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Views expressed in this geopolitical news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Accessed on 16 February 2021, 2228 UTC, Post 996.

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Russ Roberts

https://www.hawaiigeopoliticalnews.com

by Korva Coleman and Jill Hudson

First Up

A frigid blast of winter weather across the U.S. plunged Texas into an unusually icy emergency Monday that knocked out power to almost 4 million people and shut down airports and icy roads.
David J. Phillip/AP
Here's what we're following today.

A winter storm that brought bitter cold, snow and ice and left millions without power in Texas and northern Mexico will extend its grip through Tuesday. The National Weather Service is warning that a new winter storm will arrive in the mid-South by tomorrow. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Such a move will require legislation and will likely tee up partisan difficulties.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a defense to claims that the state underreported the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes. In prioritizing a Department of Justice request over one from state lawmakers, Cuomo says a "void" of information was created. But all the numbers reported were accurate, he said.

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Today's Listens

Halima Aden attends the premiere of Netflix's Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly at Barker Hangar on Aug. 27, 2019, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

For Halima Aden, the decision to walk away from a career as the world's first hijab-wearing supermodel was fairly clear-cut. She has felt used for so long, she says — by the modeling industry and by UNICEF, the organization she was photographed by as a child in a refugee camp in Kenya and later served as an ambassador for. Read the story or listen here

Wall Street "short sellers" have historically been cast as villains. In recent weeks they were painted as the enemy again when hedge funds made bets that prices would fall for several so-called "meme stocks" like GameStop and AMC. Here's an audio rundown of the story. 

In the past year, calls to defund police departments have increased after a series of high-profile killings by police. NPR looked at one city that implemented big police funding cuts — Austin, Texas. Hear the discussion
 
Johnny Pacheco, seen here in 2007, died at the age of 85 on Monday. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Johnny Pacheco, co-founder of the record label that helped popularize salsa music around the world, died Monday at age 85. Fania Records revolutionized the sound of Cuban dance music in the 1970s, when Pacheco was a prolific songwriter and musical arranger whose work helped fuel the careers of Celia Cruz and RubĂ©n Blades. NPR’s Felix Contreras has the story of salsa’s biggest cheerleader. Listen to his appreciation here or read the story

You may not have noticed this on your computer or your cellphone yet, but among the latest batch of new emojis is an unassuming little blue pickup truck. The story of how that truck got onto our devices is a window into the big and sometimes dark money that companies spend to influence how we communicate. Have a listen.

The Picture Show

Across New Orleans, thousands of homes like this one — the "Queen of Bounce House" — are decorated for Mardi Gras. People drive from house-to-house because the city canceled parades due to COVID.
Phoebe Jones/WWNO

In a year without parades, Mardi Gras in New Orleans has become "Yardi Gras." The house floats movement was born on Nov. 17, 2020, the same day the city announced there would be no parades during the upcoming Carnival season due to the coronavirus. Many residents have decorated their houses for drive-through parades

Before You Go

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, seen here in last March, have announced they are expecting a second child.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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