New Ukraine revelations turn up heat on Senate trial showdown

(CNN)New evidence showing Donald Trump’s direct role in pressuring Ukraine for political favors is dialing up the heat as Republicans launch their New Year push to shield the President in a swift Senate impeachment trial.

Whenever McConnell plays his next card, he is expected to push back on demands by Democrats to call senior current and former White House officials to testify in the trial after the President refused to allow them talk to House investigators.
McConnell’s speech will ratchet up pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over Trump’s historic shaming last month but tried to bolster Democratic demands for new witnesses by declining to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. That means the trial — once expected to start as soon as next week cannot yet star...
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Lucasfilm Immortalized The Hero Fan 21-Year-Old Who Died Stopping A School Shooter As A Jedi

Riley Howell – a 21-year-old hero who died while saving fellow classmates in the UNC Charlotte shooting – has been honored as a Jedi Master in the new Star Wars universe book. The college student, along with another 19-year-old classmate, took the bullets and thus prevented more injuries and deaths after a gunman opened fire in one of the classrooms of the University of North Carolina. Riley has been hailed as a hero by the local police, who praised his quick thinking and courage that “saved lives.”

Image credits: Lauren Westmoreland

“He loved Star Wars, birds, cards, snowboarding, going to the lake, Kentucky Hot Browns cooking from scratch with cast iron while listening to the Feel Good Classic Soul playlist, and his Lauren,” Riley’s family told the media...

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Our first Christmas as empty nesters

The kids have left home, and were not really coping, so this seems like the perfect chance to lure them back

My husband and I dont think we have the condition until, one day last month, hundreds of miles from home, we find ourselves outside our younger sons university accommodation at 11.30 on a Sunday morning. I am clutching supplies in a little brown paper bag. Our son knows were in town, but isnt expecting this rude awakening. Its a surprise.

Do you think we should have called first? I say as we approach the entrance, the inappropriateness of what were doing dawning on me only now.

My husband pulls a face; its his moment of awakening, too. Call now, he says. Tell him were on our way.

But were already here.

We both suddenly see what we have become: two newbie empty-nester weirdos...

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A cute proposal, a marching band victory and a quokka!

(CNN)

We’re a few days into the new year, which means all of you sticking to some life-changing resolution are probably remembering how hard it is to actually stick to life-changing resolutions. You got this! Keep going! Yes, you’ll definitely slip up. You’ll definitely get frustrated. But if it’s something you truly want, pick yourself back up and keep going. No one is perfect, even in some parallel universe where every day is January 1 and all of the smoothies are organic, the treadmills are never occupied, the planners are always filled out and the reading lists are stuck to. (Need some inspiration? Here are some tips on keeping up that new year, new you energy.)

Our favorites this week

    A very tasty proposal
    These newlyweds are so cute we can hardly stand it...
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    30 Things To Donate To Food Banks To Make The World A Slightly Better Place

    If you want to give back this year, donate some of the items mentioned on Ask Reddit.

    1. Feminine hygiene products. Tampons, pads. Anything needed like that is incredibly important.

    2. Diapers. Both for babies, and for older people.

    3. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. Soap, shampoo, and so on.

    4. Socks (men’s, women’s and children’s).

    5. Cooking supplies. Butter. Olive oil. Flour. Folks that use pantries cook but don’t always have these items. They’re important, basic cooking tools.

    6. Pet food!

    7. Paper and cleaning products...

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    Why I’m ordering turkey this year rather than following the family recipe

    (CNN)In the 1940s, as my family story goes, my grandmother Irma worked for Armed Services Editions, a publisher that sent more than 122 million books to servicemen around the world. One of them was a strange collection of essays by the writer Morton Thompson, including “How to Cook a Turkey.”

    The Thompson turkey recipe, which begins with classical quotations and includes more than 30 ingredients in the stuffing, a mustard-egg shell for the bird and an every-15-minute basting regimen, has become legendary in food circles.
    The story I heard from my mother is that my great-grandmother Betty tried Morton Thompson’s recipe back then, and it’s been with us ever since...
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    Greta Thunberg sparks surge in sailboat hitchhiking

    Since climate campaigners transatlantic adventures, more people are looking to travel by sail

    Hitching a ride on a sailing boat across the Atlantic might sound like a far-fetched endeavour reserved for the famous and well-connected. But Greta Thunberg has now managed it twice in three months and her antics appear to be inspiring a growing, if nascent, movement in sail-hitching.

    Maritime hitchhiking has hitherto been reserved for sailors looking for experience on different routes and vessels.

    But after Thunbergs transatlantic adventures, numbers have boomed. Daniel Krause, a full-time cruiser, helps to run the Sailboat Hitchhikers and Crew Connection Facebook group, which has sharply increased to nearly 21,000 members since Thunbergs voyage...

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    Aye-Aye Gets Lucky – Endangered & Misunderstood Book 1 by Terri Tatchell

    Gift Guide Book Suggestion #5

    Book Summary:

    Join endangered and misunderstood AYE-AYE on his quest to win back the hearts of the people of Madagascar after his mischievous pranks get him banned from his favorite village and labelled bad luck. Luckily for AYE-AYE, he meets a new friend who shows him first-hand how unpleasant being scared can feel. Armed with a little empathy and compassion, it doesn’t take AYE-AYE long to figure out that being kind and helpful is the best way to turn his luck around forever. On the surface “Aye-Aye Gets Lucky” is about a misunderstood lemur finding a way to win the love of the villagers, but look deeper and it’s a story about empathy, self-acceptance, community and second chances.

    Book Link – https://amzn.to/2Pdazzk

    Video Link – https://www.youtube...

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    Knightmare Arcanist by Shami Stovall

    Gift Guide Book Suggestion #6

    Got someone who loves fantasy and adventure in their life?

    Book Summary:

    Gravedigger Volke Savan wants nothing more than to be like his hero, the legendary magical swashbuckler, Gregory Ruma. First he needs to become an arcanist, someone capable of wielding magic, which requires bonding with a mythical creature. And he’ll take anything—a pegasus, a griffin, a ravenous hydra—maybe even a leviathan, like Ruma.

    So when Volke stumbles across a knightmare, a creature made of shadow and terror, he has no reservations. But the knightmare knows a terrible secret: Ruma is a murderer out to spread corrupted magic throughout their island nation. He’s already killed a population of phoenixes and he intends to kill even more.

    In order to protect his home, his adopt...

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    Heart to Beat by Brian Lima MD

    Gift Guide Book Suggestion #4

    Book Summary:

    Success is not reserved for the smartest or most talented—it’s earned by those who want it the most. Heart conquers all and the triumphant always go all in, never settling for anything less than their best effort.

    As a leading heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Brian Lima’s life story is a testament to that mantra. He’s living proof that slow and steady still wins the race, and that the American Dream is alive and well. He persevered through countless challenges growing up in a Cuban immigrant family and defied the odds every step of the way. To fulfill his impossible dream, Dr. Lima opted for the road less traveled, enduring nearly twenty years of rigorous education and surgical training at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world...

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