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saco-indonesia.com, Meski masih berstatus awas di radius 10 kilometer, aktivitas Gunung Kelud pada 00.00 dinihari WIB hingga 06.00 pagi WIB, hari ini (18/2), telah terpantau normal. Namun, potensi lahar dingin masih telah menjadi ancaman bagi warga yang berada di sekitar bantaran sungai.

Dari pantauan Pos Pantau Gunung Kelud di Desa Sugihwaras, Dusun Margomulyo, Kecamatan Ngancar, Kabupaten Kediri, Jawa Timur, kondisi cuaca di atas gunung setinggi 1.731 mdpl dari permukaan air laut itu, berawan. Sedangkan embusan angin bertiup ke arah selatan. Suhu telah terpantau berkisar 19 hingga 21 derajat celsius dengan kelembapan udara 29 persen.

Untuk kegempaan, kata Kepala Pos Pantau Gunung Kelud di Desa Sugihwaras, Khoirul Huda, aktivitas tremor-nya telah terpantau berkekuatan 0,5 hingga 1 milimeter, amplitudo maksimal 0,5 hingga 1, kemudian satu kali gempa tektonik dan satu kali tektonik jauh.

"Meski aktivitas gunung terpantau normal, status Kelud masih awas. Sehingga, semua aktivitas di radius 10 kilometer masih tetap harus dikosongkan," terang Khoirul di Pos Pantau Gunung Kelud, Selasa (18/2).

Dia juga telah mengungkap, potensi ancaman lahar dingin pasca-erupsi Kelud, Kamis malam lalu, bisa terjadi di 28 sungai yang berada di wilayah Kabupaten Blitar dan enam sungai di Kabupaten Kediri.

"Ada banyak aliran sungai di Gunung Kelud, yang telah menjadi aliran lahar dingin. Hanya kita mengimbau kepada masyarakat di sepanjang bantaran sungai untuk tetap waspada jika melihat awan gelap di atas Kelud. Warga yang beraktivitas di bantaran sungai, harus mewaspadai awan gelap yang berpotensi bahaya lahar dingin," tandas dia mengimbau.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

AKTIVITAS GUNUNG KELUD HARI INI NORMAL

saco-indonesia.com, Sergio Ramos telah meminta timnya untuk tidak terlalu banyak memikirkan penilaian orang lain terkait performa mereka di atas lapangan. Menurutnya, Real Madrid hanya perlu untuk fokus dan terus melakukan yang terbaik agar bisa mendapatkan hasil yang sesuai.

"Kami bisa terus mendapatkan hasil yang baik jika kami tidak terlalu banyak memikirkan apa yang orang lain katakan," tutur sang bek menurut laporan yang diturunkan oleh AS.

Ramos kemudian juga menegaskan keinginannya untuk dapat terus bertahan di Los Blancos untuk jangka waktu yang lama.

"Apa yang masuk di telinga satu harus keluar melalui telinga lainnya. Saya banyak berkorban untuk bisa menampilkan yang terbaik di atas lapangan dan bertekad untuk dapat terus bertahan di Real Madrid untuk waktu yang lama," pungkas Ramos.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

RAMOS BERTAHAN DI MADRID

SURABAYA, Saco-Indonesia.com - Peneliti dari Institut Penyakit Tropis, Universitas Airlangga, Indah S. Tantular, mengembangkan teknik deteksi malaria yang cepat, mudah, dan murah. Teknik deteksi ini didasarkan pada pengamatan ada tidaknya parasit malaria dalam darah manusia.

Ditemui dalam Press Tour dan Media Gathering bersama Kementerian Riset dan Teknologi, Kamis (16/5/2013), Indah mengungkapkan bahwa teknik deteksi malaria yang dikembangkannya hanya memanfaatkan mikroskop cahaya dan cairan acridine orange.

Untuk mendukung teknik deteksi, mikroskop cahaya binokuler sedikit dimodifikasi. Sumber cahaya diganti dengan lampu halogen. Sementara itu, ditambahkan filter khusus untuk menyeleksi panjang gelombang dari lampu halogen sesuai yang diinginkan.

Untuk mendeteksi malaria dengan teknik ini, caranya sangat mudah. Indah bahkan menyebutkan, orang yang tak ahli pun bisa melakukannya. Parasit malaria dapat ditandai dengan mudah lewat observasi mikroskop.

"Untuk mendeteksi, cukup mengambil sampel darah dan membuat hapusan tipis pada kaca preparat mikroskop. lalu, tambahkan cairan acridine orange pada sampel, kemudian diamati. Parasit akan tampak berpendar," urai Indah.

Indah mengungkapkan, bila dalam pengamatan mikroskop terdapat obyek berpendar dengan bentuk serupa cincin atau pisang, maka besar kemungkinan orang yang diambil sampel darahnya menderita malaria.

Menurut Indah, teknik yang dikembangkannya lebih urah dan mudah ditempatkan di wilayah endemik malaria. "Biasanya kita harus pakai mikroskop fluoresens yang mahal dan besar sehingga sulit dibawa ke daerah endemik," urai Indah.

Kemungkinan untuk membawa perangkat ke daerah endemik mendukung prgram deteksi malaria sejak dini. Tenaga kesehatan tak harus menunggu ada orang yang sakit parah, tetapi bisa melakukan screening di suatu wilayah endemik malaria.

Teknik deteksi malaria ini dikembangkan Indah setelah bertahun0tahun bergelut dengan malaria di berbagai daerah endemik seperti Sumbawa, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Pulau Flores, Pulau Sumba, Pulau Halmahera, Pulau Seram, Pulau Buru, dan Pulau Bangka.

Institut Penyakit Tropis Universitas Airlangga adalah salah satu pusat riset unggulan Indonesia. lembaga penelitian tersebut juga memelajari virus flu burung dan pengembangan vaksinnya serta teknologi sel punca untuk penanganan beragam penyakit.

Editor :Liwon Maulana(galipat)
Sumber:Kompas.com

Peneliti Unair Kembangkan Cara Mudah Deteksi Malaria

Selain pahala berupa derajat yang ditingkatkan, ibadah-ibadah dalam syariat Islam juga mempunyai hikmah membersihkan diri seorang muslim dari kotoran dosa. Hal itu karena ibadah-ibadah itu berperan dalam menciptakan suasana jiwa yang penuh dengan iman. Dengan suasana ini seorang muslim akan terbebas dari syahwat yang selama ini membelenggunya, dan terarahkan untuk selalu menghambakan dirinya kepada Allah swt.

Mulai dari ibadah wudhu, Rasulullah saw. bersabda:

 إذا توضأ العبد المسلم أو المؤمن فغسل وجهه خرج من وجهه كل خطيئة نظر إليها بعينيه مع الماء أو مع آخر قطر الماء فإذا غسل يديه خرج من يديه كل خطيئة كان بطشتها يداه مع الماء أو مع آخر قطر الماء فإذا غسل رجليه خرجت كل خطيئة مشتها رجلاه مع الماء أو مع آخر قطر الماء حتى يخرج نقيا من الذنوب

“Jika seorang muslim berwudhu, saat dia membasuh wajahnya, keluarlah semua dosa yang diperbuat matanya, dan hilang bersama air atau bersama tetes air yang terakhir. Saat membasuh tangannya, keluarlah semua dosa yang telah diperbuat tangannya, dan hilang bersama air atau bersama tetes air yang terakhir. Saat membasuh kakinya, keluarlah dosa yang didatangi dengan kakinya, dan hilang bersama air atau tetes air yang terakhir. Hingga akhirnya, dia menjadi orang yang bersih dari dosa.” [HR. Muslim].

Hal yang sama juga berlaku untuk shalat. Rasulullah saw. bersabda:

أَرَأَيْتُمْ لَوْ أَنَّ نَهَرًا بِبَابِ أَحَدِكُمْ يَغْتَسِلُ فِيهِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ خَمْسًا مَا تَقُولُ ذَلِكَ يُبْقِي مِنْ دَرَنِهِ قَالُوا لَا يُبْقِي مِنْ دَرَنِهِ شَيْئًا قَالَ فَذَلِكَ مِثْلُ الصَّلَوَاتِ الْخَمْسِ يَمْحُو اللَّهُ بِهِ الْخَطَايَا

“Bagaimana kiranya kalau ada sebuah sungai mengalir di depan rumah salah seorang di antara kalian, orang itu mandi lima kali setiap harinya, apakah orang itu masih kotor?” para sahabat menjawab, “Tentu tidak ada kotoran yang tersisa.” Rasulullah saw. melanjutkan, “Demikian juga shalat lima waktu akan menghapus dosa-dosa.” [HR. Bukhari dan Muslim].

Begitu pula puasa di bulan Ramadhan. Rasulullah saw. bersabda:

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

“Orang yang berpuasa bulan Ramadhan dengan keimanan dan mengharap pahala, niscaya akan diampuni dosa-dosa yang telah lalu.” [HR. Bukhari dan Muslim].

Adapun tentang membayar zakat, Allah swt. berfirman:

خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا

“Ambillah zakat dari sebagian harta mereka, dengan zakat itu kamu membersihkan dan mensucikan mereka.” [At-Taubah: 103].

Demikianlah, semua ibadah akan menghapus dosa. Tapi kadang ada dosa besar yang masih tersisa. Di sinilah haji akan menghapus dosa-dosa itu hingga bersih sama sekali seperti bayi yang baru dilahirkan.

مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ

“Orang yang melaksanakan haji ikhlas karena Allah swt., lalu tidak berkata kotor dan tidak berbuat kefasikan, maka dia akan pulang (bersih dari dosa) seperti saat dilahirkan oleh ibunya.” [HR. Bukhari dan Muslim].

Ketika sekarat, ‘Amr bin Al-‘Ash ra. meriwayatkan bahwa dirinya dulu pernah menjadi orang yang paling benci kepada Rasulullah saw. Dia sangat berkeinginan untuk bisa membunuh Rasulullah saw. Syukurlah hal itu tidak terjadi, “Kalau dulu aku benar-benar bisa membunuhnya, tentu aku menjadi penduduk neraka.” Tapi ketika dirinya mendapatkan hidayah keimanan, beliau mensyaratkan semua dosanya dihapuskan. Rasulullah saw. bersabda:

 أما علمت أن الإسلام يهدم ما كان قبله وأن الهجرة تهدم ما كان قبلها وأن الحج يهدم ما كان قبله

“Tidakkah engkau mengetahui bahwa masuk Islam itu menghapus dosa-dosa sebelumnya? Bahwa hijrah itu menghapus dosa-dosa sebelumnya? Bahwa ibadah haji itu menghapus dosa-dosa sebelumnya?” [HR. Muslim].

Dihapuskannya dosa itu didapat tentu jika haji yang dilaksanakannya mabrur. Sedangkan haji akan mabrur jika biaya yang digunakan adalah halal dan thayyib, seluruh manasik dilaksanakan dengan baik, banyak diisi dengan perbuatan baik seperti berdzikir dan membantu orang lain, dan tidak dikotori dengan hal-hal yang bisa merusaknya seperti berkata kotor, berdebat, dan lain sebagainya.

Menurut Imam Hasan Al-Basri, di antara tanda dosa telah diampuni adalah seorang haji bersikap zuhud di dunia, dan lebih perhatian terhadap persiapan menuju akhirat. Hal ini terwujud karena selama melaksanakan haji, dia melihat banyak hal yang mengingatkan pada kehidupan akhirat. Mulai dari perjalanan, memakai kain ihram, wukuf di padang Arafah, dan sebagainya. Semakin kuat keimanan kepada Hari Akhir dan keharusan mempersiapkannya. (msa/dakwatuna)


Sumber : http://www.dakwatuna.com

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Tempat Wisata  Pantai Losari yang terletak di barat kota Makassar ini telah menyimpan keindahan matahari terbenam yang membuai mata. Di Pantai Losari Anda juga akan disajikan dengan pemandangan alam yang digabungkan dengan wisata kuliner khas Kota Makassar.

Pantai Losari juga merupakan salah satu obyek wisata andalan masyarakat setempat. Di sekitar pantai Losari ini juga terdapat pusat kuliner yang telah menjual berbagai macam makanan dan jajanan khas. Begitu panjangnya deretan penjual makanan ini hingga disebut-sebut sebagai pusat kuliner terpanjang.

Pedagang menjual aneka makanan mulai dari jajan ringan, sekedar ganjal perut seperti bakso atau gorengan. Ada juga makanan khas Makasar seperti Coto atau aneka hidangan masakan laut dengan resep asli orang bugis. Salah satunya jajanan yang sangat digemari adalah pisang epe, pisang khas makasar yang dibakar kemudian dipipihkan dan diberi campuran air gula merah.

Tempat Wisata Pantai Losari Satu-satunya Yang Paling Unik Di Indonesia

Objek Wisata Pantai Losari sebenarnya bukanlah sebuah pantai berpasir seperti pantai kuta, pantai parangtritis ataupun pantai kenjeran Surabaya, tetapi hanyalah sebuah bangunan beton untuk dapat menahan air laut yang terhampar di pesisir barat kota Makassar. Hal yang sangat menarik dari tempat wisata pantai Losari adalah adanya sebuah anjungan dengan tulisan PANTAI LOSARI, tempat itulah yang sering dipakai untuk berfoto-foto sebagai bukti sudah pernah menginjakan kaki di pantai losari.

Dipantai yang sangat bersih dan nyaman ini, kita juga dapat menyaksikan SUNSET dan SUNRISE di satu tiitk kita berdiri. Memang sangat unik pantai yang satu ini, posisi pantai yang memanjang Utara-Selatan ini memang bisa menyaksikan terbitnya dan terbenamnya matahari disatu posisi yang sama.

Posisi pantai Losari juga sangat strategis dan telah menjadi bagian yang menyatu dengan suasana kota Makasar yang membentang sejauh kurang lebih 4 km. Pantai ini langsung dapat diakses dengan jalan utama protokol utama. Diseberang jalan bertumbuhan hotel dengan berbagai kelas.

Waktu paling ideal untuk mengunjungi Tempat Wisata Pantai Losari adalah sore hari antara jam 15.00 hingga jam 21.00. Banyak yang datang kemari untuk duduk duduk menikmati pantai yang bersih, jogging disepanjang pedestrian sejauh 500m, atau makan diwarung warung yang telah direlokasi oleh Pemda setempat. Tua muda akan datang untuk menikmati matahari terbenam sambil menikmati makanan khas makasar. Jika suka jogging, tempat ini juga sangat ideal. Udara bersih dan angin bertiup tanpa henti, matahari yang merah keemasan menyapu wajah manusia yang duduk bibir pantai.

Pasti anda ingin segera mengunjungi tempat wisata ini kan .

TEMPAT WISATA PANTAI LOSARI

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

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

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

Continue reading the main story
 

Document: The Formaldehyde Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading the main story

Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

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

Typical

laminate

flooring

CLEAR FINISH LAYER

Often made of melamine resin

PATTERN LAYER

Paper printed to resemble wood,

or a thin wood veneer

GLUE

Layers may be bound using

formaldehyde-based glues

CORE LAYER

Fiberboard or other

composite, formed using

formaldehyde-based adhesives

BASE LAYER

Moisture-resistant vapor barrier

What is formaldehyde?

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

WHERE IT IS COMMONLY FOUND

POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS

Pressed-wood and composite wood products

Wallpaper and paints

Spray foam insulation used in construction

Commercial wood floor finishes

Crease-resistant fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Vitter’s staff was pleased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Uphill Battle to Better Regulate Formaldehyde

As governor, Mr. Walker alienated Republicans and his fellow Democrats, particularly the Democratic powerhouse Richard J. Daley, the mayor of Chicago.

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At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Suzman’s signature accomplishment was the central role he played in creating a global network of surveys on aging.

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Mr. Bartoszewski was given honorary Israeli citizenship for his work to save Jews during World War II and later surprised even himself by being instrumental in reconciling Poland and Germany.

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Ms. von Furstenberg made her debut in the movies and on the Broadway stage in the early 1950s as a teenager and later reinvented herself as a television actress, writer and philanthropist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisement Politics Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

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

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

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Mr. Goldberg was a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was married to Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook.

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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.

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Iran Talks, a Tangled Path to Ending Syria’s War
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