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While Toronto Mayor "Rampages," US Pursues "Detente" with Iraq: Ten Words In the News You Need to Know

November 20, 2013
In the news this week, the US government negotiates a settlement with JP Morgan, opens talks with Iran on its nuclear weapons program, and moves toward a security deal with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Department of Disgraced Politicians brings us copious coverage of Toronto Mayor Tom Ford's crack cocaine scandal and tea party freshman Congressman Trey Radel's arrest for cocaine possession.

To fully understand these unfolding news stories, learn ten key words taken from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Miami Herald coverage.
accountability
Accountability is a word that still dominates discussions of banks bailed out of the 2008 crash. New "bottom line" tactics hold them responsible or accountable for their role in the irresponsible lending practices that brought that crisis about.
“No firm, no matter how profitable, is above the law, and the passage of time is no shield from accountability.”
-- In Extracting Deal From JPMorgan, U.S. Aimed for Bottom Line, The New York Times, Nov. 20, 2013
detente
From the 17th century into the 20th French was considered "the language of diplomacy," so its no surprise that this diplomatic term for a state of truce between two opposing nations is French in origin. It means "loosening," and in English it means to loosening of tensions.
Mr. Rouhani has promoted a campaign of détente with the West and a less strident foreign policy.
-- World Powers Renew Push on Iran Nuclear Program, The New York Times, Nov. 20, 2013
strident
Strident is related to the Latin word strix, "screech owl," and it refers to a literal or metaphorical "screeching." We also associate the word with dogmatic, humorless assertion of a position.
Mr. Rouhani has promoted a campaign of détente with the West and a less strident foreign policy.
-- World Powers Renew Push on Iran Nuclear Program, The New York Times, Nov. 20, 2013
coalition
A coalition is a group joined together in common cause. The Afghanistan War--as with most conflicts in the current political climate--was waged by a NATO coalition, NATO being a coalition in and of itself.
President Hamid Karzai requested that Mr. Obama write the letter in exchange for softening his opposition to letting American forces raid Afghan homes after the coalition's mandate expires in December 2014, said his spokesman, Aimal Faizi.
-- U.S., Afghanistan Move Toward Security Deal, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2013
bilateral
Inside bilateral you'll see bi, meaning "two" (think: bicycle) and lateral, meaning "side." Thus bilateral describes something with two-sides. Here it's the US on one side of an agreement and Afghanistan on the other.
The developments came just ahead of Thursday's inauguration of the Loya Jirga, a traditional assembly that would consider the so-called bilateral security agreement between the two countries.
-- U.S., Afghanistan Move Toward Security Deal, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2013
envisage
Envisage differs from envision in a subtle way. You envision or "imagine" something you might be able to literally see, such as all world leaders sitting down for a meal. Use envisage for abstractions, things you can imagine but won't ever literally see, such as world peace or enduring love.
But the officials said they could envisage issuing a letter in which the U.S. expresses "regret" for civilian casualties in past military operations, in line with previous U.S. statements.
-- U.S., Afghanistan Move Toward Security Deal, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2013
resilient
This word is often used to describe the Taliban, deer-resistant plants, and children who seem to recover easily from a vicious divorce, and Weeble Wobbles.
The security agreement, which would provide for a limited American training and counterterrorism force in Afghanistan after 2014, is crucial for continuing international aid, the main source of funding for the Afghan army and police that are facing a resilient Taliban insurgency.
-- U.S., Afghanistan Move Toward Security Deal, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2013
amend
What makes the word amend different from the word add is that amend suggests "improving through adding." When you amend the Constitution, you make it better.
It is possible, Mr. Faizi acknowledged, that the Loya Jirga may come up with "new suggestions" to amend the security agreement, requiring a new round of negotiations in coming weeks.
-- U.S., Afghanistan Move Toward Security Deal, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2013
alleged
You might associate alleged with crime novels or courtroom drama. It gives us a way to call someone a criminal before that's been proved in a court of law. If you're an alleged cookie stealer, it means you've been called that but proof has yet to be produced.
Radel was arrested in a Drug Enforcement Agency bust when his alleged dealer, arrested in a separate case, led authorities to the congressman, officials said.
-- Tea party Rep. Trey Radel busted for cocaine in D.C., The Miami Herald, Nov. 19, 2013
rampage
In Old French, ramper meant to "mount or climb." Thus rampant was used to describe a lion rearing up to attack, and then came to mean "fierce." Now, in the 21st century, rampage is being linked to the behavior you'd expect from a gorilla.
“He’s like a rampaging gorilla, as long as he’s in the room, he’s going to disrupt the room — he’s not going to let us ignore him.”
-- Council cuts Mayor Rob Ford's office budget, transfers powers to deputy , The Toronto Sun, Nov. 18, 2013

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Saturday November 23rd 2013, 11:15 AM
Comment by: Tara (KY)
Cool list

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