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Was India's PM Manmohan Singh undermined by own party?

  • taciturn: Mr Baru, a former journalist-turned-policy wonk who was picked up for the job personally by Mr Singh in 2004, writes that the famous Delhi diarchy- Mr Singh running the government and Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi looking after the party- failed spectacularly during the government's second term as the party effectively stymied the soft-spoken and taciturn prime minister.
  • epitaph: While power was delegated, authority was not," writes Mr Baru in a grim epitaph on Mr Singh's rule.
  • induct: The PM, he adds, could not induct the ministers he wanted- the finance portfolio was apparently offered to Pranab Mukherjee" even without consulting him ".
  • lackadaisical: He is regarded by many as a man of great personal integrity, but whose term in office has been marred by a string of corruption scandals and accusations of lackadaisical governance.

Ukraine's Richest Man Gambles on Peacemaker Role

  • fiefdom: Steel and mining magnate Rinat Akhmetov is drawing on his local clout in Donetsk to negotiate with separatist protesters to end their occupation of state buildings in the eastern city, his industrial fiefdom where Yanukovych was once the governor.
  • sympathize: Since Monday, sources close to him say, Akhmetov has been actively involved in talking to the rebels- even sympathizing with some of their demands- while urging law-enforcement agencies to stay their hand in using force to end the stand-off.
  • jeopardy: That might put in jeopardy the very businesses he aims to protect.
  • denouement: He stayed well clear of protests during the three months of turmoil leading up to Yanukovych's flight to Russia, though he and fellow oligarchs did rush out appeals for restraint during the final, bloody denouement.
  • sympathize: In his much publicized contacts with pro-Russian activists who took over the regional administration building in Donetsk on Sunday, he has sympathized with their calls for upgrading the status of the Russian language in Ukraine and came out strongly against any use of force by authorities to end their sit-in.

Leaders hail Afghan poll 'success'

  • queue: With ballot papers running out and long queues, the election commission extended voting to allow the process to be completed.
  • queue: Some polling stations stayed open for another four hours to allow everyone queuing to vote.
  • queue: However, in parts of the capital voters could be seen queuing an hour before polls opened and there was a good-natured, almost carnival atmosphere, with many people on the streets, our correspondent adds.

The sacred and sensuous in Indian art

  • fresco: Along with the frescoes of Pompeii, Ajanta represents the greatest picture gallery to survive from the ancient world and the most comprehensive depiction of civilised classical life that we have.
  • languish: Here among handsome princes and nobles, dark-skinned princesses languish love-lorn, while heavy-breasted dancing girls and courtesans are shown nude but for their jewels and girdles, draped temptingly amid palace gardens and court buildings.
  • jewel: Here among handsome princes and nobles, dark-skinned princesses languish love-lorn, while heavy-breasted dancing girls and courtesans are shown nude but for their jewels and girdles, draped temptingly amid palace gardens and court buildings.
  • sensual: As the great Indian art historian Vidya Dehejia puts it," the idea that such sensual images might generate irreverent thoughts did not seem to arise; rather the established associations appear to have been with accentuated growth, prosperity and auspiciousness.
  • austere: In the Christian world, this was the middle of Lent, the season of self-discipline and self-deprivation, but here I was in the middle of a celibate monastic community which had voluntarily chosen to live the austere ascetic path in small rock-cut cells, and yet was making a deliberate decision to cover the walls of its religious buildings with images of attractively voluptuous women.

Weight loss surgery helps reverse type 2 diabetes, study shows

  • gastric: More than a third- 37.5 percent- of patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery and a quarter of those who had a sleeve gastrectomy procedure achieved blood sugar levels below the American Diabetes Association target and no longer needed diabetes medicines, researchers said.
  • gastric: On average, gastric bypass patients lost 24 percent of their body weight and sleeve gastrectomy led to a 21 percent weight reduction, about five or six times more weight than the medical group, and more than has been demonstrated by new weight loss drugs that were not used in the study.
  • gastric: Bypass also involves connecting a new gastric pouch directly into the intestine, bypassing the stomach and part of the intestines.
  • intestine: Bypass also involves connecting a new gastric pouch directly into the intestine, bypassing the stomach and part of the intestines.

West to help Ukraine with $18 billion bailout

  • detest: Tymoshenko, who was released from jail last month following the overthrow of her fierce rival Yanukovych, is variously admired as an icon of democracy or detested as a self-promoting manipulator with a shady past.
  • semblance: Ukraine, a nation of 46 million people, is battling to install a semblance of normalcy since President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February after months of protests ignited by his decision to back away from closer relations with the EU and turn toward Russia.
  • normalcy: Ukraine, a nation of 46 million people, is battling to install a semblance of normalcy since President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February after months of protests ignited by his decision to back away from closer relations with the EU and turn toward Russia.

Al-Qaida-linked group ramps up regional violence

  • calamity: For moderates in the Middle East, the renewed assertiveness of the extremists is increasingly taking on the aspect of a regional calamity.
  • aggravate: Now the reverberations of the Syria war are being felt on Arab streets, particularly Iraq and Lebanon, and are aggravating Sunni-Shi ite tensions across the Arab Middle East.
  • conflagration: The al-Qaida-linked group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has made no secret of its desire to turn Syria's civil war into a regional conflagration that would allow it to take firmer root.
  • firm: The al-Qaida-linked group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has made no secret of its desire to turn Syria's civil war into a regional conflagration that would allow it to take firmer root.
  • audacious: Even as its fighters were busy seizing territory in Syria, it has been dramatically escalating its operations inside Iraq, carrying out mass-casualty attacks and staging a series of audacious prison breaks that freed more than 500 inmates.

Viewpoint: What does Pyongyang want?

  • bilateral: Following the abrupt cancellation last week of planned talks in Seoul between the two Koreas- what would have been the first formal bilateral ministerial negotiations since 2007- it remains unclear what the prospects are for an improvement in ties.
  • delegation: Ostensibly, the talks foundered on the failure of the two sides to agree on the status of their respective delegation heads, but it is possible that Pyongyang was never serious about a meeting, simply using the offer of talks to demonstrate to China, its key political and economic patron, that it had adopted a more moderate posture.
  • moderation: Apparent moderation in this context may have been designed to offset efforts by Beijing and Washington at the recent Obama-Xi summit to pressure the North to give up its nuclear weapons.
  • incompatible: They have both upheld international sanctions to prevent Pyongyang from proliferating and made clear that the North's nuclear weapons programme is incompatible with the its economic development goals.
  • belligerent: However, the North's unusually belligerent rhetoric, and its high profile deployment of its military assets in March and April, suggests a more intentionally provocative stance.