Thank You for Visiting Me! 「英語赤ひげ先生」による「知っている英語」を「使える英語」にするための「理論」と「教材」を一挙に無料公開しています。

The New York Times を読む

the $64,000 question

ソ連がウクライナのクリミア半島への軍事介入が実質始まったようです。アメリカにとっては重大な出来事ですので、 The New York Timesの電子版も連日大きく取り上げています。今日「Making Russia Pay? It’s Not So Simple」という記事の中で「the $64,000 question」という表現に出会いました(下記の下線部)。

WASHINGTON — President Obama has warned Russia that “there will be costs” for a military intervention in Ukraine. But the United States has few palatable(受け入れられる) options for imposing such costs, and recent history has shown that when it considers its interests at stake(賭けられている), Russia has been willing to pay the price.

Even before President Vladimir V. Putin on Saturday publicly declared his intent to send Russian troops into the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, Mr. Obama and his team were already discussing how to respond. They talked about canceling the president’s trip to a summit meeting in Russia in June, shelving(棚上げする) a possible trade agreement, kicking Moscow out of the Group of 8 or moving American warships to the region.

That is the same menu of actions that was offered to President George W. Bush in 2008, when Russia went to war with Georgia, another balky former Soviet republic. Yet the costs imposed at that time proved only marginally effective and short-lived. Russia stopped its advance but nearly six years later has never fully lived up to the terms of the cease-fire it signed. And whatever penalty it paid at the time evidently has not deterred(思いとどまらせる) it from again muscling(力ずくで押す) a neighbor.

“The question is: Are those costs big enough to cause Russia not to take advantage of the situation in the Crimea? That’s the $64,000 question,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, a retired Army officer who served as defense attache in the American Embassy in Moscow and now, as a Harvard scholar, leads a group of former Russian and American officials in back-channel talks.

この「the $64,000 question」は「誰でも知っている例の$64,000の質問」という意味ですが、あるクイズ番組の最後の非常に難関な問題という意味から来ています。これに正解したら$64,000貰えるわけです。


The New York Times を読む(11)−沖縄の歴史検定教科書問題


見出し:In Textbook Fight, Japan Leaders Seek to Recast(を書き直す)History

TAKETOMI, Japan — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government has begun to pursue(を追及する)a more openly nationalist agenda on an issue that critics fear will push the country farther from its postwar pacifism(平和主義): adding a more patriotic(愛国的な) tone to Japan’s school textbooks.

The proposed textbook revisions have drawn less outcry(抗議)abroad than Mr. Abe’s visit on Thursday to a shrine that honors war dead, including war criminals(戦争犯罪人)from World War II. However, though Mr. Abe’s supporters argue that changes are needed to teach children more patriotism, liberals warn that they could undercut(に傷をつける)an antiwar message they say has helped keep Japan peaceful for decades.

“Prime Minister Abe is feeling the heat from his political base, which feels betrayed(裏切られた) that he has not pursued a more strongly right-wing agenda,” said Nobuyoshi Takashima, a professor emeritus(名誉教授)at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa who has studied the politics of textbooks. “Classrooms are one place where he can appease(をなだめる)ultraconservatives by taking a more firmly nationalist stance.”

Mr. Abe and the nationalists have long argued that changes in the education system are crucial to restoring the country’s sense of self, eroded(次第に壊された)over decades when children were taught what they call an overly negative view of Japan’s wartime behavior.

The latest efforts for change started slowly, but have picked up speed in recent weeks.

In October, Mr. Abe’s education minister ordered the school board here in Taketomi to use a conservative textbook it had rejected, the first time the national government has issued such a demand. In November, the Education Ministry proposed new textbook screening standards, considered likely to be adopted, that would require the inclusion of nationalist views of World War II-era history.

This month, a government-appointed committee suggested a change that would bring politics more directly into education: putting mayors in charge of their local school districts, a move that opponents say would increase political interference in textbook screening. And just days ago, an advisory committee to the Education Ministry suggested hardening the proposed new standards by requiring that textbooks that do not nurture(を促進する)patriotism be rejected.

The moves come at a time when China is asserting its growing strength, directly challenging Japanese territorial claims and its standing as a regional power. The proposed educational changes are the latest that nationalists in both countries have pushed and that some fear will, over time, harden views and deepen tensions between Asia’s two strongest countries.

The history issue may also be fraught with(をはらんだ) political danger for Mr. Abe, who had initially focused on the economy rather than an ultraconservative agenda.

He has already seen his popularity levels fall since the recent passage of a secrecy bill that some local media criticized as a throwback(後戻り)to wartime censorship laws. And a battle over textbooks helped drive Mr. Abe from power in 2007 after less than a year the last time he was in office; in that case, his government tried to delete mention of the Japanese military’s forcing Okinawan civilians to commit mass suicide during the war.

But at least so far, the latest efforts have engendered(を生じた)little backlash(反発)from the public, a reflection(反映), teachers say, of increasing anxieties about China’s more confrontational(挑戦的な)stance toward Japan.

The new screening standards proposed by the education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, a longtime advocate(擁護者)for teaching patriotism, require that elementary, junior high and high school textbooks give a “balanced picture” of disputed(争いのある)historical facts.

In an interview, ministry officials said that in practice this would require that textbooks include viewpoints of nationalist scholars on two highly contested historical issues. One is the death toll of the 1937 massacre in Nanking of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers that the Chinese government says stands at 300,000, a figure many Japanese scholars see as grossly(ひどく)exaggerated.

Textbooks would also be required to state that there is still a dispute about whether the Japanese Army played a direct role in forcing so-called comfort women from Korea and elsewhere to provide sex to its soldiers, even though most foreign historians say the brothels(売春宿)could not have been run without the military’s cooperation.

Educators worry that the vague wording of the standards could lead to more widespread changes in tone.
The suggested changes follow years of nationalist attempts — long backed by Mr. Abe — to whittle away at negative depictions(叙述)of Japan’s wartime activities. Those who oppose textbook revisions say they are beginning to see the contours(輪郭)of a new strategy: forcing change at the local level that has sometimes failed at the national level.

Taketomi, a township of eight tiny islands that had been best known for its water-buffalo-drawn carts and placid(穏やかな)coral lagoons, appears to have become ground zero for that battle.

The trouble began two years ago, when a newly elected conservative mayor on the neighboring island of Ishigaki appointed a new head of a local education district who selected a ninth-grade social studies textbook published by a right-wing company. Taketomi, whose school system is part of that district, immediately rejected the book for what its teachers called overly revisionist content, including the portrayal(記述)of the antiwar Constitution as an alien document imposed by Allied occupiers who wanted to keep Japan weak.

Replacing the postwar Constitution has been a careerlong goal of Mr. Abe’s.
Taketomi’s school board voted that its ninth graders, who this year number 32, would keep using the current text, which praises the Constitution and the pacifist message that it enshrines(正式に述べる).

At first, the national government ignored the quiet insurrection(謀反). But since Mr. Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party returned to power last year, analysts say members of his government have appeared increasingly determined to make an example of Taketomi in their campaign to roll back what they call an excessively left-leaning tilt in education.

So far, Taketomi has refused to bend to the central government’s demand that it follow the district’s orders. The town’s school superintendent, Anzo Kedamori, says the conservative book fails to teach children the hatred of war that his generation learned from bitter experience. During the Battle of Okinawa, hundreds of people in Taketomi perished(死んだ)when Japanese soldiers forced them to evacuate into malaria-ridden(マラリアがいっぱいいる)jungles.

“We have an obligation to teach the horrors of war to future generations,” said Mr. Kedamori, 72, who remembers watching playmates die while shivering with malarial fever.

Mr. Kedamori and other local educators say rightists in the Abe government are targeting Taketomi to score a politically symbolic victory in a small corner of Okinawa, long a bastion(要塞)of antimilitary sentiments. Members of the governing party counter that Taketomi is breaking the law by refusing to obey the district’s decision and that it is Taketomi’s school board, led by a leftist teachers union, that is imposing its ideological agenda.

“This is not about going back to militarism, but just teaching the love of country that is normal in the United States and other nations,” said Hiroyuki Yoshiie, a governing party lawmaker.

The proposal to put mayors in charge of their local school districts, analysts say, is a further attempt to bring Taketomi to heel(後に続く), but it could also serve what critics see as a larger agenda. They say empowering sympathetic local leaders will allow the nationalists to adopt more nationalistic textbooks that have so far fallen flat.

Ikuhosha, the publisher of the conservative textbook chosen by the district, provides only 4 percent of the 2.5 million history and social studies books used nationally by grades seven to nine, according to the Education Ministry. By contrast, Tokyo Shoseki, the publisher of Taketomi’s antiwar textbook, prints more than half of the school books used nationwide.

“The conservatives want to use Taketomi as a manual for imposing Ikuhosha textbooks on other districts,” said Toshio Ohama, a former head of the Okinawa prefectural teachers union.

Mr. Kedamori, Taketomi’s superintendent, said the town lacked the resources for a prolonged battle with the national government, but he vowed not to give in.

“Why can’t they leave us alone,” he said, “to teach the value of peace to our children?”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government has begun to pursue a more openly nationalist agenda on an issue that critics fear will push the country farther from its postwar pacifism: adding a more patriotic tone to Japan’s school textbooks.
「that」は関係代名詞。「critics fear」は挿入語句なので文の骨組みは「that will push」となります。次の段落の下線部も挿入。「an antiwar message they say has helped keep Japan peaceful for decades」

: adding a more patriotic tone to Japan’s school textbooks
現在分詞は「主語+動詞」の代わりをします。ここでは「it will add a more …」ということです。

The New York Times を読む(10)


見出し:European Union Suspends Talks With Ukraine Over Trade Deal

KIEV, Ukraine — The European Union on Sunday broke off(を中断した)talks with Ukraine on the far-reaching(広範囲にわたる)trade deal that protesters here have been demanding for weeks, and a top official issued a stinging(とげのある), angry statement all but accusing Ukraine’s president of dissembling(しらばくれたとして)during the negotiations.

The bloc’s enlargement chief, Stefan Fule, wrote on Twitter that the words and deeds of the president, Viktor F. Yanukovich, were “growing further and further apart,” even as the Ukrainian crisis was showing signs of deepening. On Sunday, about a 100,000 protesters clogged(をふさいだ)a main plaza and surrounding streets, rivaling(に匹敵する)earlier weekend rallies in size.

The statement by Mr. Fule, coming amid this protest, sent a pointed message to the crowd that Ukraine’s government might well have to change before the European Union agreement can be revived.

Mr. Fule said that further discussions on the trade agreement would hinge(・・・次第である)on receiving clear signals from Ukraine’s government, but that he had received no response. “Work on hold,” he wrote in his Twitter post, saying he had told a Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Sergei Arbuzov, that the government had to show “a clear commitment to sign.”

Officials in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union’s executive arm(部門), the European Commission, confirmed the decision to suspend the talks with Ukraine.

After years of negotiations with Brussels, Mr. Yanukovich was to sign the European Union association agreement late last month, but then he announced that he would not because austerity(厳格さ)measures demanded in a related International Monetary Fund loan were too stringent(厳しい)and because Russia had threatened trade sanctions.

His government began talks on rival trade and economic deals with Russia, even as Mr. Yanukovich insisted he intended eventually(結局は)to sign the European Union deal.

Perplexed(困惑して), high-level Western diplomats traveled to Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, last week. Mr. Yanukovich told the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and an assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, that he intended to sign the European trade deal, and would not join the rival Russian-backed customs union.

Ms. Ashton, after returning from her mission to Ukraine, said in Brussels on Thursday that she had assurances from the president of his intention to sign.

“Yanukovich made it clear to me that he intends to sign the association agreement,” she said.

By Friday, though, the Ukrainian government had again issued orders to ministers to plan to reconcile(を一致させる)Ukrainian customs and trade legislation with the Russian-led customs union, not the European Union, the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda reported, adding to a sense of drift in the government all the more ominous(険悪な) for the large, sustained(維持された)protests in the capital.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, appeared onstage at Independence Square and expressed American solidarity(結束)with the protesters’ goals.

“We are here to support your just cause(大義名分): the sovereign(統治)right of Ukrainians to determine your own destiny,” said Mr. McCain, a former Republican presidential nominee, to much applause. He added: “The destiny you seek lies in Europe. Ukraine will make Europe better, and Europe will make Ukraine better.”

At a news conference later, Mr. McCain and Mr. Murphy said the Senate would consider imposing sanctions against the Ukrainian government should there be any further violence against protesters. Mr. Murphy said he had accompanied Mr. McCain here to show that there was bipartisan(超党派の)support for the Ukrainian demonstrators, and he said he was impressed by the peaceful nature of the rally.

While Mr. McCain chastised(を厳しく非難した)Russia for its role in derailing(頓挫させる) Ukraine’s plans to sign the trade and political accords with Europe, describing it as interference in Ukraine’s sovereign affairs, he said he saw no contradiction in standing onstage before a crowd that had called for the ouster of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government. He called it “my duty to speak out” on behalf of the Ukrainian people and human rights.

Mr. Murphy also said it was clear that the protest movement had staying power. “We understand protesters on the square won’t go away until there are real reforms proposed by this government, or another government,” he said.

Supporters of the political party of Vitali Klitschko, a champion boxer, marched to the headquarters of the Ukrainian national police, the S.B.U., where they pooled in front of the building and chanted, “Shame! Shame!” Others went to the Interior Ministry and central election office.

Adding to tension in the capital on Sunday, Mr. Yanukovich’s political party, the Party of Regions, bused(バスで行った)in thousands of supporters from provincial towns to gather in a park about a mile from Independence Square, placing the two large crowds in proximity(近いこと)and raising the prospect that groups from each camp would be in the streets overnight.

Organizers of the pro-government rally said buses and trains chartered by the Party of Regions brought in thousands of people, mostly young men, on Sunday morning. They included coal miners and laborers from the eastern Ukrainian industrial heartlands(中心地域).

Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the leader in Parliament of the opposition Fatherland party and one of the main protest organizers, told members of the huge crowd that they would need to be especially vigilant(油断のない)on Tuesday, when Mr. Yanukovich planned to meet President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

The two leaders have been in talks regarding economic aid, but many in the opposition are deeply fearful that Mr. Yanukovich is prepared to make a deal that would commit Ukraine to joining the customs union that Russia has created with Kazakhstan and Belarus. Such a step, they fear, would close the door to a trade agreement with Europe — at least for the near future.

The New York Times を読む(9)―張成沢の死刑執行

見出し:North Korea Says Kim’s Uncle Executed(死刑執行された)⇒「North Korea Says」と、事実は確認していないことをハッキリしています。日本のある報道の『張成沢氏を死刑=「国家転覆」で即日執行―金第1書記の独裁強化へ・北朝鮮』と対比してみると日英の報道の仕方の違いが見えてきます。

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Friday that Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of its leader Kim Jong-un and considered his mentor(後見人), was executed for trying to mobilize(を動員する)the military to stage(をやってのける)a coup.

Mr. Jang, 67, was executed on Thursday, immediately after he was convicted(有罪判決を下された)in a special military court on charges of violating the North’s criminal code, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

He lost his mind due to his greed(貪欲)for power,” the news agency reported. “He persistently(しつこく)plotted(をたくらんだ)to spread his evil design into the military, believing that he could overthrow the leadership if he could mobilize the military.”

Even before the execution, the purge had raised worries in the United States and South Korea that Mr. Kim might now lash out(なぐりかかる)at those he considers enemies, possibly staging another nuclear test or instigating(を開始する)a conflict with the South at sea. China, the North’s patron, was also unnerved(はらはらさせられる)by mounting evidence of an internal power struggle that could destabilize its already troublesome ally.

Mr. Jang, believed to be the second most powerful man in the country, was the most prominent(目だった)North Korean purged and executed under Mr. Kim, whom South Korean officials said was resorting(訴える)to “a reign(統治)of terror(恐怖)” in an attempt to consolidate(を強固にする)his power in the isolated, nuclear-armed North. Mr. Jang is the husband of Kim Kyong-hee, a sister of Kim Jong-il, the late North Korean leader and Mr. Kim’s father.

Mr. Jang had been a fixture(長く居座っている人)in the North Korean elite for the past 40 years, serving in major party posts under Kim Jong-il.

On Sunday, North Korea stripped Mr. Jang of all his powerful posts and expelled(除名された)him from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea during a meeting of the Political Bureau of the party’s Central Committee. Then, in an extraordinary departure from its traditional secrecy over its internal politics, the country announced on Monday the details of Mr. Jang’s “anti-party,” “anti-revolutionary” crimes, accusing him of building a “faction”(派閥) to undermine(を徐々に衰えさせる)Mr. Kim’s leadership.

Such a condemnation(有罪の判決)appeared to have sealed Mr. Jang’s fate, with some analysts saying at the time that they believed that Mr. Jang would be killed. North Korean media has since begun a hate-campaign against Mr. Jang and his “followers,” quoting steel workers as saying that they wanted to “throw them into a furnace.” Still, some analysts had doubted Mr. Kim would go as far as executing a man who was related to his family by marriage.

The New York Times を読む(8)―GMに初の女性CEO


見出し:G.M. Names First Female Chief Executive

DETROIT — General Motors announced Tuesday that its chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson, would retire next month and be succeeded by Mary T. Barra, who would become the first woman to lead a major auto company.

The elevation of Ms. Barra, 51, to the chief executive post is the latest dramatic change at the top of General Motors since its bailout(緊急援助)by the federal government in 2009.

G.M., the nation’s largest automaker, said that Mr. Akerson, 65, would step down as chief executive and chairman on Jan. 15. His planned retirement was hastened, the company said, by his wife’s recent cancer diagnosis(診断).

Ms. Barra has worked for G.M. for 33 years and was most recently the executive vice president of global product development. She is considered a critical player in the overhaul of company’s vehicle lineups around the world.

The G.M. board approved Ms. Barra’s selection and named her a director of the company.

“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s G.M.,” Ms. Barra said in the company statement. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum(勢い)at full speed.”

Ms. Barra, who is married and the mother of two children, joined General Motors in 1980 as a co-op(学生が一般教育と専門教育の科目を、2つの大学のプログラムから履修できる連携方式)student in the company’s Pontiac division. An electrical engineer by training, she worked in a variety of engineering posts and managed an assembly plant, among other jobs, before being named head of the company’s human resources department in 2009.

After being promoted by Mr. Akerson to lead G.M.'s global product development in 2011, Ms. Barra set out to streamline the company’s historically bureaucratic vehicle development process. She has been an advocate of reducing the number of global vehicle platforms that G.M. uses around the world, an approach that saves money and reduces complexity among its product lines.

“G.M. is in more than capable hands(有能な人に任せて), as we’ve seen some of the best products released under Mary Barra, who has helped oversee the development of their vehicles on a global scale,” said Jared Rowe, president of the automobile research firm Kelley Blue Book.

The announcement of Mr. Akerson’s retirement came a day after the Treasury Department said it had sold the last of the G.M. stock that taxpayers received in exchange for the government’s $49.5 billion bailout of the company.

Mr. Akerson was among the new directors that the government installed after the bailout. He became chief executive in 2010 and led the automaker through its initial public stock offering and subsequent(後に起る)turnaround(よい方向への転換).

“I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring(を回復しつつある)General Motors as America’s standard-bearer(旗手)in the global auto industry,” Mr. Akerson said.

G.M. said that Mr. Akerson’s successor as chairman of the board would be Theodore M. Solso, the former chairman and chief executive of Cummins, the engine manufacturer.

Ms. Barra was not immediately made available by G.M. for comment.

The choice of Ms. Barra as the next chief executive was not totally unexpected in Detroit, where she had been considered among a handful of internal candidates for the job.

Still, the selection of a woman to lead the nation’s biggest auto company is sure to reverberate(波紋を投げかける)throughout the corporate world as a milestone for both G.M. and the industry.

“I never thought I’d see the day that a woman would head a car company – much less the biggest car company in America,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst with the auto research site Edmunds.com.

“But Mary Barra’s elevation to C.E.O. of General Motors is not just about filling a female quota,” said Ms. Krebs. “Mary is an extremely competent automotive executive who has proven herself repeatedly.”
The company’s board met over the weekend to vote on Mr. Akerson’s replacement. He told reporters there was brief consideration of going outside for a new chief executive, but the directors decided to focus on internal candidates and unanimously(満場一致で)chose Ms. Barra.

“Mary was picked for her talent, not her gender,” Mr. Akerson said.

He described Ms. Barra as highly experienced both in management and product skills, but also as having “an ability with people.” He said she “brought order to chaos” in the company’s vast product development organization, and drove change in how G.M. conceived new vehicles and brought them to market efficiently and at lower cost.

“This is an executive who has a vision of where she wants to take the organization,” Mr. Akerson said.
On a personal note, he said, promoting Ms. Barra to the top job was an emotional moment for him. “It was almost like watching your daughter graduate from college,” he said.

Ms. Barra is known inside G.M. as a consensus builder who calls her staff together on a moment’s notice to brainstorm on pressing issues. An early riser who is often in her office by 6 a.m., Ms. Barra has a soft-spoken manner that belies(を隠す)her intensity(激しいこと) on the job. “Problems don’t solve themselves,” she is fond of saying, according to a person who works closely with her but was not authorized to comment publicly. “They don’t go away – they just get bigger.”

She grew up in a G.M. family. Her father was a die-maker(金型工)for the company for 39 years, and she is deeply attached to cars, routinely test-driving new models at G.M.'s proving grounds in the Detroit suburb of Milford. She and her husband, Tony, a management consultant, have owned a number of Chevrolet Camaro muscle cars over the years. Currently, Ms. Barra drives a Cadillac CTS sedan – one of several important new models developed during her tenure(在職期間)as head of global product development.

One of her initiatives has been to assign engineers to work in dealerships to learn more about what customers want and need in their cars and trucks. And Ms. Barra has a competitive streak(徴候), particularly when it comes to beating rival automakers. “We’re not developing models to participate in a segment,” she told members of her team at a recent meeting. “We’re developing models to win in a segment.”

The decision to split the chief executive and chairman roles was part of an overall effort to balance and spread responsibilities among senior leaders of the company, Mr. Akerson said.

“We’ve tried to establish a culture here as a team rather than personalities,” he said.

The company also said that its chief financial officer, Dan Ammann, would become president of General Motors and assume responsibility for regional operations and global brand organizations.

Mr. Ammann, 41, will retain the C.F.O. job until a successor is named.

Other changes include the move of Mark Reuss, who had been chief of G.M.'s North American operations, to Ms. Barra’s job as head of product development. Mr. Reuss had also been considered a candidate for the chief executive position.

G.M. also announced that Stephen J. Girsky, who is a vice chairman of the company, would move to a senior advisory role until leaving the company in April. He will remain on the General Motors board.
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