Current affairs and Journalistic writing ..1
If you don’t know the use of these words, or don’t quite understand the model sentences given, you can’t possibly be a good English language journalist, or a successful aspirant for Civil Service examinations. So, learn these common, but highly useful words and phrases.
Incursion, Engulf, To curry favor, Acquiescence, Flail, Fret, Bemoan, Fray, Punitive, Unravel, Interlocutor, Implode
Incursion .. The absence of a well-defined border map in the India-China boundary often creates military complications. Routine border patrols by one side are seen as incursions by the rival side leading to local flare-ups.
Engulf .. Just when the war in Syria-Turkey region was drawing to a close, President Trump’s decision to pull back the remaining 1000 American troops from the area seems to have reignited the festering conflict. Pushed to the corner, the PKK (Kurdish guerrilla army) has chosen, though reluctantly, to join forces with their long-time foe -the Syrian government army – to save their tribe from a possible butchering by the advancing Turkish forces. Only a forceful and quick Russian intervention by Russian forces can stop the area being engulfed in a bloody conflict again.
To curry favour .. The Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, is trying all means to save his country from a financial melt-down, and an eventual descent to anarchy. He is making diplomatic efforts to curry favours with the wealthy Arab states, so that the latter open their cash taps for his financially beleaguered country. A stable and prosperous Pakistan will be a good thing for the volatile South Asia region.
Acquiescence .. In the years leading up to the World War 2, a resurgent Germany was re-arming itself at furtive pace. The other European powers like Britain, France etc. didn’t sit up and take notice. Their acquiescence emboldened Hitler to put into effect his grandiose vision of Germany’s superiority through military dominance world-wide.
Flail .. The United States under President Trump appears to alternate between two contrasting visions – a power whose might is unchallenged in the world, and a country that sees no role for itself in the troubled hot spots around the globe. The leadership of Trump is, thus, perceived as flailing and indecisive.
Fret .. The situation in Hong Kong is getting worse by the day. China, still reeling from the international hostility to its stance on Tiananmen Square protests, can only fret from the sidelines as the highly prosperous city seems to inexorably slide to chaos and self-destruction.
Bemoan .. Centuries before Jesus Christ was born, philosophers from Greece held the torch of wisdom for the human race. Greece perfected the art of building a strong body through practice of competitive games and sports. The Olympics were the gift of Greece to the world. Alexander, the Great, the iconic military campaigner came from this country, too. Now, this tiny European country that gave so much to mankind is a powerless country enfeebled by a bad economy, loss of competitive spirit, and indolence. Greeks bemoan their fall from grace, but fail to muster enough energy to reclaim their lost glory.
Fray .. Boris Johnson’s tenure as the British premier has been bedeviled by his ill-conceived Brexit misadventure. Now, with the deadline for exit drawing near, he must be pondering ways to save his own face more than that of his country. Political analysts, in hindsight, say that Boris Johnson shouldn’t have entered the fray at all knowing that Brexit was a disruptive political misadventure.
Punitive .. During the colonial era, the British administrators used to come down heavily on collective public crimes such as thuggery, communal violence, disregard for government authority etc. To punish the whole population of an area from where the crimes originated, the British Collector used to impose punitive taxes that hurt the poor people hard. It acted as a deterrent against recurrence of similar crimes later.
Unravel .. The collapse of IL&FS, the giant NBFC of India, didn’t appear to be so problematic in the immediate aftermath. However, gradually, its disruptive consequences unraveled as the financial markets came to a grinding halt due to drying up of liquidity among the lending institutions.
Interlocutor .. To start a dialogue with the leaders and political groups opposed to Indian rule in Kashmir, the Indian government had appointed interlocutors to visit the state, and initiate the process of settlement. However, the lack of sincerity of the Indian government for such a process, and the continued intransigence of the anti-India elements resulted in the failure of the interlocutor.
Implode .. The capitalist countries didn’t fire a single bullet to destroy the Soviet Union, their deadliest military and political foe. Due to its in-built flaws, the U.S.S.R imploded on its own.