WORD LISTS

This Week In Words: October 5–11, 2019

October 9, 2019
What a week! To describe newsworthy events around the world, we've got words that refer to burning, crashing, and exploding, as well as a couple that mean different sorts of defenses. Buckle up!
bulwark
Pope Francis convened a three-week synod (meeting) at the Vatican that's focused on protecting the Amazon rainforest from loggers, miners, and farmers. Representatives from several Amazonian tribes were in attendance, and the Pope urged members of the clergy from those countries to take action to protect the environment. A bulwark used to mean a fortification; now it can refer to anything, like a rainforest, that protects against something else, like climate change.
Francis was to celebrate an opening Mass on Sunday with global attention newly focused on the forest fires that are devouring the rainforest, which scientists say is a crucial bulwark against global warming.
Washington Times (Oct 6, 2019)
cordon
Large-scale demonstrations, led by indigenous groups, have caused major disruptions in Quito, the capital, and elsewhere as people have blocked roads and occupied buildings. President Lenín Moreno has moved the government out of the city temporarily as a result, and has declared a curfew. Protestors are demanding reinstatement of fuel subsidies, which the government eliminated as part of a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Demonstrators briefly burst through a police cordon before being driven back with tear gas, witnesses said.
BBC (Oct 9, 2019)
embroil
Retired four-star General Jack Keane said that the President's decision to allow Turkey to invade Northern Syria represents a "strategic blunder" and a "betrayal" of the Kurds who have been our allies in the fight against ISIS. He said that our withdrawal from the region will allow ISIS to regroup, and will leave the Kurds at the mercy of Turkish forces, who want to create a 30-kilometer buffer zone on the Syrian side of their border.
We lost that peace and we found ourselves embroiled in a much larger conflict after that.
Fox News (Oct 8, 2019)
fulminate
This week Facebook changed its rules about truthfulness in political advertising, allowing false ads to run without any restriction. The President has already run three new ads that would have violated the previous rule, and opponents like Elizabeth Warren have weighed in against the change. In addition to "condemn" or "censure", fulminate (which comes from Latin fulminare, meaning "to strike with lightning") can also mean "to explode loudly".
News of Facebook’s policy change led to much fulminating over the past week.
The Verge (Oct 9, 2019)
impacted
Nearly 400 high temperature records were broken this summer, many of them in Northern Europe. July was the hottest month ever recorded, and it followed a record-breaking June. 2019 will likely be one of the warmest years in recorded history. Something that makes an impact hits hard, often doing damage to the impacted area.
A study reported that warming increased the intensity of the event that impacted the UK, France and the Netherlands by between 1.5 and 3C.
BBC (Oct 9, 2019)
injunction
Arizona has withdrawn from a national opioid settlement offered by Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. The opioid epidemic has killed almost 400,000 people over the last 20 years, and the settlement has been estimated at around $10 billion. If an injunction is issued against you, then you have been enjoined from doing whatever the judge forbids. In this case Purdue's lawyers are asking to delay the trial for nine months.
Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York, will consider on Friday Purdue’s request for an injunction to pause the litigation for about nine months.
Reuters (Oct 8, 2019)
prerogative
An American woman married to an employee at a U.S. airbase in Britain struck and killed a motorcyclist with her car because she was driving on the wrong side of the road (they drive on the left in the U.K.) Claiming diplomatic immunity for her — even though she is not a diplomat or even a government employee — the U.S. Embassy helped her return to the U.S. before local authorities had completed their investigation. Outraged Britons are demanding that she return to face justice.
U.S. officials must of course avoid setting any precedents that might unduly hamper the legitimate prerogatives of those who work for the government under often difficult circumstances overseas.
Washington Post (Oct 8, 2019)
repatriate
One of the serious issues surrounding the President's new policy regarding Turkey and Syria is that the Syrian Kurds, who are now under attack by Turkey, hold around 10,000 ISIS fighters in approximately 25 jails throughout their territory. Turkey and the U.S. both say they have plans to deal with the prisoners, but details are unclear and experts are skeptical.
Erdogan says Turkey and the United States are working separately on plans to repatriate foreign fighters held in Kurdish prisons.
Washington Times (Oct 9, 2019)
reticent
Since suffering a heart attack last week, Bernie Sanders has announced that he will scale back his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President. The health scare has renewed questions about his age; if elected, he would be the oldest person to enter the office. He will return to the trail at the next scheduled debate on October 15. Reticent, from Latin, refers to someone not easily given to talking about their personal life.
“He’s somewhat reticent to talk about his own . . . life experiences,” said Cohen.
Washington Post (Oct 7, 2019)
welter
The Bank of England has issued rules governing Facebook's Libra and other cryptocurrencies. These payment methods will now be subject to many of the requirements that traditional bank accounts must meet. Welter, from German meaning "to roll around" or "to writhe" (imagine a pig in mud), refers to a messy assortment, a muddled group.
So-called wallets for crypto-payments are akin to bank accounts that are subject to a welter of rules, such as deposit insurance, liquidity and capital requirements.
Reuters (Oct 9, 2019)

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