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Acosta: Fauci is still offering the country a dose of reality – CNN Video

After several days of attacking the credibility of leading disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Trump and the White House seemed to back off as Fauci becomes increasingly vocal about his concerns over reopening the country amid a national surge in coronavirus cases. CNN’s Jim Acosta has more.Source: CNN

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Acosta: Fauci is still offering the country a dose of reality – CNN Video

After several days of attacking the credibility of leading disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Trump and the White House seemed to back off as Fauci becomes increasingly vocal about his concerns over reopening the country amid a national surge in coronavirus cases. CNN’s Jim Acosta has more.Source: CNN
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Stranded whale freed in London’s Thames river — and immediately goes missing again

The young minke whale was spotted around 7 pm local time on Sunday, stuck near Richmond Lock on the Thames.Marine mammal experts from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue managed to free the creature after several hours, but the whale slipped away under cover of darkness and its whereabouts are now unknown, a spokesman for…

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Stranded whale freed in London’s Thames river — and immediately goes missing again

The young minke whale was spotted around 7 pm local time on Sunday, stuck near Richmond Lock on the Thames.

Marine mammal experts from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue managed to free the creature after several hours, but the whale slipped away under cover of darkness and its whereabouts are now unknown, a spokesman for the Port of London Authority told CNN on Monday.

The rescue team “managed to get a special inflatable pontoon around (the whale), and then floated it out onto the main river,” spokesman Martin Garside told CNN. “At that point the whale made its own decision and swam from the pontoon into the main river.”

“Where it is now, we don’t know,” Garside told CNN. “It slipped away in darkness as the tide rose last night.”

The whale, estimated to be about 10 to 13 feet long, would probably have swum through London’s major river unnoticed and is now hundreds of miles from its natural habitat.

“This species lives in the northern North Sea, so it’s very lost,” Garside said. “It’s a very young whale and it’s in a very dicey situation and its life is hanging in the balance.”

Minke whales can grow to weigh around 20,000 pounds and typically live for about 50 years, according to the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Garside said his organization tends to whales in the Thames around once a year, but no whale had ever swum so far west up the Thames.

The rescue team included officers from the Port of London Authority, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the London Fire Brigade.

Spectator Daniel Magee, who recorded several videos of the whale, said he initially assumed it was a seal.

“As we got closer I saw a fin and realized it was a whale,” Magee told CNN on Sunday. “Some lock keepers hosing him down and it looked like the tide was going up so he could turn around. I realized that the whale might be injured as it started rolling on its side and thrashing about.”

Another spectator, David Korsaks, told CNN he was surprised to see anything other than birds in the area.

“It was almost disbelief and shock to see a whale where you would normally only see ducks and swans,” Korsaks said. “My next thoughts were I hope it’s ok and manages to swim free.”

Sophie Milner told CNN she took video of the whale after seeing people gathered at the scene.

“We just saw a crowd of people looking at the whale. It was being looked after by some specialists by the time we got there,” she said.

Authorities expect fresh sightings of the whale on Monday, and will then assess how to help it.

It is unusual, but not unprecedented, for whales to enter the Thames and require rescuing.

In 2018, a Beluga whale was found in the river.
And in 2006 a bottlenose whale was spotted in central London, sparking a massive operation to return her to safety. Rescuers used a crane to lift her out of the river and onto a barge. But the whale died on the barge hours later, before it could be returned to deeper water.

CNN’s Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

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House Republicans are preparing to oust Liz Cheney from leadership this week. Here’s what to watch.

(CNN) —   House Republicans could vote as early as Wednesday to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as GOP conference chair, a move that would underscore former President Donald Trump’s firm grip on the party months after leaving office. Cheney’s refusal to embrace Trump’s election lies, and her rebukes of his role in the US Capitol…

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House Republicans are preparing to oust Liz Cheney from leadership this week. Here’s what to watch.

(CNN) —  

House Republicans could vote as early as Wednesday to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as GOP conference chair, a move that would underscore former President Donald Trump’s firm grip on the party months after leaving office.

Cheney’s refusal to embrace Trump’s election lies, and her rebukes of his role in the US Capitol insurrection, has highlighted a tumultuous rift in a Republican Party grappling with its future without Trump in the White House. New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who’s less ideologically conservative than Cheney, appears poised to seize the Wyoming Republican’s post.

But even skeptics of Stefanik’s conservative credentials say she’s preferable to Cheney on the most important factor: her loyalty to the former President. The New York congresswoman became one of Trump’s most visible defenders in Congress as part of his 2020 impeachment defense after initially criticizing Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign and telling voters that she would be an “independent voice.”

One of just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in January, Cheney – the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney – survived a February vote to keep her leadership position by a wide margin, 145 to 61. But she hasn’t backed down from her criticisms of Trump’s election lies, and her continued arguments that the party should move on from the former President have become too much for House Republicans who see him as a crucial part of their winning coalition.

Cheney, who has no intention of stepping aside, wrote in a fiery op-ed for The Washington Post this month, “We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process.”

“Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work – confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this,” Cheney wrote. “The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.”

Here’s what to watch as the vote approaches:

While a lot of the strategizing to install Stefanik has happened behind closed doors, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed on Sunday that he’s supporting her for the influential GOP leadership position.

“Yes, I do,” McCarthy told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo when asked if he supports the New York Republican for the No. 3 role.

Stefanik thanked McCarthy for his support in a tweet later Sunday.

CNN previously reported that McCarthy has been supporting Stefanik to replace Cheney, and the No. 2 member of House Republican leadership, Rep. Steve Scalise, publicly endorsed Stefanik’s bid for the job last week.

The former President also publicly endorsed Stefanik, saying in a statement last week that she “is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair.”

McCarthy’s evolution has been especially noteworthy. Last month, he was asked if Cheney was still a good fit for leadership. He declined to endorse her as he did in February. The California Republican instead said Cheney’s future would be determined by the conference. A House GOP source who had been in contact with McCarthy said the GOP leader had been “furious” at her for weeks amid her comments about Trump.

Last week, McCarthy claimed Cheney’s impeachment vote wouldn’t cost her the job. Instead, he said that she has not done enough to keep the party unified behind a singular message to win back the majority next year. “I have heard from members, concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” McCarthy told Fox News.”

While the GOP support to replace Cheney appears overwhelming, a select few Republicans have made their opposition known – and are likely to continue doing so as the vote draws closer.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that Cheney “is saying exactly what Kevin McCarthy said the day of the insurrection,” alluding to Trump’s responsibility. “She’s just consistently been saying it. And a few weeks later, Kevin McCarthy changed to attacking other people.”

“And so I think what the reality is, is as a party, we have to have an internal look and a full accounting as to what led to January 6th. I mean, right now, it’s basically the Titanic,” the Illinois Republican said.

GOP figures off Capitol Hill have pushed back on the vote too.

“In terms of Liz Cheney, she’s a conservative, she did a vote of conscience and she should not be ousted because of one vote of conscience,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” of Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump after the January 6 insurrection.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox raised concerns about the message Cheney’s ouster sends to a party trying to grow. “Well, it shows that we’re very divided as a party, and that’s no secret. I’m not the first person to say that,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked what it means. “But as we talk about broadening the tent and bringing in a new generation of Republicans – we really have to allow for those types of differences.”

Cindy McCain – widow of longtime Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona – has also warned that the GOP needs to exercise caution as it mulls ousting Cheney.

Asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo this month for her thoughts on Stefanik, McCain said in part: “We do need to be careful.”

“It doesn’t serve any good if we just oust someone who really is a good representative of the party.”

But even moderate Republican Rep. John Katko, who voted to impeach Trump and was an ally of Cheney, told a local newspaper last week he will back his fellow New Yorker for the job, a clear signal that Cheney’s leadership tenure is coming to an end.

“I have every confidence that Elise will be a superb leader for all of our conference, not just some,” Katko told The Auburn Citizen Friday. “Elise and I came in together and she knows me as well as she knows conservatives. She knows that I have a different type of district than a lot of conservatives.”

Stefanik is expected to address lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus at their gathering on Monday night after some members raised concerns about her voting record.

During a Wednesday night conference call, multiple members of the far-right Freedom Caucus voiced deep reservations about Stefanik as the consensus choice for Republican conference chair – even as they conceded she has the votes to succeed Cheney.

A House member on the call told CNN the caucus has concerns about Stefanik’s moderate voting record and her uneven stance on a wide range of issues the group prioritizes, including immigration and LGBTQ rights.

Stefanik has signaled to some of her colleagues that if she replaces Cheney, she plans to stay in leadership and as chair of the House GOP Conference only through 2022, wanting to pursue the top GOP job on the House Education and Labor Committee next Congress, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks.

That assurance could help assuage concerns on the right over her more moderate voting record, though she’s widely viewed as a virtual lock for the No. 3 job when the vote happens.

McCarthy has the power to call for a quick vote that would effectively seek Cheney’s removal from his leadership team. It can be approved by a simple majority of the full House GOP Conference.

If McCarthy doesn’t call for a vote, another Republican could. But there are also special procedures in place to ultimately force another vote, which could take more time.

One path requires 20% of the House GOP conference – 43 members – to submit a petition for a special meeting. They would then schedule that meeting within 10 “legislative” days, or days they’re in session in the nation’s capital.

At the special meeting, the members can then bring up a resolution to remove Cheney. If two-thirds of the conference – 142 members – want, they can immediately vote. Otherwise, the petition would be referred to a committee that can then either report the petition to the conference for a full vote or kill the resolution.

Any leadership vote is a secret ballot cast behind closed doors.

CNN’s Alex Rogers, Manu Raju and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.

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Chef transplants are bringing new flavor to suburbs and smaller cities and towns

Denver (CNN) — Each Sunday morning, right at 10 a.m., Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos sit in their townhouse and watch their phones light up with email after email from strangers eager to get their hands on their much-talked about apple fritters, Berliner donuts and rye bagels.”It went from taking us a week to sell…

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Chef transplants are bringing new flavor to suburbs and smaller cities and towns

Denver (CNN) — Each Sunday morning, right at 10 a.m., Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos sit in their townhouse and watch their phones light up with email after email from strangers eager to get their hands on their much-talked about apple fritters, Berliner donuts and rye bagels.

“It went from taking us a week to sell out or still have a couple things, to selling out in 25 minutes,” says Ramos.

The secret is out: the married couple’s Ulster Street Pastry pop-up bakery is serving up some of Colorado’s best baked goods right out of their front door in Denver. The baked goods have become so popular that the couple, whose high-profile culinary jobs in Chicago came to a standstill with the pandemic, are soon opening a bakeshop in the Denver suburb of Parker, Colorado.

This time last year, the pastry chef duo sat in their Chicago apartment wondering what to do next. The pandemic had shut down restaurants. They had lost their paychecks. They had to make a decision.

“Our situation in Chicago during Covid was completely unsustainable,” explains Nugent, the former executive pastry and culinary director for Chicago’s Hogsalt restaurant group. “And this was after the two of us had the highest-paying, most comfortable jobs in our career history. And then, poof, gone!”

The couple is among a growing number of culinary stars who have transplanted their talents from America’s big cities to suburbs and smaller cities and towns because of the Covid-19 crisis.

“It makes no sense now to live in huge cities,” Nugent says. “People’s priorities have shifted in all professions. Hospitality was always a ‘sure thing,’ until now.”

Moving is nothing new for Nugent and Ramos, Hogsalt’s former executive pastry and bakery director. They’ve worked together in six Michelin three-star restaurants and lived in Los Angeles, Paris, Spain and San Francisco, to name just a few stops. But this next stop would be different.

In August, they packed up their pastry pans and Pyrex glassware and moved to Colorado to be close to Ramos’ family in Parker, a suburb with no Michelin-starred restaurants and no highly acclaimed chefs, whose residents had no idea that two of the country’s most accomplished pastry chefs were moving in.

Pastry chefs Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos started a pop-up bakery in their townhouse  in Denver, Colorado. They are opening a bakeshop in the Denver suburb of Parker.

Pastry chefs Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos started a pop-up bakery in their townhouse in Denver, Colorado. They are opening a bakeshop in the Denver suburb of Parker.

Jeremy Harlan/CNN

‘What are we going to do?’

Six years ago, Mellisa and David Root planted themselves in Portland, Oregon, hoping to start a small restaurant empire. In March of 2016, they opened their first restaurant, The Hairy Lobster.

“They say you if you can make it past year five, you’re going to start actually making some money,” says Mellisa, who herself has worked as a pastry chef in highly acclaimed restaurant kitchens. “We had just started our fifth year; things were going really well for us… and then Covid hit.”

In spring of 2020, with rent due, no PPP loan to help with payroll and no significant revenue coming into the restaurant, they were forced to close their restaurant of four years.

“You cannot argue with the balance sheet and the books because they tell you the reality. But it still breaks my heart,” says Mellisa.

Mellisa and David Root closed their restaurant, The Hairy Lobster in Portland, Oregon, in the spring of 2020. David has since accepted a job as an executive chef in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Mellisa and David Root closed their restaurant, The Hairy Lobster in Portland, Oregon, in the spring of 2020. David has since accepted a job as an executive chef in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Mellisa Root

According to the National Restaurant Association, The Hairy Lobster is one of roughly 110,000 US restaurants that had closed permanently or long-term by the end of last year.

The couple’s dream of staying in the Northwest was uprooted.

“We no longer have a restaurant, what are we going to do?,” Mellisa recalls thinking. “We ended up putting our stuff in storage, visiting with family for months, and figured out what was going to be the next step because what we had envisioned for ourselves for the next 10 years was suddenly gone.”

New opportunities, miles apart

With no real plan forward, they headed for the Rocky Mountains and Breckenridge, Colorado, where David was offered an executive chef position at Breckenridge Distillery’s restaurant.

“We are definitely nomads,” jokes Mellisa. “We’ve lived everywhere. And so we go wherever the industry takes us, or a great opportunity, or somebody who’s looking for a great pastry chef.”

This spring, a new opportunity presented itself to Mellisa 1,700 miles away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She relocated closer to sea level in Charlottesville, Virginia, to start a new pastry program at the Farmington Country Club.

For now, the couple will live two time zones apart, with the hope of someday living in the same place again. Mellisa says wherever that place may be, it won’t be in a large city.

“If we’re starting our life all over again, and we’re this far into our life, I need to do it in an area that’s going to be affordable and have a better quality of life for us because I don’t want to die with a spoon in my hand at the stove.”

After leaving Portland, David Root became an executive chef at the Breckenridge Distillery in Colorado. His wife is now working in Virginia.

After leaving Portland, David Root became an executive chef at the Breckenridge Distillery in Colorado. His wife is now working in Virginia.

Jeremy Harlan/CNN

A culinary migration

Both couples’ moves symbolize what many around the industry believe is a migration of culinary talent away from big cities and into smaller communities and suburbs.

“The pandemic has given a glimpse of quality of life,” says Nugent. “[Chefs] have changed their priorities.

“It’s not about living in a big city where there’s so much pressure to fill tables and get those covers every night. Maybe it’s going home where you grew up. Maybe it’s being the big fish in a small pond and giving the people in that community something to look forward to and be proud of.”

The Roots’ former home city of Portland is seeing a shift.

“Some of the culinary pillars of this town have just elected to leave,” explains Kurt Huffman, owner of ChefStable, a group that partners with chefs to own and operate 24 assorted restaurants, bars, bakeries and event spaces in and around Portland.

“You have a population base that’s left downtowns or are not looking to go downtown. They’re moving to the suburbs,” he said.

Huffman is quick to point out, though, that the pandemic is not the only reason centers of large cities have become less desirable for chefs to own and operate eateries. He believes Covid closures, combined with civil unrest and protests in cities, have made it extremely difficult for restaurants to provide a safe and desirable location for employees and patrons.

“[Chefs] are just fed up with Portland,” says Huffman. “We are seeing a bunch of our staff move to smaller places like Bend, Oregon. Bend is going to massively benefit.”

The ChefStable group has also decided to shift its focus away from the once-burgeoning Portland downtown, in favor of suburbs such as Beaverton, Lake Oswego and Vancouver, Washington, where many of Portland’s former diners now work and live.

“We have eight new projects in the works,” explains Huffman. “All eight are out of Portland.”

Carolyn Nugent fills Berliner donuts with homemade berry jam. She and her husband plan to open a brick-and-mortar bakeshop in the suburbs this summer.

Carolyn Nugent fills Berliner donuts with homemade berry jam. She and her husband plan to open a brick-and-mortar bakeshop in the suburbs this summer.

Jeremy Harlan/CNN

Bringing Paris to Parker

While the Ulster St. pop-up bakery Nugent and Ramos opened through Colorado’s Cottage Foods Act has been attention-snatching and highly successful, their plan this summer is to open their first brick-and-mortar bakery, Poulette Bakeshop, 45 minutes south of Denver in Parker.

“We will bring our time in Paris to Parker,” says Ramos. “It is really exciting to bring that for them.”

“It has been really exciting to introduce high-quality ingredients and techniques to our new community,” adds Nugent. “We’re just really excited to be in a place where there’s a need for what we do.”

Huffman believes other chefs will see the success of peers such as Nugent, Ramos and the Roots and soon follow.

“It’s going to be awesome for the smaller towns that have been typically left out,” he says.

“You need those trailblazers, and I guarantee you there will be some young cook that follows them there and opens a cool bistro. If something is happening and popping somewhere, you hear about it, and you want to be a part of it.”

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