PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2018




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    saco-indonesia.com,


    Kau terbangun dari tidur panjang yang lelahkan mu
    Sesali wajah mu merenta, kisah mu terlupa
    Kau sadari semua yang berjalan t’lah tinggalkan mu
    Dan tak dapat merangkai semua, dekat di khayal mu

    [#:]
    Kau harapkan keajaiban datang hadir dipundakmu
    Kau harapkan keajaiban meleng-kapi khayal mu

    Reff:
    Kau biarkan mimpi tetap -
    -mimpi yang meleng-kapi khayalmu
    Kau terhenyak dan terbangunkan,
    harapkan keajaiban datang, hadir di pundak mu

    Kau mencari letak masa lalu yang lepaskan mu
    Sesali wajah mu merenta, kisah mu terlupa
    Kau sadari semua yang berjalan t’lah tinggalkan mu
    Dan tak dapat merangkai semua, dekat di khayal mu

    back to [#] , Reff

    [Interlude]

    back to Reff


    Editor : Dian Sukmawati

 

PETERPAN TERTINGGALKAN WAKTU

Tips Memilih Mobil Rental di Surabaya

Berikut beberapa tips dalam memilih mobil rental di Surabaya. Seperti kita ketahui, melakukan perjalanan keluar kota, baik perjalanan wisata maupun perjalanan bisnis adalah hal yang melelahkan. Untuk itu akan lebih efektif  jika dilakukan dengan menggunakan jasa rental mobil. Selain lebih efisien, menggunakan jasa sewa mobil surabaya akan membuat perjalanan Anda lebih nyaman dan menyenangkan.

Oke langsung saja Anda baca beberapa tips singkat dalam memilih kendaraan rental:

    Pilih mobil Sesuai Dengan Kebutuhan. Jika Anda hendak melakukan perjalanan dengan anggota keluarga atau rekan bisnis yang berjumlah 3-4 orang, maka pilihan untuk menggunakan mobil keluarga seperti Grand Livina, Avanza/Xenia atau Innova sepertinya dapat membuat perjalanan Anda dan keluarga / rekan kerja menjadi nyaman.
    Hemat BBM. Dalam memutuskan menggunakan jasa rental mobil surabaya sebaiknya Anda mempertimbangkan pemakaian BBM. Apakah biaya sewa mobil Anda include BBM atau BBM Anda tanggung sendiri. Untuk lebih efisien, sebelum Anda melakukan booking mobil, Anda hitung berapa jarak tempuh perjalanan Anda.
    Efisiensi Biaya. Jika Anda melakukan perjalan dengan jumlah penumpang yang cukup banyak. Sebaiknya Anda memilih mobil berjenis minibus atau van. Hal ini juga dapat menghemat pengeluaran biaya secara keseluruhan jika dibandingkan Anda harus membeli tiket kereta per orang.
    Cek kondisi mobil. Jangan hanya melihat kondisi mobil dari tampilan luarnya saja, tetapi juga harus mengecek kondisi mobil secara keseluruhan, seperti kondisi mesin, rem, ban dan lain-lain. Jika Anda tidak mengertihal-hal teknis mengenai mobil, maka jangan ragu untuk menanyakannya kepada pihak penyedia jasa sewa / rental mobil untuk menjelaskan hal tersebut.
    Pilih mobil sesuai dengan kondisi medan Memilih jenis mobil untuk perjalanan Anda sebaiknya Anda sesuaikan dengan medan yang akan Anda tempuh dan juga tujuan perjalan Anda. Jika Anda akan melakukan perjalanan keluar kota dengan seluruh anggota keluarga dan akan melalui medan yang cukup berat, seperti medan pegunungan. Maka pilihlah mobil keluarga dengan tenaga yang besar. Mobil-mobil dengan mesin/bahan bakar disel dapat menjadi pilihan.


Semoga sedikit tips di atas terkait bagaimana cara memilih jenis mobil untuk perjalanan wisata / perjalanan bisnis yang akan Anda lakukan bisa bermanfaat untuk Anda.

TIPS MEMILIH MOBIL RENTAL DI SURABAYA
2. Zaman Minangkabau Timur Istilah ini dipinjam dari istilah yang dikemukakan oleh Drs. M. D. Mansoer dkk, dalam bukunya, Sejarah Minangkabau, dikatakannya Minangkabau mengalami dua periode, yaitu periode Minangkabau Timur yang berlangsung antara abad ketujuh sampai kira-kira tahun 1350 dan periode Minangkabau Pagaruyung antara tahun 1347-1809. Dikatakannya, bahwa kerajaan-kerajaan lama, pusat perdagangan lada, pusat perekonomian, politik dan budaya yang pertama timbul dan berkembang di Minangkabau adalah di lembah aliran Batang Hari dan Sungai Dareh. Daerah itu berkembang pada abad ke tujuh sampai pertengahan abad keempat belas. Secara geografis memang pantai timur pulau Sumatera lebih memungkinkan untuk dilayari oleh kapal-kapal dagang yang dapat berlayar sampai masuk jauh kepedalaman. Daerah pantai Sumatera Timur ini pulalah yangdahulu didatangi oleh nenek moyang orang Minangkabau yang berlayar sampai ke daerah Mahat di Kabupaten Lima Puluh Kota sebelah Utara. Pedagang-pedagang Islam yang mula-mula ke Minangkabau juga melalui daerah ini, sehingga perdagangan diwaktu periode Minangkabau ini menjadi sangat ramai sekali, bukan itu saja, Islam pertama pun masuk dari sini, baik yang dibawa oleh pedagang-pedagang dari Arab sendiri, maupun yang dibawa oleh pedagang-pedagang dari Persia, Hindustan, Cina, India dan lain-lain. Pada permulaan abad Masehi perpindahan bangsa-bangsa dari utara ke selatan telah berakhir. Mereka telah menetap di sepanjang pantai kepulauan Nusantara. Setelah mereka menempati kepulauan Nusantara dan hidup secara terpisah, akhirnya karena lingkungan alam kehidupan bahasa yang mereka pergunakan pun mengalami perubahan seperti yang kita kenal sekarang dengan suku-suku bangsa Minangkabau, Jawa, Bugis, Madura, Sunda, Bali dan lain-lain. Pada zaman purbakala, di Asia terdapat dua jalan perdagangan yang ramai antara Barat dan Timur, yaitu melalui darat dan laut, jalan yang melalui darat disebut jalan Sutera, mulai dari daratan Cina melalui Asia Tengah sampai ke Laut Tengah. Perhubungan darat ini sudah mulai semenjak abad kelima sebelum Masehi. Waktu dimulainya perpindahan bangsa Melayu Muda ke arah selatan. Perhubungan darat ini terutama menghubungkan antara Cina dengan Benua Eropah (Romawi) diwaktu itu dibawah raja Iskandar Zulkarnain dan selanjutnya dengan menyinggahi daerah sepanjang perjalanan seperti India, Persia dan lain-lain. Perhubungan laut ialah dari Cina dan Indonesia melalui selat Malaka terus ke Teluk Persia dan Laut Tengah. Perhubungan laut ini menjadi sangat ramai pada awal abad pertama Masehi, karena jalan darat mulai tidak aman lagi. Sejak waktu itulah daerah-daerah di Pantai Timur Sumatera dan Pantai Utara Jawa menjadi daerah perhubungan antara perdagangan Arab, India dan Cina. Keadaan ini memungkinkan pedagang-pedagang Indonesia, termasuk di dalamnya pedagang-pedagang Minangkabau ikut aktif berdagang. Dengan aktifnya pedagang-pedagang Minangkabau dalam perdagangan dengan India, maka terbuka pulalah perhubungan antara kebudayaannya. Dari sini dapat kita lihat masuknya pengaruh Hindu ke Minangkabau melalui daerah pantai timur pulau Sumatera. Dalam abad kedua setelah Indonesia mempunyai perhubungan dengan India dan selama enam abad berturut-turut pengaruh Hindu di Indonesia besar sekali. Jadi karena keadaan, pedagang-pedagang Minangkabau ikut terlibat dalam kancah lalu lintas perdagangan yang ramai di Asia. Keadaan itu pulalah yang menyebabkan Minangkabau di daerah aslinya sendiri yang jauh terletak di pedalaman. Karena selat Malaka sangat ramai dilalui oleh kapal-kapal dagang dari Cina dan India maka salah satu bandar diselat itu bertumbuh dengan pesatnya sehingga akhirnya umbuh menjadi kerajaan Melayu. Kerajaan Melayu ini menurut para ahli berpusat di daerah Jambi yang sekarang dan diperkirakan berdirinya pada awal abad ketujuh Masehi. Nama Melayu pertama kalinya muncul dalam cerita Cina. Dalam buku Tseh Fu-ji Kwei diterangkan bahwa pada tahun 664 dan 665 kerajaan Melayu mengirimkan utusan kenegeri Cina untuk mempersembahkan hasilnya pada raja Cina. Pada waktu itu daerah Minangkabau merupakan daerah penghasil merica yang utama di dunia. Rupanya Minangkabau Timur tidak lama memegang peranan dalam perdagangan di Selat Malaka, kareana sesudah muncul kerajaan Melayu dan kemudian sesudah kerajaan Melayu jatuh di bawah kekuasaan Sriwijaya, Minangkabau Timur menjadi bahagian dari kerajan Sriwijaya. Dengan berdirinya kerajaan Melayu dan kerajaan Sriwijaya kelihatan peranan Minangkabau Timur tidak ada lagi, karena berita-berita dari Cina hanya ada menyebut tentang Melayu dan Sriwijaya saja. Dalam satu buku yang disusun oleh It-Tsing dapat kita ketahui bahwa dalam tahun 690 Masehi, Sriwijaya meluaskan daerah kekuasaannya dan kerajaan Melayu dapat ditaklukannya sebelum tahun 692 Masehi. Kerajaan Sriwijaya merupakan salah satu kerajaan pantai, negara perniagaan dan perdagangan internasional dari Asia Timur ke Asia Barat. Selama lebih kurang enam abad kerajaan Sriwijaya merupakan kerajaan utama di daerah nusantara waktu itu. Namun sementara itu di Jawa mulai timbul kerajaan-kerajaan baru yang lama-kelamaan menjadi saingan utama dari kerajaan Sriwijawa dalam merebut hegemoni perdagangan di wilayah nusantara yang menyebabkan lemahnya Sriwijaya. Dalam hal ini lawan kerajaan Sriwijaya yang utama adalah kerajaan Kediri di Jawa Timur dan Kerajaan Colamandala di India selatan. Dari kelemahan Sriwijaya itu, rupanya kerajaan Melayu dapat melepaskan diri dari Sriwijaya dan dapat memperkuat diri kembali dengan memindahkan ibu kota kerajaan ke daerah hulu Sungai Batang Hari. Kerajaannya dinamakan dengan Darmasraya. Hal ini dapat diketahui dari prasasti Padang Candi tahun 1286 yang terdapat di Sungai Langsat Si Guntur dekat Sungai Dareh dalam Propinsi Sumatera Barat sekarang. Pada tahun 1275, Raja Kertanegara dari kerajaan Singosari (kerajaan yang menggantikan kekuasaan Kediri di Jawa Timur) mengirimkan suatu ekspedisi militer ke Sumatera dalam rangka melemahkan kekuasaan Sriwijaya dan memperluas pengaruhnya di Nusantara. Ekspedisi ini dikenal dalam sejarah Indonesia dengan nama ekspedisi Pamalayu. Sebagai hasil dari ekspedisi itu, maka Kertanegara pada tahun 1286 mengirimkan acara Amogapasa ke Sumatera sebagai hadiah untuk raja dan rakyat kerajaan Melayu. Dengan kejadian ini dapat diartikan, bahwa semenjak peristiwa itu kerajaan Melayu sudah mengikuti kerajaan Singosari dan menjadi daerah tumpuan untuk menghadapi kemungkinan serangan dari negeri Cina akibat peristiwa penghinaan terhadap utusan Cina sebelumnya. 3. Maharajo Dirajo Dalam hal ini timbul suatu kontradiksi keterangan-keterangan, yaitu nama Maharajo Dirajo sudah disebutkan sebelumnya sebagai salah seorang panglima Iskandar Zulkarnain yang tugaskan menguasai Pulau Emas. Kalau memang demikian keadaannya, lalu bagaimana dengan Maharajo Dirajo yang sedang kita bicarakan ini yang waktunya sudah sangat jauh berbeda. Dalam hal ini kita tidak dapat memberikan jawaban yang pasti. Maharajo Dirajo yang sudah kita bicarakan hanya merupakan perkiraan saja dan belum tentu benar. Tetapi berdasarkan logika berfikir kira-kira diwaktu itulah hidupnya Maharajo Dirajo jika dihubungkan dengan nama Iskandar Zulkarnain. Sedangkan Maharajo Dirajo yang sedang dibicarakan sekarang ini adalah seperti yang dikatakan Tambo Alam Minangkabau yang mana yang benar perlu penelitian lebih lanjut. Dalam kesempatan ini kita hanya ingin memperlihatkan betapa rawannya penafsiran dari data yang diberikan Tambo Alam Minangkabau. Maharajo Dirajo yang sekarang dibicarakan adalah Maharajo Dirajo seperti yang dikatakan Tambo. Dalam hal ini kita ingin mengangkat data dari Tambo menjadi Fakta sejarah Minangkabau. Dalam Tambo disebutkan bahwa Iskandar Zulkarnain mempunyai tiga anak, yaitu Maharajo Alif, Maharajo Dipang, dan Maharajo Dirajo. Maharajo Alif menjadi raja di Benua Ruhun (Romawi), tetapi Josselin de Jong mengatakan, menjadi raja di Turki. Maharajo Dipang menjadi raja di negeri Cina, sedangkan Maharajo Dirajo menjadi raja di Pulau Emas (Sumatera). Kalau kita melihat kalimat-kalimat Tambo sendiri, maka dikatakan sebagai berikut: “…Tatkala maso dahulu, batigo rajo naiek nobat, nan sorang Maharajo Alif, nan pai ka banua Ruhun, nan sorang Maharajo Dipang nan pai ka Nagari Cino, nan sorang Maharajo Dirajo manapek ka pulau ameh nan ko…” (pada masa dahulu kala, ada tiga orang yang naik tahta kerajaan, seorang bernama Maharaja Alif yang pergi ke negeri Ruhun, yang seorang Maharajo Dipang yang pergi ke negeri Cina, dan seorang lagi bernama Maharajo Dirajo yang menepat ke pulau Sumatera). Dari keterangan Tambo itu tidak ada dikatakan angka tahunnya hanya dengan istilah “Masa dahulu kala” itulah yang memberikan petunjuk kepada kita bahwa kejadian itu sudah berlangsung sangat lama sekali, sedangkan waktu yang mencakup zaman dahulu kala itu sangat banyak sekali dan tidak ada kepastiannya. Kita hanya akan bertanya-tanya atau menduga-duga dengan tidak akan mendapat jawaban yang pasti. Di kerajaan Romawi atau Cina memang ada sejarah raja-raja yang besar, tetapi raja mana yang dimaksudkan oleh Tambo tidak kita ketahui. Dalam hal ini rupanya Tambo Alam Minangkabau tidak mementingkan angka tahun selain dari mementingkan kebesaran kemasyuran nama-nama rajanya. Percantuman raja Romawi dalam Tambo menurut hemat kita hanya usaha dari pembuat Tambo untuk menyetarakan kemasyhuran raja Minangkabau dengan nama raja di luar negeri yang memang sudah sangat terkenal di seantero penjuru dunia. Dengan mensejajarkan kedudukan raja-raja Minangkabau dengan raja yang sangat terkenal itu maka pandangan rakyat Minangkabau terhadap rajanya sendiri akan semakin tinggi pula. Disini kita bertemu dengan satu kebiasaan dunia Timur untuk mendongengkan tuah kebesaran rajanya kepada anak cucunya. Gelar Maharajo Dirajo sendiri terlepas ada tidaknya raja tersebut, menunjukan kebesaran kekuasaan rajanya, karena istilah itu berarti penguasa sekalian raja-raja yang tunduk di bawah kekuasaannya. Josselin de Jong mengatakan Lord of the Word atau Raja Dunia. Dalam sejarah Indonesia gelar Maharaja Diraja tidak hanya menjadi milik orang Minangkabau saja, melainkan juga ada raja lain yang bergelar demikian seperti Karta Negara dari Singasari dengan gelar Maharaja Diraja seperti yang tertulis pada arca Amogapasa tahun 1286 sebagai atasan dari Darmasraya yang bernama raja Tribuana. Tambo mengatakan bahwa Maharajo Dirajo adalah raja Minangkabau pertama. Tetapi ada pendapat lain yang mengatakan bahwa Srimaharaja Diraja yang disebut dalam tambo sebagai raja Minangkabau yang pertama itu tidak lain dari Adityawarman sendiri yang menyebut dirinya dengan Maraja Diraja. Tentang Adityawarman mempergunakan gelar Maharaja Diraja memang semua ahli sudah sependapat, karena Adityawarman sendiri telah menulis demikian dalam prasasti Pagaruyung. Dari gelar Maharaja Diraja yang dipakai Adityawarman menunjukan kepada kita bahwa sewaktu Adityawarman berkuasa di Minangkabau tidak ada lagi kekuasaan lain yang ada di atasnya, atau dengan perkataan lain dapat dikatakan pada waktu itu Minangkabau sudah berdiri sendiri, tidak berada di bawah kekuasaan Majapahit atau sudah melepaskan diri dari Majapahit. Kerajaan Majapahit adalah ahli waris dari Singasari. Sedangkan Singasari pernah menundukkan melayu Darmasraya, tentu berada di bawah kekuasaan Singasari - Majapahit itu, maka untuk melepaskan diri dari Singasari - Majapahit itu Adiyawarman memindahkan pusat kekuasaannya kepedalaman Minangkabau dan menyatakan tidak ada lagi yang berkuasa di atasnya dengan memakai gelar Maharaja Diraja. Ada sesuatu pertanyaan kecil yang perlu dijawab, yaitu apakah tidak ada lagi kemungkinan bahwa gelar Maharajo Dirajo itu merupakan gelar keturunan bagi raja-raja Minangkabau, sehingga diwaktu Adityawarman menjadi raja di Minangkabau dia merasa perlu mempergunakan gelar tersebut agar dihormati oleh rakyat Minangkabau. Kalau memang demikian, maka kita akan dapat menghubungkannya dengan Maharajo Dirajo yang kita bicarakan kehidupannya sebelum abad Masehi. Tetapi hal ini kembali hanya berupa dugaan saja yang masih memerlukan pembuktian lebih lanjut. Kalau kita mengikuti pendapat yang mengatakan bahwa Maharaja Diraja itu sama dengan Adityawarman, maka satu kepastian dapat dikatakan bahwa kerajaan Minangkabau baru bermula pad tahun 1347, yaitu pada waktu Adityawarman menjadi raja di Minangkabau yang berpusat di Pagaruyuang. Logikanya tentu sebelum Adityawarman, belum ada raja di Minangkabau, kalau ada baru merupakan daerah-daerahyang dikuasai oleh seorang kepala suku saja. Kalau pendapat itu tidak dapat diterima kebenarannya, maka tokoh Maharajo Dirajo yang disebut di dalam Tambo itu masih tetap merupakan seorang tokoh legendaris dalam sejarah Minangkabau dan hal ini akan tetap mengundang bermacam-macam pertanyaan yang pro dan kontra. Kemungkinan gelar Maharajo sudah dipergunakan sebelum kedatangan Adityawarman memang ada. Tetapi apakah gelar itu merupakan gelar keturunan dari raja-raja Minangkabau masih belum lagi dapat diketahui dengan pasti. Yang jelas pada waktu sekarang ini, banyak gelar para penghulu di Sumatera Barat yang memakai gelar Maharajo sebagai gelar kepenghulunya disamping nama lainnya, seperti Dt. Maharajo, Dt. Marajo, Dt. Maharajo Basa, Dt. Maharajo Dirajo. Kelihatan gelar tersebut dipergunakan oleh masyarakat Minangkabau sebagai gelar pusaka yang turun-menurun. Sebaliknya raja-raja Pagaruyung sendiri tidak mempergunakan gelar tersebut sebagai pusaka kerajaannya. Jadi, dapat disimpulkan bahwa gelar Maharajo Dirajo tersebut merupakan gelar pusaka Minangkabau dan sudah ada sebelum Adityawarman menjadi raja di Pagaruyung. Barangkali memang gelar itu diturunkan dari Maharajo dirajo seperti disebutkan dalam Tambo itu.ZAMAN MINANGKABAU

saco-indonesia.com, Aksi ayah bunuh anaka telah direkonstruksi di rumahnya Komplek Perumahan Bumi Citra Lestari (BCL) Jalan Arjuna X Blok B III, Desa Waluya, Cikarang Utara, Kamis(6/2) siang. Tersangka Epi Suhendar yang berusia 29 tahun , juga sempat tertegun dan enggan masuk ke rumah. Namun setelah 15 menit kemudian lelaki bertubuh tambun itu masuk ke rumah.

Dijaga ketat petugas, tersangka Epi telah melakukan 45 adegan dengan lancar. Mulai dari aksi keji membunuh anaknya Ikhsan,3, hingga melukai istrinya Ny Cucun, yang berusia 23 tahun . Tiga saksi telah dihadirkan yakni Andi, Haris dan Dede. Sedangkan Ny Cucun, istri korban juga tak bisa hadir lantaran masih trauma.

Warga setempat juga tak menyangka dengan aksi keji yang dilakukan Epi. Sebab selama ini keluarga tersebut selalu baik-baik saja. Warga hanya bisa mengelus dada saat menyaksikan tersangka masuk dan keluar rumah yang menjadi tragedi berdarah itu.

Kanitserse Polsek Cikarang Utara AKP Bobby Kusumawardana juga mengatakan tersangka mengaku tidak sadar melakukan aksi keji itu. Namun kejiwaan tersangka dinyatakan normal.

Diberitakan sebelumnya, Ikhsan yang berusia 3 tahun , telah dibunuh ayah kandungnya yang takut dipecat lantaran tak dapat memenuhi target dalam bekerja di sebuah perusahaan paralon. Tersangka Epi pun kemudian merencanakan pembunuhan pada anak dan istri serta dirinya sndiri. Namun upaya itu gagal. Sang anak meregang nyawa setelah dihujani 18 tusukan, sementara istrinya Ny Cucun sekarat dihujani 10 tusukan. tersangka sendiri gagal saat akan bunuh diri


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

TERSANGKA PEMBUNUH ANAK ITU SEMPAT TAK BERANI MASUK RUMAH
CHAN Umar, laki-laki 43 tahun, asyik mencongkel-congkel selembar papan yang diletakkan di atas meja kerjanya dengan pahat. Sesekali tangan kanannya meraih tukul (penokok) kayu yang terletak di atas papan untuk memukul pahat, melubangi papan sesuai motif. Terkadang ia mengganti jenis pahat yang lebih selusin tergeletak di depannya. Perlahan namun pasti, selembar papan dari kayu surian yang sudah diketam itu berubah menjadi ukiran khas Minang di tangan Umar.n sehari-hari Chan Umar, pemilik bengkel “Ukiran Chan Umar” di Nagari Pandai Sikek, Kabupaten Tanah Datar. Pandai Sikek adalah daerah yang terkenal di Sumatra Barat sebagai sentra kerajinan tradisional songket dan ukiran khas Minangkabau. Meski daerah ini termasuk dalam wilayah Kabupaten Tanah Datar tetapi Pandai Sikek lebih dekat, hanya 20 km dari Kota Padangpanjang menuju Bukittinggi. Pilihan Hidup Di Pandai Sikek ada 6 bengkel ukiran tradisional dan Chan Umar dengan bengkelnya merupakan yang paling menonjol.Konon, menurut Chan Umar, Pandai Sikek sendiri memperoleh nama dari kepandaian Si Ikek mengukir interior dan eksterior rumah gadang. Si Ikek adalah seorang lelaki di daerah itu pada zaman dulu yang sangat mahir mengukir di atas kayu. Pandai Sikek sebagai sentra kerajinan ukir Minang yang banyak digunakan untuk ukiran Rumah Gadang (rumah adat Minangkabau) dan kerajinan songket yang sudah ada sejak zaman dulu hingga era Kolonial Belanda, sempat terhenti di zaman Penjajahan Jepang (1942-1945). Kondisi ini terus berlanjut sampai 1960-an. Agresi Belanda Kedua, dan kekacauan politik dalam negeri, dari tragedi PRRI (Pemerintahan Revolusioner Republik Indonesia) hingga pertentangan dengan Partai Komunisme Indonesia (PKI), membuat suasana mengukir dan bertenun di Pandai Sikek benar-benar terhenti.Bahkan sebagian besar untuk rumah gadang yang dibangun pemerintah, seperti museum dan renovasi rumah gadang bersejarah. Di antaranya rumah gadang Museum Adityawarman di Padang, rumah gadang Museum Kebun Binatang Bukittinggi, dan Istana Pagaruyung di Batusangkar. “Namun setelah itu hampir tidak ada lagi proyek pemerintah dan pesanan ukiran rumah gadang, kecuali pesanan rumah gadang di beberapa tempat seperti di Nagari Sulit Air, Solok yang dibuat beberapa orang perantau,” kata Umar. Beberapa perantau Minang yang kaya tetap ada yang merenovasi rumah adat lama mereka yang rusak dengan yang baru, atau membuat rumah di kampung bergaya rumah adat dan sanggup mengeluarkan uang Rp400 juta untuk ukirannya untuk interior dan eksteriornya,” ujarnya. Sama dengan Motif Songket Chan Umar menetapkan harga ukirannya Rp500 ribu hingga Rp1,5 juta per meter bujur sangkar. Mahal-murahnya ukiran tergantung besar, kecil, dan rumitnya motif yang dipesan. Kayu yang digunakan adalah surian, kualitasnya sedikit di bawah jati, yang banyak terdapat di hutan Sumatra Barat. Sedikitnya Chan Umar membutuh dalam satu hari 5 kubik surian. Meski di Sumatra Barat sentra kerajinan ukir tradisional Minangkabau tak hanya terdapat di Pandai Sikek, juga di Candung (Agam), Cupak (Solok), dan Lintau (Tanah Datar), namun Pandai Sikek jauh lebih berkembang, dan Chan Umar merupakan pengukir terkemuka. Keunggulan produk yang dihasilkan Umar adalah hasil dari kecermatannya menorehkan motif dan menentukan warna. Pengerjaan kedua seni kerajinan ini di bawah kolong rumah gadang pada masa lalu membuat motif saling mempengaruhi dan umumnya serupa. Diperkirakaan ada 200 motif tradisional untuk ukiran, namun yang sering dipakai hanya sekitar 20-an. Masing-masingnya memiliki filosofi sendiri. Misalnya motif ‘itiak pulang patang’ (itik pulang sore) memiliki filofosi masyarakat Minangkabau akan teringat dengan kampung halamannya dan selalu seiya-sekatu (bersatu). Chan Umar sangat optimistis kepandaian kerajinan ukir yang dimilikinya dan orang-orang di Pandai Sikek akan selalu menjadi andalan perekonomian di daerah itu. Meski di Pandai Sikek 70 persen mata pencarian penduduk adalah di sektor pertanian dan 30 persen di sektor kerajinan (tenun dan ukir), namun karajinan telah membuka banyak lapangan pekerjaan.“Biasanya seorang perajin hanya mampu bertahan selama 15 tahun, setelah berkeluarga dan kebutuhan ekonomi bertambah, ia mencari usaha lain, kebanyakan tak lagi mengukir,” katanya. Karena itu, selain Chan Umar, para pengukir umumnya berusia di bawah 40 tahun. Meski begitu, tangan-tangan terampil mereka tak pernah berhenti menorehkan motif khas minang di selembar kayu untuk sebuah ornamen seni yang enak dipandang mata dari generasi ke generasi. KESETIAAN SEORANG PENGRAJIN UKIRAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mazel tov,” his father replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It is,” his father agreed.

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

“It was really nice to play with other women and not have this underlying tone of being at each other’s throats.”

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Ms. Pryor, who served more than two decades in the State Department, was the author of well-regarded biographies of the founder of the American Red Cross and the Confederate commander.

Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Biographer of Clara Barton and Robert E. Lee, Dies at 64

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

Pronovost, who played for the Red Wings, was not a prolific scorer, but he was a consummate team player with bruising checks and fearless bursts up the ice that could puncture a defense.

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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.

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Do you think race relations in the United States are generally good or generally bad?
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Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?
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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?
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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?
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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?
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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?
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Negative View of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds

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

The live music at the Vice Media party on Friday shook the room. Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive, was standing near the stage — with a drink in his hand, pants sagging, tattoos showing — watching the rapper-cum-chef Action Bronson make pizzas.

The event was an after-party, a happy-hour bacchanal for the hundreds of guests who had come for Vice’s annual presentation to advertisers and agencies that afternoon, part of the annual frenzy for ad dollars called the Digital Content NewFronts. Mr. Smith had spoken there for all of five minutes before running a slam-bang highlight reel of the company’s shows that had titles like “Weediquette” and “Gaycation.”

In the last year, Vice has secured $500 million in financing and signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with established media companies like HBO that are eager to engage the young viewers Vice attracts. Vice said it was now worth at least $4 billion, with nearly $1 billion in projected revenue for 2015. It is a long way from Vice’s humble start as a free magazine in 1994.

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At the Vice after-party, the rapper Action Bronson, a host of a Vice show, made a pizza. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

But even as cash flows freely in Vice’s direction, the company is trying to keep its brash, insurgent image. At the party on Friday, it plied guests with beers and cocktails. Its apparently unrehearsed presentation to advertisers was peppered with expletives. At one point, the director Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, asked on stage if Mr. Smith had been drinking.

“My assistant tried to cut me off,” Mr. Smith replied. “I’m on buzz control.”

Now, Vice is on the verge of getting its own cable channel, which would give the company a traditional outlet for its slate of non-news programming. If all goes as planned, A&E Networks, the television group owned by Hearst and Disney, will turn over its History Channel spinoff, H2, to Vice.

The deal’s announcement was expected last week, but not all of A&E’s distribution partners — the cable and satellite TV companies that carry the network’s channels — have signed off on the change, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

A cable channel would be a further step in a transformation for Vice, from bad-boy digital upstart to mainstream media company.

Keen for the core audience of young men who come to Vice, media giants like 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Disney all showed interest in the company last year. Vice ultimately secured $500 million in financing from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has invested in Facebook and Netflix.

Those investments valued Vice at more than $2.5 billion. (In 2013, Fox bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million.)

Then in March, HBO announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to broadcast a daily half-hour Vice newscast. Vice already produces a weekly newsmagazine show, called “Vice,” for the network. That show will extend its run through 2018, with an increase to 35 episodes a year, from 14.

Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said when the deal was announced that it was “certainly one of our biggest investments with hours on the air.”

Vice, based in Brooklyn, also recently signed a multiyear $100 million deal with Rogers Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate, to produce original content for TV, smartphone and desktop viewers.

Vice’s finances are private, but according to an internal document reviewed by The New York Times and verified by a person familiar with the company’s financials, the company is on track to make about $915 million in revenue this year.

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Vice showed a highlight reel of its TV series at the NewFronts last week in New York. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

It brought in $545 million in a strong first quarter, which included portions of the new HBO deal and the Rogers deal, according to the document. More of its revenue now comes from these types of content partnerships, compared with the branded content deals that made up much of its revenue a year ago, the company said.

Mr. Smith said the company was worth at least $4 billion. If the valuation gets much higher, he said he would consider taking the company public.

“I don’t care about money; we have plenty of money,” Mr. Smith, who is Vice’s biggest shareholder, said in an interview after the presentation on Friday. “I care about strategic deals.”

In the United States, Vice Media had 35.2 million unique visitors across its sites in March, according to comScore.

The third season of Vice’s weekly HBO show has averaged 1.8 million viewers per episode, including reruns, through April 12, according to Brad Adgate, the director of research at Horizon Media. (Vice said the show attracted three million weekly viewers when repeat broadcasts, online and on-demand viewings were included.)

For years, Mr. Smith has criticized traditional TV, calling it slow and unable to draw younger viewers. But if all the deals Vice has struck are to work out, Mr. Smith may have to play more by the rules of traditional media. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and a member of Vice’s board, was at the company’s presentation on Friday, as were other top media executives.

“They know they need people like me to help them, but they can’t get out of their own way,” Mr. Smith said in the interview Friday. “My only real frustration is we’re used to being incredibly dynamic, and they’re not incredibly dynamic.”

With its own television channel in the United States, Vice would have something it has long coveted even as traditional media companies are looking beyond TV. Last year, Vice’s deal with Time Warner failed in part because the two companies could not agree on how much control Vice would have over a 24-hour television network.

Vice said it intended to fill its new channel with non-news programming. The company plans to have sports shows, fashion shows, food shows and the “Gaycation” travel show with the actress Ellen Page. It is also in talks with Kanye West about a show.

It remains to be seen whether Vice’s audience will watch a traditional cable channel. Still, Vice has effectively presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years, Mr. Smith said.

In the meantime, Mr. Smith is enjoying Vice’s newfound role as a potential savior of traditional media companies.

“I’m a C.E.O. of a content company,” Mr. Smith said before he caught a flight to Las Vegas for the boxing match on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. “If it stops being fun, then why are you doing it?”

As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice

The career criminals in genre novels don’t have money problems. If they need some, they just go out and steal it. But such financial transactions can backfire, which is what happened back in 2004 when the Texas gang in Michael

Take the Money and Run

Even as a high school student, Dave Goldberg was urging female classmates to speak up. As a young dot-com executive, he had one girlfriend after another, but fell hard for a driven friend named Sheryl Sandberg, pining after her for years. After they wed, Mr. Goldberg pushed her to negotiate hard for high compensation and arranged his schedule so that he could be home with their children when she was traveling for work.

Mr. Goldberg, who died unexpectedly on Friday, was a genial, 47-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who built his latest company, SurveyMonkey, from a modest enterprise to one recently valued by investors at $2 billion. But he was also perhaps the signature male feminist of his era: the first major chief executive in memory to spur his wife to become as successful in business as he was, and an essential figure in “Lean In,” Ms. Sandberg’s blockbuster guide to female achievement.

Over the weekend, even strangers were shocked at his death, both because of his relatively young age and because they knew of him as the living, breathing, car-pooling center of a new philosophy of two-career marriage.

“They were very much the role models for what this next generation wants to grapple with,” said Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard College. In a 2011 commencement speech there, Ms. Sandberg told the graduates that whom they married would be their most important career decision.

In the play “The Heidi Chronicles,” revived on Broadway this spring, a male character who is the founder of a media company says that “I don’t want to come home to an A-plus,” explaining that his ambitions require him to marry an unthreatening helpmeet. Mr. Goldberg grew up to hold the opposite view, starting with his upbringing in progressive Minneapolis circles where “there was woman power in every aspect of our lives,” Jeffrey Dachis, a childhood friend, said in an interview.

The Goldberg parents read “The Feminine Mystique” together — in fact, Mr. Goldberg’s father introduced it to his wife, according to Ms. Sandberg’s book. In 1976, Paula Goldberg helped found a nonprofit to aid children with disabilities. Her husband, Mel, a law professor who taught at night, made the family breakfast at home.

Later, when Dave Goldberg was in high school and his prom date, Jill Chessen, stayed silent in a politics class, he chastised her afterward. He said, “You need to speak up,” Ms. Chessen recalled in an interview. “They need to hear your voice.”

Years later, when Karin Gilford, an early employee at Launch Media, Mr. Goldberg’s digital music company, became a mother, he knew exactly what to do. He kept giving her challenging assignments, she recalled, but also let her work from home one day a week. After Yahoo acquired Launch, Mr. Goldberg became known for distributing roses to all the women in the office on Valentine’s Day.

Ms. Sandberg, who often describes herself as bossy-in-a-good-way, enchanted him when they became friendly in the mid-1990s. He “was smitten with her,” Ms. Chessen remembered. Ms. Sandberg was dating someone else, but Mr. Goldberg still hung around, even helping her and her then-boyfriend move, recalled Bob Roback, a friend and co-founder of Launch. When they finally married in 2004, friends remember thinking how similar the two were, and that the qualities that might have made Ms. Sandberg intimidating to some men drew Mr. Goldberg to her even more.

Over the next decade, Mr. Goldberg and Ms. Sandberg pioneered new ways of capturing information online, had a son and then a daughter, became immensely wealthy, and hashed out their who-does-what-in-this-marriage issues. Mr. Goldberg’s commute from the Bay Area to Los Angeles became a strain, so he relocated, later joking that he “lost the coin flip” of where they would live. He paid the bills, she planned the birthday parties, and both often left their offices at 5:30 so they could eat dinner with their children before resuming work afterward.

Friends in Silicon Valley say they were careful to conduct their careers separately, politely refusing when outsiders would ask one about the other’s work: Ms. Sandberg’s role building Facebook into an information and advertising powerhouse, and Mr. Goldberg at SurveyMonkey, which made polling faster and cheaper. But privately, their work was intertwined. He often began statements to his team with the phrase “Well, Sheryl said” sharing her business advice. He counseled her, too, starting with her salary negotiations with Mark Zuckerberg.

“I wanted Mark to really feel he stretched to get Sheryl, because she was worth it,” Mr. Goldberg explained in a 2013 “60 Minutes” interview, his Minnesota accent and his smile intact as he offered a rare peek of the intersection of marriage and money at the top of corporate life.

 

 

While his wife grew increasingly outspoken about women’s advancement, Mr. Goldberg quietly advised the men in the office on family and partnership matters, an associate said. Six out of 16 members of SurveyMonkey’s management team are female, an almost unheard-of ratio among Silicon Valley “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion.

When Mellody Hobson, a friend and finance executive, wrote a chapter of “Lean In” about women of color for the college edition of the book, Mr. Goldberg gave her feedback on the draft, a clue to his deep involvement. He joked with Ms. Hobson that she was too long-winded, like Ms. Sandberg, but aside from that, he said he loved the chapter, she said in an interview.

By then, Mr. Goldberg was a figure of fascination who inspired a “where can I get one of those?” reaction among many of the women who had read the best seller “Lean In.” Some lamented that Ms. Sandberg’s advice hinged too much on marrying a Dave Goldberg, who was humble enough to plan around his wife, attentive enough to worry about which shoes his young daughter would wear, and rich enough to help pay for the help that made the family’s balancing act manageable.

Now that he is gone, and Ms. Sandberg goes from being half of a celebrated partnership to perhaps the business world’s most prominent single mother, the pages of “Lean In” carry a new sting of loss.

“We are never at 50-50 at any given moment — perfect equality is hard to define or sustain — but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us,” she wrote in 2013, adding that they were looking forward to raising teenagers together.

“Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me,” she wrote.

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

Mr. Pfaff was an international affairs columnist and author who found Washington’s intervention in world affairs often misguided.

William Pfaff, Critic of American Foreign Policy, Dies at 86

A 2-minute-42-second demo recording captured in one take turned out to be a one-hit wonder for Mr. Ely, who was 19 when he sang the garage-band classic.

Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71

Hired in 1968, a year before their first season, Mr. Fanning spent 25 years with the team, managing them to their only playoff appearance in Canada.

Jim Fanning, 87, Dies; Lifted Baseball in Canada With Expos

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

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

Gene Fullmer, a Brawling Middleweight Champion, Dies at 83
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