7 Best Botanical Gardens in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Best Botanical Gardens in the U.S.

What do you do if you want to enjoy the beauty of blooming flowers, trees and plants, but you don’t have much of a green thumb? Do you struggle to plant your own garden with varying levels of success? Or do you opt to just visit a gorgeous botanical garden and leave the planting and horticulture to the experts? If you’re team B, who wants nothing to do with potting soil and toiling away in the yard, then you need to add these seven botanical gardens to your must-see list.

New York Botanical Gardens (The Bronx, NY)

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To be fair, there are two botanical gardens in New York City, the other being the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. But the city’s official garden is in the borough that’s home to hip-hop and the Yankees — the Bronx. The New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG) spreads over 250 acres with indoor and outdoor exhibits. It is also an official historic landmark. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you can catch some beautiful seasonal exhibits. Over the winter holidays, the NYBG puts on its annual model train show. In the spring months, you can visit the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden where over 650 varieties are in bloom. An added bonus, the New York Botanical Gardens are literally across the street from the Bronx Zoo, which makes for a wonderful day trip on the 2 train.

Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix, AZ)

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Does anything bloom in the desert? The answer is yes, and you can find out exactly what kind of plants thrive in the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden located in Phoenix, Arizona. The garden is nestled in the Papago Buttes within the Sonoran Desert. You can check out more than 50,000 plants spread across the garden’s 140 acres. This particular botanical garden focuses on plant life that you would find in desert conditions. Be sure to check their calendar for seasonal events as the Desert Botanical Garden also serves as a live event space for concerts and performing arts.

Missouri Botanical Gardens (St. Louis, MO)

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If you prefer places with historical significance, then the Missouri Botanical Gardens is the perfect spot. This particular botanical garden opened its doors in 1859 and is the oldest continuous operating garden in the United States. The garden is set on 79 acres and features a variety of interesting exhibits. Enjoy a stroll through one of the nation’s largest Japanese gardens, on 14-acres. You can also visit their year-round domed Climatron greenhouse without columns that houses a lush tropical rainforest. Fun fact, the Missouri Botanical Gardens is the second largest botanical garden in North America, second only to the Bronx’s New York Botanical Gardens.

United States Botanic Garden (Washington, D.C.)

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While the Missouri Botanical Gardens is considered the oldest operating U.S. botanical garden, the United States Botanic Garden is also quite old. Established in 1820, this garden was actually designated as part of the National Mall. Although the United States Botanic Garden isn’t one of the largest in the nation, it’s a great way to take a break when you’re exhausted from the museums and monuments. The garden is home to 60,000 various plant species, including several that are endangered.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (Dallas, TX)

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Where can you see 17 specialty gardens in one place? If you guessed Texas, you’re right! This garden sits on 66 acres and features a variety of gardens and walking paths. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is home to some very fun and festive-themed seasonal exhibits. For example, during the fall, they create a Pumpkin Village that incorporates over 90,000 pumpkins and 150,000 fall blooms.

Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, PA)

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If you happen to take a trip to Philadelphia, then it’s worth making a slight detour to visit Longwood Gardens. This massive botanical garden is located a short hour outside of Philadelphia and boasts an impressive list of indoor and outdoor gardens as well as gorgeous lily pad ponds. The Longwood Gardens were created by the magnate Pierre Du Pont as a sort of homage to the gardens of Versaille. In the winter you can stick to the four and a half acres of indoor gardens. But in the summer, be sure not to miss their weekly illuminated fountain and fireworks displays that take place every weekend.

International Rose Test Garden (Portland, OR)

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If you like only one particular kind of flower and that flower happens to be a rose, then Portland’s International Rose Test Garden should be on the top of your list. Did you know that Portland is actually nicknamed the City of Roses? And once you stroll through this beautiful garden, it will all make sense. The International Rose Test Garden began as a sanctuary for European roses to grow in safety during World War I. Today, the garden still serves as a research facility where breeders send their seeds. The rose garden is home to more than 650 species of roses and can sometimes offer as many as 10,000 bushes in bloom during the prime season.

So, the next time you have an urge to enjoy the beauty of mother nature, you don’t have to run to your local home improvement store. Ditch the gardening gloves and terra cotta planters and hit the road. There are plenty of beautiful gardens across the nation where you can enjoy nature and leave green thumbs to the pros.

5 Greatest Music Cities in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Greatest Music Cities in the U.S.

Music legend Elton John once said, “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” Across the United States, there are several cities that are known for their vibrant music presence. Whether its country, rock and roll, or blues that feeds your soul, these cities are some of the best places in the world for music lovers.

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

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Music City. The Country Music Capital of the World. No matter what you call it, there is no question that Nashville is the epicenter of country music. Home of The Grand Ole Opry, the state’s capital is where aspiring country artists go to pursue their dreams and where many country legends have found their big break.

A visit to lower Broadway, aka Honky-tonk Highway, is one of the best ways to experience live music in the city. The street is lined with honky-tonk bars and has a constant flow of live music until 3 a.m. The street is known as the place where legends like Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson got their start. It has also been good to recent stars, including Dierks Bentley and Gretchen Wilson.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium are excellent ways to learn about the city’s musical roots, and Bluebird Cafe is where you will find dozens of songwriters performing. If you want to enjoy a country music festival, you can’t beat the CMA Fest, which takes place every year in June.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

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New Orleans is regarded as the birthplace of jazz. Known for its raucous festivals like Mardi Gras and the Jazz and Heritage Festival, the city knows how to throw a party. The city’s French Quarter echos with jazz, blues, and reggae. Bourbon Street is the center of the city’s nightlife and is where you will find the New Orleans Music Legends Park, the Hard Rock Cafe, and Skully’z Recordz.

The city has birthed some massive legends in music, including Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino. If you’re visiting the city, you can’t miss a visit to Preservation Hall. The Hall is rich with history and still hosts performances. The venue is popular, so if you’re looking to see a show, you need to get there early.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

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Austin is known as the live music capital of the world. There have been many stories as to how the city got that title, but one reporter writes that it was a simple search for a slogan to use in an ad that garnered Austin its title. To bring more considerable attention to Austin, a group from the chamber of commerce decided to take out an ad in Billboard. When it came to choosing a slogan, they agreed that they would see just how many live music places they could find in the city. After adding up everything, they found that there were 70 locations within the city to see live music. This, they determined, was enough to deem Austin the live music capital of the world. The ad ran in Billboard with the slogan across the bottom, and Austin has held the title ever since.

While its origin story may have been a fluke, the city has embraced its title. The city now boasts over 250 live music venues. Popular spots include The White Horse, Mohawk, and The Continental Club. As for live music festivals, the Austin City Limits Music Festival and South By Southwest draw music lovers from around the country. The Austin City Limits Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the country and takes place over two consecutive weekends, featuring big-name stars as well as up-and-coming artists.

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Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

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Tennessee knows music. While Nashville knows country music through and through, Memphis is the birthplace of rock and roll. Some of the biggest names got their start in Memphis, with none more prominent than Elvis Presley. The King of Rock’s home at Graceland is a popular attraction in the city, as is Sun Studio, where he recorded his first song. The Blues Hall of Famealso calls Memphis its home.

Beale Street is arguably the heart and soul of the city’s music scene and is attributed with playing a vital role in the strong blues scene in Memphis. BB King and Louis Armstrong were frequent residents of the street and the father of blues WC Handy’s home on Beale Street is open to visitors. Beale Street is also where you will find the Beale Street Music Festival.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

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Washington state’s largest city is known for its early ’90s grunge scene and as the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix. And it continues to be a prolific producer of successful music acts.

Hip-hop artist Macklemore hails from Seattle, as does Death Cab for Cutie, and Modest Mouse. The city has an active festival scene with Bumbershoot, which takes place over Labor Day weekend. While the fall may be dreary, Seattle’s summers often feature 70 degree days, making the city a perfect destination for a summer festival.

The city also has a wide array of live music options. A trip to Belltown or Capitol Hill is a great way to catch some of the city’s up-and-coming acts. If you are looking for some music history, check out London Bridge Studio, where Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden have all had recording sessions.

5 U.S. Cities With Perfect Weather in August

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities With Perfect Weather in August

What U.S. cities offer the perfect weather for August? Well, it turns out there are several, and they are varied enough to offer something for everyone. The United States offers a wide array of weather patterns (some even within the same place), so if you want to beat the heat and cool off in a breezy summer vacation spot this August, the perfect destination may be closer than you think!

Before we jump in, let’s consider what “perfect weather” entails. The human body is designed to operate optimally at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. We feel most comfortable at this temperature and will not be reaching for a blanket or desperately trying to cool off. In addition, most people prefer low humidity and some sunshine on a daily basis.

With those qualities in mind, let’s take a look at which cities offer a much-needed summer reprieve from the heat while also providing pleasant surroundings throughout the month of August.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

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While many California beach towns are going to be sweltering during the late summer, that’s not the case in San Francisco. The average historical highs for the city hover between the mid-60s and low-70s throughout the month of August, and the lows are a nice, gentle 55 degrees. Visitors can also expect plenty of days of sunshine, making the city an excellent place to spend your August vacation.

San Francisco offers tourists the chance to see some iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz Island, and — even though it won’t be sweltering outside — it is still summer, so stopping by the original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop is a good choice, too.

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

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If you’d rather head for the mountains than the beach, Denver has lots to offer August vacationers. While the average highs are a little above the preferred range (sitting at around 90 degrees), the average lows are a lovely 55–59 degrees. In addition, it’s important to note that Denver has very little humidity. You may need to stock up on the ChapStick, but you’ll be able to comfortably spend hours in the sunny outdoors.

Elitch Garden offers a seasonal water park that is at its peak in August. The Museum of Nature and Science and the Downtown Aquarium also offer some fun (and educational) opportunities for families. Overall, Denver has plenty of summery activities to keep the spirit of the season alive — without baking visitors in the heat.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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With average highs in the high 70s and lows in the mid-60s, Milwaukee offers a lovely reprieve from the sweltering summer heat. It also has a lot to offer as a destination with family-friendly attractions like the Horticultural Exhibit, County Zoo, and Art Museum. The area is also well-known for its breweries and proximity to Lake Michigan. Visitors may also learn a little more about the fascinating history of the Great Lakes while they’re there.

Whether visitors are looking to spend some time outdoors, soak in some culture, or simply sit back and relax with a nice, cold beer, Milwaukee has a lot to offer. It’s an excellent destination for families, couples, or friends wanting to get together and have a true summer break on the lake.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

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The Pacific Northwest may be known for its gloomy drizzle most of the year, but summers in the area offer an amazing break from the temperature spikes gripping much of the rest of the country. Seattle, with average highs in the mid-70s and lows in the 50s and 60s, offers a perfect August getaway. Visitors will be thrilled with a trip to the historic Pike Place Market or with a visit to the breathtaking display of the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Seattle also might be one of the coolest vacation spots around, offering both the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture. However, it should be noted that it is not, as many people mistakenly believe, the state capital (that title goes to much-smaller Olympia).

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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Portland is another Pacific Northwest destination that promises a great summer experience with ideal weather. With a historical average high around 80 and lows in the mid-50s, Portland offers comfortable August days and cool nights. That gorgeous weather is a perfect excuse to get outdoors and see some of the great attractions Portland has to offer including the International Rose Test Garden and Portland Japanese Garden.

More adventurous and outdoorsy types will find the hiking trails at the Hoyt Arboretum or through Forest Park excellent ways to get up close and personal with the beautiful towering trees of the Pacific Northwest.

China will never buckle under Washington’s old trick of trade bullying

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China will never buckle under Washington’s old trick of trade bullying

Xinhua

Despite calling the just-concluded China-US trade talks in Shanghai “constructive” and hoping for more “positive dialogue,” the White House on Thursday announced plans to impose extra tariffs on Chinese imports from September 1.

Washington’s unilateral escalation of trade disputes is a serious breach of trust after the two sides reached in June consensus to restart trade talks on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Apart from undermining the momentum of the newly resumed China-US trade talks, the US flip-flopping again exemplifies Washington’s unworthiness in striking a deal and its disturbing propensity for bullying.

The US administration should bear in mind that its bullying and tariff threat, which has not worked in the past, will not work this time.

For over a year, the US-initiated trade disputes with China have bogged down not just economic growth of the two countries but that of the whole world. Meanwhile, an increasingly capricious Washington is harming the current world order with more uncertainties.

As the US administration is ready to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining 300 billion US dollars of Chinese imports, its sincerity in reaching a mutually beneficial trade deal with Beijing that can accommodate each other’s major concerns has gone bust. It seems that in the eyes of Washington’s China hawks, trade talks are no more than a formality with which to rip China off.

Also, the new twist in China-US trade talks shows that some Washington politicians are trying to play tough against China on trade matters and gain cheap political points as the new cycle of US presidential election is looming.

Unlike previous rounds of taxing Chinese imports, the US administration this time is targeting a wide swath of consumer goods, and therefore, is “using American families as a hostage” in its trade negotiations, according to Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America.

While the White House is boasting about taxing China until a trade deal is reached, it should keep in mind that China will only accept a win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment.

Beijing’s position has been consistent and clear: China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary.

In response to Washington’s tariff assaults since March 2018, China has had to take forceful counter measures. This instance will be no exception.

Still, Beijing remains committed to handling its trade problems with Washington as long as the settlement is based on mutual respect and equality, and conform to China’s core interests. China, which still sees a steady economic growth and boasts enormous potential for further development, will always find a way to withstand any pressure if there no deal is reached.

It is therefore hoped that Washington should drop its fantasy to bring Beijing down to its knees with its same and old tricks of maximum pressure. If it truly wants a deal, then they will need to show some real sincerity first.

Brazil: Presidents Son To Become Ambassador To the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Eduardo Bolsonaro signs to accept Brazil embassy in Washington

Aligned with Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, Eduardo Bolsonaro is about to become Brazil’s ambassador to the United States; without any formation to the position, Eduardo will be the symbol of a historical humiliation for all the Itamaraty and tends to aggravate the condition of Brazil like colony of the United States

(Photo: Paola De Orte / Agência Brasil)

247 – Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP), son of President Jair Bolsonaro (PSL), positively signaled a possible invitation to take over the Brazilian embassy in the United States. 

Asked about the issue raised by his father, in an interview on Thursday (11), Eduardo said that there is no definition, but that if the invitation was officially made, he would not deny.

“The mission that President Bolsonaro gives to me will certainly work in the best way,” he said. “There is nothing formal, nothing official.

These U.S. states consume the most coffee

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

These U.S. states consume the most coffee

In 2018, Americans drank an average of 2 cups of coffee per day. The USDA forecasts 174.5 million bags of coffee will be produced in 2019 and lists the United States as the 2nd largest importer of coffee in the world. Across the country, we consume 25,835,000 bags of coffee.

We are a highly caffeinated nation.

We are merely doing our civil duty — after the Boston Tea Party, drinking coffee was a sign of patriotism. Since then, the popularity of coffee in the U.S. has only grown. The National Coffee Association’s annual report showed coffee drinking in America is at its highest levels with over 60% of all Americans consuming coffee every day.

Coffee in the Pacific Northwest

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It would be very difficult to discuss coffee in America without Seattle, Washington. Seattle might be the origin story for Starbucks, but Conde Naste doesn’t list it in their top 10 best Seattle coffee shops. Still, cities all over Washington are listed in the top 10 best cities in America for coffee lovers on many lists.

Here are some quick stats on Washington’s caffeine addiction:

Seattle, Washington:

  • 1 coffee shop per 2,308 residents
  • 278 coffee shops total

Everett, Washington:

  • 1 coffee shop per 2,752 residents
  • 40 coffee shops total

Vancouver, Washington:

  • 1 coffee shop per 2,224 residents
  • 78 coffee shops total

Travel & Leisure listed Portland, Oregon, the best coffee city due to its high number of coffee shops per capita. Portland also has the most coffee manufacturers per capita than anywhere else in the United States.

Coffee in New York City

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Frank Sinatra crooned he wanted “to wake up in the city that never sleeps.” With the most coffee shops per capita, the most donut shops per capita and the most affordable coffee shops per capita, New York fits the bill and is WalletHub’s #1 choice for “Best Coffee Cities in America.”

Coffee in California

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The west coast is a standout region for coffee drinkers. WalletHub found 4 of the top 5 cities for highest average coffee spend are in California: Fremont, Irvin, San Francisco and San Jose. California also holds 3 out of the 5 cities with the highest percentage of adult coffee drinkers as well: Anaheim, Los Angeles and Santa Ana.

Apartment Guide released a list of best cities for coffee lovers in America and Berkley was their top pick.

Coffee consumption in the Southeast

Nowhere in the southeastern corner of the U.S. makes any list of “cities with the most coffee shops” or “states with the highest coffee consumption.” The northeastern United States consumes the most coffee, according to Statista.

More coffee statistics

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  • If you love to grab coffee on the way to work, don’t move to Laredo, Corpus Christi and Garland, Texas. They have the fewest coffee shops per capita, alongside Hialeah, Florida, and San Bernardino, California.
  • Despite having so few coffee shops, Hialeah has the 3rd highest percentage of adult coffee drinkers.
  • Square analyzed data over the course of a year and found the latte is America’s most-ordered drink.
  • More than 60% of adults 18 and over consume coffee every day. And more than half of the coffee consumed is gourmet. Cold brew orders are up 42% over iced coffee.

With younger people driving the gourmet coffee market and 70% of coffee consumption happening at home, surely we can get a good Alexa-enabled coffee pot worth more than a hill of beans.

5 Biggest Chinatowns in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Biggest Chinatowns in the U.S.

If you don’t live near a big city, you might be unfamiliar with the term “Chinatown” and its significance in American history.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a Chinatown as: “A district of a large non-Chinese town or port in which the population is predominantly of Chinese origin.” So-called Chinatowns exist all around the world, though there are particularly large concentrations in North America, Europe, and Australia.

While Chinatowns had existed in other countries for hundreds of years before making their way to the U.S., the United States features a particularly high number of Chinatowns relative to its size. Here are a few of the biggest Chinatowns you’ll find in the states.

5. Honolulu, Hawaii

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While the exact boundary (and thus, the exact population) of the Honolulu Chinatown isn’t precisely known, it deserves mention on this list for its historical role in Chinese-American culture.

One of the earlier Chinatown settlements, Chinese immigrants came to Hawaii to work the island’s rich sugar plantations. Many of these laborers stayed in the area to work as merchants, and eventually, the early boundaries of Hawaii’s first Chinatown began to form. Of course, the area wasn’t without hardship—the Honolulu Chinatown was rocked by a great fire in 1886, an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1899, and another huge blaze in 1900. But the area endured, and it stands today as the home of the largest Chinese population in Hawaii.

4. Seattle, Washington

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Further north than most other U.S. Chinatowns, the Seattle Chinatown — more officially known as the Chinatown-International District of Seattle — is the biggest Chinese enclave in the American northwest. Home to a diverse range of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Vietnamese populations, the area acts as a hub of Asian culture in the region and brings in substantial tourism throughout the year.

3. Chicago, Illinois

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The second-oldest in the United States, the Chinatown neighborhood in south Chicago is certainly worth visiting. The bulk of the Chicago Chinatown population came from immigrants fleeing persecution on the West Coast; the establishment of the San Francisco Chinatown (as detailed below) made Chinese culture a staple in America, but the immigrants there faced extensive prejudice from U.S. nationals.

In an ironic twist, U.S. citizens viewed Chinese influence as a detriment to American culture, despite the fact that American culture (not even 100 years old at that point) had its foundation in African slave labor and Native American blood. Regardless, immigrants found some relief in their newly-formed Chinatown, where it stands today as one of the most populous Chinese enclaves in the country.

2. San Francisco, California

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The San Francisco Chinatown is possibly the largest, and certainly the oldest, Chinese enclave in America. Its origins date back to the 1850s, when large influxes of Chinese immigrants made their way to the West Coast. These immigrants typically worked hard-labor jobs, such as mining or railroad construction, and struggled to integrate into American culture. As their populations grew, so too did their enterprise, with Chinese-owned shops, restaurants, and apartments filling the town. This gentrification led to the birth of the United States’ first Chinatown, a historic landmark that exists to this day.

1. Manhattan, New York

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The Manhattan Chinatown is one of the biggest in the world, with the New York City area featuring the biggest Chinese population outside of Asia. Indeed, there are so many Chinese people there that one Chinatown can’t hold everyone; to date, there are nine different Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City alone.

This particular Chinatown is considered a bastion of Chinese culture, both in the U.S. and abroad. The region is home to the Museum of Chinese in America and is a regular destination for new Chinese immigrants coming to the country. However, in true Manhattan fashion, rent prices are skyrocketing in the area, forcing out many of the poorer populations in favor of wealthier patrons who can afford the exorbitant prices.

Going Down to Chinatown

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This list is just a small sampling of the diverse Chinatowns that exist in America. The enclaves have long been thought of as cultural oddities to natives, but to Chinese immigrants, they’re welcome reminders of the comfort and culture they left behind. And while most Chinatowns these days have experienced surges in diversity compared to what they once had, there’s no taking away from the cultural impact they’ve had on our history.

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Iran To India: ‘Expect a friend to order oil’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

 

‘Expect a friend to order oil’: Iranian envoy messages India on US sanctions

Though the Iranian port of Chabahar, which India is developing as a gateway to Afghanistan, isn’t under sanctions, Chegeni said US actions had created uncertainty in the minds of investors and bankers.

INDIA Updated: Jul 03, 2019 08:49 IST

Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
indo iran,us iran trade talsk,india weapon gatherer
New Delhi stopped Iranian oil purchases after Washington ended on May 2 a six-month waiver that had allowed the top buyers, including India, to continue imports. (REUTERS)

India will decide on oil purchases in line with its national interests but Tehran is hopeful New Delhi will resume Iranian oil imports that have been hit by American sanctions, Iranian ambassador Ali Chegeni said on Tuesday.

New Delhi stopped Iranian oil purchases after Washington ended on May 2 a six-month waiver that had allowed the top buyers, including India, to continue imports.

The US imposed sanctions on Iran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal last year.

“We understand India will act according to its national interests. We know India is under pressure (but) India’s relationship with any other country is not against us,” Chegeni told reporters after the opening of an exhibition of Iranian arts.

“We are not deciding on behalf of the Indian government and we respect all their decisions, but we expect a friend…(to place orders for oil) in future…Iran is ready to be the biggest protector of India’s energy security,” he added.

Referring to external affairs minister S Jashankar’s recent remarks about India’s need for affordable, stable and predictable energy supplies, Chegeni said Iran fulfilled all these conditions.

“We didn’t get any negative signal from the Indian government that they won’t buy in future…We are hopeful that our relationship will continue,” he said.

Though the Iranian port of Chabahar, which India is developing as a gateway to Afghanistan, isn’t under sanctions, Chegeni said US actions had created uncertainty in the minds of investors and bankers.

“They are saying Chabahar is not under sanctions, but the banks don’t dare to come, the private companies say the future is not clear for them. Somehow this is a sanction,” Iranian ambassador Ali Chegeni said, adding that operations at the port had picked up in recent months.

Chabahar is key to the plans of Central Asian states to trade with India, he said. “Nobody can ignore the importance of Chabahar,” Iranian ambassador Ali Chegeni added.

First Published: Jul 02, 2019 23:31 IST

3 Overlooked U.S National Parks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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3 Overlooked U.S National Parks

Perhaps it’s because we’re blessed with so much protected natural landscape that some national parks fly under the radar. They aren’t the first parks that come to mind — like Yosemite or Yellowstone — when planning an adventure. Lack of name-recognition, sometimes combined with remote locations or access issues, leave some of our national treasures out of the mix. One overlooked national park in the wilds of Alaska, one in the remote mountains of Washington State and another at the very southeast tip of Florida, are all trip-worthy destinations.

North Cascades National Park, Washington

Credit: Andrew Bertino/Shutterstock

Trails switchbacking along steep, conifer-covered mountain flanks lead trekkers deeper and deeper into the forests of North Cascades National Park. Views of snow-and-ice-covered volcanic peaks, glaciers, and blue alpine lakes appear at one jaw-dropping viewpoint after another as you encounter this vast, protected wilderness area. The North Cascades Highway itself boasts incredible vistas as it passes viewpoints and leads to trailheads like the one for challenging Thunder Creek Trail. With access through the park, boaters spy Ross Lake, while the remote community of Stehekin sits along the north shore of deep Lake Chelan.

Resident grizzly bears and gray wolves call the park home, as well as some 200 bird species. Day hikes and overnights are certainly doable on your own with proper experience and planning. For carefree exploring further into the backcountry, you can book a guided, overnight trip. Even if you aren’t an experienced backpacker, an adventure with REI outfitters will let you enjoy deep-woods adventure in relative comfort. At one stop, a backcountry campsite on Baker Lake, the primary view is of 10,781-foot Mount Baker, draped in a cape of snow. At just four miles of walking per day and only slight elevation gain, the trip is designed for inexperienced hikers.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

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Made up of seven islands in the Gulf of Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park sits 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. Protected coral reefs are within the park boundary, and the highlight is Garden Key, with its beaches and tours of 19th-century Fort Jefferson. The water’s-edge fortification is an  imposing stone structure, which was used as a prison during the Civil War. Interpretive guides break down the site’s history and lore, and there’s plenty more to explore.

The park’s 100-square-mile boundary comprises mostly water, and the islands are accessible only by boat and seaplane. Book your trip out of Key West, and choose what parts of the park to see. Loggerhead Key has a historic lighthouse and a thriving sea turtle population of its namesake shelled denizens. Nearby Loggerhead Reef is home to the wrecked remains of the ship Windjammer. The submerged skeleton of the 1875 ship today is a popular dive site. The Dry Tortugas are known for their diversity of marine and terrestrial wildlife, and Bush Key specifically is a favorite nesting site for seabirds, such as sooty terns.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Credit: Wildnerdpix/Shutterstock

Located in southwest Alaska some 100 miles from Anchorage, Lake Clark National Park and Preservewas proclaimed a national monument in 1978. By 1980, it was established as a national park and preserve by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. If you really want to go deep in a place this remote, a float plane tour is the way to go. Simply combine that with your not roughing-it backcountry accommodations by booking your flight through Lake Clark Air and the Farm Lodge. With a float plane and guide at your disposal for the day trip, you’ll get up close and personal with wild Alaska via bear, caribou and wildlife viewing, flightseeing, photography workshops and catch-and-release fishing. As for your Alaska digs, the Farm Lodge is in Port Alsworth, the headquarters for the national park. With rustic-luxury style, the lodge’s standard and deluxe cabins all have heat, private restrooms with running water and covered porches. Your package also includes home-cooked meals in the main lodge.

India may discuss oil issues with Pompeo

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

India may discuss oil issues with Pompeo

During Pompeo’s visit, New Delhi will seek Washington’s cooperation in getting reliable and affordable energy supply, especially after US sanctions that prohibited the import of Iranian crude from May, two government officials said.

INDIA Updated: Jun 25, 2019 05:28 IST

Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mike Pompeo,US secretary
The recent tussle between the US and Iran has further aggravated the situation that could adversely impact major oil consumers such as India, said the officials cited above.(AFP)

India may discuss with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo a host of issues crucial for its energy security, including oil price volatility due to rising tensions between Tehran and Washington, disadvantages in purchasing American crude and technical issues arising due to sanctions that threaten India’s strategic projects, said officials aware of the developments.

During Pompeo’s visit, New Delhi will seek Washington’s cooperation in getting reliable and affordable energy supply, especially after US sanctions that prohibited the import of Iranian crude from May, two government officials said. India, which is a net importer of energy, is a victim of volatility in crude prices that is often caused because of geo-political reasons.

The recent tussle between the US and Iran has further aggravated the situation that could adversely impact major oil consumers such as India, said the officials cited above.

Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan recently spoke to US secretary of energy Rick Perry and raised these issues. During the telephonic conversation, Pradhan emphasised the impact of price volatility on Indian consumers and stressed the important role that the US could play in bringing global price stability, officials said. International crude oil prices soared after Tehran allegedly shot down an American drone on Thursday, which deepened tensions US-Iran tensions.

Traditionally, Iran has been a major crude oil supplier for India to meet almost 10% of its annual requirements. India, which has already stopped purchasing Iranian crude due to the sanction, is facing problems in meeting the shortfall. “We are yet to get suitable alternative. Iranian crude is not only of good quality but also cheaper as Tehran always supplied crude on lucrative commercial terms,” said one of the officials quoted above. Unhindered crude oil imports on economic terms are crucial for India’s energy security as it imports more than 80% crude it processes.

Rajnish Gupta, EY India associate partner (tax and economic policy group), said, “Threat of reduction in supply of crude oil from any significant producer of oil will tighten the markets and is likely to cause price volatility, as it happened last week…any reduction in supplies from any country needs to be made up by increased production elsewhere. Increase in production or change in source requires time. Therefore from India’s perspective, a transition period is required.”

The other issue that is expected to be discussed is the possibility of crude oil supply from the US as an alternative to Iranian crude, the officials said.

India’s state-run and private refiners said no government could force them to buy oil from the US on terms that are uneconomical. “Each crude or shale oil have different assay, based on that refiners extract value. One would buy crude oil or shale oil depending on the value one would get. It is purely commercial consideration,” chief executive of one refinery said.

First Published: Jun 25, 2019 05:25 IST