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Happy Tuesday! Boarding a flight can be scary these days, what with the pandemic and Boeing’s safety challenges. But there’s good news too from the aviation sector. Check out the world’s safest airlines today, meet a Saudi Arabian female squash champion who flies planes, uncover why politics is a dangerous profession for Bolivian women and gorge on a full day’s menu worth of sumptuous Southeast Asian meals.
U.S. House members have given the Senate an article of impeachment charging former President Donald Trump with incitement of insurrection. President Joe Biden says a Senate trial “has to happen,” but there won’t be enough votes to convict. Meanwhile, the Justice Department’s inspector general has said he’ll investigate whether the department made “an improper attempt” to overturn Nov. 3 election results. (Sources: Washington Post, WSJ (sub), CNN)
2. Unobstructed View
Speaking of the Senate, its filibuster is safe ... for now. It allows any senator to obstruct action by continuously talking, giving the minority party (currently Republicans) considerable power. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to preserve it, and now that two centrist Democrats say they won’t vote to end filibustering, he’ll let Democrats assume power — and advance Biden’s agenda. (Sources: Fox News, NYT, Politico)
3. Xi’s for Unity
Can’t we all just get along? Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos conference yesterday and warned that “decoupling and seclusion” could reverse globalization. While he didn’t mention the U.S. directly, his cautions about protectionism leading to “division and even confrontation” were clearly aimed at encouraging President Biden to reverse his predecessor’s belligerent trade stance. (Sources: The Guardian, Axios)
4. Growing Movement
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being confronted by tens of thousands of angry farmers pushing into India’s capital today, threatening to disrupt Republic Day celebrations over farm laws they say benefit corporate agriculture. “We will not surrender,” said one of the protesters, who faced riot police, tear gas and water cannons as their tractors pushed past trucks and barricades authorities used to try to block them. (Sources: AP, NYT)
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To her nearly 1 million followers, 20-year-old Kenyan student Azziad Nasenya is the queen of East African TikTok. An aspiring actress who channels her theater background in elaborate dance and lip sync routines, her performance of “Utawezana” by Femi One and Mejja went viral in April. Major theater groups and television shows have already asked her to play lead roles. But with COVID-19 closures complicating things, Azziad is focused on her lifelong dream of becoming a broadcast journalist — although Hollywood could also be in the cards.
2. Secret Weapon
Adwa Al Dakheel, 28, is a squash champion who flies planes, plays the guitar and runs an investment hub, broadcasting a hopeful vision of girl power to her millions of followers in Snapchat-loving Saudi Arabia. Still, some wonder if Arab regimes are using Al Dakheel — and other influencers and vloggers — to whitewash their spotty human rights records: The startup founder goes out of her way to praise Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s controversial leadership. Read more on OZY.
Bolivia had made historic gains in equal representation, including a parity law passed in 2010 that forced parties to select an equal number of male and female candidates for political office. But shattering those norms can sting for trailblazers, some of whom have been targets of kidnappings and violent harassment.
2. Can You Love Dogs Too Much?
Fernando Kushner is known for roaming the freezing streets of La Paz at night, shooting pictures of strays that quickly go viral on social media while feeding them and partnering with businesses to encourage adoption. He hopes to find homes for each of the estimated million out there, although his critics — who worry about encouraging irresponsible owners and more pup poop — prefer he would just let sleeping dogs lie.
3. Losing Lace
World-renowned for their weavings, only a few hundred Jalq’a women remain capable of crafting in the old fashion, forming fantastical (and sometimes chaotic) pieces that are sadly being replaced by cheap folk art hawked as souvenirs.
Today on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Share a smile — and a hearty laugh — with former figure skater and Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon. Find out how a tip from Beyoncé helped him perform at his best, the surprising connection he has to President Biden — and why he’s now trying his hand at comedy writing. Watch him on YouTube later today.
World's Safest Airlines
Boeing’s never-ending travails have shined a sharp light on the safety of the aviation industry. But while there are always bad apples, these airlines have set benchmarks for safety.
1. Qantas Airlines
It was the only airline that Dustin Hoffman’s character would fly in the 1988 movie Rain Man because it had “never crashed.” More than three decades later, it remains at the top of AirlineRatings.com rankings as the safest. Yet it shouldn’t be a surprise: The Australian airline has been a pioneer in using technology to monitor airplane performance, including the flight data recorder back in the 1960s.
2. Qatar Airways
Second only to Qantas, Qatar Airways has further burnished its safety credentials amid the pandemic. It was an early adopter of free PPE, disposable face shields and protective kits for passengers and staff. Business class flyers have the option of sliding privacy partitions.
The only U.S. airline to crack the top 10 in safety is the last frontier: Alaska. While the rest of the states were busy laughing at its “Safety Dance”-inspired video introducing new COVID-19 precautions, it helped bolster the Seattle-based airline’s reputation for safety. But it’s not all fun and games. Earlier this month, it banned 14 passengers for not wearing masks. As they say in the parody video, “But if your friends don't mask – and why don't they mask? – well, they won't fly this airline.”
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They’re so good that we can’t recommend just one meal. Here’s how we would recommend bingeing all day. These dishes are perfect for when you travel again — but there’s nothing stopping you from making these at home.
Noodles for breakfast is the name of the game in this part of the world, and there may be none better than this steaming bowl that draws crowds at dawn throughout Hanoi. Vermicelli, tomato broth, crabmeat, fried tofu, congealed blood (don’t knock it till you try it), chiles and herbs. There’s no better way to start the day.
2. Lunch: Oyster Omelette
You can’t go wrong in the street food mecca that is Penang, Malaysia, the island where Chinese, Indian and Malaysian cuisine collide in the carts on every corner. But keep an extra special eye out for the oyster omelettes. You can smell them before you spot them. Plump bivalves are fried up with eggs and a rice flour batter to give the dish a sticky, gooey texture. Served with a cup of tangy but not aggressive hot sauce, it’s heavenly.
3. Dinner: Khao Soi
If you’re in northern Thailand or Laos, this powerful bowl is a must. Start with egg noodles, add coconut milk, chicken, fish sauce, enough chiles to clear out your sinuses, then simmer. Here’s a promise: You’ll sleep well.