalam mengimplementasikan ketentuan terdapat dalam perjanjian sesuai ketentuan hukum mereka miliki."

"Artinya suatu negara dibolehkan memproduksi atau mengimpor obat dari pihak ketiga, tidak harus dari pemegang paten, jika ada suatu situasi-situasi yang dianggap darurat," ujar Rachmi. "Sehingga harganya bisa jadi lebih murah."

Pemerintah bukannya tidak mengetahui celah hukum itu. Terbukti pada Oktober 2012, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono mengeluarkan keputusan presiden mengesampingkan paten dari tujuh obat HIV/AIDS dan hepatitis C dimiliki oleh Merck & Co, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott, dan Gilead.

Dampaknya segera dirasakan pasien karena harga obat paten langsung menjadi lebih murah. Contohnya beban belanja lopinavir dan ritonavir dibutuhkan penderita HIV memperpanjang hidupnya menjadi tak sampai Rp 100 ribu buat kebutuhan sebulan.

Rachmi menyatakan pemerintah bisa mengupayakan harga obat paten lain diturunkan meniru kebijakan buat penderita HIV. "Penyakit kanker atau jantung, sebenarnya hampir 70 persen dari penyebab kematian di negara kita, butuh kebijakan serupa," tuturnya.

Apalagi negara di kawasan sudah menjalankan negosiasi TRIPS. Ambil contoh Thailand pada 2008 menerbitkan lisensi mengabaikan paten buat beberapa jenis obat kanker. Hasilnya, harga docetaxel dan letrozol turun 24 kali lipat dari harga normal. Negeri Gajah Putih ini juga mengabaikan paten buat clopidogrel biasa dikonsumsi penderita kanker paru sehingga harganya turun 91 persen dari pasaran.

India lebih agresif lagi mengabaikan paten. Data Organisasi kemanusiaan medis internasional Medecins Sans Frontieres/Dokter Lintas Batas (MSF) menunjukkan negara itu mengabaikan paten atas sorafenib. Obat kanker itu dari awalnya seharga hampir Rp 50 juta, turun drastis menjadi hanya Rp 1,7 jutaan.

Negeri Sungai Gangga, melalui Mahkamah Agung , memaksa perusahaan obat Bayer asal Jerman pada 2012 melepas hak eksklusif paten atas bermacam obat kanker.

"Thailand dan India nyatanya berani, ini perkara kemauan politik saja," kata Rachmi menegaskan.

Masalahnya, pemerintah akhir tahun lalu justru memperlemah daya saing industri farmasi lokal melalui revisi Daftar Negatif Investasi (DNI) untuk sektor farmasi. Perusahaan luar tadinya hanya boleh menguasai 75 persen saham, kini diperbesar jatahnya menjadi 85 persen.

Situasi ini akan membuat mereka semakin dominan dibanding pabrik obat lokal. Sebab, 24 perusahaan asing beroperasi di Indonesia menguasai 80 persen pasar obat paten.

Rachmi mengingatkan kesuksesan India dan Thailand disokong oleh kesiapan farmasi lokalnya memproduksi obat tersebut. Artinya, tanpa ada industri dalam negeri kuat, pengabaian TRIPS jadi percuma. "Kalau asing semakin diperlonggar masuk ke Indonesia, dia harus diwajibkan kerja sama transfer teknologi dengan BUMN farmasi," usulnya.

Marius punya gagasan lain lagi. Dia melihat beberapa obat bermerek dikuasai farmasi asing patennya sudah kadaluarsa. Artinya, status mereka hanyalah generik bermerek. Obat-obat semacam itu, misalnya Topamax, dibutuhkan penderita epilepsi, wajib dikontrol Kementerian Kesehatan.

Dia mengaku punya data generik bermerek adalah satu satu sektor harganya gila-gilaan tanpa pernah dikontrol. "Obat merek itu harganya dilepas begitu saja. Data saya ada yang 40-60 kali lipat dari harga generiknya," kata Marius.

Ini juga perkara kemauan politik. Kenyataannya, Marius melihat data harga obat dipasok industri untuk program pemerintah dilepas hanya 3-4 kali dari biaya produksi. "Mekanisme pengendalian harga jual harus dibuat," kata Ketua Yayasan Pemberdayaan Konsumen Kesehatan Indonesia ini.

Editor : Maulana Lee

Sumber : Merdeka.com

Turunnya Harga obat terserah kemauan politik

Dua keluarga telah terlibat perkelahian lantaran merebutkan sebuah lahan minyak milik Pertamina Depo Banuayu di Terminal Bahan Bakar Minyak (TBBM) Kecamatan Lubuk Batang Kabupaten Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU), Sumsel.

dalam insiden berdarah itu, tiga orang telah dibawa ke rumah sakit karena mengalami luka bacokan. Sementara satu orang menjadi korban dalam peristiwa rebutan lahan tersebut.

Korban yang diketahui bernama Nasarudin (50), ia tewas di tangan Mer (30) yang tak lain merupakan tetangga korban. Nasarudin telah diketahui tewas karena mendapat tikaman dari Mer yang lebih muda 20 tahun darinya.

Kasus penusukan ini lantas masuk ke pengadilan Baturaja. Sidang dipimpin Hakim Ketua Jimi Maruli, dengan didampingi oleh dua hakim anggota Hartati dan Madela N Sai Reeve .

Dalam dakwaan yang telah dibacakan oleh Jaksa Penuntut Umum (JPU) Depati, karena pengakuan terdakwa dalam persidangan terkesan yang tidak mengakui perbuatannya padahal tindakan terdakwa menghilangkan nyawa orang lain dinilai sangat tidak manusiawi. "Kami telah menjerat terdakwa dengan pasal 338 KUHP tentang penganiayaan yang menyebabkan orang lain meninggal dunia dengan ancaman hukuman maksimal 20 tahun penjara," kata Depati.

Meski begitu, selama persidangan sikap terdakwa yang selalu kooperatif dan berkelakuan baik selama di tahan. Serta pertimbangan lain seperti terdakwa yang juga merupakan tulang punggung keluarga, JPU akhirnya memutuskan menuntut terdakwa 10 tahun penjara.

"Kami juga telah memberikan kesempatan kepada terdakwa untuk dapat menyiapkan pembelaan dalam tempo sepekan," kata salah satu majelis hakim.

Rebutan lahan minyak, dua keluarga saling bacok

saco-indonesia.com, http://sport.detik.com/read/2013/06/04/154421/2264506/79/pulautidungjaya.com/73983937

UJIAN UNTUK KEBANGKITAN BULUTANGKIS INDONESIA

Ms. Turner and her twin sister founded the Love Kitchen in 1986 in a church basement in Knoxville, Tenn., and it continues to provide clothing and meals.

Ellen Turner Dies at 87; Opened Kitchen to Feed the Needy of Knoxville

Ms. Plisetskaya, renowned for her fluidity of movement, expressive acting and willful personality, danced on the Bolshoi stage well into her 60s, but her life was shadowed by Stalinism.

Maya Plisetskaya, Ballerina Who Embodied Bolshoi, Dies at 89

Mr. Miller, of the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, represented companies including Lehman Brothers, General Motors and American Airlines, and mentored many of the top Chapter 11 practitioners today.

Harvey R. Miller, Renowned Bankruptcy Lawyer, Dies at 82
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

A former member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Smedvig helped found the wide-ranging Empire Brass quintet.

Rolf Smedvig, Trumpeter in the Empire Brass, Dies at 62

WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the C.I.A. asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the C.I.A. should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The official, Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.

Photo
 
Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.

A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.

In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), Mr. Morell praises his C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other C.I.A. failings — and those of the National Security Agency.

Soon after Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.

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“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”

He concludes that most Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the N.S.A. was doing” compared with the C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.

“The N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.

The book is to be released next week.

Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.

Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.

Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the C.I.A., Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.

But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.

The experience prompted Mr. Morell to write that the C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.

But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.

Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.

“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.

Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.

Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”

Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.

Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.

“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”

Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’

Mr. Mankiewicz, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for “I Want to Live!,” also wrote episodes of television shows such as “Star Trek” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Don Mankiewicz, Screenwriter in a Family Film Tradition, Dies at 93

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.”

With Iran Talks, a Tangled Path to Ending Syria’s War
Children playing last week in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was raised. One young resident called it “a tough community.”
Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Children playing last week in Sandtown-Winchester, the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was raised. One young resident called it “a tough community.”

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

Hard but Hopeful Home to ‘Lot of Freddies’

Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.

Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.

Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science, offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.

Photo
 
Credit Peter Arkle

Ms. Reid interviewed more than 100 people in the American offices of a global consulting firm and had access to performance reviews and internal human resources documents. At the firm there was a strong culture around long hours and responding to clients promptly.

“When the client needs me to be somewhere, I just have to be there,” said one of the consultants Ms. Reid interviewed. “And if you can’t be there, it’s probably because you’ve got another client meeting at the same time. You know it’s tough to say I can’t be there because my son had a Cub Scout meeting.”

Some people fully embraced this culture and put in the long hours, and they tended to be top performers. Others openly pushed back against it, insisting upon lighter and more flexible work hours, or less travel; they were punished in their performance reviews.

The third group is most interesting. Some 31 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women whose records Ms. Reid examined managed to achieve the benefits of a more moderate work schedule without explicitly asking for it.

They made an effort to line up clients who were local, reducing the need for travel. When they skipped work to spend time with their children or spouse, they didn’t call attention to it. One team on which several members had small children agreed among themselves to cover for one another so that everyone could have more flexible hours.

A male junior manager described working to have repeat consulting engagements with a company near enough to his home that he could take care of it with day trips. “I try to head out by 5, get home at 5:30, have dinner, play with my daughter,” he said, adding that he generally kept weekend work down to two hours of catching up on email.

Despite the limited hours, he said: “I know what clients are expecting. So I deliver above that.” He received a high performance review and a promotion.

What is fascinating about the firm Ms. Reid studied is that these people, who in her terminology were “passing” as workaholics, received performance reviews that were as strong as their hyper-ambitious colleagues. For people who were good at faking it, there was no real damage done by their lighter workloads.

It calls to mind the episode of “Seinfeld” in which George Costanza leaves his car in the parking lot at Yankee Stadium, where he works, and gets a promotion because his boss sees the car and thinks he is getting to work earlier and staying later than anyone else. (The strategy goes awry for him, and is not recommended for any aspiring partners in a consulting firm.)

A second finding is that women, particularly those with young children, were much more likely to request greater flexibility through more formal means, such as returning from maternity leave with an explicitly reduced schedule. Men who requested a paternity leave seemed to be punished come review time, and so may have felt more need to take time to spend with their families through those unofficial methods.

The result of this is easy to see: Those specifically requesting a lighter workload, who were disproportionately women, suffered in their performance reviews; those who took a lighter workload more discreetly didn’t suffer. The maxim of “ask forgiveness, not permission” seemed to apply.

It would be dangerous to extrapolate too much from a study at one firm, but Ms. Reid said in an interview that since publishing a summary of her research in Harvard Business Review she has heard from people in a variety of industries describing the same dynamic.

High-octane professional service firms are that way for a reason, and no one would doubt that insane hours and lots of travel can be necessary if you’re a lawyer on the verge of a big trial, an accountant right before tax day or an investment banker advising on a huge merger.

But the fact that the consultants who quietly lightened their workload did just as well in their performance reviews as those who were truly working 80 or more hours a week suggests that in normal times, heavy workloads may be more about signaling devotion to a firm than really being more productive. The person working 80 hours isn’t necessarily serving clients any better than the person working 50.

In other words, maybe the real problem isn’t men faking greater devotion to their jobs. Maybe it’s that too many companies reward the wrong things, favoring the illusion of extraordinary effort over actual productivity.

How Some Men Fake an 80-Hour Workweek, and Why It Matters

Ms. Meadows was the older sister of Audrey Meadows, who played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners.”

Jayne Meadows, Actress and Steve Allen’s Wife and Co-Star, Dies at 95

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

Mr. Paczynski was one of the concentration camp’s longest surviving inmates and served as the personal barber to its Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss.

Jozef Paczynski, Inmate Barber to Auschwitz Commandant, Dies at 95

Mr. King sang for the Drifters and found success as a solo performer with hits like “Spanish Harlem.”

Ben E. King, Soulful Singer of ‘Stand by Me,’ Dies at 76
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