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The Spill: Namaste Trump

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Sanders Wins Nevada Caucus

The state of Nevada saw plenty of political action this week as the Democrat Party held its second caucus – an important step as the party decides who it will choose to run in the 2020 presidential election.

A caucus is a meeting where party members get together to discuss the candidates who are looking to become the next president, and a vote is held among attendees to decide which candidate to support. Candidates are then given delegates who will support them in becoming the party’s presidential candidate. The results of the Nevada caucus were:

1st Place – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders: Not actually a member of the Democrat Party, Sanders is an independent who is being allowed to run in the party’s race. He is a socialist candidate who believes in policies such as Medicare-for-All and high taxes.

2nd Place – Joe Biden: Having served as vice president under Barack Obama, Biden is no stranger to the White House. He was initially considered a favorite to win the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, but numerous gaffes and scandals have lowered his chances.

3rd Place – Pete Buttigieg: This candidate has surprised many, who originally saw him as an outside contender. This former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is positioning himself as a moderate candidate. Although he is unlikely to win the presidential nomination this year, he has made a name for himself as an up-and-comer in the Democratic Party.

Sanders won 24 delegates as a result of the caucus vote; Biden was awarded nine, and Buttigieg got three.

So far, three states have held their primaries or caucuses for the 2020 election: Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. In total, Sanders has the most pledged delegates but a total of just 101 have been claimed, thus far, with another 3,878 up for grabs. 1,991 are needed to secure the Democrats’ presidential nomination outright.

Next up is the South Carolina primary – will Sanders claim victory once again?

President Trump Visits India

On their first official state visit to India, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania were greeted with pageantry, policy, and respect from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of a nation on the verge of an economic resurgence.

The price tag for the 36-hour extravaganza tallied $14 million as workers planted millions of flowers and hoisted hundreds of billboards featuring Trump along the road to the first public receiving event in Ahmedabad. One message declared: “Two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion.” The first stop was symbolic: the Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi, the founding father of Indian independence, resided from 1917 to 1930.

India welcomed the president with a “Namaste Trump” event. “Namaste” is a respectful greeting that comes from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. Held at the world’s largest cricket venue, Sardar Patel Stadium, more than 110,000 people packed the seats to hear from their leader and the U.S. president. Trump praised Modi, using such descriptors as “exceptional leader” and touted India’s successes by saying: “India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world. And within less than 10 years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear. The potential for India is absolutely incredible.”

Trump and Modi also discussed national security concerns and haggled over a trade agreement. Although no deal was resolved, the president promised he would make “very, very major” trade accords: His goal is to reduce U.S. trade deficits radically, and his weapon of choice is tariffs on steel, aluminum, and medical devices. Trump admitted Modi is a “tough negotiator” and announced a $3 billion deal to send state-of-the-art military helicopters to India.

The Trumps visited the Taj Mahal and took advantage of photo ops in front of the grand palace with other travelers, including First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. The prime minister graced the Trumps with a few traditional gifts, including a marble statue of three monkeys making the “speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil” gestures.

Celebrating Pancake Day

Countries around the world spent February 25 celebrating Pancake Day – also known as Shrove Tuesday. This Christian feast day is marked by eating pancakes, as well as holding festivals and games. Shrove Tuesday marks the day before the beginning of Lent (Ash Wednesday), a six-week period that was traditionally a time of fasting and somber repentance, ending with the celebration of Easter.

Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday was celebrated by cooking and eating pancakes so that people could use up any rich food products they had, like eggs, milk, sugar, and butter, before the beginning of Lenten fasting. Some countries refer to the holiday as “Fat Tuesday,” as it was the last opportunity to use up fatty ingredients and was typically a day of feasting.

In the United Kingdom, communities have celebrated for centuries by holding pancake races. According to Historic-uk.com:

“In the UK, pancake races form an important part of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations – an opportunity for large numbers of people, often in fancy dress [costumes], to race down streets tossing pancakes. The object of the race is to get to the finishing line first, carrying a frying pan with a cooked pancake in it and flipping the pancake as you run … The most famous pancake race takes place at Olney in Buckinghamshire. According to tradition, in 1445 a woman of Olney heard the shriving bell while she was making pancakes and ran to the church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan.”

The shriving bell was rung by churches to remind people to repent – the term “shrove” in Shrove Tuesday means to confess one’s sins to gain absolution.

Other countries celebrate the day with a carnival; in fact, the word comes from the Medieval Latin carnelevamen (“the putting away of flesh”), which referred to another food often given up during Lent – meat.

While Pancake Day remains popular, Lent is not taken as seriously as it once was. Today, many people choose to give up one luxury during the period – such as chocolate, social media, shopping, and so forth. Would you ever sacrifice something for Lent?

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