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  • iStock/Thinkstock(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- Samba drums and hypnotic percussions, nonstop flow of positive lyrics about love and "Saudade" in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Women, men and children wearing sparkly red shirts, fun headpieces dancing tirelessly."Blocos de Rua" -- or street bands -- could be found across the country, mobilizing locals and tourists alike. One of the thousands of organized street festivals is the "Bloco de Carmelitas" -- originated in 1990 in the St. Teresa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.As it plays out every year, Rio Carnival 2018, which began earlier this month, gave Brazilians a chance to unwind and party in the streets.Monica Araujo, 59, a nurse at a public hospital, never misses the "Bloco de Carmelitas.""That's a necessity for Brazilians to celebrate carnival," Araujo said.Amid all the fun, though, Brazilians had an anxious eye toward October, when voters will elect another president after years of political turmoil. Araujo, for her part, sent a message by dressing as a doctor -- to highlight the lack of funding for her hospital, which suffered major cuts."My hospital lost 10 percent of jobs last year. We cannot work," Araujo told ABC News. "The university of my eldest child has stopped her class because of a lack of money."Once elected, the future president will have to deal with the worst economic recession in decades, violent crimes and a recrudescence of gang activity. Above all, he or she will have to reverse a general political mistrust after the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff and the nomination of unpopular Michel Temer as her interim successor."I never voted for Michel Temer," Araujo said.She added that, because of the political uncertainty, Carnival, which ends Sunday, is that much more important for a healthy distraction and a rejuvenation leading up to October."Of course, we need to celebrate even more," she said.Not only will Brazilians elect a new president in October, but they will also vote for a new Congress in the wake of a political corruption scandal.Renato Silva 31, a law student who traveled from Sao Paulo to celebrate Carnival, tried to keep his excitement for the election despite the recent political scandals."There was a lot of disappointment in Brazil the past four years," Silva said."If we don't hope the future will be better, then we die. Carnival is good for both hope and despair," Renato added.In some ways, the election mirrors the presidential election in the United States in 2016, with candidates being compared to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.Geraldo Alckmin of the centrist Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) has been compared to Clinton, while Jair Bolsonaro of the far-right Partido Social Cristao (PSC) has been dubbed the "Donald Trump of Brazil."Bolsonaro, a former military officer during the dictatorship who wants to combat crime by putting an end to gun control laws, said he is a threat to the establishment."I am a threat to oligarchies, I am a threat to the stubbornly corrupt, I'm a threat to those who want to destroy family values," Bolsonaro told ABC News. "That's the threat I represent."The person to beat, however -- if he is allowed to run -- is Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But the charismatic candidate of Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), who simply goes by Lula, may be in jail by October, following a questionable money laundering trial.But the left-leaning PT, who compared Lula to the late South African activist and president Nelson Mandela, said it is standing by its candidate."We won't give up in the face of this injustice," it said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It's officially the Year of the Dog, and we’ve fetched a doggone delicious recipe to help you celebrate.In honor of China’s largest and most celebrated holiday, we teamed up with a New York City restaurateur to learn how to make Peking duck jianbing. These “Chinese crepes” are sold from street carts back in China and are a cultural staple.Brian Goldberg, the owner of Mr. Bing in New York City, lived in China for 14 years and speaks fluent Mandarin.  Goldberg shared his technique for making the perfect jianbing:IngredientsFor the batter:2/3 cup all-purpose flour2/3 cup mung bean flour1 teaspoon kosher salt1½ cups waterFor the crispy wontons:1 cup vegetable oil16 wonton wrappersFor the crepes:5 teaspoons vegetable oil5 eggsCrepe batter½ cup of roast duck1¼ cups scallions, thinly sliced5 teaspoons black sesame seeds5 tablespoons hoisin5 tablespoons chili paste1 cup crispy wontons1¼ cups cilantro leavesDirectionsMake the batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and mung bean flours and salt. Whisk in the water, and once a smooth batter forms, set aside.Make the crispy wontons: In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Fry the wonton wrappers in four batches of four until golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove and cool completely on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. When cool, crush the wontons into 1-inch chips with your hands.Make the crepes: In a crepe pan or a large nonstick skillet, heat one teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Using a whisk, scramble one egg in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of batter into the pan and, using a bench scraper, work quickly to spread the crepe along the entire surface of the pan.Once the crepe begins to curl at the edges -- about 1 to 2 minutes -- pour the scrambled egg mixture on top and spread into an even layer over the entire surface. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the scallions and one teaspoon of sesame seeds over the egg. Cook for one minute more until the egg begins to set. Carefully flip the crepe, and brush with one tablespoon of the hoisin and one tablespoon of the chili paste, then scatter 1/4 cup of the crushed wonton chips, 1/4 cup of the cilantro leaves and roast duck on top.Fold the crepe like a letter -- horizontally and vertically -- to form a squared pancake. Cut in half and serve immediately.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere "with U.S. elections and political processes", according to the agency.The indictment charges "all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."
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  • Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korea marked the national holiday of late leader Kim Jong Il’s birthday with modest celebratory events compared to the past.Its current leader, Kim Jong Un, paid tribute to his late father’s mausoleum at Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang on Friday just after midnight, its state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.The mausoleum is for the ruling Kim family, preserving the founder of North Korea and grandfather of Kim Jong Un, Kim Il Sung. The trip by Kim Jong Un and several high-ranking officials is an annual anniversary trip.This year, the list of accompanying officials included party officials -- but no military officials, according to the state news report.The national holiday is called “Day of the Shining Star” in Korean because North Korea’s officially approved story insists that a glowing new star and a double rainbow appeared when Kim Jong Il was born in 1942 on Baekdu Mountain, a cherished mountain to the Koreans.But outside, historians agree that Kim Il Sung and his wife were in a refugee camp in the Soviet Union at the time of Kim Jong Il’s birth.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Hakyung Kate Lee(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) -- Those visiting South Korea for the Olympics may be confused to find stores closed on Thursday and Friday. Friday is the Lunar New Year, a legal holiday in South Korea. South Korean athletes competing in Pyeongchang celebrated Lunar New Year together in Korea House on Friday morning.A regular Lunar New Year in South Korea involves family members gathering in one home -- usually the elder member’s house, though some families take turns hosting -- and preparing a memorial ceremony meal together. Various kinds of mouthwatering Korean dishes are cooked, including several pan-fried delicacies called jeon, along with fruit and traditional sweets.The ceremony style differs from town to town and family to family; many homes have scaled down the ceremony to a dinner or family trip.An important dish that cannot be missed for the Korean New Year is rice cake soup, called tteok-guk. This filling soup is made of thin, circular rice cakes boiled in clear broth, often served with slices of beef and vegetable garnish. There are a few hypotheses to the origin of this dish. Some say the disc-shaped rice cake symbolizes coins, and eating the soup promises a prosperous year. Others say you grow a year older after finishing a bowl of this rice cake soup.After the ceremony and meal comes the best moment of the day for children: Youngsters in a family bow to the elderly, and they grant the children a word of advice and -- and why many long for the new year to come so badly -- pocket money. This custom has been around for more than 100 years, according to South Korean local press Newsis.Adults used to give nickels and dimes to young people to buy books and pens. This small pleasure was handed down as a traditional event during new year gatherings. Thanks to developed technology, some now send the new year pocket money via online payment, reducing the need for paper packaging.To break the ice between distant relatives who haven’t met for months, South Koreans spend time playing board games during the holidays. YutNori is a board game that has been around since the early 1900s and can be enjoyed regardless of age and gender. Kite flying is also a popular sport during the holiday; usually new year wishes are written on kites before flying them.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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