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Updated: 13 hours 59 min ago

Trump, his critics, and the basic divide over the FBI

May 21, 2018 - 3:02pm

President Trump has been attacking his own Federal Bureau of Investigation for months. The fundamental assumption behind many of his charges is this: In its actions regarding the Russia probe, the bureau is propelled by political bias against him. Mr. Trump’s anger over an alleged FBI “informant” in his campaign is the latest example of this dynamic.

Setback for workers: What fallout as Supreme Court OKs forced arbitration?

May 21, 2018 - 2:58pm

In the wake of a #MeToo movement that is pushing corporations to clean up their act, the US Supreme Court threw companies a lifeline. It allowed them to continue including forced-arbitration clauses in their employment contracts. Monday’s ruling means that companies can keep workers from launching class-action lawsuits – or even going to arbitration as a group – over issues from wages and overtime pay to discrimination and sexual harassment.

Incentives for inmates to chose a crime-free life

May 21, 2018 - 12:46pm

America’s faith in the ability of those in prison to redeem themselves often ebbs and flows based on which political party is in charge of law enforcement. Support of the bill by both Democrats and Republicans may be a result of recent reforms in many states, such as Texas and Georgia, that have helped ex-convicts develop life skills for reintegrating into a community – the kind of reforms that many experts attribute in part to the nation’s lower crime rate in recent decades. Inmates could be assigned to prisons closer to their families.

Warming waters hurt Zanzibar's seaweed. But women farmers have a plan.

May 21, 2018 - 10:17am

“Seaweed farming in our area is only done by women,” says Mwanaisha Makame, a 20-year veteran of the business, as warm little waves lap at her long, flower-print skirt. Ms. Makame’s family didn’t have money for higher education when she was young, so she went to the ocean to farm. Seaweed farming has enabled thousands of Zanzibari women to earn cash and climb social ladders.

With compassionate outreach, a city cuts its drug overdose rate in half

May 21, 2018 - 9:07am

Jim Ward and his girlfriend were awash in cash thanks to their regular trips down south, where they would buy thousands of prescription opioid pills from unscrupulous doctors and sell them back home in West Virginia for $220 apiece.

Trump’s ‘diplomatic vandalism’ on the Iran nuclear deal, Trump’s nuclear deal move hurts America’s reputation, Putin’s pushy foreign policy may not be strategically beneficial, Why Elon Musk blew up at an analyst, Timely theme for World Press Freedom Day

May 19, 2018 - 4:00am

“Donald Trump’s torpedoing of the Iran nuclear deal on highly specious and misleading grounds is an act of wanton diplomatic vandalism fraught with dangers...,” writes Simon Tisdall. “Many in Tehran will see the sweeping reimposition of US sanctions as a declaration of war.... This aggressive bid to further isolate Iran appears designed to ultimately enforce regime change.

Readers write: Celebrating workers, the hearts of parents, libraries in danger, direction for White House

May 19, 2018 - 4:00am

The Feb. 26 Home Forum essay, “Why I’m so grateful to Steve,” is excellent! I work with guys like Steve, and they need to be celebrated! They do hard, gross work that no one else wants to do or understands how to do. Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test? In his March 5 Home Forum essay, “An unquiet realization about libraries,” writer Christopher Andreae refers to the fact that some public libraries in Scotland are threatened with closure.

Polar power play: Who will prevail at the rooftop of the world?

May 18, 2018 - 2:20pm

Mr. Rafaelsen is the mayor of Kirkenes, a small port at the northern tip of Norway, 250 miles inside the Arctic Circle. Kirkenes is the end of the line for a passenger ship that trundles daily up the coast through scenic coastal fjords.

The new calm in combatting Ebola

May 18, 2018 - 1:22pm

During the last outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa four years ago, panic spread faster and farther than the disease itself. Public fears even hindered efforts to end the epidemic, which claimed 11,000-plus lives. With a new outbreak this month in Congo, health officials are now applying a key lesson: Guard against mass hysteria.

After four years of Western sanctions, Russia digs in for long haul

May 18, 2018 - 8:20am

Russians have been living under Western sanctions for four years now, and they have undeniably survived. Anti-Russia sanctions appeared to be a straightforward admonition four years ago, when Russia annexed Crimea and intervened to back Ukrainian rebels in their war against the new Kiev government. The message to Moscow conveyed by the first rounds of sanctions was: Correct these specific behaviors and we'll discuss removing the sanctions.

Hindu prayer service? There’s an app for that.

May 18, 2018 - 7:17am

India’s most popular Hindu temples can exhaust even the most patient person during high festival seasons. Temple attendants scold stragglers hoping to catch a couple more moments in the presence of a murti, or icon embodying the deity, as those next in line jostle for their own brief connection with the divine. The VIP experience of a personalized prayer ceremony or a special request is a service reserved for a stratospherically select few.

For more US parents, paid family leave becomes reality

May 17, 2018 - 1:04pm

It’s clear father and son share a strong bond – one that Alptekin attributes to being able to take time off work the first few weeks after Isa was born. It was, Alptekin recalls, a “pretty hectic” time, with its mountains of diapers and sleepless nights. Currently, California is one of four US states that provide paid family leave.

The soft power of openness to other languages

May 17, 2018 - 12:26pm

One type of “soft power,” however, is often overlooked: a generosity toward languages. In recent months, the island nation of Taiwan, which has been conquered by several foreign forces in recent history, is moving fast to embrace its language diversity. Last year, it gave “national status” to the mother tongues of minority indigenous groups, many of whom live in the mountains.

How these women crochet sleeping mats for homeless people out of plastic bags

May 17, 2018 - 5:00am

On Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., women from Winter Valley senior housing in the Boston suburb of Milton, Mass., gather around a table to chat, snack on baked goods, and crochet. This particular group of about a dozen women has been meeting almost every week for more than a year, converting bags into six-foot-long water-resistant mats. The finished mats are delivered to Pine Street Inn, a service center in Boston for homeless people.

Meanwhile on ... Scotland's Isle of Lewis and Harris, Christians are extending a welcoming hand to a new mosque

May 17, 2018 - 4:00am

Scotland's Isle of Lewis and Harris, Christians are extending a welcoming hand to a new mosque. This remote outpost of the Scottish Hebrides is known for its conservative Christian attitudes, but when reporters sought out controversy over a mosque opening there this month, there was little to be found. The artifacts – highly decorated carriages, jewelry, weapons, and other items from the Silk Road kingdom of Margiana – will be on display in three German cities, beginning in Berlin.

North Korea, in word and deed, signals how tough negotiations will be

May 16, 2018 - 2:53pm

On June 27, 2008, North Korea blew up a big symbol of its nascent nuclear program, the cooling tower of the plutonium-producing reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear site. Within weeks a developing deal to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions fell apart, in part because Pyongyang got a look at sweeping and intrusive US plans for verifying such an agreement. Almost exactly 10 years later, North Korea is again planning an explosive event meant to showcase its nuclear intentions.

World sees US paying high diplomatic price for Trump's Iran deal withdrawal

May 16, 2018 - 1:45pm

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last January, President Trump insisted that his trademark America First policy “does not mean America alone.”

Wanted in Ohio: Workers who can pass a drug test

May 16, 2018 - 9:29am

Bill Cruciger could easily double the staff of his roofing company, Roof Rite, given how strong the economy is right now. “It’s just mind-blowing how many people we hire who have never pounded a nail before,” says his son, Chris Cruciger, who is general manager of the family-owned company. The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce says 40 to 60 percent of job applicants are failing drug tests.

Gaza and Jerusalem: Assessing the real costs of 'low-cost' US diplomacy

May 15, 2018 - 2:35pm

President Trump has boasted to spirited applause at political rallies over recent weeks that his good sense as a businessman allowed him to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem for a fraction of the billion-dollar cost diplomats predicted. As if to underscore the low cost of the move, the 800 invitees to Monday’s dedication ceremony at what until now was the US consulate in Jerusalem were served pretzels and water – nothing more. Of course when the United States gets around to constructing a new embassy building in Jerusalem to replace the old one in Tel Aviv, the price tag will no doubt approximate the $1 billion experts have ball-parked since Mr. Trump announced the controversial move in December.

The peace in learning to discern the news

May 15, 2018 - 1:40pm

In recent years, more American high schools have begun to teach “media literacy,” especially during an era of “fake news.” More news outlets now offer truth checks on public statements. One 2003 study of an 11th-grade class on media literacy found students were better able to recognize “the complex blurring” of information and entertainment in nonfiction media. Media literacy is still a work in progress.