Monday, May 21, 2018
Editorials

Syria's descent into death, chaos

The crisis in Syria continues to cry out for immediate global attention. Both sides in the nearly 2-year-old civil war ramped up their attacks in recent weeks, raising the civilian death toll and dampening hope for a political settlement to halt the fighting. The United Nations needs to redouble its efforts to arrange a cease-fire and move more rapidly to address the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Two explosions earlier this month ripped through the campus of Aleppo University, Syria's oldest science institute, killing at least 87 people and injuring more than 160. The blasts went off as students took exams, and they amounted to the most audacious attack yet on civilians in the 22 months since the war began. The rebels said government forces of President Bashar Assad attacked the campus with airstrikes, while the government blamed the deaths on rebel rocket fire. The attack was followed by a spate of car bombings and rocket attacks across the country, many of them government soldiers, that killed at least three dozen people.

By last week, opposition figures and human rights activists were reporting that forces loyal to the government had massacred more than 100 people, including women and children, in a village near the central city of Homs.

The targeting of civilians and the reprisal attacks reflect the deadlock in the fighting, as both sides seek advantage by waging terror in the population at large. The United Nations condemned the attacks on civilians, called on the combatants to show restraint and pleaded for Syrians to step forward and demand a political solution to a crisis that is tearing apart the country.

Assad has shown no intention to put his countrymen's interests before his own, and the blame for the continuing slaughter rests primarily at his feet. More than 60,000 people — most of them civilians — have been killed in the fighting. The refugee crisis has already shaken the region as hundreds of thousands have sought safety in Jordan and other neighboring states. The heightened attacks on civilians will only cause the crisis to spiral further downward, making this regional problem a pressing international one.

The United Nations and the West need to keep pressuring Assad to leave. And they should be more frank in public about enlisting Russia's help. Moscow has resisted using its nominal influence with Assad out of larger strategic concerns of keeping Western interests in check. But a protracted war only plays to Islamist militants in the opposition. Russia needs to move beyond recognizing that Assad's days are numbered and see that hastening his withdrawal would improve the chance for a truly stable and inclusive post-Assad government.

Comments
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the stateís 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondiís lawsuit against the nationís largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the stateís battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestraís violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestraís violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice theyíve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondiís lawsuit against the nationís largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the stateís battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Childrenís should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Childrenís should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Childrenís Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institutionís lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburgís 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUDís flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUDís flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18