~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #86
~At the end of January, Austria announced a stricter policy regarding refugees seeking asylum. Over the next three years, more than 50,000 refugees will be repatriated to other safe countries and ordered to leave Austria. Along with Sweden and Germany, “Austria has received the largest number of refugee applications per capita of population,” as reported by Deutsche Welle news organization.
~Lesbos, a Greek island that is often the first stop for refugees fleeing Syria, has become a haven of sanctuary and the local residents are bearing the brunt. As CNN news reports, the arrivals of refugees is unrelenting, even as the frigid winter water temperatures make it dangerous to travel. The selfless efforts of the local community have not gone unnoticed as they regularly tend to the refugees, provide them with immediate food and warmth and do all that they are capable of to ensure survival for those on the brink. February 1st was the deadline for Nobel Peace Prize nominations, and a petition to recognize the efforts of the local heroes has garnered hundred of thousands of signatures. While the residents dismiss the recognition, to the refugees they clearly are heroes.
~No longer can Italians smoke and flick their cigarette butts into the streets. If they do, as of this past week, they will could face a $300 fine. A law aimed at curbing the love for smoking in Italy, citizens have varying opinions on how effective the law will be.
~The Washington Post reported on Monday that the World Health Organization had declared the Zika virus to be a global health emergency. Due to Zika believed to be causing irreversible health complications in newborns, the WHO allows for more mobilization of funding as well as man-power to combat the mosquito-born virus. While this virus was first identified 50 years ago, its severe effects on newborns and now the possibility that it may be capable of being transmitted through bodily fluids has raised concerns.
~In Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this week, peace talks began to try to broker an agreement to bring an end to the Syrian civil war. However, on Wednesday the United Nations halted talks as “mounting anger among the opposition that [felt] they [were] being pressured to negotiate while Syrian government and Russian air attacks on rebel areas continue and escalate.” An intriguing opinion piece from The Guardian offered something that might aid in more successful negotiations, the inclusion of women.
National: United States
On Wednesday, President Obama visited for the first time during his presidency a mosque in the United States. At the Islamic Society of Baltimore, President Obama spoke for 45 minutes about the awareness that an attack on one religion is an attack on all religions. Prompted by the rise in Islamophobia, the President’s historic speech has been desired for years by the Islamic community as muslims has been stigmatized since the attacks on 9/11 and heightening during his presidency, most recently with the attacks in San Bernardino and calls by certain political figures to ban all Muslims temporary until the Syrian refugee crisis is brought under control.
~On Monday of this past week, the Iowa Caucuses took place kicking off the U.S. Presidential primary elections. And while on the Republican ticket Ted Cruz garnered the top spot earning eight delegates, Trump and Rubio both earning 7, the Democrats offered an unexpectedly tight race with Hillary Clinton winning 23 delegates and Bernie Sanders winning 21. (click here for all of the numbers on delegates). While caucuses are different in their set-up than primaries, the results are the same, who won how many delegates. With 350,000 Iowans going out to caucus on February 1st (which is approximately 17% percent of the voting population in Iowa), the race has officially begun. On Tuesday, the first primary will be in New Hampshire.
~The two remaining Democrats running for President Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had a contentious, but policy driven debate on MSNBC Thursday night. And last night the Republicans held a debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, hosted by ABC. All Republican candidates who have been invited are expected to attend: Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Bush, and Carson.
Bendite Event of the Week
The Meissner Nordic Luminaria takes place on Saturday February 13th, and if you are someone who appreciates all of the winter sno-park trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the event offers you an opportunity to enjoy and donate to the Meissner Nordic Club. Beginning at dusk (approximately 5:30 pm) and luminarias (paper bags with candles) lit until 9pm, come with your family and friends (carpooling is encouraged as parking will be tight) and enjoy an annual excursion on the moonlit snow trails.
French Word of the Week
Bonjour, this is Géraldine from Comme une Française.com. I’m here to share the latest French Word of the Week: a simple very French word for your Simply Luxurious Life in France.
On February 2nd, in France, we celebrate La Chandeleur. And we eat “des crêpes”.
As we saw on the episode about la galette, don’t mix “des crêpes” with “des galettes” in certain regions of France! But in the rest of France, many people call “des galettes”, “des crêpes salées” : salty crêpes.
A la Chandeleur, French people will make des crêpes at home. You will use “une crèpière”, a special pan et “des ingrédients” tels que “des oeufs” (eggs), de la farine (flour) et du lait (milk). The other ingredients depend on who makes them.
if you don’t feel like making them, you can also buy delicious crêpes à la boulangerie ou dans une crêperie.
In the crêpes, we can put “du sucre” (sugar), “du miel” (honey), “du citron” (lemon), “de la noix de coco” (coconut), “du Nutella”, “de la glace” (ice-cream), “du caramel au beurre salé” (caramel with salted butter)… et parfois au-dessus : de la crème Chantilly. It can also be “une crêpe flambée” with alcohol.
A last personal tip: if you’re in a tourist area, you might see des crêperies offering crêpes with A LOT of toppings put together: strawberries, ice cream and Chantilly, with chocolate sauce etc. It’s good to try (I like this too). But keep in mind that a very authentic way to enjoy a good crêpe is… on its own. Maybe with a little bit of sugar. Something light that will allow you to really taste the crêpe. And enjoy it like we do. The simple “crêpe au sucre” is really a star of la Chandeleur.
If you want to add more French in your Simply Luxurious Life, join me on Comme une Française.com for weekly video tips to sound French, even to the French! And it’s free.
Thought to Ponder
~Au Courant Weeklys from the Archives:
Image: quote source