Typhoon Surigae is slowly moving away from the eastern provinces of the Philippines



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Why some Asian Americans are embracing their heritage by dropping their anglicized names


This feature is part of CNN Style’s new series Hyphenated, which explores the complex issue of identity among minorities in the United States.

Tshab Her grew up feeling like she lived a double life.

Like many Asian Americans, the 29-year-old Hmong American artist was always switching between two names: an Asian name and her “American” name.

Jennifer, her legal first name, was what teachers and employers called her, and what she used in “White spaces,” she said. But her middle name Tshab, which means “new” in the Hmong language, was what her family and close friends called her within their small community in Aurora, Illinois.

The Hmong ethnic group is spread across China and Southeast Asia, but most Hmong Americans — like Her’s parents — are refugees from Laos who fled during the Vietnam War.

“When I went as Jennifer, I felt like I was playing a role — this White-assimilated, American Dream type,” said Her, now based in Chicago. “Tshab and Jennifer were always at tension with each other … I felt like I was always living a different life as Jennifer, than who I wanted to be as Tshab.”

There’s a long history of Asian Americans using Anglo or anglicized names — whether they adopted new White-sounding names like John or Jennifer, or changed the pronunciation or spelling of their original name to better suit English speakers. The practice was popularized in the 19th century due, in part, to fear in the face of intense racism and xenophobia.

Tshab Her, a Hmong American artist whose work pays homage to her heritage and family.

Tshab Her, a Hmong American artist whose work pays homage to her heritage and family. Credit: Tshab Her

America has since undergone a cultural sea change. The past decade alone has seen surging demand for greater diversity, inclusion and representation. And as the national conversation shifts, many Asian Americans, including high-profile creatives and celebrities, are facing similar personal reckonings with their names.

The list includes comedian and producer Hasan Minhaj, whose interview on the Ellen DeGeneres went viral when he corrected her on the pronunciation of his name; Marvel actress Chloe Bennet, who said she changed her surname from Wang because “Hollywood is racist”; and “Star Wars” actress Kelly Marie Tran, who called her family’s decision to adopt anglicized names “a literal erasure of culture.”

After reflecting on her identity and how she presented herself, Her decided to drop Jennifer and go by Tshab when she started college. It felt empowering, she said — an affirmation of heritage, the Hmong language, and her parents’ journey to the United States in the ’70s and ’80s.

Unbeknown to many Americans, Hmong soldiers were recruited by the CIA during the Vietnam War. They died by the thousands and were forced to flee when the US withdrew from Vietnam, essentially abandoning the ethnic group. To this day, the Hmong community is among the most marginalized Asian American groups.

For Her, just existing under her Hmong name “creates space in itself” and pays tribute to her roots, she said.

An artist, she also incorporates the journey from one name to another in her work, which celebrates Hmong history and iconography. One embroidery piece reads “It’s pronounced Cha,” while another reads “My name is Tshab, but the check is payable to Jennifer Her.”

A history of violence and assimilation

Asian Americans have been Anglicizing their names since the first major wave of immigrants in the late 1800s and into the 20th century — a practice also common among Jewish and European immigrants, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

There are a number of reasons why, with the most basic being convenience. English speakers often had trouble pronouncing or spelling non-English names, and for many immigrants it was just easier to choose a new “American” name. There were financial motivations, too — immigrant business owners may have felt that an anglicized name would better appeal to customers.

Over the years, USCIS archives have recorded countless such name changes from a Russian immigrant named Simhe Kohnovalsky who asked to become Sam Cohn in 1917, to a wartime refugee named Sokly Ny, who fled Cambodia in 1979 during the Khmer Rouge regime and renamed himself Don Bonus in California, inspired by a “bonus pack” of gum.
Chinese immigrants play cards while waiting in the immigration offices at Ellis Island, US, around 1940-1950.

Chinese immigrants play cards while waiting in the immigration offices at Ellis Island, US, around 1940-1950. Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Any change that might smooth their way to the American Dream was seen (by many immigrants) as a step in the right direction,” wrote Marian Smith, a former USCIS historian, in a 2005 essay, adding: “There were all kinds of reasons, political and practical, to take a new name.”

But this seemingly eager pursuit of the American Dream doesn’t fully capture the dark realities immigrants faced. Asians in the US were often demonized, exploited and discriminated against from the moment they arrived. Assimilation — including the adoption of a new name — was seen a survival tactic.

Early Chinese immigrants were lynched by mobs, and anti-Chinese sentiment was so strong that the US banned all immigration from China between 1882 and 1943. The fearmongering “Yellow Peril” ideology meanwhile depicted East Asians as dangerous invaders. An estimated 120,000 Japanese Americans — the majority of whom were US citizens — were forced into concentration camps during World War II.
Asian men being interrogated by an immigration officer on February 2, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York.

Asian men being interrogated by an immigration officer on February 2, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

An increasing number of Japanese Americans changed their personal names during wartime in order to “prove their patriotism and to reaffirm their American identities,” according to a 1999 paper in Names, a journal dedicated to onomastics (the study of names). “Makoto became Mac, and Isamu shrank to Sam.”

Asians in the 19th and early 20th century were largely portrayed as “strange, but also inferior, dirty, uncivilized,” said Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Asian American and Asian diaspora studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “(Back then) the desire to fit in is also about surviving an overtly racist, hostile society” that targeted “Asian difference.”

In the period 1900 to 1930, about 86% of boys and 93% of girls born to immigrants (of all origins, not just of Asian heritage) had an “American name,” according to US census data analyzed in the journal Labour Economics.

Now, a century later, it’s common for members of the third or fourth generation not to have an Asian name at all.

The cost of sacrificing a name

The nation and its racial tensions have evolved since then — but Asian and non-English names continue to be othered, treated as strange or used as cheap punchlines.

In 2013, for instance, a TV station reporting on a deadly Asiana Airlines plane crash fell for a prank, and announced that the pilots included “Captain Sum Ting Wong” and “Ho Lee Fuk.” In 2016, the governor of Maine joked about a Chinese man named Chiu, pronouncing it with a fake sneeze. In 2020, a professor at Laney College asked a student, Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen, to Anglicize her Vietnamese name “to avoid embarrassment” because Phuc Bui “sounds like an insult in English.” The list goes on.

Asian Americans have continued to proactively adapt their names, many citing ongoing forms of discrimination. Bennet, who started her acting career as Chloe Wang, spoke out about changing her surname on social media after being questioned about it in 2017.

“Changing my last name doesn’t change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese,” she wrote. “It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn’t cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable.”
Kelly Marie Tran poses with 'Star Wars' stormtroopers on the red carpet in London on December 18, 2019.

Kelly Marie Tran poses with ‘Star Wars’ stormtroopers on the red carpet in London on December 18, 2019. Credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Tran, the “Star Wars” actress, has also spoken publicly about the pain of assimilating. Growing up, she internalized racist narratives “that made my parents deem it necessary to abandon their real names and adopt American ones — Tony and Kay — so it was easier for others to pronounce, a literal erasure of culture that still has me aching to the core,” she wrote in the New York Times, before declaring, “You might know me as Kelly … My real name is Loan.”

Their public testimonies are part of a growing conversation about the potential psychological toll of adapting or compromising your birth name. Names aren’t just an arbitrary collection of letters and sounds; for Asian Americans, who often juggle multiple languages, cultures and socioethnic circles, a name can encompass various elements of identity.

Tanaïs, a Bengali-American novelist and owner of a beauty and fragrance brand.

Tanaïs, a Bengali-American novelist and owner of a beauty and fragrance brand. Credit: Max Cohen

For instance, Tanaïs, a Bengali American novelist and owner of a beauty and fragrance brand, was born with the name Tanwi Nandini Islam. Tanaïs, 38, uses they and them pronouns.

Their parents, who had immigrated to the US from Bangladesh, chose their birth name carefully; “Tanwi” has various meanings in Sanskrit, including a blade of grass. “Nandini” means daughter, and is another name for the goddess Durga. And “Islam,” which also reflects their family’s Muslim background, means peace. Tanaïs, the name they go by today, is the combination of the first two letters of the three names.

“To have a name that holds all these cultural meanings, is very powerful,” they said. “I am all of those things, from my ancestors to where I am now.”

But during childhood, nobody knew how to say “Tanwi,” or put any real effort into learning, they said. Tanaïs does not even remember teachers saying their name out loud, with a first grade teacher declaring that “Tanwi” was too hard to pronounce and using Tony instead.

“I was Tony for the whole year. I hated it, it wasn’t my name,” said Tanaïs. “I remember being very unhappy — I felt misunderstood. I felt misgendered because it sounded like a boy’s name to me.”

To accidentally bungle someone’s name upon introduction can be an innocent mistake. But to deliberately dismiss their name as too strange or complicated to attempt, like Tanaïs’ teacher did, sends the message that “you don’t matter, you don’t belong,” said Choy, the UC Berkeley professor.

“The consistent mispronunciation or misspelling of one’s Asian name — questions and requests for you to simplify or change your name — do take a toll on one’s individual psyche,” she said. “Names reflect your presence, your being, your history. When people constantly do that, they’re not acknowledging you — as a person, as a human being.”

Research has reinforced just how pervasive this problem is. A 2018 survey of Chinese students in the US found that the “adoption of an Anglo name was associated with lower levels of self-esteem, which further predicted lower levels of health and well-being.”

However, the study cautioned that it could be a case of correlation, not causation — for instance, people who already have higher self-esteem could be more reluctant to change their names, and less influenced by stigma.

Another survey of ethnic minority students, conducted by California researchers in 2012, concluded that “many students of color have encountered cultural disrespect within their K-12 education in regards to their names … When a child goes to school and their name is mispronounced or changed, it can negate the thought, care and significance of the name, and thus the identity of the child.”
Minhaj, the comedian and producer, called out Anglo-centric hypocrisy surrounding names during a segment on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where he corrected the host on the pronunciation of his name.

“When I first started doing comedy, people were like, ‘You should change your name,'” he went on to explain. “And I’m like, I’m not going to change my name. If you can pronounce Ansel Elgort, you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj.”

A reclamation of heritage

There are, however, signs of gradual change.

The number of people adopting new names fell in the late 20th century, said Smith, the former USCIS historian. This was partly due to the emergence of automated systems, like those used to register drivers’ licenses, that are designed for just one legal name. But social change was likely a bigger factor, she said.

“While the economic, legal, systemic pressure to maintain one name grew, social pressure to Americanize names also lessened as more Americans embraced cultural pluralism or multiculturalist views,” Smith said in an email.

We see this cultural shift in how people respond to instances of discrimination or xenophobia. Things that previously may have flown under the radar are now being called out, loudly and publicly.

For instance, the writer Jeanne Phillips sparked intense outrage in 2018 when she encouraged parents not to give their children “foreign names” on her syndicated column Dear Abby, adding that they can sound “grating in English.” Furious parents and minority commentators argued she was perpetuating racist and assimilationist narratives, in a controversy that made national headlines.

The Laney College professor who asked a Vietnamese student to Anglicize her name also faced widespread backlash and was placed on administrative leave.

Demonstrators gather for a rally against anti-Asian racism and violence on March 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.

Demonstrators gather for a rally against anti-Asian racism and violence on March 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. Credit: David Ryder/Getty Images

In March, the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people — six of whom were Asian women — reignited similar conversations. After several news outlets released abridged or inaccurate versions of the victims’ names, furious and grieving Asian Americans spoke out online about the racist treatment of their names amid a wave of anti-Asian violence and hate crimes.
“PLEASE STOP BUTCHERING THE VICTIMS’ NAMES,” tweeted Michelle Kim, co-founder of Awaken, an organization that runs diversity and inclusion workshops. “These might be small inconveniences to people. But our names are our IDENTITY. It’s our HERITAGE. It’s what we have left that remind us WHO WE ARE. WHERE WE COME FROM.”

These recent controversies are a reminder of how much work is left to be done — but also show that minority groups, and wider society, are redefining the norms of what is acceptable and what needs to be held accountable. It reflects an increasingly multicultural context — a shift that has resulted from broader changes around the world like globalization and a reshuffling of power.

“Going as Tshab was an act of resistance… That was the start of me resisting this Whiteness of American culture that was forced on me.”

Tshab Her

Some Asian countries have become major political and economic players in recent decades, and have also wielded influence in the form of soft power. Bollywood, K-pop, anime and other aspects of Asian pop culture, for example, have gained legions of fans worldwide. And in the US, immigration policies in the late 20th century have allowed the Asian American population to increase exponentially, said Choy.

“That’s just such a different social context to be in, compared to the way it was in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s,” she said, adding that technological advances and globalization mean the “dominance of Anglo-American culture” is now “lessened.”

This new chapter is reflected in the growing demand for greater diversity across nearly every sector: entertainment, politics, food, education and more. And among young Asian Americans, there is also an increasing awareness of what their immigrant parents or grandparents had to give up to survive — a “realization that there is a loss of heritage and culture from the Asian home country,” said Choy.

For some, this realization can spark a desire to get back what was lost. By studying their parents’ or grandparents’ first language, for instance. Others might visit their ancestral homes to reconnect with their culture.

Tshab Her's work "Returning," is inspired by the first time her parents traveled back to Laos since they immigrated to the United States as refugees.

Tshab Her’s work “Returning,” is inspired by the first time her parents traveled back to Laos since they immigrated to the United States as refugees. Credit: Tshab Her

For Her, embracing her Hmong name has become a way to assert her heritage.

“Going as Tshab was an act of resistance,” she said. “I just want to be who I am, and who I am is Tshab, not (Jennifer). That was the start of me resisting this Whiteness of American culture that was forced on me.

“I think, for me, it’s natural for me to feel like I am connected to my parents or my ancestors, going more as Tshab, and not wanting to forget where I come from, where my family (are from) and what the Hmong people have gone through.”

Top image: A piece of embroidery by Hmong American artist Tshab Her.



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'Out of control' fire breaks out in Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park


More than 120 firefighters are battling the massive blaze, and four helicopters have been deployed to help with the efforts, according to a media release shared by a Twitter account associated with the park.

“The fire created its own wind that further increased the rate of spread. The excessive amount of smoke and related updrafts made it impossible for the aerial support to slow the rate of spread,” the park added.

The statement said the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant had burnt down and “the fire has also spread to the veld above the University of Cape Town upper campus.”

One woman in the park said she was “trying to outrun the fire” in a video posted on Twitter, which showed a plume of smoke in the background. In a later tweet, Lisette Lombard said she was safe but her car had been “destroyed.”

“Never have I experienced a fire that spread so unpredictably fast. I have so much respect for our firefighters,” she added.

Heavy smoke rises from Table Mountain in Cape Town.

The cause of the fire, which broke out on the slope of Table Mountain on Sunday morning is unknown, Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for Cape Town Fire and Rescue told CNN.

Authorities were notified around 8:45 a.m. local (2.45 a.m. ET) and are currently fighting the fire, which is being fanned by wind, Carelse said.

Hikers were told to evacuate from the area.

The fire spread from the vicinity of Philip Kgosana Drive, which borders table Mountain National Park, to the Rhodes Memorial continuing further towards University of Cape Town buildings, Carelse said.

Earlier on Sunday, the National Park’s Twitter account requested that onlookers “refrain from entering the area and keep the area clear for emergency vehicles to pass” as the fire was “out of control.”

It added that all hikers within the Newlands and Rhodes Memorial area should evacuate with immediate effect.

The Table Mountain is a flat-roofed mountain that overlooks Cape Town, and is a major tourist attraction. The National Park is 25,000 hectares and is home to 8,200 plant species, according to its website.



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Washington Post: Trump-installed NSA lawyer resigns after being on administrative leave for three months



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Ted Cruz (R-TX) refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask during a press event and justified it by saying he had been vaccinated and was following CDC guidelines. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why Cruz is wrong.”,”descriptionText”:”Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask during a press event and justified it by saying he had been vaccinated and was following CDC guidelines. 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Jim Jordan (R-OH) u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2021/04/15/jim-jordan-dr-anthony-fauci-heated-exchange-hearing-vpx.cnn” target=”_blank”>got into a heated exchangeu003c/a> with Dr. Anthony Fauci over the country’s coronavirus mitigation measures, which ended with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/jim-acosta-profile” target=”_blank”>Jim Acostau003c/a> spoke with Waters about why she intervened in the moment.”,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2021/04/15/jim-jordan-dr-anthony-fauci-heated-exchange-hearing-vpx.cnn” target=”_blank”>got into a heated exchangeu003c/a> with Dr. Anthony Fauci over the country’s coronavirus mitigation measures, which ended with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/jim-acosta-profile” target=”_blank”>Jim Acostau003c/a> spoke with Waters about why she intervened in the moment.”},{“title”:”Marjorie Taylor Greene launching ‘America First’ caucus”,”duration”:”03:51″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/17/marjorie-taylor-greene-america-first-caucus-sot-vpx-ac360.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/17/marjorie-taylor-greene-america-first-caucus-sot-vpx-ac360.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210204151917-02-marjorie-taylor-greene-0204-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/17/marjorie-taylor-greene-america-first-caucus-sot-vpx-ac360.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Former GOP congresswoman Mia Love discusses conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s announcement about launching a new “America First” caucus that will together a group of far-right lawmakers known for their controversial rhetoric.”,”descriptionText”:”Former GOP congresswoman Mia Love discusses conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s announcement about launching a new “America First” caucus that will together a group of far-right lawmakers known for their controversial rhetoric.”},{“title”:”White House backtracks on refugees decision after criticism”,”duration”:”02:22″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/16/biden-white-house-refugee-cap-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/16/biden-white-house-refugee-cap-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210415170655-02-biden-russia-comments-0415-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/16/biden-white-house-refugee-cap-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”The White House said President Joe Biden will set a new, increased refugee cap in May u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/2021/04/16/politics/biden-refugee-cap/index.html” target=”_blank”>after facing a barrage of criticismu003c/a> when officials confirmed to CNN and other outlets that it would remain at the historically low level set by former President Donald Trump.”,”descriptionText”:”The White House said President Joe Biden will set a new, increased refugee cap in May u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/2021/04/16/politics/biden-refugee-cap/index.html” target=”_blank”>after facing a barrage of criticismu003c/a> when officials confirmed to CNN and other outlets that it would remain at the historically low level set by former President Donald Trump.”},{“title”:”‘National embarrassment’: Biden reacts to mass shootings”,”duration”:”02:44″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/16/joe-biden-shooting-reaction-press-conference-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/16/joe-biden-shooting-reaction-press-conference-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210416173011-01-biden-0414-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/16/joe-biden-shooting-reaction-press-conference-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”President Joe Biden defended his commitment to passing gun control legislation and called on Senate Republicans to act on a bill already passed by the House.”,”descriptionText”:”President Joe Biden defended his commitment to passing gun control legislation and called on Senate Republicans to act on a bill already passed by the House.”},{“title”:”Russia to expel 10 US diplomats in ‘tit-for-tat response’ to Biden sanctions”,”duration”:”02:07″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/16/russia-expel-10-us-diplomats-lavrov-biden-sanctions-dougherty-intv-king-ip-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/16/russia-expel-10-us-diplomats-lavrov-biden-sanctions-dougherty-intv-king-ip-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170518111344-01-putin-lavrov-together-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/16/russia-expel-10-us-diplomats-lavrov-biden-sanctions-dougherty-intv-king-ip-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Russia will ask 10 US diplomats to leave the country in a “tit-for-tat response” to the Biden administration expelling 10 Russian diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow. 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CNN’s John Avlon breaks down the knowns and unknowns of the day rioters breached one of the country’s most iconic buildings.”,”descriptionText”:”It’s been 100 days since the US Capitol was attacked by a violent mob on January 6. 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Ted Cruz (R-TX) refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask during a press event and justified it by saying he had been vaccinated and was following CDC guidelines. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why Cruz is wrong.”,”descriptionText”:”Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask during a press event and justified it by saying he had been vaccinated and was following CDC guidelines. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why Cruz is wrong.”},{“title”:”Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan is personal for this lawmaker”,”duration”:”02:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://cnn.co,”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/15/jason-crow-biden-afghanistan-withdrawal-reaction-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/15/jason-crow-biden-afghanistan-withdrawal-reaction-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210415091427-jason-crow-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/15/jason-crow-biden-afghanistan-withdrawal-reaction-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) shares the personal reason Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan has impacted him.”,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) shares the personal reason Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan has impacted him.”},{“title”:”Why Biden made his Afghanistan announcement in this particular room”,”duration”:”02:10″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/14/bush-biden-afghanistan-announcement-treaty-room-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/14/bush-biden-afghanistan-announcement-treaty-room-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210414150627-05-biden-afghanistan-remarks-0414-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/14/bush-biden-afghanistan-announcement-treaty-room-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kaitlan-collins” target=”_blank”>Kaitlan Collins u003c/a>explains why President Biden’s decision to announce the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan from the White House Treaty Room may have been intentional. “,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kaitlan-collins” target=”_blank”>Kaitlan Collins u003c/a>explains why President Biden’s decision to announce the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan from the White House Treaty Room may have been intentional. “},{“title”:”Biden: It’s time to end the forever war”,”duration”:”01:03″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/14/joe-biden-beau-biden-its-time-to-end-this-forever-war-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/14/joe-biden-beau-biden-its-time-to-end-this-forever-war-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210414150949-06-biden-afghanistan-remarks-0414-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/14/joe-biden-beau-biden-its-time-to-end-this-forever-war-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”President Joe Biden used his personal experience with his son Beau, who served in Iraq, to underscore the generational impact of the the US war in Afghanistan.”,”descriptionText”:”President Joe Biden used his personal experience with his son Beau, who served in Iraq, to underscore the generational impact of the the US war in Afghanistan.”},{“title”:”What Republican lawmaker fears after US troops leave Afghanistan”,”duration”:”05:56″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/14/kinzinger-on-afghanistan-withdrawal-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/14/kinzinger-on-afghanistan-withdrawal-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210414161850-kinzinger-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/14/kinzinger-on-afghanistan-withdrawal-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tells CNN’s Jake Tapper why he opposes u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/04/14/afghanistan-announcement-full-speech-joe-biden-us-troop-withdrawal-sot-vpx.cnn” target=”_blank”>President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops in Afghanistan. u003c/a>”,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tells CNN’s Jake Tapper why he opposes u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/04/14/afghanistan-announcement-full-speech-joe-biden-us-troop-withdrawal-sot-vpx.cnn” target=”_blank”>President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops in Afghanistan. u003c/a>”},{“title”:”Women detail late-night parties with Gaetz”,”duration”:”02:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/04/14/matt-gaetz-parties-women-payments-pkg-ebof-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/04/14/matt-gaetz-parties-women-payments-pkg-ebof-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210414153348-02-matt-gaetz-0414-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2021/04/14/matt-gaetz-parties-women-payments-pkg-ebof-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida attended parties which frequently involved drug use and sex and after which money was sometimes exchanged, according to two women in attendance who spoke to CNN in recent days.”,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida attended parties which frequently involved drug use and sex and after which money was sometimes exchanged, according to two women in attendance who spoke to CNN in recent days.”}],’js-video_headline-featured-28nxjdr’,”,”js-video_source-featured-28nxjdr”,true,true,’this-week-in-politics’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length



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Trump calls Afghanistan withdrawal 'a wonderful and positive thing to do' and criticizes Biden's timeline



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High school rallies for senior with brain cancer


The last day Parker Denny was able to attend classes at Sycamore High School was Friday, February 19; That weekend, he went to the hospital with serious headaches, and doctors discovered a tumor on the high school senior’s brain.

“It came as a shock to everyone because we were like ‘he was just here Friday,'” said Rose Mitchell, a counselor at Sycamore High School.

Surgery to remove the tumor was successful and Denny’s outlook is good, but the school district said he developed Posteria Fossa Syndrome, which has affected his ability to walk, talk and swallow.

“That has been a huge hurdle for him to get through,” said Mitchell. “Every day he is working hard and fighting hard with the physical therapy and occupational therapy that he has to go through.”

The Aviators community wanted Parker to know he’s not going through any of it alone.

Classmates held Jersey Day to celebrate his love for sports, wore gold for pediatric cancer awareness, wrote him letters of support and are selling Parker Denny Strong wristbands to raise money for Denny’s family. A Go-Fund-Me set up for the family has helped raise more than $19,000 and the community group Sycamore Bridges has already helped raise enough money to cover six months worth of rent for the family.

“So our Sycamore family is unparalleled in their support for Parker,” said Mitchell. “All the students here.”

She added that students hope they won’t have to miss their classmate for much longer: Denny is trying to get strong enough to join everyone at graduation this year.

“One of the things that just pushes him — obviously they definitely have a lot of faith — and he’s just like ‘I want to walk across that stage. I want to walk across that stage and get my diploma,'” said Mitchell.



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Citywide cleanup event targets 35 parks


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dozens of volunteers spent their day picking up trash and beautifying parks in Grand Rapids.

At one location, they were more focused on getting rid of invasive plants.

“They always say, ‘Leave it the way you found it,’” said one volunteer.

But not everyone listens. In fact, some just throw their trash wherever they want, not even thinking of the environment.

That’s why volunteers around Grand Rapids spent their Saturday at several parks doing some spring cleaning.

“The parks are a great asset to our city and our neighborhoods; it’s routinely one of the items that brings people to a city,” said Andrew Wahlstrom, board member for the Creston Neighborhood Association.

He and about 30 other volunteers were out at Huff Park helping to beautify the landscape.

“It’s great as a community for us to pitch in and help clean up either garbage or in this case invasive species,” said Wahlstrom.

He helped toss some garlic mustard plants, which spread easily and are destructive.

“Smells like a good dish of Italian spaghetti,” said one volunteer.

Andrew educates people about the species, telling them if you see it in your backyard or at the park, it’s OK to pull out and throw away.

“Each one of these plants can grow up and produce 800 seeds, which can then fall on the ground and stay dormant for 7-10 years,” said Wahlstrom, “and so getting it early like we’re doing here, there’s a lot of it but sparsely populated will prevent it from running out of control.”

Saturday’s cleanup was put together by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and it was the first-ever “It’s My Parks” day focusing on 35 sites around the city.

“These are our public spaces, these are park spaces; let’s get out and be in them,” said Lauren Davis, urban forest manager for Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. “Let’s take care of them; let’s be a resource to help people engage with their park space that we’re lucky to have 75 of them in our city.”

Sometimes they’re littered with trash.

“I saw a fair number of takeout containers, which is probably the result of COVID,” said Wahlstrom. “There’s more takeout happening these day, but those Styrofoam containers never break down, so those are especially important to get in the garbage.”

“If you don’t have trash cans and you know there’s a place,” said Davis, “as a community member, if you have a park and there’s always trash in one spot, let the city know. It’s like, ‘Hey, can you guys put a trash can here?’ I think there are some solutions by talking to both amongst your neighbors and community members and reaching out to the city about if there’s a trash problem; what can we do about it besides ignoring it or being mad about it?”

“If you enjoy being in this park and it’s green and trash free, leave it that way,” said Wahlstrom.

The group cleaned up Friday and Saturday. For more volunteer events click here.

RELATED: Cleanup of toxic waste sites delayed due to funding

RELATED: Congress approves 5-year extension of Great Lakes cleanup program

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Fiery Tesla crash took 4 hours to extinguish


THE WOODLANDS, Texas (KTRK) — Two people died in a fiery crash Saturday night involving a Tesla Model S, and the flames took hours to extinguish, authorities said.

It happened just after 9 p.m. on Hammock Dunes Place in the Carlton Woods subdivision.

Firefighters and medics were called to the scene after reports of an explosion in the woods after the Tesla ran off the road, authorities said.

The Tesla was traveling from a cul-de-sac on Hammock Dunes Place and did not negotiate a curve. The vehicle crashed into a tree before bursting into flames.

Crews found two bodies inside the vehicle, a man in the front passenger seat and another man in the back passenger seat.

The batteries on board the Tesla continued to ignite despite efforts to douse the flames, authorities said. It took around four hours and 23,000 gallons of water before the flames were out, firefighters said.

The Tesla Model S is an all-electric car that has an autopilot feature. It wasn’t clear if the car was in autopilot mode when the crash occurred.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S catches fire twice in 1 day in California

The identities of the victims were not immediately released.

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