PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018





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saco-indonesia.com, Warga Perumahan Dewata Permai, Desa Sading, Kecamatan Mengwi, Badung, Bali, telah dikejutkan dengan temuan ular sanca sepanjang 2,7 meter tak jauh dari permukiman mereka.
 
Hewan berbisa itu telah ditemukan tersangkut pancing yang sengaja dipasang warga lantaran sebelumnya telah menduga hewan tersebut berkeliaran di saluran irigasi di depan perumahan.
 
"Sehari sebelumnya, waktu mencari ayam piaraan saya, di sekitar lokasi, kok terdengar ada bunyi dan gerakan hewan seperti biawak bergerak cepat di saluran irigasi, " kata Budiono, warga perumahan, Selasa (4/2/2014).
 
Lantaran penasaran, dia langsung mencari ke mana hewan tersebut lari namun tidak kunjung ditemukan. Karena telah meyakini ada hewan berbahaya di sekitar tempat tinggal, sehingga Budiono telah memutuskan menangkapnya. Apalagi, anak-anak kerap bermain di sekitar lokasi untuk sekedar mencari ikan dan aktivitas lainnya.
 
Dipasanglah pancing di sekitar saluran air yang cukup jernih dengan dua mata pancing.

"Saya umpankan daging ayam, ketika saya cek lagi ke lokasi, ternyata hewan itu ular yang cukup panjang yang tersangkut pancing," imbuh pria asal Mojokerto, Jawa Timur itu.
 
Akhirnya, warga beramai-ramai untuk menangkap ular sanca atau phyton dengan warna warni hitam kecoklatan, abu-abu dengan bintik putih yang masih hidup. Setelah dengan susah payah mengeluarkan mata pancing yang menancap di leher ular, binatang melata itu kemudian diamankan dimasukkan karung. Binatang bersisik itu setelah diukur panjangnya mencapai 2,7 meter dan beratnya sekira 4,2 kilogram.
 
Temuan ular itu karuan telah menjadi tontonan warga perumahan terlebih anak-anak yang terlihat penasaran dengan hewan berbahaya itu. Setelah dipastikan aman, tak sedikit anak-anak tertarik sekedar memegang, mengelus tubuh ular tersebut. "Kalau tidak ditangkap, sangat membahayakan, apalagi anak-anak sering bermain di lokasi," jelasnya.
 
Untuk sementara, ular yang sudah terluka parah terkena pancing telah diamankankan oleh warga. Apakah nantinya akan dipelihara atau dijual, kata Budiono masih akan melihat perkembangan.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

WARGA DI BALI TELAH DIGEGERKAN DENGAN PENEMUAN ULAR SANCA 2,7 METER

Saco-Indonesia.com, Sudah kita fahami bersama bahwa tugas pokok hidup manusia di dunia ini adalah beribadah kepada Alloh, dan kita ketahui pula bahwa melaksanakan ibadah itu harus benar , artinya benar sesuai perintah dan petunjuk dari Alloh dan Rasulnya, maka agar ibadah kita ini tidak sia-sia , tidak musfro (tidak ada hasilnya) tetapi benar-benar diterima oleh Alloh, mendapatkan pahala dan dibalas Surga, maka terlebih dahulu kita tahu dan memahami peraturan2 dan garis2 dari Alloh dan Rasululloh SAW yang tertulis didalam  Al-Quran dan Al-Hadist ,

Al-Quran à sebagai Huda Linnas هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ= petunjuk bagi manusia dan Basyoirulinnas بصائرللناس = peneropong bagi manusia.....

Al-Hadist à Sebagai contoh dan peraktek ibadah yang telah dikerjakan oleh Rasululloh SAW .

Maka dengan memahami isi Quran dan Hadist kita dgn jelas kita bisa membedakan antara yg perintah dan larangan, antara yg haq dan yang batal, antara yg pahala dan dosa, antara yg halal dan harom dllsb. Disamping itu didalam melaksanakan ibadah kita yakin dan mantap bahwa ibadah yang kita kerjakan ini pasti benarnya, pasti syahnya, pasti diterima Alloh dan yakin di balas Surga ........ firman Alloh dalam Al-Quran surat Al- Anam ayat 153

وَأَنَّ هَذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ذَلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

Artinya:

Dan sesungguhnya ini (Al-Quran) adalah jalan-Ku (Alloh) yang benar maka ikutilah Al-Quran dan jangan mengikuti beberapa jalan (selain Al-Quran) maka beberapa jalan itu akan memisahkan kamu dari jalan Alloh, Demikian itu Alloh wasiat padamu agar kamu bertaqwa.

Dan firman Alloh lagi dalam surat Al-Imran 31

قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي ; يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

Artinya: Ktakanlah (Muhammad) jika kamu cinta pada Alloh maka ikutilah aku (nabi) maka Alloh akan cinta kepadamu dan mengampuni dosa kamu. Adapun Alloh Maha Pengampun lagi Penyayang.

Dan sabda Rasululloh SAW dalam riwayat Malik Muwatto’

تَرَكْتُ فِيكُمْ أَمْرَيْنِ لَنْ تَضِلُّوا مَا تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهِمَا كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَسُنَّةَ نَبِيِّهِ

Artinya: Telah kutinggalkan padamu 2 (dua) perkara yg kamu tidak akan tersesat selama berpegang teguh dengan 2 perkara tersebut yaitu : KITABULLOH (Al-Quran) dan sunnah nabiNya (Al-Hadist)

Dan sebaliknya dalam melaksanakan ibadah jangan sekali-kali berdasarkan keyakinan dan pendapat sendiri atau pendapat seseorang atau menurut keyakinan orang dalam melaksanakan ibadah, dengan kata lain hanya berdasarkan tulisan- tulisan atau kitab-kitab selain Quran dan Hadist yg belum jelas kebenarannya dan tidak ada jaminan kebenaran dari Alloh dan rasulnya yg akibatnya pasti akan menyimpang dari jalan kebenaran, maka ini pasti menjadi orang yg tersesat, menjadi orang yang dalam Al-Quran disebut “عَامِلَةٌ نَاصِبَةٌ = amalanya membuat musibah berdasarkan firman Alloh dalam Al-Quran surat Al-Anam 116

وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ

Artinya: Dan jika kamu (muhammad) mengikuti kebanyakan orang yg ada diatas bumi mereka akan menyesatkan mu dari jalan Alloh. Tidak ada mereka kecuali hanya mengikuti perasangkaan sendiri dan hanya berbuat dusta.

Dan ada lagi firman Alloh dalam surat Al-Baqoroh 79

وَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ لِيَشْتَرُوا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا فَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ

Artinya: maka neraka Wail bagi orang2 yg menulis kitab dengan tangan mereka dan mereka mengatakan bahwa ini dari sisi Alloh,mereka menukarkan/ menjual kitab Alloh dengan harga yg sedikit (demi kepentingan dunia) maka neraka wail bagi mereka yang menulis kitab dengan tangan mereka dan neraka wail pula bagi yang mengerjakannya.

Dengan  demikian ........  kita sebagai umat Islam harus menyadari bahwa bicara masalah agama dan masalah ibadah tidk dapat diukur dengan landasan pemikiran manusia.

Jika Alloh dan Rasulnya telah menetapkan bahwa itu benar........ kendatipun kebanyakan orang mengatakan salah...... dan akal kita tidak dapat menerimanya, akan tetapi itulah yang benar..........

Demikian pula sebaliknya jika Alloh dan RasulNYa telah perintahkan suatu perkara maka harus diterima seutuhnya...... dan apa adanya.... tidak boleh ditambah ataupun di kurangi sebab apa... menambah urusan ibadah berart BID”AH dan mengurangi urusan ibadah adalah KHIANAT........

Semoga nasehat ini bermanfaat bagi kita semua.................................

Oleh : H. Dar(ldii)

Editor:Liwon Maulana(galipat)

Sumber:Al'Quran & Al'Hadist

 

"Beribadah" Sesuai Kehendak Allah (1)

saco-indonesia.com, Rendi Aripin alias Ujang Ipin yang berusia (30) tahun , tersangka dalam penggelapan sepeda motor, telah ditemukan tewas gantung diri di ruang tahanan Mapolsek Warungkondang, Cianjur, Jawa Barat. Dia telah ditemukan dengan leher terjerat baju tahanan yang diikatkan ke jeruji besi.

"Tersangka mengakhiri hidupnya dengan cara gantung diri dengan memakai baju tahanan yang dia pakai selama dalam proses penyidikan," kata Kapolsek Warungkondang, Kompol Samsa S.

Menurut Samsa, kepolisian telah melakukan autopsi terkait penyebab kematian ini. Pihaknya juga telah meminta keterangan sejumlah saksi tahanan dan petugas jaga.

Sementara itu, Imas Liani yang berusia (32) tahun kakak kandung Ipin juga mengaku tidak menyangka adik bungsunya meninggal dengan cara bunuh diri. Pasalnya, siang hari sebelumnya Ipin masih dalam keadaan sehat.

"Senin lalu, kami juga mendapatkan surat pemberitahuan dari Polsek Warungkondang, adik kami ditahan. Tapi, baru esok harinya saya menjenguk. Anehnya, selang beberapa jam saya pulang, saya telah mendapatkan kabar dari polsek bahwa adik saya meninggal bunuh diri," terangnya.

Sebelum meninggal, jelas Imas, kepolisian telah memberitahukan adiknya untuk membuat surat wasiat. Namun, surat tersebut tidak diserahkan ke pihak keluarga hanya diperlihatkan.

"Surat itu berisi permintaan pada keluarga untuk dapat merawat anaknya, tapi surat itu tidak diberikan pada kami, hanya diperlihatkan sekilas saja," ucapnya.

Terkait hal itu, keluarga juga merasa ada kejanggalan dengan tewasnya Ipin. Lantaran, surat hasil otopsi belum diterima pihaknya.

Oleh sebab itu, pihak keluarga juga berharap hasil otopsi tersebut diserahkan pada keluarga agar tidak menjadi pertanyaan.

"Saya hanya meminta, kalaupun memang adik saya bunuh diri, tolong hasil otopsinya berikan ke kami. Jangan biarkan kami selalu bertanya-tanya," tandasnya.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

IPIN TEWAS GANTUNG DIRI

saco-indonesia.com, Dedikasi yang telah ditunjukkan oleh Cristiano Ronaldo terhadap profesi yang ia telah tekuni memang sangat luar biasa. Meski belum lama ini telah meraih Ballon d"Or 2013 berkat produktifitas golnya di musim lalu, Ronaldo ingin melampaui catatan yang telah ia buat tersebut.

Di sepanjang tahun 2013, Ronaldo telah mencetak tak kurang dari 69 gol bersama Real Madrid dan tim nasional Portugal. Prestasi apik tersebut kemudian telah membuatnya berhasil mengalahkan Lionel Messi dan Franck Ribery untuk dapat merebut Ballon d"Or belum lama ini.

"Saya harap saya bisa menghindari cedera, penting bagi saya untuk terus berada di form terbaik. Mencetak lebih dari 69 gol (dalam satu tahun kalender), akan sulit namun saya siap untuk dapat mencoba melakukannya," tutur Ronaldo pada Telefoot.

"Saya bekerja keras untuk dapat mencapai raihan itu, kita lihat saja namun sepertinya itu bisa dilakukan," pungkasnya.

Mungkinkan Ronaldo mengakhiri 2014 ini dengan gebrakan rekor baru? Bagaimana menurut kalian Bolaneters?


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

RONALDO SIAPKAN REKOR BARU

Semuanya sudah terprogram, rapi, tersusun, terencana tapi unpredictable dan yang pasti Allah mempercayakan prosesi ini pada sosok yang tepat "IZROIL", malaikat yang saklek dengan aturan tanpa kompromi dan tawar menawar.

Pokoknya "Yang pernah hidup di dunia, pasti akan mati tepat pada jadwal yang sudah ada di server utama "LAUHIL MAHFUDZ"". Perlu diketahui kawan tinta Allah telah kering yang sudah JADI lama sekali bahkan sebelum Allah menciptakan langit dan bumi.

Peraturan tentang kematian Adalah :

1. Datang pada sesuatu yang pernah hidup

Allah SWT berfirman : "Kullu Nafsin Dzaaiqotul Maut" ( 3 : 185 )
Tiap-tiap yang berjiwa akan merasakan mati

Tenang saja kawan ... gak usah merinding, takut, atau ngeri. Biasa sajalah ... Masih bernafas kan.. ?? ( alhamdulillah dulu dong .. :) )

2. Datangnya sewaktu-waktu  

Allah SWT berfirman "Ainama takuunu Yud'riikumul mautu Walau kuntum fii Burujim Musyayyadah" ( 4 : 78 )
Di mana saja kamu berada, kematian akan mendapatkan kamu, kendatipun kamu di dalam benteng yang tinggi lagi kokoh.

Sayangnya malaikat Izroil bukan mbah Google yang setia menjawab setiap pertanyaan kita. Malaikat Izroil juga gak punya operator hotline yang bisa menjawab telpon kita setiap saat kita butuhkan.
Makanya manusia secerdas Einstein aja gak tahu kapan ajalnya. Belum ada dan saya jamin gak bakalan ada sebuah penemuan manusia yang bisa nemuin "Kalkulator usia" ... Alat untuk menghitung ajal manusia.

Dan sayangnya juga malaikat Izroil juga tetap bisa melakukan tugasnya dimanapun dengan cara apapun ...
Gak butuh "Death note",
Gak terpengaruh harga BBM yang naik,
Gak bisa KO sama Bodyguard sekuat apapun
Gak ada yang bisa kucing- kucingan sama malaikat yang satu ini kayak di film "Christmas Caroline".
Gak ada yang bisa diajak tukeran,
Kalo waktunya datang gak bisa nawar, bahkan Koruptor selicik apapun gak bisa melobi usianya sendiri.

3. Kematian bukanlah akhir segalanya

Jangan percaya kalo ada yang bilang "Hidup cuma sekali". Yang bener "Mati itu cuma sekali, kalo hidup berkali-kali, sebelum hidup ini kan udah pernah hidup di alam arwah sama alam kandungan, bahkan abis mati kita idup lagi". ( Bukaan, bukan reinkarnasi macam kerasakti ato Avatar gitu ... Maksudnya dibangkitkan lagi untuk menerima rapor di Hari Kebangkitan Internasional trus kita hidup deh di akhirat )

Allah SWT berfirman : Fiiha tahyauna wa fiiha tamuutuuna wa fiiha tukhrojuun ( 7 : 25 )
"Disanalah ( Bumi ) kalian dihidupkan, disanalah kalian dimatikan, dan disanalah kalian dibangkitkan"

4. Sudah ada jadwalnya

Dan kalo jadwalnya udah dateng, Malaikat Izroil pasti datang. Gak bakalan ada dialog macam iklan rokok "Wani piro?" ( Kecuali dulu nabi Musa AS ).

"Wa maa kaana linafsin an tamuuta illa biidznillahi kitaaban muajjala" ( 3 : 145 )
Tiada sesuatu yang hidup kecuali dengan idzin Allah sebagai ketetapan yang telah ditentukan waktunya.

Hehe tenang saja kawan .... kalau belum waktunya gak akan datang kok Malaikat Izroilnya. Walopun misalnya ada orang yang udah pengen mati, trus manggil manggil malaikat Izroil, sms, bbm, mensen, ngewall hehe ( emang malaikat Izroil punya hp).


5. Ada saat dimana Kematian akan mati
Akan tiba saat dimana Allah akan memensiunkan Izroil yakni ketika Kematian telah mati.

Dalam Kitabu Sifati jannah wannar diterangkan bahwa suatu hari diakhirat nanti penduduk surga dan penduduk neraka harus menghentikan aktivitasnya, Allah akan memberi pengumuman pada seluruh penduduk akhirat. Penduduk surga khawatir, jika kehidupan nikmatnya disurga akan berakhir. Penduduk Neraka bahagia, karena mungkin siksaannya akan berakhir. Kemudian Allah memberi pengumuman bahwa kematian telah diserupakan dengan kambing, dan pada hari itu kematian akan disembelih mati. Semenjak saat itu, tak ada lagi kefanaan, semua hidup selamanya. Yang di neraka disiksa selamanya tanpa terhenti waktu. Yang di surga nikmat kekal selamanya.

6. Menjadi Peringatan Buat Orang iman

Kalo Kholifah Umar pernah ngendikan, "Kafaa bil mauti Mauidzoh", Cukuplah kematian menjadi peringatan.

Mau apa lagi sih ... Pada akhirnya kan manusia cuma satu aja bisanya ... "menuhin kuota umurnya dengan ngisi buku catatan amal"

Nah, pertanyaannya ... sampai detik ini, sampai hembusan nafas yang ini, catatan mana yang paling banyak terisi ...

DEMI KIAAAAAAAAAAAN!!

Sumber: Dika Syahida/ldii

Editor:Liwon Maulana(galipat)

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Take the Money and Run

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.

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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

Gagne wrestled professionally from the late 1940s until the 1980s and was a transitional figure between the early 20th century barnstormers and the steroidal sideshows of today

Verne Gagne, Wrestler Who Grappled Through Two Eras, Dies at 89

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
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’

Judge Patterson helped to protect the rights of Attica inmates after the prison riot in 1971 and later served on the Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Robert Patterson Jr., Lawyer and Judge Who Fought for the Accused, Dies at 91

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.

Photo
 
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

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

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