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Monday, December 17, 2018

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No longer 'protected': A migrant policy shift upends deeply rooted lives
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Julio Perez pulls a card from his bulky brown wallet. It is this US government-issued piece of plastic that makes it legal for Mr. Perez to live and work here, to chase the American dream of social mobility. In the past, that deadline would have meant it was time to re-register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program for migrants whose home countries are in such turmoil that repatriation is deemed unsafe.
In Midwest swing states, a 'red wall' for Republicans could crack
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Bill Sarten was worried about his guns. The lifelong hunter had seen the ads warning voters that Hillary Clinton would leave them defenseless. Sarten, a longtime Republican, says that on Tuesday he plans to vote for Gov. Tom Wolf and Rep. Conor Lamb, both incumbent Democrats on his ballot.
Service to country: In Kentucky, the fight to bring more veterans to Congress
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Just days before the election, as Democrats bask in the aroma of chili and possible victory at the Bourbon County fairgrounds, Rep. Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts – a fellow Marine – steps up to the hay bales and pumpkins to make his pitch for Lieutenant Colonel (retired) McGrath. “I was just a dumb grunt as an infantry guy, slogging through the mud,” says Congressman Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq. “And that’s the biggest thing about Amy ... she’s going to have your back in Congress,” he continues.
Is progress on race still possible?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
 In the campaign for the 2018 midterm elections in the United States, the issue of race was a bold backdrop. To other countries, elections in the US are seen as a way for its citizens to make progress on race but also take stock of whether the country is moving toward racial equality at all.
Barnstorming with Trump in the ultimate campaign prop: Air Force One
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The view from Air Force One as we approached Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport was breathtaking: snow-capped mountains, low-hanging clouds, farms dotting the valleys. As we landed, we could see the brightly lit rally site – an airport hangar. The presidential jet taxied over and pulled to a stop, creating a dramatic backdrop for President Trump’s next Make America Great Again rally.
Patron of the past: The Jordanian duke who's preserving the soul of the Levant
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Jordan’s first and only duke has played many roles in his life – often on the very same day – but there is one he cherishes: promoter and preserver of Jordan’s heritage. Born Mamdouh Bisharat to one of the kingdom’s wealthiest landowning families, the Duke of Mukhaibeh has spent six decades protecting Jordan’s heritage and culture, and at 80 remains hard to keep up with. You can find him, for a moment, at the Duke’s Diwan, the oldest residence in downtown Amman, which he has rented at double its value since 2000 to prevent its owner from knocking it down.
A record in ‘diversity’ of candidates
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It’s taken a civil war and other struggles but America’s democracy is now clearly more welcoming of diversity in its political candidates, at least in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. In the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday, candidates are more diverse than ever at the federal level and in most state races, according to the Reflective Democracy Campaign. One candidate is on track to be the first Native American woman in Congress.
Nationalists of the world, unite? Steve Bannon's populist path proves rocky.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Be it resolved, the future of Western politics is populist, not liberal.”
A border, a bus, then school begins in New Mexico
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
With her backpack slung over one shoulder, Gabriela Corona strolls toward the US-Mexico border as casually as if she is crossing the street to school. Gabriela passes walls of barbed wire, camouflage-clad Mexican officers carrying big guns, and US border patrol agents who sit on stools inside the entry building with their arms crossed. None of this fazes Gabriela.
Arming election officials: How cyber sensors are boosting ballot security
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Susan Gill has never met Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev. The supervisor of elections in Florida’s Citrus County wouldn’t know Mr. Kovalev from a television repairman if he walked into her office on Election Day. Kovalev is a Russian military intelligence officer assigned to Unit 74455.
Peace waves in East Africa
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Abiy Ahmed, the new prime minister of Ethiopia with a PhD in conflict resolution, certainly believes so. In the six months since he took office as Africa’s youngest leader, Dr. Abiy has not only transformed the often-violent ethnic tensions of his own country with an approach he calls “love can win hearts,” he has also become a whirlwind diplomat in East Africa with an olive-branch touch. “There is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in September.
In Tennessee Senate race, a clear test of centrism vs. ideology
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
To watch Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen deliver a stump speech before a lunchtime Tennessee crowd, is to wonder whether one is looking at a future where US senators rediscover congeniality and bipartisanship – or at the past, at a throwback politician who is out of step with today’s take-no-prisoners, tribal approach to governing. In this competitive contest in a red state, Democrats have in Mr. Bredesen a self-made health care executive who went on to become a respected politician with a history of coalition building – first as mayor of Nashville, and then as a popular two-term governor. It is the clearest test of centrism vs. ideology among the competitive Senate races, say analysts.
Between migrants and US border, an information gap of many miles
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Carlos Palacio, a lanky mechanic in his early 20s, sits on a piece of cardboard on the edge of this Oaxacan town square, hiding from the sun. “Schools are easy recruitment centers for gangs,” he says of his main drive for leaving the mountainous capital, Tegucigalpa.
For love of strangers: Behind the Jewish legacy of welcoming refugees
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“We have Holocaust survivors in our congregation, and so many of us are just a generation or two removed from relatives who went through that experience or were forced to leave their country,” says Maryann Rabovsky, who has served as chairwoman of the synagogue’s immigration and refugee assistance committee since it was formed three years ago. More recently the group has expanded its work to assist non-Jewish refugees, and to work to help refugees around the world, wherever they are.
Germany's political middle falls apart. Will Europe's center hold?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For decades, the overwhelming majority of German voters stuck loyally to the two centrist parties that have dominated political life since World War II. But familiarity has bred contempt. October regional elections in the states of Bavaria and Hesse have shown those voters coming unstuck, fanning out instead to non-traditional parties on both right and left. Voters' flight from the political middle “is a lasting trend that makes Germany similar to its neighbors in Europe,” says Gero Neugebauer, who teaches politics at the Free University of Berlin.
In Congress, the representatives who don’t see compromise as a dirty word
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Inside, amid a spill of snacks and half-empty water bottles, Jordan Colvin explains why she didn’t vote for her husband in the state primary in June. Ms. Colvin is a registered Republican. In an election cycle that’s been one of the most polarizing in modern times – and in an era when Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on even basic facts – the Colvins’s bipartisan household seems anomalous, almost quaint.
Oman’s guiding hand in a churning Mideast
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
One of the calmest cities in the Middle East has been very busy of late, acting as a hall of odd fellows. In recent weeks, Muscat, the capital of the tiny Arab state of Oman, has hosted Israel’s prime minister, Iran’s foreign minister for special political affairs, the Palestinian president, and the United Nations envoy for the Yemen conflict. Each visit was held in secret, of course, which befits Oman’s historic role as a trusted go-between in the region.
Syria crisis: Will donor fatigue push refugees back too soon?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Yusra Ajaj is facing a life or death decision. A widowed mother of three, Ms. Ajaj is considering leaving Jordan, the country she has called home since war consumed her homeland and killed her husband in 2013. In April, the United Nations stopped her monthly cash assistance of $210, which she relied upon to pay rent.
It’s alive! On Halloween, Frankenreads celebrate 200th anniversary of classic
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Carolinn Kuebler says she found the perfect way to celebrate one of her favorite holidays. On Oct. 31, she headed to the haunted halls of … the Library of Congress. Wearing a festive sweater with a bright orange pumpkin on it, the Washington architect listens intently to “Frankenstein,” a novel she herself has read several times.
Halloween arrives, and Canadians embrace the season wholeheartedly
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
New to Toronto, I get asked many questions: about how I find the schools or the public transportation system. “Have you ever experienced Halloween in Toronto?” asked one father in the schoolyard in the still balmy days of September. “Enjoy your first Halloween in Toronto,” said a Spanish journalist when I introduced myself as a newly arrived colleague.
India’s Modi stakes claim to future – and past – with world’s tallest statue
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On his small organic farm in Gujarat, the western home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lakhanbhai Musafir flings out his arm in disgust in the direction of the soon-to-be-inaugurated Statue of Unity – billed as the tallest statue in the world. Towering over the Narmada River, the $410 million statue depicts Vallabhbhai Patel, known as Sardar Patel, one of the most important figures in India’s fight for independence from Britain, and an icon of national unity. Twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, the Statue of Unity will be inaugurated on Oct. 31 opposite the Sardar Sarovar Dam, marking the official launch of Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 2019 election campaign.
In election run up, voters eye health care as top concern
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Health care definitely needs some work,” she says. “I want the government support,” she says, citing the high costs of medical care. Voters want both low prices and high-quality care, and they show support for a strong government role on health policy, up to a point.
Trump’s rhetorical style again adds scrutiny to power of words
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
President Trump’s rhetorical style, under intense scrutiny amid the tragedies and threats of the past week, is nothing new. From the opening moment of his presidential campaign in 2015, Mr. Trump has prided himself on his practice of stirring up hornet’s nests. On Tuesday came another such move – word of a planned executive order targeting “birthright citizenship.” The goal, Trump told Axios, is to end the practice of bestowing US citizenship on anyone born on US soil, regardless of whether their parents are citizens.
Disarming terrorists like the Pittsburgh shooter before they act
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
One of the world’s most successful efforts at persuading terrorists or would-be terrorists to “disengage” from extreme militancy is in Denmark. The program aims to prevent Muslims from being radicalized and to reintegrate those who abandon terrorism back into society. But the approach could apply equally to almost anyone lured by a violent ideology – including Robert Bowers before his attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue.
A critical moment in the global effort to contain nuclear weapons
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Not all arms-control agreements are created equal. The stakes are high: the prospect of a new superpower arms race, and the possible emergence of two more nuclear powers in North Korea and Iran. Recommended: Would US quitting the INF treaty rekindle a big-power arms race?
Is this Boston sports fan 'tired of winning'? No, but understated in victory
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
At this point, being a Boston sports fan feels like gluttony.
The subway helped segment Atlanta; soccer at its stations may help unite it
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Curtis Jenkins grew up like most native Atlantans: riding MARTA trains, playing pick-up games of basketball, hanging his head about the Hawks. Decades later, Mr. Jenkins leads the Footie Mob, one of a number of supporters’ groups that have latched onto the Major League Soccer expansion team Atlanta United. Last week, the team did what many thought impossible: It knocked Real Madrid out of the Top 25 global soccer rankings, becoming the first MLS team to enter that echelon. The team regularly hosts the third or fourth best-attended soccer games – in the world.
A different Mexico as a US partner on migration
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As they trek together toward the United States, a few thousand migrants from Central America could end up doing more than pose a crisis at the border. The mass exodus has the potential to build a better partnership between the US and Mexico in addressing the “push factors” that drive such people to leave home. To be sure, part of any new US-Mexican coordination should include enhanced enforcement of immigration laws as well as adherence to treaties regarding refugees.
How Big Sky Country became the front line in a long battle over dark money
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Jaime MacNaughton’s future in law can be traced back to the time when she was locked in the trunk of a car, sweating inside a garbage bag. Fast-forward 15 years and Ms. MacNaughton, now a lawyer, is a key player in enforcing Montana’s strict laws against mega-spending in politics. Seventy miles to the south, in the brick historical district of Butte, Mont., Anita Milanovich is marshaling arguments for her side of those cases.
Meanwhile in ... Austria, poll shows eagerness to lose country’s reputation as 'ashtray of Europe'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Austria, a recent public opinion poll shows an eagerness to lose the country’s reputation as “the ashtray of Europe.” A nationwide petition collected nearly 900,000 signatures (about 14 percent of the total electorate) of people who support a ban on smoking in restaurants and cafes. India, Gayam Motor Works has become the world’s first electric auto-rickshaw maker. Canada, nearly half the identifiable plastic trash cleaned up from the nation’s beaches came from just five companies: Nestlé, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s. Greenpeace Canada and other environmental groups counted the sources of plastic debris during a nationwide coastal cleanup effort in September.
In Iran, US sanctions are being felt, with harsher measures to come
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
One sign of the impact of stepped-up American sanctions on Iran can be found on the northeast edge of Tehran: anxiety at Iran’s largest charity for children diagnosed with cancer. Mahak, a private charity with a $60 million annual budget that cares for 17,500 patients across the country, free of charge, is deeply concerned that crucial drug supplies from abroad are already dwindling as foreign banks and suppliers cease doing business. While humanitarian goods such as medicine are exempt from US sanctions, which were reimposed after President Trump withdrew the United States from the multinational deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, the severe banking restrictions that are part of the sanctions regime have just as negative an effect.
When migration means fleeing home, but not your country
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“My [teenage] children all sleep in my bed with me now,” says Maritza, whose partner and two eldest sons were killed in the span of three years by gang violence. Maritza is on her way to becoming an internally displaced person (IDP): someone who is forced to flee her home, but remains within her country’s borders. Within the Northern Triangle, meanwhile – a region made up of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – an estimated 432,000 people became IDPs in 2017, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.
In an Indiana river cleanup, businesses and environmentalists cooperate
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Gary is an industrial city, not known for its natural beauty. The Nature Conservancy, Mr. Labus’s employer, has worked for the past 30 years to preserve the dune and swale habitat surrounding the nearby Grand Calumet River. In the 1950s and ’60s, the Grand Calumet River was identified as one of the most polluted waterways that flowed into Lake Michigan.
Saudi investments influence reactions to Khashoggi affair, Climate change brings security risks, Countries will have to choose a side in US
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“The new global economy is addicted to Saudi wealth,” writes John McDuling. It has forced Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of giant American bank JPMorgan, to cancel an appearance at an upcoming event in the country.... Other key figures from Silicon Valley ... have remained silent. “A milestone report [from the United Nations] has warned the global community of the expository risks our planet faces...,” writes Mir Aftabuddin Ahmed.
Readers write: Thoughts on new Heart of the News section
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Thoughts on new Heart of the News section
A better way to view the migrant caravan
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Viewing them as predators, Mr. Trump seeks stronger border security and aggressive immigration restrictions, perhaps with an eye on the November elections for Congress. Based on recent evidence, more people in those countries may be viewing themselves as capable agents of progress.
Amid 2018 rancor, O’Rourke’s optimism stood out. But can he keep it civil?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It took less than 48 hours last week for Beto O’Rourke to express regret over attacking Ted Cruz, the United States senator he hopes to unseat this year. Grassroots energy, record fundraising hauls, and a Democrat actually being competitive statewide in ruby-red Texas have combined to make this one of the most closely-watched contests in the country. In the months he has campaigned across the state he has rarely criticized Senator Cruz, saying he instead wants to focus on issues, inclusion, and optimism.
As Brazil votes, Bolsonaro fans are hungry for a hero
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“The country needs someone who values family, who values measures against corruption, and who has a clean record,” says Vania de Alencar, a middle-aged lawyer wearing a Brazilian soccer jersey. In the past, Ms. Alencar supported former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the PT, which ran Brazil from 2003 to 2016. Earlier this year, Lula, as he is known, led the polls.
What mail bombs say – and don’t say – about political discourse
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Hours after a package containing a pipe bomb was mailed to a “John Brenan” c/o CNN in New York on Wednesday, former CIA Director John Brennan linked the attack to America’s political fever pitch.
How a post
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will have far-reaching repercussions in the coming months – from the viability of the US-Saudi strategy to counter Iran, to the price of oil, and on to prospects for President Trump’s Middle East “deal of the century” peace plan. What is less certain is whether the horrific violation of one Saudi regime critic’s human rights will do much to stem the rise and free reign of rights-violating regimes across the Middle East and indeed around the world, many regional experts say. The Saudis may have believed they had a “blank check from the Trump administration” to pursue actions like the silencing of regime critics such as Mr. Khashoggi, says Steven Cook, senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington. If they did, it is at least in part because they saw other authoritarian leaders – from regional players Turkey and Egypt to global powers Russia and China – silencing their critics and stamping out dissent with impunity, he adds.
Political violence and its antidote
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Democracy, writes British scholar David Runciman in a new book about the topic, is simply “civil war without the fighting.” But, he adds, when something is not working in a democracy – such as when there is an uptick in political violence – the people usually change it. Lately, a few democracies have witnessed a rise in political violence. In South Africa, an increase in feuding within the ruling African National Congress has led to about 90 politicians killed since 2016.
Control of House may hinge on ‘Panera moms’ in the suburbs
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The last time voters here sent a Democrat to Congress, Richard Nixon was president, and the sprawling retail center that is disappearing in Ms. Mattson’s rear-view mirror didn’t even exist. Mattson turns into a modest neighborhood where she will canvass for Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative who is seeking office for the first time.
Meanwhile in ... Berlin, three new rabbis have made history
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Berlin, three new rabbis have made history. The graduates of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary have become the first rabbis ordained in the city since the Nazis began persecuting Jews in the 1930s. “The fact that Berlin – the place where deportations and extermination [were] planned and decided – is once again home to the largest Jewish community in Germany is ... an undeserved gift,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who marked the occasion at an event at a local synagogue.
A soft way to reform global trade
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, are currently locked in a trade war. President Trump threatens to pull the US out of the World Trade Organization if it does not “shape up.” He has already gummed up the agency’s judicial process. Meanwhile, China is violating so many norms of international commerce that it is a defendant in half of all complaints before the 164-member WTO.
As caravan wends its way north, Mexico walks a fine line
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Sí se pudo! Sí se pudo!” some 4,000 Hondurans chanted last Friday, as they crossed the bridge above the Suchiate River dividing Guatemala and Mexico. As the crowd pressed forward on the bridge, tearing down barriers that blocked entrance into Mexico, the police responded with tear gas.
Democrats rake in big bucks from small donors – but effect is unpredictable
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Two weeks before voters head to the polls, the 2018 campaign season continues to shatter records. Candidates are set to break the $5 billion mark by Election Day, putting this cycle on track to becoming the most expensive congressional election season in US history. The fundraising figures, which favor Democratic candidates, support one prevailing narrative of 2018: that political winds, fanned by anti-Trump fervor, are sweeping Democrats forward in races across the board.
Why Americans are talking less and less about ‘love’ and ‘kindness’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
It’s not often that Roy Speckhardt finds himself going to church to talk about how to make the world a better place. “When I first entered these circles, the thought was, ‘Oh, should we allow atheists in?’” says Mr. Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association in Washington. “Should we allow people who are nonreligious to be part of this essentially religious community?
For Iran's women's movement, progress is slow. But it's progress.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For Iran’s ever-striving women’s movement, it was a small but significant step forward: 150 female soccer fans were allowed into Tehran’s Freedom Stadium last Tuesday to watch the men’s national team beat Bolivia, 2-1. “There are many, many sad stories around the country, but in general women are more in power, more in charge of their lives,” says Nazila Noebashari, an art gallery owner in central Tehran.
‘Nationalist’: A president takes a mantle, then shows he means it
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
At a rally in Houston on Monday night President Trump used a word he said he wasn’t supposed to utter. It was an old-fashioned sort of label, he said, one he would now gladly apply to himself. The designation? “Nationalist,” Mr. Trump said.