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Thursday, June 20, 2024

THE FOODIST / ANOTHER BEST RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD LIST

 

#1 DISFRUTAR. Led by chefs Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro and Mateu Casanas, Barchelon's world's best restaurant for 2024 is all about innovation and craftsmanship.

WHO SAYS SO THIS TIME?

The list is compiled based on the votes of the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, which is made up of 1,080 international restaurant industry experts including food writers and chefs, in 27 regions around the world. 

So, here we go for 2024. We promise the list is good until the next best of list appears. Images are from the best from the USA and the #1. 


1. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain) 

2. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain) 

3. Table by Bruno Verjus (Paris, France) 

4. Diverxo (Madrid, Spain) 

5. Maido (Lima, Peru) 


6. Atomix (New York City) – Best restaurant in North America (pictured above). Taking Korean Cuisine to new heights in New York City.

7. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico) 

8. Alchemist (Copenhagen, Denmark) 

9. Gaggan Anand (Bangkok, Thailand) 

10. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina) 

11. Septime (Paris, France) 

12. Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy) 

13. Trèsind Studio (Dubai, UAE) 

14. Quique Dacosta (Denia, Spain) 

15. Sézanne (Tokyo, Japan) 

16. Kjolle (Lima, Peru) 

17. Kol (London, England) 

18. Plénitude (Paris, France) 

19. Reale (Castel di Sangro, Spain) 

20. Wing (Hong Kong) – Highest New Entry Award 

21. Florilège (Tokyo, Japan) 

22. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria) 

23. Suhring (Bangkok, Thailand) 

24. Odette (Singapore) 

25. El Chato (Bogotá, Colombia) 

26. The Chairman (Hong Kong) - Highest Climber Award 

27. A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil) 

28. Elkano (Getaria, Spain) 

29. Boragó (Santiago, Chile) 

30. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany) 

31. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal) 

32. Den (Tokyo, Japan) 

33. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico) 

34. Rosetta (Mexico City, Mexico) 

35. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden) 

36. The Jane (Antwerp, Belgium) 

37. Oteque (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) 

38. Sorn (Bangkok, Thailand) 

39. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy) 

40. Le Du (Bangkok, Thailand) 

41. Mayta (Lima, Peru) 

42. Ikoyi (London, England) 

43. Nobelhart & Schmutzig (Berlin, Germany) 

44. Mingles (Seoul, South Korea) 

45. Arpege (Paris, France) 

46. SingleThread (Healdsburg, California) 

47. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland) 

48. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia) 

49. La Colombe (Cape Town, South Africa) 

50. Uliassi (Senigallia, Italy) 



#46. CALIFORNIA’S BEST. SingleThread in the heart of downtown Healdsburg, boasts one of the country’s most accomplished Chefs Kyle Connaughton, along with Head Farmer Katina Connaughton, in a 3 Michelin-Star Restaurant with five luxurious guest rooms. SingleThread’s focus is to provide its guests with an unparalleled hospitality experience in the center of Sonoma Wine Country.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

DESIGN / STARLINER: BOEING’S BRIGHT SHINING NEW HOPE

Starliner can hold as many as seven crew members

U.S. Astronauts on alert for launch aboard Boeing's new Starliner. 

GUEST BLOG / By Richard Hollingham, BBC features correspondent--When the Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled to a stand on the runway at Kennedy Space Centre in 2011, ending 30 years of the manned shuttle programme, it left NASA with a problem. 

Without enough government funding to build a replacement while the shuttle was still flying, the US had no means of launching its astronauts into orbit. 

The only way to fly a crew to its own orbiting laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS) was to pay some $80m (£64m) for a seat in a cramped Russian Soyuz capsule. It seemed extraordinary to many that the nation that had landed men on the Moon, built and serviced – in orbit, no less – the Hubble Space Telescope and assembled a giant space station was now relying on a 45-year-old spacecraft built by its Cold War rival. 

As relations deteriorated following Russia's invasion of Crimea in 2014, the embarrassment was further compounded by tweets from Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Responding to the introduction of restrictions on US technology exports he wrote: "After analysing the sanctions against our space industry I suggest the US delivers its astronauts to the ISS with a trampoline." In case that message was too subtle, he also posted a picture of a trampoline with a NASA badge. 

But NASA had a long-term plan – the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) – and, after 13 years, the first crewed launch of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft means it is finally being fully realised. 

The viability of the CCP model, not to mention Boeing's already fragile reputation depend on a successful test flight. 

Starliner made its maiden launch in December 2019 but the NASA
program was affected by the Covid pandemic. 

"It has been a long road to get here," says Makena Young, a fellow with the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. "I think it's a reminder that although we have a good record, space is still really difficult and it's hard to be successful." 

 The idea behind the CCP is that instead of NASA designing, building and owning its spacecraft, it buys seats from commercial operators. You could liken it to purchasing a seat on an British Airways, albeit a seat that costs more than $55m (£44m) for a return trip and involves billions of dollars of taxpayer investment to construct the vehicle in the first place. 

 After funding the initial development of five potential commercial spacecraft, NASA narrowed the field down to two in 2014: aerospace behemoth Boeing's Starliner, and space upstart SpaceX with its Crew Dragon. 

 By the end of 2019, the race to launch between the two space rivals appeared to be neck and neck. Then, following a near-disastrous test flight of the first uncrewed Starliner in December that year, and a series of subsequent hardware failures to the Boeing craft during further testing, SpaceX took the lead. 

 In May 2020, the first Crew Dragon lofted NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken into orbit. Meanwhile, Starliner's pioneer astronauts, Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Suni Williams, have been patiently waiting a further four years for their chance to fly a week-long mission to the ISS in what Boeing promises will be a "next generation space capsule". 

 Boeing's Starliner website [CLICK HERE] reads like a car brochure, reflecting its commercial proposition. The reusable spacecraft promises customers precision software, advanced "cruise control" and a spacious interior. In fact, the capsule (and it is more of a capsule than anything resembling an ocean liner) can carry up to seven crew, although typically under contract to NASA it will ferry four people to the ISS. 

Boeing has also designed new blue-coloured spacesuits, overtly distinctive to Dragon's monochrome designs. Offered in a range of sizes, the suits promise astronauts greater comfort and flexibility. "They've spent a lot of time, a lot of NASA’s money as well as their own money to get this across the finish line," says Young. "Being able to successfully and safely deliver this crew to the ISS will be a really big accomplishment and show that all that time, money and effort has been worth it." 

For Boeing and SpaceX's primary customer, NASA, the benefit of having two commercial providers flying two different spacecraft almost guarantees sovereign access to space. Even if one spacecraft is grounded for some reason, the other is likely to be available. "NASA always wanted two providers, but it was very big unknown at the time [CCP was conceived] whether or not these companies could actually deliver," says Jason Davis, senior editor for the Planetary Society. "It's a big deal for NASA because this validates a strategy that they've put in place almost two decades ago." 

The competition should also drive down prices for both the agency but also other potential clients, opening up human spaceflight to a growing number of commercial operators. "NASA very much wants to establish a market for low-Earth orbit," says Davis. "So that crew and cargo transportation becomes independent from them." 

Now, for the first time in history, if a company wants to buy a seat on a spacecraft – or even hire a whole capsule – they have a choice of providers. Texas-based Axiom Space has already chartered three private flights in Crew Dragon spacecraft to the ISS and is planning several more including a possible UK mission flown by an all-British crew. 

In future, it is hoped that Dragon and Starliner could also ferry astronauts to and from privately operated space stations. "The ISS will be retired sometime around the end of this decade, and it will be replaced by a number of [private] space stations," says Libby Jackson, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency. 

"These stations will still have anchor customers in the form of NASA or the European Space Agency (Esa), but there are opportunities to develop new materials, new drugs that you could only manufacture in space – I'm really excited to see what opportunities that free market thinking will bring." 

China is increasingly being seen as the world's second space superpower But although access to space is increasingly about competition between companies, when it comes to human spaceflight, geopolitics and national pride are still important. 

Despite the war in Ukraine, the US is still co-operating with Russia on the ISS and US astronauts are still flying in Soyuz capsules and Russians in Crew Dragon. 

When that agreement comes to an end, and unless there are some major political changes in Moscow, the US and Russia will once again become rivals. 

Soyuz, however, will be more than 60 years old by that time, so it is not Russia that the US will be worrying about. With its own space station, new spacecraft and plans for crewed missions to the Moon, China is increasingly being seen as the world's second space superpower. "China has really emerged as a powerful nation in space," says Young. "We regard them as the number two behind the US in our annual strategic assessments." 

 "Being able to have these resilient, robust, reliable, ways to get into low-Earth orbit for the US is incredibly important in maintaining that strategic advantage and being able to show the world that we have more than one way to get to space," she says. After the successful unmanned flight of its Orion capsule ahead of its planned Artemis lunar missions the US has gone from having no spacecraft in 2011 to three in 2024. 

 No need for that trampoline now.  

The End.

Boeing's already fragile reputation can not afford for the Starliner to be a space age Edsel.

 




Tuesday, June 18, 2024

AURA RARUS / WHERE MAN AND NATURE COLLIDE


The image, above, photographed by San Diego’s Nelvin Cepeda captures the sun aligning under Scripps Pier in La Jolla CA, May 1 to create a spectacle combining the man made with nature.  Around San Diego the event is  popularly known as “Scrippshenge.” The twice-yearly event (May and August) attracts the curious in droves.

Monday, June 17, 2024

MEDIA MONDAY / YES, TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION

A retired LAPD detective swears murders of Tupac Sakhur (right) and Biggie Smalls (left) are connected.  Recent arrest in unsolved Shakhur murder case stemmed from Biggie Smalls murder investigation.  Both men were shot in separate drive by shootings.

***

For more years than should have been, the assassinations of two enormously popular rappers went unsolved. But that didn’t mean elements in law enforcement weren’t trying. Last summer an arrest was finally made. Crime solved? Hardly. The story was just beginning. No one is in court—yet. 

Writing in New York Magazine’s June 12, 2024 Intelligencer column, Greg Donahue, a veteran investigative journalist tells a tale of how solving one crime led to solving another biggie. 

 Prime time reading on how the cops like LAPD’s Greg Kading and litany of feds uncovered how dark the underworld of rap was at the end of the 20th century. And as the saying goes “it ain’t over until it’s over.” 

 For a short amount of time, New York has posted Donahue’s saga for free. Shared here until it’s gone: CLICK HERE

 For another true crime story by Greg Donahue CLICK HERE. 

Investigative journalist Greg Donahue






Sunday, June 16, 2024

HERE’S ONE OF THOSE FEEL GOOD STORIES FOR FATHER’S DAY

WHEN IN DOUBT CALL DAD. Scottish golfer Robert MacIntyre embraces his father and emergency caddie Dougie after sealing his first PGA Tour victory at the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario earlier this month. Image: R.J. Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images 

Robert MacIntyre wins first PGA Tour event with father as caddie 

GUEST BLOG / By Jack Bantock, CNN Sportwriter--Most parents would do anything to have a front row seat to their child’s success, yet merely spectating was not quite close enough for pro golfer Robert MacIntyre’s father. 

As his son tapped home to clinch his first PGA Tour title at the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, Dougie MacIntyre – the head greenskeeper at Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban, Scotland – simultaneously became a PGA Tour-winning caddie. 

Having parachuted in his father to work the bag at the last minute, 27-year-old MacIntyre overcame a nervy start and a flock of chasing rivals to win by one stroke at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario. 

Just the fifth win by a Scotsman on the PGA Tour since 1940, and the first since Martin Laird in 2020, secured MacIntyre $1.69 million in prize money – the largest single event total ever claimed by a Scottish golfer and enough to fulfill the new champion’s aims of paying off his parent’s mortgage. 

Tears flowed freely for father and son as the duo soaked up the weight of the achievement on the 18th green. “I’m crying with joy, but I’m laughing because I didn’t think it was possible,” MacIntyre, a first-time PGA Tour victor on his 45th start, told CBS Sports. “I was going down the last and my dad’s trying to tell me to stay focused and swing smooth because [on Saturday] I got a little bit too fast, but in my head, I wasn’t listening to him – I was like, ‘I want to win this for my dad.’ 

“This is the guy who has taught me the game of golf and I just can’t believe I have done this with him on the bag. This is just everything for me and family, my girlfriend, my team.” 

 

Father and son pose with the Canadian Open trophy. Image: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press/AP 

Two-time European Tour winner MacIntyre had rotated through a string of caddies following triumph on his Ryder Cup debut last October, parting ways with most recent bagsman Scott Carmichael last week after missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge. 

Though there had been excellent performances, highlighted by a tied-eighth outing at the PGA Championship last month, MacIntyre missed the cut at seven events and had made no secret of his difficulties adapting to his first experience of full-time life on tour in the US. “I was struggling,” MacIntyre told reporters Sunday. “My girlfriend [and I], we just weren’t enjoying the America Orlando lifestyle that we had thought would better my golf. 

A homesick MacIntyre had taken a trip back to Oban in April, picking up the clubs just twice across the three-week visit. “It just clears my mind, being back home. I get to spend time with the boys, a couple of beers with ‘em, and they just treat me like Bob … I don’t get treated as Bob MacIntyre the golfer, I get treated as Bob MacIntyre, one of the boys.” 

After a string of requests for caddies fell through as he called around last Saturday, thoughts again turned to home and a long-time mantra: “If in doubt, call Dad.” Naturally, MacIntyre senior – who will return to his greenkeeping duties with immediate effect – answered. “It’s unbelievable. I’m a grasscutter not a caddie,” 59-year-old MacIntyre, wiping away tears, added to CBS Sports. “Last Saturday night, I’m sitting on the couch at home and I’m [thinking], ‘Can I leave my job here? I’m busy at work.’ 

Eight o’clock the next morning, I’m on a flight out here and wow.” 

“It’s unbelievable. I’m a grasscutter not a caddie,” 59-year-old MacIntyre, wiping away tears, added to CBS Sports. Image: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/AP 

Yet the unorthodox partnership continued to make short work of Hamilton Country Club, as MacIntyre – ranked 76th in the world heading into the tournament – soared into Sunday with a four-shot lead. After opening with a stellar six-under 64 on the first day of the Canadian Open, MacIntyre had said he was trying to keep things simple to help an emergency caddie who – despite being “a good golfer” – was “out of his depth” on the bag at the game’s highest level. 

That healthy cushion had been ripped apart just a few holes into the Scot’s final round though, as Canadian home hero Mackenzie Hughes rattled home three quick birdies to capitalize on MacIntyre’s opening bogey. 

A first PGA Tour win looked to be slipping away, but MacIntyre – steadied by his father’s reassurances – responded brilliantly, fighting back with three swift birdies of his own and shrugging off a back-to-back bogey run after the 9th hole to take a one-shot lead to the final tee. “He just kept telling me, ‘We just stay in the fight’ … He knows what to say and when to say it,” MacIntyre said. “He thought that being here was a bit easier on his own mental health … [rather than] watching the scores on the app, but I don’t think this week’s done him great with the head because of the stress. 

“But he’s the guy that’s taught me the game of golf and he knows my game inside out. I can’t thank him enough for this week.” A steady par at the last hole was enough to see MacIntyre over the line ahead of American Ben Griffin at 16-under par overall, with South Korea’s Tom Kim and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy among those within three shots of the victor. 

It lifts MacIntyre to a career-high world No. 39 position and stamps his ticket to the US Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina on June 13 – though plans for a first major chase will have to wait until some big-time celebrations have subsided. 

In a video call with his mother shared by the PGA Tour on X, formerly known as Twitter, MacIntyre warned her of the level of revelry expected to follow. “You might not see Dad till next week!” he laughed. 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

GONE FISHIN’ SATURDAY / GUIDE TO SAN DIEGO WATERS


SAN DIEGO
is not only home to the world's largest sport fishing fleet; it offers vacationers a host of lodging and dining options, world-class attractions and 70 miles of pristine beaches to explore when you're not in pursuit of bragging rights. With average temperatures in the 70s, anglers can enjoy both saltwater and freshwater fishing year round. 

 SALTWATER Fishermen from around the world visit San Diego to fish the bountiful waters of the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the season, yellowfin, bluefin, yellowtail, albacore, mahi mahi (dorado), marlin and mako can be caught offshore, while an inshore catch might include calico bass, halibut, rockfish, sheephead, croaker, corbina or white sea bass. San Diego has five main landings that are home to more than 75 state-of-the-art fishing vessels ranging in size from 60-124 feet, and outfitted with the latest fish finding equipment and amenities. 

These include H&M, Point Loma and Fisherman's Landing near downtown, Dana Landing on Mission Bay, and Helgren's Landing in San Diego's North County. Charter options are diverse ranging from family friendly ½ day trips to 15 day trips for the hard-core enthusiast, and everything in between. San Diego also has numerous private charters (6-pack) that offer anglers a more intimate fishing experience. 

 Processing of your catch can be done by the crew of your boat or by one of the local processing facilities who will not only fillet, vacuum seal and freeze your fish, but ship your fillets directly to your home. 

 FRESHWATER There's a reason why Field and Stream Magazine ranks San Diego No. 2 on its list of "America's Best Fishing Cities." San Diego has over 20 lakes and reservoirs filled with trout, bluegill, catfish, sturgeon, carp and crappie where you can enjoy a great freshwater fishing experience. 

But what San Diego is really known for is largemouth bass. In fact, the National Geographic Channel's Hooked on Bass show features "Dottie" the world's biggest bass caught on San Diego's Dixon Lake. 

In fact, 11 of the top 25 biggest largemouth bass in the world were caught in San Diego. Access to shore fishing is ample and several of San Diego's larger lakes offer boat rentals. You can even hire a fishing guide to show you how and where to fish like a true tournament angler. 

 PIER FISHING San Diego has 7 ocean piers that allow fishing, some of which include bait and tackle shops. Pier fishing is almost a rite of passage for any youngster new to the sport and a great low-cost way to get started. 

Some of the more common fish caught on San Diego piers include sand bass, spotted bay bass, calico bass, halibut, leopard sharks, bat rays, barracuda, bonito and more. NOTE: A fire and wild winter storms have caused havoc on a couple of  local piers.  Check first with Siri, Alexis or hey Google before you head out. 

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS A sport fishing license is required for any person age 16 or older to fish in the Pacific Ocean or a San Diego lake. Fishing from public piers does not require a license, but all minimum size and other regulations apply. For more information on fishing license requirements, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing. 

 Text and Photo Source: https://www.sandiego.org/ 

Friday, June 14, 2024

FRIDAY WITH THE FANS / CELL PHONES LIGHT UP A DARKENED STADIUM


THE SEVENTH INNING STRETCH

The seventh inning of the Major League baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Oakland A's was moving its way from dusk to night when it happened.

Half of the stadium's enormous banks of light flicked off.  A minor glitch it turned out to be.

But for a minute, the bewildered watching the game were stunned into silence.  Once everyone figured it wasn't the end of the world, we began to notice small pinpricks of light began appearing.  Those dozens of pinholes of light akin to stars in the night firmament--soon multiplied to become hundreds of waving lanterns.  Quickly throughout Petco Park, it became fun and soon thousands of those small phone lights attempted to provide light in a silly way to relight the darkened playing field.

Not enough juice.

Those thousands of bouncing hand held mobile phone beams could not provide enough light to resume play.  But it didn't matter.  The episode from start to finish only lasted three minutes.

Life as we know it resumed.

"Peanuts, here, get yer peanuts, here..."



Thursday, June 13, 2024

THE FOODIST / ENGLISH SUNDAY ROAST: THE RECIPES!


Editor's note: Why are we discussing Sunday roast on Thursday?  So, you'll have time to collect the ingredients for your grandiose English Sunday Roast Dinner with all the trimmings.

GUEST BLOG / By Rachel Perlmutter is an American recipe developer, food stylist and culinary producer at: www.thekitchencom--Make a traditional Sunday roast with rosemary roasted beef, carrots and parsnips, crispy potatoes, creamy horseradish sauce, and warm gravy. 

Serves 6 to 8 with a prep time of 30 minutes. Cooks in one hour, thirty minutes.

Dare we start? I am from the Southern U.S. and I love the ritual of a big Sunday dinner. Whether it’s a perfectly roasted chicken, a slow-simmered Sunday sauce, or a big pot of chicken chili (my family’s favorite when I was growing up), there’s something special about sitting down for a big meal once a week. So naturally, I was always going to love a Sunday roast. 

Sunday roast, or roast dinner, is a traditional British meal of roasted meat, potatoes, and accompaniments like Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, stuffing, gravy, and various condiments depending on the meat. My recipe makes roast beef, roasted carrots and parsnips, the crispiest potatoes of all time, a creamy horseradish sauce, and a warm gravy for pouring over everything. It’s essentially a slightly pared-down version of traditional Christmas dinner. 

It’s ambitious for sure, but with a little bit of planning, it’s entirely possible to pull it off by yourself (take it from me — I live in an apartment with one oven). I’ll share my tips and tricks for how you can execute it without a hitch. 

 The Origin of Sunday Roast 

Sunday roast is originally from the British Isles, specifically Yorkshire. It was meant as a meal eaten after Sunday church service. Although there are ties all the way back to medieval times, the modern Sunday roast came to cultural prominence during the Industrial Revolution. 

In the late 1700s, people would place a large cut of meat in the oven to roast while they got ready for church. Then, just before leaving, they’d add the vegetables. When their family got home from church, dinner was nearly ready. 

 Types of Proteins Served in a Sunday Roast 

While roast beef is perhaps the most quintessential centerpiece of a roast dinner, it’s common to utilize other proteins as well. Roast chicken, lamb, and pork all make delicious alternatives to beef. A rotisserie chicken would be a great stand-in when you don’t have the time for a longer roast. 

Photo of a serving platter with a full roast beef, roasted carrots and crispy potatoes. Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter 

How to Make Sunday Roast: The Details. 

This to-do list doesn’t exactly mirror the recipe below, rather it serves as a rough guide of the order I recommend making it in. 

--Make the horseradish sauce. Technically you can make this during any down time you have in the cooking process, but I like to make it a day or two ahead to get it out of the way and give the flavors more time to meld. 

--Do all of your prep while the beef rests. The beef needs to rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before roasting, which is plenty of time to get the rest of your prep done. Cut all of the vegetables. 

--Set the Yukon Gold potatoes in a pot of salted water on the stove until you’re ready to boil them. 

--We insist you make Yorkshire pudding from scratch by making, the batter and set it in the fridge until baking time. 

--Roast the beef and vegetables. Cook until the beef is medium-rare (here’s a     quick guide to beef internal temperatures for doneness) and the vegetables are tender. 

--Boil and bake the potatoes. While the beef is roasting, boil the potatoes until tender, drain them, and shake to rough up the edges. Spread them out on a baking sheet and toss with duck fat (I’ve included more options below). As soon as the beef comes out, increase the oven heat and add the potatoes. 

--Bake the Yorkshire pudding. As soon as the potatoes come out, bake the Yorkshire pudding. I like to make them in a muffin tin because they cook more quickly and are easier to portion when serving. 

--Make the gravy. When everything else is nearly done, make a quick gravy with the pan drippings. 

--Reheat if needed. If you need to warm the beef back up, lower the heat to 200ºF and heat it, covered, for a few minutes. 

Overhead view of white plate with roast beef, roasted carrots, crispy potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter.

If You’re Making Sunday Roast, a Few MORE Tips 

--Ask the butcher to tie the beef. Whether you use beef round or round roast, it will keep the meat well-shaped for presentation and even cooking. It’s not strictly necessary, but it’s nice if you can. 

--Make sandwiches with the leftover meat. Horseradish sauce, thinly sliced roast beef, and a little gravy make a delicious sandwich. Add a handful of greens, if you have them. 

--Keep the roast on the back of the stove, if you can. Set the (covered) roasted beef on the back of your stove if you have room. The heat from the oven will keep everything perfectly warm. 

--Slice the beef as thinly as possible. This is a lean cut, so aim for thinner slices.

 Still More Accompaniments to Serve with Sunday Roast 

Oven capacity issues aside, here are some more side options to serve with your meal to mix and match. 

--Peas. Simply boil frozen peas for an easy green addition. 

--Steamed vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, or green beans are a great way to round out the meal and don’t require precious oven space. 

--Stuffing. Whether served in a baking dish or as stuffing balls (perfect for eating with Yorkshire pudding), it’s a flavorful addition. 

--Cauliflower cheese. This vegetable dish, which sometimes includes broccoli as well, is baked in a creamy cheese sauce similar to a gratin. 

--More condiments. Depending on the protein, English mustard, warm applesauce, red currant jelly, cranberry sauce, and mint jelly are all traditional toppings to serve alongside the meat. 

 At Last! THE INGREDIENTS 

For the beef and the veggies.  We'll need 1 (about 3-pound) beef rump or round roast, preferably tied with twine 

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed 

1 pound medium carrots (6 to 8) 

1 pound medium parsnips (4 to 5) 

3 cloves garlic 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish if desired 

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 

For the Potatoes. 

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided plus more as desired 

1/3 cup melted duck fat, chicken fat, butter, beef tallow, bacon fat, or olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. 

For the horseradish sauce, gravy and serving 

1/2 medium lemon 1 small bunch fresh chives 

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream 

1/4 cup prepared horseradish 1 tablespoon water 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed 

Freshly ground black pepper 

2 cups beef broth, divided 

2 tablespoons cornstarch 

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

Yorkshire pudding 

Flaky salt, for sprinkling 


Hooray! THE INSTRUCTIONS 

 Make the beef and veggies 

Instruction #1: Pat 1 (about 3-pound) beef rump or round roast dry with paper towels. Season all over with 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 or up to 2 hours. Meanwhile, peel 1 pound medium carrots and 1 pound medium parsnips. Halve crosswise, then halve or quarter each piece lengthwise so they are all about the same size. 

 Instruction #2: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. 

 Instruction #3: Finely grate 3 garlic cloves. Pick the leaves from 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, then finely chop (2 to 3 tablespoons). Place the garlic, rosemary, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub the mixture all over the beef. Place in the middle of a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet fat-side up. 

 Instruction #4: Scatter the carrots and parsnips around the beef. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper and stir to coat. Arrange into an even layer. 

 Instruction #5: Roast until the outside of the roast is browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275ºF. Roast until the beef is medium rare (registers 125ºF on an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part), about 1 hour more, checking the temperature after 30 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes.

Make the Potatoes

Instruction #1: Peel and cut 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place in a large saucepan or pot and add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are nearly knife tender but not totally soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then shake the colander to rough up the edges of the potatoes. 

 Instruction #2: When the beef is ready, transfer the beef and vegetables to a serving platter with tongs. Tent the platter with aluminum foil to keep warm. Reserve the roasting pan or baking sheet and the pan drippings. Increase the oven temperature to 450ºF. 

 Instruction #3: Place 1/3 cup melted duck fat, chicken fat, butter, beef tallow, bacon fat, or olive oil; the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt; and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder on a rimmed baking sheet (do not use the one from the roast). Add the potatoes and gently toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer. Roast, stirring every 20 minutes, until golden-brown and very crisp, 60 to 80 minutes total. Meanwhile, make the horseradish sauce and gravy. 

Make the Horseradish Sauce and Gravy 

Instruction #1: Juice 1/2 medium lemon into a medium bowl until you have 1 tablespoon. Finely chop 1 small bunch chives until you have 1 tablespoon. Add the chives, 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream, 1/4 cup prepared horseradish, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl, and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. 

 Instruction #2: About 20 minutes before the potatoes are ready, place 1/4 cup of the beef broth and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour any drippings from the roasting pan or baking sheet into a small saucepan. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups beef broth and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 

 Instruction #3: While whisking constantly, add the cornstarch mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the gravy thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover to keep warm. 

 Instruction #4: If desired, return the beef, carrots, and parsnips to a 200ºF oven to rewarm. Transfer the beef to a clean cutting board and cut across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, gravy, horseradish sauce, and Yorkshire pudding. Lightly sprinkle the beef with flaky salt and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs if desired. 

Even More Recipe Notes: 

--Make ahead: The potatoes can be peeled and placed in the pot with the water and kosher salt and kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours before cooking. The horseradish sauce can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days ahead. 

--Storage: Leftover Sunday roast components can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 4 days. 

Nutritional Info: 

You don’t want to know, but see chart below anyway.


Questions go to :  https://www.thekitchn.com/sunday-roast-recipe-23622785 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Monday, June 10, 2024

MEDIA MONDAY / NATIONAL PRESS CLUB HONORS AXIOS, POLITICO FOUNDERS


GUEST BLOG / By Beth Francesco, National Press Club, Washington DC
--The National Press Club is honoring Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, co-founders of two digital news outlets that have revolutionized how audiences consume their news, with its Fourth Estate Award and is planning a gala in their honor on Nov. 21. 

The Fourth Estate Award recognizes journalists who have made significant contributions to the field and is the Club’s most esteemed prize. This year’s Fourth Estate Gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m. ET followed by dinner and the awards program starting at 7 p.m. at the Club. Tickets for the gala are $200 for Club members, and $350 for members of the public. 

Allen and VandeHei co-founded Axios, which they launched with co-founder Roy Schwartz in 2017. Axios is among the most celebrated digital media success stories of the past decade and was acquired by Cox Enterprises in 2022. They launched Axios Local in 2021 to provide original reporting, scoops, and local coverage worthy of readers' time. 

Axios Local is now in 30 markets around the country and has nearly 2 million subscribers. “Jim and I are honored by this recognition and deeply grateful for the National Press Club and journalists everywhere who fight every day for smart, consequential, deeply reported journalism,” Allen said. “Our nation is weaker when our media is not strong, fearless, and durable. The mission of protecting journalism at Axios and everywhere is a group effort. We are humbled to be a part of it." 

 'Audience-first, entrepreneurial spirit' 

Allen and VandeHei also co-authored Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less and were executive producers of the Emmy Award-winning docu-news series, “Axios on HBO.” 

Prior to Axios, Allen and VandeHei co-founded Politico in 2007, created Politico Playbook, and helped build the company for its first decade. 

“Mike and Jim have long exemplified an audience-first, entrepreneurial spirit while building some of the biggest digital news success stories in our industry. Their commitment to high journalism standards and resolve to find profitable, impactful local news products at a time when news deserts are growing are among the many ways they embody the values we celebrate with this award,” said NPC President Emily Wilkins. 

“We are thrilled to honor them with the Fourth Estate Award.” VandeHei and Allen have had a lasting impact on many, Wilkins said: their many employees, the industry, and, of course, the audiences across the U.S. who depend on Axios. “There could be no better recipients than Jim and Mike for the NPC’s Fourth Estate Award. They have dedicated their careers to journalism and have reinvented best practices for the business,” said Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor. “Their contributions at Axios to the Fourth Estate and all the important journalism that comes with it are needed now more than ever.” 

VandeHei is the author of best-selling Just the Good Stuff, where he shares lessons he’s learned from founding two successful media companies and his tricks for thriving at work and in leadership. He also serves as the chairman of Axios HQ, a software company that helps organizations create essential communications. 

Before Axios, VandeHei co-founded and was CEO of Politico, the media company that upended and revolutionized political and policy journalism in Washington, New York, and Europe. 

Overseeing both the editorial and business teams, VandeHei was the leading strategist behind its highly scalable and successful business model. 

Prior to this, VandeHei spent more than a decade as a reporter, covering the presidency and Congress for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He was named National Editor of the Year in 2016. VandeHei is from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. 

Allen writes the Axios Daily Essentials newsletters, Axios AM, Axios PM, and Axios Finish Line. He has been named several times to Vanity Fair's “New Establishment” list. He is an alumnus of TIME, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is from Orange County, California, and graduated from Washington and Lee University. 

 Top Club honor 

The Fourth Estate is the top honor bestowed on a journalist by the Club's Board of Governors. Previous winners include: Christiane Amanpour, Dean Baquet, Marty Baron, Wolf Blitzer, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Lester Holt, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, Clarissa Ward, Kristen Welker, and Susan Zirinsky. The gala is a fundraiser for the Club’s nonprofit affiliate, the National Press Club Journalism Institute. The Institute provides training that equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public, provides career support for journalists, and provides scholarships to aspiring journalists. The evening also expects to honor the recipients of the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Awards and Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism. Honorees for the Aubuchon and Sheehan awards will be announced at a later date. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

RETRO FILES / REMEMBERING THE LAST GREAT DAYS OF THE TOPLESS DONUT SHOP

A rare newspaper archive photo has surfaced on the Internet showing a local co-ed, one of the waitresses at Doughboy Donuts about to serve a customer.

National Donut Day has come and gone.  Not much of a story in recent decades outside of cute mentions in local TV station news outlets. Such is the fate of yesterday's news.

But in 1986, Doughboy Donuts was making big news.

It seems a gentleman in West Palm Beach, Fla decided to open a donut shop with topless waitresses  We mention this because yesterday was National Donut Day and not much happened to perk up the day.  Yes, some donut chains offered discounts and many others didn't.

 According to archives of local south Florida newspapers, the topless enterprise lasted about a year before being shut down.

Here's a sign in the window of Doughboy Donuts
shortly after it opened in 1986.
Not one Mnors was allowed entry.



Saturday, June 8, 2024

WORLD OCEAN DAY / 1PIX=1K WORDS

To celebrate World Oceans Day, here’s world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore doing what she does best.



SPACE CADETS / GOOD NIGHT, BILL

From Grossmont High in the San Diego area to the Moon
and Back!

 

NASA Photograph by Bill Anders as he orbited the Moon




Thursday, June 6, 2024

RETRO FILES / GERMAN FILM VERSION OF THE D-DAY INVASION.


After watching this propaganda film you’re led to believe the Nazi’s won the war. CLICK HERE. 

Source: Via PeriscopeFilm.com 

Stills: from documentary.




AMERICANA / TOURING THE AMERICAN CEMETERY IN NORMANDY

This short video clip, see below, depicts the hallowed grounds of the American Cemetery in Colleville, France.  A circular chapel is at the center with a museum at the East end.

The D-Day beaches and the English Channel are at the far left.

CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

RETRO FILES / SEX SCANDAL THAT TOPPLED THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT

Twenty-one-year-old Christine Keeler 1963, photograph by Lewis Morley, gelatin-silver print, England. Museum no. E.2-2002,
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London/Lewis Morley 

GUEST BLOG / By History.com
--On June 5, 1963, British Secretary of War John Profumo resigns his post following revelations that he had lied to the House of Commons about his sexual affair with Christine Keeler, an alleged prostitute. At the time of the affair, Keeler was also involved with Yevgeny “Eugene” Ivanov, a Soviet naval attache who some suspected was a spy. Although Profumo assured the government that he had not compromised national security in any way, the scandal threatened to topple Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government. 

 John Dennis Profumo was appointed secretary of war by Macmillan in 1960. As war minister, he was in charge of overseeing the British army. The post was a junior cabinet position, but Profumo looked a good candidate for future promotion. 

He was married to Valerie Hobson, a retired movie actress, and the Profumos were very much at the center of “swinging ’60s” society in the early 1960s. 

One night in July 1961, John Profumo was at the Cliveden estate of Lord “Bill” Astor when he was first introduced to 19-year-old Christine Keeler. She was frolicking naked by the Cliveden pool. 

Keeler was at Cliveden as a guest of Dr. Stephen Ward, a society osteopath and part-time portraitist who rented a cottage at the estate from his friend Lord Astor. Keeler was working as a showgirl at a London nightclub when she first met Dr. Ward. 

Ward took her under his wing, and they lived together in his London flat but were not lovers. He encouraged her to pursue sexual relationships with his high-class friends, and on one or more occasions Keeler apparently accepted money in exchange for sex. 

Ward introduced her to his friend Ivanov, and she began a sexual relationship with the Soviet diplomat. Several weeks after meeting Profumo at Cliveden, she also began an affair with the war minister. There is no evidence that either of these men paid her for sex, but Profumo once gave Keeler some money to buy her mother a birthday present. 

After an intense few months, Profumo ended his affair with Keeler before the end of 1961. His indiscretions might never have come to public attention were it not for an incident involving Keeler that occurred in early 1963. 

Johnny Edgecombe, a West Indian marijuana dealer, was arrested for shooting up the exterior of Ward’s London flat after Keeler, his ex-lover, refused to let him in. 

The press gave considerable coverage to the incident and subsequent trial, and rumors were soon abounding about Keeler’s earlier relationship with Profumo. 

When Keeler confirmed reports of her affair with Profumo, and admitted a concurrent relationship with Ivanov, what had been cocktail-party gossip grew into a scandal with serious security connotations. 

 On March 21, 1963, Colonel George Wigg, a Labour MP for Dudley, raised the issue in the House of Commons, inviting the member of government in question to affirm or deny the rumors of his improprieties. 

Wigg forced Profumo’s hand, not, he claimed, to embarrass the Conservative government but because the Ivanov connection was a matter of national security. 

Behind closed doors, however, British intelligence had already concluded that Profumo had not compromised national security in any way and found little evidence implicating Ivanov as a spy. 

Nevertheless, Wigg had raised the issue, and Profumo had no choice but to stand up before Parliament on March 22 and make a statement. He vehemently denied the charges, saying “there was no impropriety whatsoever in my acquaintanceship with Miss Keeler.” 

To drive home his point, he continued, “I shall not hesitate to issue writs for libel and slander if scandalous allegations are made or repeated outside the House.” 

 Profumo’s convincing denial defused the scandal for several weeks, but in May Dr. Stephen Ward went on trial in London on charges of prostituting Keeler and other young women. 

In the highly sensationalized trial, Keeler testified under oath about her relationship with Profumo. 

Ward also wrote Harold Wilson, leader of the Labour opposition in Parliament, and affirmed that Profumo had lied to the House of Commons. 

On June 4, Profumo returned from a holiday in Italy with his wife and confessed to Conservative leaders that Miss Keeler had been his mistress and that his March 22 statement to the Commons was untrue. 

On June 5, he resigned as war minister. Prime Minister Macmillan was widely criticized for his handling of the Profumo scandal. In the press and in Parliament, 

Macmillan was condemned as being old, out-of-touch, and incompetent. In October, he resigned under pressure from his own government. 

He was replaced by Conservative Alec Douglas-Home, but in the general election in 1964 the Conservatives were swept from power by Harold Wilson’s Labour Party. 

 Dr. Stephen Ward fell into a coma after attempting suicide by an overdose of pills. 

In his absence, he was found guilty of living off the immoral earnings of prostitution and died shortly after without regaining consciousness. 

Christine Keeler was convicted of perjury in a related trial and began a prison sentence in December 1963. 

John Profumo left politics after his resignation and dedicated himself to philanthropy in the East End of London. 

For his charitable work, Queen Elizabeth II named him a Commander of the British Empire, one of Britain’s highest honors, in 1975.

 Keeler’s autobiography, The Truth at Last: My Story was published in 2001. She died on December 4, 2017. Profumo died on March 10, 2006, two days after suffering a stroke. 


 Contact sheet, Christine Keeler 1963, by Lewis Morley, England. Museum no. E.2830-2016. Given by the American Friends of the V&A, through the generosity of Dr and Mrs John V. Knaus. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London/Lewis Morley 

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

ONE PICTURE WORTH 1000 WORDS / HAVANA, CUBA


FAILED FANTASY. A vintage American built car drives by a mural showing Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Jose Marti in Havana, Cuba, August 2009. Image by Desmond Boylan

Monday, June 3, 2024

MEDIA MONDAY / TIRELESS PROVIDER OF WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF

Mexico Elects First Woman President: Claudia Sheinbaum

A terrific source for daily international news comes from the Council on Foreign Relations. The 103 year old effort produces a Daily News Brief of current news, often with an analysis. The Daily News Brief is keen to list sources and contributors of its news recaps. 

CLICK HERE to see more CFR Daily Brief.

The Council on Foreign Relations is an American think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Founded in 1921, it is an independent and nonpartisan nonprofit organization. CFR is based in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. 

 Current CFR president is Michael B. Froman. Founders: David Rockefeller, Herbert Hoover, Allen Dulles, Walter Lippmann and others. 

 Froman—a widely respected leader across government, business, and the nonprofit sector—became the organization’s fifteenth president. He succeeded Richard Haass, CFR’s president since 2003, who stepped down in June 2023. 

 As an example of its daily news and analysis the column for June 3, 2024 is offered in this post:

Daily News Brief 

June 3, 2024 

 Top of the Agenda 

Mexico Elects First Woman President in Sweeping Victory for Governing Party 

Former Mexico City Mayor and climate scientist Claudia Sheinbaum won the country’s presidential election yesterday and will become (NYT) the first woman and first Jewish person to lead Mexico. 

Preliminary results suggest she won by more than thirty points, while the ruling Morena party is also expected to hold large majorities in both houses of Congress. 

Sheinbaum pledged to continue (FT) the policies of incumbent president and close ally Andrés Manuel López Obrador to uplift Mexico’s poor but also said she would “respect business freedom” and attract “private national and foreign investment.” 

 López Obrador’s tenure was marked by tensions over high levels of crime, rising migration, government efforts to increase control over the energy sector, and water stress. López Obrador also announced ambitions to weaken independent regulators, efforts that could be empowered if Morena and allies hold a congressional supermajority when all votes are fully counted. 

 Analysis “The coming change in administration in Mexico—and the possible return of Trump in the United States—will present an opportunity to reset relations between the two countries. For its own security and prosperity, the United States should seek to boost economic ties with Mexico by enforcing free trade rules and insisting on the fair and equal treatment of businesses,” CFR expert Shannon O’Neil writes for Foreign Affairs. 

 “The first and foremost and perhaps only major issue that affects every Mexican [is] public safety and security,” the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations’ Andrés Rozental told The President’s Inbox. “That issue has not been, in my view, well addressed by any of the candidates in the sense that they are very good at the diagnostic, but they are very poor in terms of details of how they would address it, the issue and how they would pay for it.”   

***

Pacific Rim South Korea to Suspend Military Pact With North Korea Over Trash-Filled Balloons 

Seoul will halt (Yonhap) a 2018 deal aimed at reducing tensions between the countries, the South Korean presidency said today. North Korea has sent almost one thousand trash-filled balloons across the border since Thursday in what it called retaliation for South Korean activists’ balloons that dropped leaflets criticizing Pyongyang. 

***

Ukraine/Asia: 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited (Nikkei) Asian leaders to participate in a peace conference this month in Switzerland while speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore yesterday. 

He said that China and Russia are trying to pressure other countries not to attend. In this Expert Brief, CFR Fellow Thomas Graham outlines what Russian President Vladimir Putin really wants in Ukraine.   

***

 South and Central Asia Heat Stress Kills Thirty-Three Poll Workers in Indian Election The deaths in the state of Uttar Pradesh were reported (CNN) Saturday by the state’s lead election officer, who said their families would receive eighteen thousand dollars each in compensation. Extreme heat has killed at least seventy-seven people across the country in the past ten days, officials said. Results of the election are expected tomorrow. 

 Tajikistan/EU: Envoys from the European Union (EU) concluded a high-level visit to Tajikistan Friday to discuss plans for EU investments in the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor between Europe and Central Asia. Brussels pledged earlier this year to invest more than ten billion dollars in infrastructure in Central Asia. 

Middle East and North Africa Israel’s War Cabinet Meets to Discuss New Potential Cease-Fire Deal The war cabinet met last night (Times of Israel) to discuss a potential cease-fire deal with Hamas that U.S. President Joe Biden outlined in a speech on Friday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the onus is on Hamas to accept the deal; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top foreign policy advisor told the Sunday Times that the Israeli government agreed to the deal, though two far-right ministers in the governing coalition threatened to dissolve the government over its terms. 

Oil: CFR Fellow Steven A. Cook reports Washington’s track record of ill-fated ambitions in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partner exporters, a group known as OPEC+, agreed (NYT) to extend deep oil production cuts into 2025 to prop up prices. Their deal reached yesterday in Riyadh permits output from eight countries to gradually increase beginning in October. The production cuts are in part (WSJ) due to concern about a global surplus as non-OPEC producers such as the United States contribute more oil to global markets.   

 Sub-Saharan Africa South Africa’s ANC Rejects Calls for Ramaphosa’s Departure Following Election President Cyril Ramaphosa does not plan (Africanews, AP) to resign as chair of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after the party’s loss of a congressional majority, the ANC secretary-general said yesterday. The country is headed for talks to determine the makeup of the government. 

South Africa’s president is decided by the Parliament after national elections. Nigeria: Two unions began a nationwide strike (AFP) today that closed schools and government offices after talks with the government failed to reach an agreement on a new minimum wage. The strike also resulted (Premium Times) in a temporary shutdown of the country’s power grid in the early hours of the morning, though electricity has since been restored.   

Europe Free Trade: China-Russia Gas Pipeline Deal Stalls After Disputes Over Price, Supply Levels Plans to conclude a deal on the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline have stalled, unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations told the Financial Times. China had asked for prices that were close to the highly subsidized levels paid in Russia and said it committed to buying only a small part of the pipeline’s annual output, the sources added. A Kremlin spokesperson said today that the two sides were still in discussions, and China did not immediately comment. 

Georgia: A bill regarding foreign-funded activities that sparked mass protests in Georgia became law (RFE/RL) today after Georgia’s parliamentary speaker signed it. The legislature overrode a veto on the bill by President Salome Zurabichvili. 

 Americas Canadian Defense Minister Warns Chinese Counterpart About Election Meddling Concerns Bill Blair voiced concerns about interference in elections at a rare meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore, he told Reuters over the weekend. Canada’s domestic spy agency said in April that China interfered in the country’s last two elections, which Beijing has denied.   

 United States Puerto Rico Governor Loses Primary Election to Challenger in Upset Governor Pedro Pierluisi’s reelection bid effectively ended (NBC) yesterday when he lost a primary vote to Jenniffer González-Colón, the island’s resident commissioner and nonvoting member of the U.S. Congress. Puerto Rico’s governing New Progressive Party, which favors statehood, includes Democrats such as Pierluisi and Republicans such as González.