WORD LISTS

Words from Typhoon Haiyan and Other Stories in This Week's News

November 12, 2013
Although this week's headlines include the release of new guidelines for cholesterol management and Bill Clinton weighing in on the continuing healthcare rollout, they're dominated by the devastation following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and stories of the two million Filipinos in need of aid.

To fully understand these unfolding news stories, learn ten key words taken from Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times coverage.
formulate
To formulate is another way of saying, "to make," but it carries the advantage of suggesting a recipe--either one that is followed, or in this case, one that is created as part of the process.
The new guidelines, formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology and based on a four-year review of the evidence, simplify the current complex, five-step process for evaluating who needs to take statins.
-- Experts Reshape Treatment Guide For Cholesterol, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
departure
In its most common sense, departure refers to the act of leaving. But here it means a "variation." You can remember how the two meanings are linked by thinking of a variation as a branching off (or a departure) from a path.
In a significant departure, the new method also counts strokes as well as heart attacks in its risk calculations, a step that will probably make some additional people candidates for the drugs.
-- Experts Reshape Treatment Guide For Cholesterol, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
botch
For over six hundred years, botch has meant to spoil by unskillful work. A botched job is one that has gone wrong. Think of it as a "bad batch."
Under intense bipartisan pressure to answer mounting consumer complaints about the botched health care rollout, White House officials are struggling to make good on President Obama’s promise that Americans can keep their insurance coverage without undermining the new health law or adding unaffordable costs.
-- Obama in Bind Trying to Keep Health Law Vow, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
undermine
To understand what this word means, think of "mines" tunneled beneath or "under" your house by a family of chipmunks. Suddenly that foundation's built on something less solid than you would like. Anything that's been damaged from beneath can be said to be undermined in this way, such as a parent's authority undermined by a child's sarcasm, the rollout of a healthcare system where essential technology for signing people up isn't in place.
Under intense bipartisan pressure to answer mounting consumer complaints about the botched health care rollout, White House officials are struggling to make good on President Obama’s promise that Americans can keep their insurance coverage without undermining the new health law or adding unaffordable costs.
-- Obama in Bind Trying to Keep Health Law Vow, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
substandard
As with undermine, substandard uses a prefix for "under" or "below." In this case, "sub" means "below standard," "inferior," or to keep things simple, just plain "bad." Obama is looking to avoid keeping Americans signed up for plans that might be inexpensive but are below the standards set by the new Affordable Care Act.
But they made clear that the president was skeptical of any solution that would allow insurance companies to continue selling what officials consider to be cheap and substandard policies.
-- Obama in Bind Trying to Keep Health Law Vow, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
typhoon
What's the difference between a typhoon, a hurricane, and a cyclone? Nothing except their location. Hurricane is used in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, cyclone in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, and typhoon in the Northwest Pacific.
Increasingly desperate survivors of Typhoon Haiyan mobbed the shattered airport here on Tuesday, begging for food, water or a flight to escape the chaotic aftermath of the storm, which flattened this city of 220,000 five days earlier and ravaged vast swaths of the country’s midsection.
-- Distress Grows for Philippine Typhoon Victims Who Can’t Get Aid, or Out, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
travail
Travail is not a word you hear everyday but is perfectly appropriate in this context, where it describes the hardship and suffering undergone by victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
The travails reached new heights on Tuesday in Tacloban, a formerly thriving city in the east-central Philippines that appeared to get the full force of the typhoon.
-- Distress Grows for Philippine Typhoon Victims Who Can’t Get Aid, or Out, The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
impassable
If you know that the prefix im means "not," then impassable easy to understand. It describes roads that can-not be passed due to obstacles or the road's condition. This is an essential word in the Philippines where aid cannot reach those in need due to impassable roads.
Some roads are impassable, and many towns have lost their emergency workers.
-- In Philippines, typhoon survivors desperate for food; aid workers say progress is slow, The Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2013
potable
Potable means "drinkable," and comes to English from the Latin potare "to drink," which also brought us the word potion. It's a word that you don't hear everyday but in situations like the one in the Philippines becomes essential.
Zurdo said his group can set up mobile water-treatment plants to address a severe shortage of potable water.
-- In Philippines, typhoon survivors desperate for food; aid workers say progress is slow, The Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2013
placard
The observation that Filipinos were carrying signs asking for help was posted on Twitter and picked up by several major newspapers, offering the opportunity to describe the tragic hand-held signs with precision by calling them placards.
In another town, Tabogon, hungry and thirsty children took to the streets with placards saying they needed help, a Philippine journalist said on Twitter.
-- In Philippines, typhoon survivors desperate for food; aid workers say progress is slow, The Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2013

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Thursday November 14th 2013, 12:57 PM
Comment by: Tbone (FL)
good
Tuesday November 19th 2013, 10:08 PM
Comment by: jt (Greece)
Great

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