DC mayor's sister dies from Covid-19



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CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/alexandra-field-profile” target=”_blank”>Alexandra Fieldu003c/a> reports that vaccine supplies are running dry from New York all the way to Idaho.”,”descriptionText”:”The progress made in the effort to get more u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/2021/02/18/health/us-coronavirus-thursday/index.html” target=”_blank”>coronavirus vaccine injectionsu003c/a> into arms has been derailed by severe weather across the country. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/alexandra-field-profile” target=”_blank”>Alexandra Fieldu003c/a> reports that vaccine supplies are running dry from New York all the way to Idaho.”},{“title”:”CNN finds evidence China is advancing theory that the virus originated in a lab in Maryland”,”duration”:”04:12″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2021/02/18/coronavirus-origin-conspiracy-theories-china-culver-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2021/02/18/coronavirus-origin-conspiracy-theories-china-culver-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210218144849-screengrab-fort-detrick-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2021/02/18/coronavirus-origin-conspiracy-theories-china-culver-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/”,”description”:”China has been advancing alternative theories for how the coronavirus first emerged, ones that would obviate any blame officials in Wuhan may bear for not reacting quickly enough to the initial outbreak in that city in late 2019. 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Blinken says he aims to create a more diverse State Department


Blinken announced Wednesday that he will appoint a chief diversity and inclusion officer for the department who will report directly to him, will soon release a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan,’ and will create a “D&I Leadership Council.” In his statement, the secretary also said he will require each of the State Department’s regional bureaus to designate an existing deputy assistant secretary to focus on creating more diversity in a department known for its “pale, male and Yale” workforce.

“The State Department has the honor of representing the American people to the world. To do that well, we must recruit and retain a workforce that truly reflects America,” Blinken said. “And our diversity gives us a significant competitive advantage on the world stage. This is something that the President, the vice president, and I firmly believe.”

The statement did not say when Blinken will appoint the diversity and inclusion officer.

Biden continues push to put racial equity at the forefront
President Joe Biden has said racial equity will be a core issue during his presidency and in his policy-making. Blinken, at his confirmation hearing, drew a direct link between his intention to promote human rights and democracy overseas and the need to focus on those issues at home. “We cannot do our job of advancing America’s interests, values, and commitment to democracy without a team that is truly representative of the American people,” he tweeted on February 5.

State Department data underscores the challenge Blinken faces.

Just over 70% of the full-time permanent State Department staff — civil servants and foreign service officers — are White. Foreign service officers literally represent the face of America at consulates and embassies around the world. More than 72% of foreign service specialists are White, while 10.7% are Hispanic, 10% are Black, .8% are American Indian and 7.2% are Asian. More than 80% of foreign service generalists are White, while 6.5% are Hispanic, 6.2% are Black, .5% are American Indian and 7.5% are Asian.

The gap becomes even more stark in the most senior ranks of the foreign service, where around 87% are White. The most recent US census data online puts the non-Hispanic White population at 60%.
Many foreign service officers told CNN they are heartened by the change in attitude toward diversity and inclusion but wonder whether Blinken will tackle the deeper challenge of structural racism or simply focus on personnel numbers. The Trump administration was openly hostile to the diversity and inclusion efforts, canceling federal training programs, while former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his taxpayer-funded Twitter account to denounce multiculturalism as “not who America is.”

In his statement, Blinken said his goal “is to incorporate diversity and inclusion into the department’s work at every level.”



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Biden to nominate 3 to USPS Board of Governors



The nominees include Ron Stroman, the former deputy postmaster general who resigned under the previous administration; Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of American Postal Workers Union; and Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute.

The nominations come amid public outcry over delayed mail and increased pressure on Biden from Democratic lawmakers and postal service unions to take action to improve the USPS.

On Tuesday, the American Postal Workers Union called on Biden to swiftly fill the board’s four vacancies. Some Democratic lawmakers have gone further, calling on Biden to remove Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

If confirmed, his nominees will answer calls to diversify the board and alleviate concerns of the unions, who have complained that the current Trump-appointed board had no one with previous postal service experience serving on it.

“I encourage you to ensure your appointees are reflective of the 600,000 dedicated workers they will lead,” Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote in a letter Biden last week. “We need a Board of Governors that includes women, people of color, and individuals who have direct experience working for the USPS and serving our communities.”

The nominations come after a heated day on Capitol Hill, where DeJoy appeared in front of the House Oversight Committee to discuss improving the USPS. DeJoy sparred with Democratic lawmakers over woefully slow mail delivery rates, the 2020 election and his forthcoming 10-year plan to overhaul the Postal Service.

Last week, scores of Democratic lawmakers sent two separate letters to DeJoy and Biden, filled with grievances about the postmaster general and urging the President to take action amid months of complaints over mail delivery delays.
“It is your duty, first and foremost, to protect service and ensure timely mail delivery for every person in this nation,” 34 Democratic senators wrote in a letter to DeJoy, acknowledging that USPS “fulfilled its duties during the 2020 general election and executed extraordinary measures to prioritize timely delivery of election mail” but that concerns remain about delivery delays.
That letter was sent after a group of 80 House Democrats sent a separate letter to Biden in which they urged him to fill vacancies on the board of governors so new members can “seriously consider” DeJoy’s future.

The President does not have the power to remove the postmaster general. Only the Postal Service Board of Governors — which is comprised of members nominated by the President and confirmed in the Senate — has the power to do so, and DeJoy continues to have the support of the Trump-appointed board.

On Wednesday, DeJoy made it clear he has no intention of leaving willingly. When asked how much longer he intended to stay, DeJoy responded: “A long time, get used to me.”



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Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy considers Senate bid against GOP's Marco Rubio



Murphy, co-chair of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats, hopes that by emphasizing a bipartisan background she can appeal to a state that has elected Republicans to the Senate in 2016 and 2018 and twice supported former President Donald Trump. Murphy has hired Lauren Calmet, the former political director of the Florida Democratic Party, to organize her new initiative, called “Cast Forward,” and has talked with Georgia’s Stacey Abrams about how to rebuild Florida’s party’s infrastructure.

“I firmly believe that Florida is not a red state; it’s a hard state,” Murphy told CNN in an interview. “You have to have the right money, message, and machine to compete and after a few disappointing election cycles, it’s clear that we’ve fallen short.”

When Murphy was a baby, her family fled Communist Vietnam and was rescued by the US Navy. She emphasized her story as a refugee in a new video, saying that her parents “sacrificed an awful lot in escaping socialism” and said that she is “a proud capitalist and a proud Democrat” fighting for a fairer economy.

The comments indicated she took to heart the 2020 loss of two House Democrats representing South Florida, former Reps. Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, whom Republicans attacked as socialists who were weak on Cuba and Venezuela.

In the interview, Murphy also previewed a potential attack against Rubio, a two-term senator.

“I think the challenge for Rubio is that he’s made it apparent to everybody that the only person he cares about is himself,” she said. “He’ll do anything or say anything to stay in power and I think that’s unfortunate.”

In response, a Rubio campaign spokesman touted Rubio’s accomplishments, noting that the senator helped craft the Paycheck Protection Program last year to aid small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, helped expand the child tax credit in 2017 and secured millions for Everglades restoration. The spokesman also noted that the Lugar Center rated him one of the top 10 bipartisan senators in 2019.

“I’m very proud of our record,” said Rubio on Thursday. “I would stack it up against anybody, including her.”

Murphy also sharply criticized Republicans who supported Trump’s effort to challenge the 2020 election, and his urging of Congress to vote against its certification. Rubio was quiet about his position up until the vote, but supported the certification. After the attack on the US Capitol, he said that the mob was “lied to by politicians” who asserted that former Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election. Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, voted against certification. Murphy said she was also considering a run against him in 2024.

“I fled a communist country. I deeply appreciate the fact that I get to live in a democracy,” Murphy told CNN. “The future of our democracy depends on elected officials and the good people of this country to stand up for it. And you’ve seen Republicans, and you’ve seen Rubio, support Trump’s big lie for months. And I think they did so because they chose their own political future over the future of our democracy.”

In 2016, Murphy defeated 24-year GOP Rep. John Mica. But her district in the Orlando suburbs may be redrawn by the Republican state legislature in the coming months. She said she was “less worried” about her district changing and more focused on the “disenfranchisement of Floridians all across the state.”

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican state legislators have introduced proposals that will make it harder to vote by mail, warning of potential voter fraud, even though the state’s 2020 election worked smoothly and there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the state.

This story has been updated Thursday with comment from Rubio’s spokesman.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.



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An artist honors icons by creating Black History Month-themed playing cards


Michelle Obama, Thurgood Marshall and Oprah Winfrey are just a few of the figures who appear in a set of cards.

“It’s dedicated to the dreamers — to all of the African American individuals before us who paved the way,” Johnson told CNN.

Despite praise from her peers, the Kansas City, Missouri-based graphic designer and founder of Studio Lo recalled being hesitant to take what was originally a class project and turn it into a physical product.

“I just hadn’t seen it done before,” Johnson said. “But I looked at an example from the class and I was like, ‘How would that look with a Black figure on it?'”

The 22-year-old illustrator recalled how she didn’t intend to take her design idea beyond the classroom. “That, literally, was where it was going to stay and I wasn’t going to push the product any more,” Johnson continued. That all changed when she got her first order request.

Last October, a professor at the University of Missouri came across the design on Johnson’s portfolio website. She was eager to buy a few decks as gifts for her graduate students; however, the cards didn’t actually exist.

Kearra Johnson, owner of Studio Lo, working at her desk.

“I didn’t want to tell her no,” Johnson recalled. “So I took that as an opportunity just to motivate me to go ahead and get them done.”

After fulfilling the professor’s five-deck order, Johnson pivoted her focus to the cards and began pushing the design.

“I’ve just been showing them to people who I think would be interested and just seeing how many eyes I can get on them,” Johnson explained. “And literally every person that I’ve shown has been excited about it — more excited than me sometimes.”

Johnson initially only printed 100 decks that she planned to sell on her own. However, curators at Made In KC, a company in Kansas City that sells locally designed products, suggested that she print more. “So then I went and got 500 more printed,” Johnson continued. The cards are now being sold in-store at all three Made in KC locations.

Kearra Johnson delivering the Revolution Card Decks to the Made in KC warehouse.

Starting important conversations about Black history and Black culture is something Johnson hopes can be achieved with the playing cards. She explained how the project is her creative passion mixed with an important topic.

“I think it’s always important to push [Black] culture forward,” Johnson said. “And there’s no better way to do that and than through creativity.”

Johnson currently works as an In House designer at Kanbe’s Markets, an organization that seeks to eliminate food deserts in Kansas City. Her creative skills, coupled with the idea that art can be used as a powerful tool for change, makes her job at the nonprofit even more enjoyable.

“Just being able to contribute my talents, and contribute to the bigger cause is super rewarding,” Johnson continued.

Looking back on her journey so far, Johnson explained how grateful she is to be surrounded by people who support her work and have her best interest in mind.

“I think a lot of times people kind of fear that people won’t respect or understand their idea,” Johnson said. “But, really, you just gotta be confident and people will see what you see.”

To learn more about the Revolution Card Deck and the artist behind the design, visit her website. The deck sells for $30.



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Ex-USA Gymnastics coach John Geddert charged with sex crimes and human trafficking



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The world's best soups


(CNN) — If a steaming bowl of soup strikes you as the ultimate in old-fashioned comfort, you’ve got plenty of company. Soup is one of the world’s oldest and most universal foods, said Janet Clarkson, author of the book “Soup: A Global History.”

“Every culture has some kind of soup,” she said. “It’s got very ancient roots.” Early people simmered everything from turtle shells to lengths of bamboo in soup, she writes in the book, turning out metal soup pots starting in the Bronze Age.

Boiling food made it possible to subsist on stable grains, with herbs and other ingredients added for nourishment or medicinal purposes.

Each time you deliver a pot of soup to a friend with the sniffles, Clarkson said you’re in fact carrying on an age-old tradition. “Separating food and medicine — that’s not how ancient people thought of it,” she said. “I think in every country in the world, historically, some soups were seen as restorative.”

That’s true no matter what you call it. Today, soup leans brothy while stews are more substantial, but the world’s spoonable foods have never fit neatly into the two English-language categories.

While Clarkson dove into centuries of etymology to trace the history of soup, potage and broth, she settled on a generously broad take. “Just some stuff cooked in water,” she wrote, “with the flavored water becoming a crucial part of the dish.”

It’s a definition that leaves room for the world’s astonishing culinary diversity. These are CNN’s nominations for 20 of the best soups around the world:

Banga | Nigeria

Banga is so popular in Nigeria that shops sell ready-mixed packets of spice.

Banga is so popular in Nigeria that shops sell ready-mixed packets of spice.

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It’s so popular that packets of ready-mixed banga spice are sold in shops. Most blends include African nutmeg, castor seed, orima, jansa and beletete leaves.

The spices infuse a rich, red sauce that’s the soup’s main draw: Soak it up with eba or a ball of starch, two Nigerian staples both made from cassava prepared with different methods.

Beef pho (phở bò) | Vietnam

A bowl of beef pho is sure to cure what ails you.

A bowl of beef pho is sure to cure what ails you.

Leisa Tyler/LightRocket/Getty Images

Broth is simmered for hours with cinnamon, star anise and other warm spices to create a wonderfully aromatic base for this rice noodle soup.

And while today’s pho restaurants serve a wide range of flavors, beef is the original. By 1930, Nguyen explained, the soup was served with slices of raw beef cooked gently in the broth.

Today, beef pho remains the most beloved version in Vietnam, with options that include the original raw beef, a mix of raw and cooked beef, brisket and tendon.

Borscht | Ukraine

Tender beets are just the start of borscht's tangy delights.

Tender beets are just the start of borscht’s tangy delights.

Shutterstock

Chunks of tender beets swim in brilliant red broth for a soup that’s beloved in Ukraine and across Eastern Europe. Often topped with a rich dollop of sour cream, borscht is anything but basic beet soup. It gets a tangy kick from kvass, a lacto-fermented beet juice that’s another regional specialty.

Bouillabaisse | France

Bouillabaisse is synonymous with Marseille, France.

Bouillabaisse is synonymous with Marseille, France.

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A fisherman’s stew turned culinary icon, bouillabaisse distills classic Mediterranean flavors into a dish synonymous with the coastal city of Marseille. Saffron, olive oil, fennel, garlic and tomatoes blend with fish fresh from the sea.

At one time, that fish would reflect each day’s catch, but things have gotten a bit stricter.

According to signatories of the 1980 Bouillabaisse Charter — a collective attempt by local chefs to ensure the quality of the French soup — the most authentic recipe must include at least four kinds of seafood chosen from a list that includes monkfish and crab.

Caldo verde | Portugal

This hearty soup hails from Portugal's wine country.

This hearty soup hails from Portugal’s wine country.

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Thinly sliced greens meld with potatoes and onions in this homey soup from Portugal’s wine-producing Minho region. Now, the soup is a culinary star from upscale cafes to rural kitchens, the definition of down-home comfort food.

In many versions, tender Portuguese chouriço sausage adds an undercurrent of smoky, salty flavor that makes the soup even heartier. Enjoy alongside a glass of Minho’s famed vinho verde wine.

Chorba frik | Algeria, Libya and Tunisia

Chorba frik is popular in North Africa after the sun sets during Ramadan.

Chorba frik is popular in North Africa after the sun sets during Ramadan.

Shutterstock

Durum wheat harvested while green, called freekeh, adds satisfying heft and nourishment to this North African soup, which is especially beloved during the holy time of Ramadan.

The tender grains absorb a tomato broth and aromatic spices, their flavor melding with chickpeas plus stewed chicken, beef, mutton or lamb. Serve with lemon wedges and a hunk of kesra bread.

Chupe de camarones | Peru

Shrimp lovers will want to try the Peruvian soup known as chupe de camarones.

Shrimp lovers will want to try the Peruvian soup known as chupe de camarones.

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images

This creamy shrimp chowder is a specialty of Arequipa, a historic city surrounded by towering volcanoes. Cold nights in the mountains are perfect for the hearty dish: Tender shrimp swim alongside chunks of Andean potatoes and corn.

It’s got a kick, too. The addition of ají amarillo, a chili pepper with a lilting, fruity flavor, adds satisfying spice to balance out the rich and creamy ingredients. Maybe that explains the soup’s reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac.

Gazpacho | Spain

Gazpacho is a great way to enjoy a cold treat on a hot day.

Gazpacho is a great way to enjoy a cold treat on a hot day.

Shutterstock

Summer in Andalusia brings searing weather, ideal for cooling down with a bowl of this chilled vegetable soup. Today’s most classic version includes tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic and olive oil, with a handful of stale breadcrumbs added for body.

Arabs brought the dish to the Iberian Peninsula centuries before Spaniards tasted tomatoes, a New World ingredient. The original was a blend of bread, garlic and olive oil, pounded in a mortar and seasoned with vinegar.

Groundnut soup | West Africa

Sweet potatoes and okra are stars in this particular version of groundnut soup, popular throughout West Africa.

Sweet potatoes and okra are stars in this particular version of groundnut soup, popular throughout West Africa.

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As with so many culinary treats, groundnut soup ignores international boundaries: Meat, fish or chicken simmered into a thick peanut soup is pure comfort food in countries across West Africa. Versions range from Gambian domoda — the national dish — to a Nigerian take cooked with bitter, leafy greens.

No matter the country, such soups and stews are creamy, rich and salty, a satisfying combination that often gets a fiery jolt from the addition of Scotch bonnet peppers.

Gumbo | United States

Chicken, sausage and shrimp festoon this gumbo.

Chicken, sausage and shrimp festoon this gumbo.

Tom McCorkle/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Cultures and flavors meld in a hearty soup that’s a star of Louisiana cuisine, influenced by West African, Native Choctaw and French cuisines. Versions made with seafood, chicken and sausage are among the most popular today, but there are myriad ways to make this Southern specialty.

Ground, dried sassafras leaves — called filé and long harvested by the Choctaw people — give many gumbo recipes a distinctive spice. Some cooks thicken their soup with a cooked flour paste called roux, while others swear by sautéed slices of okra.

Every possible version is on display each year at the World Champion Gumbo Cookoff in New Iberia, Louisiana, where cooks battle for some serious soup-master bragging rights.

Harira | Morocco

Moroccan harira uses chickpeas in a savory tomato broth to superb effect.

Moroccan harira uses chickpeas in a savory tomato broth to superb effect.

Shutterstock

When the sun sets during the month of Ramadan, many Moroccans break their fasts with a hot bowl of this comforting chickpea stew. Cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and pepper lend warming spice to the savory tomato broth, which soaks into tender chickpeas.
While vegetarian recipes are popular, the most classic version is simmered with tender chunks of lamb or other meat. It’s not just fasting fare for Muslims; some North African Jews also prepare harira to break the annual fast of Yom Kippur.

Kharcho | Georgia

A plum sauce gives kharcho its zesty flavor.

A plum sauce gives kharcho its zesty flavor.

Shutterstock

Tart plum sauce called tkemali adds bright, zesty flavor to this traditional soup, which is one of Georgia’s most beloved dishes.

It’s made with unripe plums, whose sour note balances the richness of fatty beef and ground walnuts cooked into the soup. The aromatic kick, though, comes from the spice mix khmeli suneli, a blend of coriander, savory, fenugreek, black pepper, marigold and more.

Lanzhou beef noodle soup | China

Of course a Chinese soup makes the best 20 list -- one taste of lanzhou beef noodle soup will tell you whyl

Of course a Chinese soup makes the best 20 list — one taste of lanzhou beef noodle soup will tell you whyl

Shutterstock

Shaping — or pulling — la mian noodles by hand for this traditional soup is an art in itself. Artisans use a finely milled, high-gluten flour and alkaline powder to mix a stretchy dough, then pull and fold a single piece of dough to make enough noodles for a bowl of soup.

Slip them into a bowl of beef broth for a world-class soup that includes tender beef, pale slices of radish, chili oil and fresh herbs. (At some shops, diners may even ask for noodles of a preferred thickness and shape.)

Mohinga | Myanmar

This version of mohinga features catfish, rice noodles, chicken eggs and lime.

This version of mohinga features catfish, rice noodles, chicken eggs and lime.

Shutterstock

Soup is what’s for breakfast in much of Myanmar, where sidewalk vendors and tea shops hawk steaming bowls of mohinga out of enormous vats. The soul of this noodle soup is the aromatic broth, which is simmered with herbs and thickened with toasted rice powder.

Fish lends added richness, while the thin rice noodles are perfect for slurping. Mohinga is so beloved that it’s gone from breakfast dish to anytime snack, and each region has its own twist on the classic soup.

Menudo | Mexico

Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made with tripe and hominy. It's touted for its curative effects for hangovers.

Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made with tripe and hominy. It’s touted for its curative effects for hangovers.

Shutterstock

Tripe simmered for hours in a piquant, garlicky broth is the ultimate Mexican hangover cure, but menudo goes far beyond morning-after remedies. It’s a favorite at weddings and big occasions, too, when an enormous pot of the traditional soup can feed dozens of guests.

It’s sheer comfort food, with kernels of hominy that get fresh bite from a garnish of raw onions, chiles and cilantro. Choose from one of two main varieties: Menudo rojo turns a deep red from chiles in the broth, while Sonoran-style Menudo blanco is a milder alternative.

Moqueca de camarão | Brazil

Shrimp floating in a coconut broth? Count us in for moqueca de camarão.

Shrimp floating in a coconut broth? Count us in for moqueca de camarão.

Shutterstock

Palm oil and tomatoes tint coconut broth a warm, orangey red in this specialty from the Bahia region of Brazil, where locals eat steaming bowls on even the hottest days.

This soup’s real draw is sweet, tender shrimp floating in the broth, however. Traditionally, moqueca de camarão is cooked in a handmade pot made from black clay and the sap of mangrove trees, then brought to the table in the same authentic vessel.

Soto ayam | Indonesia

This is chicken noodle soup with an indulgent Indonesian twist.

This is chicken noodle soup with an indulgent Indonesian twist.

Shutterstock

Chicken noodle soup may reach its culinary pinnacle in this piquant Indonesian dish. Spices such as fresh turmeric, star anise, cinnamon, lemongrass and lime leaves combine for deeply layered aroma and flavor, with the jammy yolks of soft-boiled eggs to add extra richness.

Every part of Indonesia has a local twist, and the soup is also beloved in Singapore, Malaysia and in faraway Suriname in South America, where the recipe arrived with Javanese immigrants.

Eat topped with fried shallots, fresh limes and a fiery scattering of sliced red chiles.

Tom yum goong | Thailand

Shiitake mushrooms and prawns are the stars of this version of tom yum soup.

Shiitake mushrooms and prawns are the stars of this version of tom yum soup.

Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Sweet, sour, spicy and salty, this soup’s magnificent broth is the ideal foil for sweet, tender shrimp. Aromatic ingredients include galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves, while slivers of bright red bird’s eye chilis add additional heat.

Tom yum goong is just one of many varieties of tom yum soup in Thailand — this version comes enriched with fat prawns, and is a favorite with many diners.

Tonkotsu ramen | Japan

This classic ramen soup is flavored with pork bones.

This classic ramen soup is flavored with pork bones.

Shutterstock

Long-simmered pork bones impart intense flavor to this classic ramen, whose broth is cloudy with marrow and fat. It’s a signature of Fukuoka Prefecture on the southerly island of Kyushu, but the rich soup is now served in ramen shops across the country (and world).

While the indulgent broth is the star of tonkotsu ramen, a bowl isn’t complete without slices of pork belly and a tangle of noodles that are hard in the center. Eat with a pair of chopsticks and a flat-bottomed spoon, and don’t forget to slurp — it’s believed to enhance the flavor.

Yayla çorbasi | Turkey

Yayla çorbasi speaks to a time when soup and medicine weren't considered such separate things.

Yayla çorbasi speaks to a time when soup and medicine weren’t considered such separate things.

Shutterstock

Boiled rice or barley adds grainy sweetness to this creamy yogurt soup. It’s believed to ward off colds during winter; some Turkish hospitals even serve yogurt soup to recovering patients.

A crumble of dried mint helps balance the yogurt’s slight tang. Serve with a pillowy round of fresh pita bread.



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Analysis: Performance and empty politics is Marjorie Taylor Greene's strong suit



She tweeted this along with the video: “Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called ‘Equality’ Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms,” she tweeted. “Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door.” Greene added a winking face emoji and an American flag.
Greene’s move was prompted by Newman, a Democratic member of Congress from Illinois whose office is across from Greene’s, putting up a transgender flag outside her office and tweeting this: “Our neighbor, @RepMTG tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil.’ Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”

Newman put a winky face emoji and a transgender flag emoji with her tweet.

Newman, whose daughter is transgender, was supporting the Equality Act that aims to ban discrimination based on sex, gender identity and sexual preference. In an emotional speech on the House floor earlier in the day Tuesday, Newman said this of the act: “The right time to pass this act was decades ago. The second best time is right now. I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter and the strongest, bravest person I know.”

The back-and-forth between Newman and Greene is a reminder of an increasingly common strain in the Republican Party in the Trump age: Performative politics as an end in and of itself.

See, Greene isn’t putting that sign up because she thinks it might have some sort of actual effect on the debate over the Equality Act. The bill has support among the Democratic House majority and is likely to pass. Greene knows that. All she is doing is rallying her political base by putting on a performance with zero actual effect on how or whether this bill will become a law or not.

And of course, it worked. Greene’s video had 4.3 million views on Twitter as of Thursday morning, double the number that Newman’s video had gathered. It will further cement her status as a Trumpian cultural warrior, battling the forces of “woke” culture and standing up for traditional values.

“Rep. Newmans daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs,” tweeted Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger. “This garbage must end, in order to #RestoreOurGOP.”

That’s exactly right. For Greene, the performance and the controversy is the point. She has zero interest in actually legislating or even trying to build relationships with colleagues with whom she may not agree. Her sole interest is in building her Twitter followers, her small-dollar donor base and her profile on Fox News. That’s success for Greene. That’s how she views the job of representing the people of the 14th district of Georgia.

And she might be the most extreme example but she won’t be the only one. Donald Trump’s presidency (and his post-presidency) tilled the soil for candidates just like Greene to succeed. No longer is going to Washington to do something considered of value to the Republican base. Now the goal is to troll Democrats (and the media) with outlandish — and, in this case, intolerant — behavior. And of course to document and share it as widely as possible, because if a tree falls in the forest and all that.

Greene will view the back-and-forth with Newman as a major success. Her video will continue to accumulate views. More people will know her name. She’ll raise more money off it. Win, win, win for her.

And a loss for anyone who believes that politics is about relationships and actually trying to find common ground to get things done for the American people.



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Thierry Henry steps down as coach of CF Montreal due to family reasons



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'Firefall' 2021 lights up in orange glory — and Yosemite has extended the viewing


(CNN) — For all the world, it looks like dangerous hot lava streaming down the side of a cliff. But no, that’s not volcanic activity in Yosemite National Park in California.

It’s water — a benign and beautiful waterfall experience known as “firefall.”

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the dramatically growing popularity of firefall, the National Park Service was concerned about crowding around viewing points this year. So it set up travel restrictions and an online reservations system that you need if you want to drive into the popular park.
Originally, the firefall “season” was due to end on Wednesday, but because of the high interest, the park has extended the viewing arrangement until Sunday, February 28. Viewing hours are daily from noon to 7 p.m.

So how does ‘firefall’ happen?

The rays of the setting sun create a pinkish-orange hue at firefall in Yosemite on Wednesday, February 24.

The rays of the setting sun create a pinkish-orange hue at firefall in Yosemite on Wednesday, February 24.

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Firefall occurs at Horsetail Fall, which flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, according to the National Park Service.

It’s a small waterfall, and it normally flows only during winter. The Park Service said it’s actually easy to miss.

But on some days during mid- to late February, it might glow an enchanting and magical orange when it’s backlit by sunset. That gives it that lavalike look.

The Park Service says the dazzling effect happens only on evenings with a clear sky when the waterfall is flowing. Even some haze or a bit of cloudiness can ruin the effect. Mother Nature provides no guarantees.

Firefall is naturally a high-interest topic on Twitter and other social media. Even the US Department of the Interior has gotten in on the excitement posting about it.

Keeping things pristine

It’s about a 1.5-mile walk each way from the closest parking to the viewpoint near the El Capitan picnic area.

The park is very serious about crowd control and parking in the ecologically sensitive area, which has been trampled and trashed in the past. The website posts explicit instructions on parking and warns violators could be towed.



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