Au Courant Weekly: January 3, 2016

Jan 03, 2016

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~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #76


—On Monday, Iraqi forces reclaimed Ramadi, a key city in Iraq, from ISIS who has maintained control for the past seven months. The New York Times reported that if Iraqi forces are able to maintain control of Ramadi, it could prove pivotal in pushing ISIS out of Iraq and reversing the gains in Syria.

—In the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, a man opened fired at a popular bar, killing two and wounding at least three. The gunman then fled and is being sought by Israeli police. The motive and identity of the man is unclear, although speculation is rising. Police are not confirming anything as of yet.

—Storm Frank has prompted hundreds evacuations and massive power outages in parts of NW England, SW Scotland and Northern Ireland. On December 28th Storm Frank was the sixth storm to be named in the United Kingdom and Ireland’s Met Office 2015/16 naming of extratropical cyclones as winds topped 85 mph (137 km/h).

National: United States

—On December 22, the U.S. Census Bureau released data on population growth/decline, as well as the migration patterns of those who have moved from one state to the next. As of July 1st of the past year, it is estimated that 321.4 million people live in the United States, increasing 12.7 million (4.1%) since 2010. Seventy percent of the growth occurred in only ten states: Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, New York and Virginia. However, why each state grew differs. Read more here.

—Beginning prior to Christmas and continuing into the new year, parts of Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi have been in the path of wicked winter weather. Twenty-two people have been killed in Missouri and Illinois, as waters have risen to historic levels with the arrival and devastation of the winter storm. On Tuesday, Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard. On December 23rd, tornadoes caused as many as 14th deaths in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, and on December 27th Dallas, Texas, incurred three tornadoes that caused 11 deaths.

—New year, new laws. Many laws across that country that were passed in 2015, went into effect Friday January 1st. From Hawaii raising the age one must be to buy cigarettes and tobacco products to 21, to Oregon being the first state to allow birth control to be sold by pharmacists without a prescription, there are many new laws to be aware of. Be sure to check your local newspaper and state government websites.

—Singer and daughter of the iconic Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole died late Thursday December 31st in Los Angeles at the age of 65 due to congestive heart failure prompted by “hepatitis C and various health complications from a 2009 kidney transplant from which she never fully recovered”, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.


In less than one month, the first stage of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election will begin with the Iowa Caucuses taking place on February 1st. Look for January to be a bevy of candidates vying for the camera and voters’ attention even more than we’ve seen in 2015.

Arts & Entertainment

Amazon reported that 25% of American households have a Prime Membership. Its share of U.S. e-commerce sales jumped to 26 percent this year from 22 percent last year, a research firm estimates as reported by The New York Times. (Click here to learn more about Amazon’s Prime Membership.)

Downton Abbey final season premiere takes place tonight on PBS Masterpiece at 9pm and will consist of nine episodes wrapping up on Sunday March 6th.

Bendite Event of the Week

Skating at The Pavillion has opened! Beginning December 28th, the outdoor, covered Olympic sized hockey rink located at the corner of Colorado and Simpson avenues in southwest Bend is opened to the public. Having been under construction for just over a year, the Pavilion will be a year-round facility that will host court sports such as tennis and basketball during the warmer part of the year. Available for free skating, hockey, curling and more, check out all that the Pavillion has to offer. For $3 for a pair of rentals and $9 for adults, the free skating hours are sure to offer a fun outdoor winter activity.

French Word of the Week

Le goûter

Bonjour, this is Géraldine from Comme une Franç I’m here to share the latest French Word of the Week: a simple very French word for your Simply Luxurious Life in France.

“Le goûter” is the traditional 4 PM French snack. We say “prendre le goûter” and for children, it’s the symbol of after school, as they leave the class at 4.30PM. They’ll have “un croissant” or “un pain au chocolat” or maybe something else. And sometimes “un chocolat chaud”. But it can also be a fruit, a few sweets, cake, biscuit…

And adults can have “un goûter” too, even though they may say “viens pour le café” or “viens pour le thé”, which is more of a grown-up thing to say. But it will be the same.

In France, not eating between meals is a very important rule, to prevent people from snacking all the time. We say “Ne pas manger entre les repas” : “Don’t eat between meals” And usually, children won’t have anything to eat between le goûter and “le dîner” around 7PM.

Le goûter is really a nice time to sit and enjoy a piece of cake or un pain au chocolat with a big smile, in the middle of the afternoon.

If you want to add more French in your Simply Luxurious Life, join me on Comme une Franç for weekly video tips to sound French, even to the French! And it’s free.

Thought to Ponder


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5 thoughts on “Au Courant Weekly: January 3, 2016

  1. I had a feeling you’d mention Natalie Cole. So sad to hear of her passing. Ice skating at The Pavillion sounds like a great time! Will we be seeing skate-clad adventures on your IG any time soon? 😉

  2. I love listening to Au Courant Weekly (I sincerely missed it, when it was stopped last year). I love getting a high-level overview of international, national, art/literature, and a fun cultural tidbit. Thank you for bringing this back!

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