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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, November 14, 2018, and while we’re excited for Christmas, April 2019 just can’t come soon enough.
BULLETIN: BREXIT, OVER AND OUT
• The Background
A deal for Brexit may finally be on the table (for real this time!). After a year and half of discussion, negotiators from Britain and the EU have agreed on a draft deal for the U.K.’s impending separation from the union. Under the weight of the lengthy talks, British PM Theresa May has faced major pressures from pro-Brexit ministers to not make concessions to the EU, so reaching a place in negotiations where May thinks she can sell it is a pretty good sign… unless you ask opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who responded to the news of the draft by saying, “from what we know of the shambolic handling of these negotiations, this is unlikely to be a good deal for the country.” (But points for using the word “shambolic” in a sentence.) Britain has been pushing to seal the deal this fall, ahead of the scheduled divorce date of Mar. 29, 2019. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
The new set of proposals includes a resolution for the main outstanding issue holding things up: The handling of the security at the Irish border. Irish national broadcaster RTE says the draft agreement calls for a common customs agreement that would eliminate the need for border check points between EU member Ireland and U.K.-aligned Northern Ireland.
• What’s Next?
Now that negotiators are on the same page, everyone else involved will have their say: May has booked a special meeting today for U.K. cabinet ministers to consider the proposal, while ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries will meet in Brussels to discuss their take on the deal.
• Peace, Please
As quickly as the violence began (this time, at least), it’s been put to an end. Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have reportedly agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, with Hamas-led factions saying they will respect the deal “as long as the Zionist enemy respects it” and Israel “stops its aggression” on the area. (That doesn’t quite sound like a whole-hearted declaration of peace, but at least they’re not fighting words.) Israeli officials offered no formal comment, but the country’s national media acknowledged the requests had been made for a ceasefire. The truce was brokered by Egyptian mediators, and should hopefully put an end to two days of deadly violence that erupted between the two sides Monday and Tuesday — the worst incident in the region in years, with eight people killed and hundreds of rockets exchanged. Al Jazeera
• Canada: Musical Chairs
In yet another instance that will have Ontarians exclaiming, “Can they really do that?!,” the province’s P.C. government announced yesterday that it’s increasing the number of seats needed for a party to maintain official party status. The new measures will raise the threshold from the currently required eight seats up to a new minimum of 12, or at least 10% of the total legislature. The move is bad news for the Liberal party, whose presence dropped down to just seven seats following its ousting from power in this summer’s provincial election, making it that much harder for the party to claw its way back to relevance next time around. (Way to kick ’em when they’re down, Dougie). Premier Ford insists the decision will result in cost-savings for taxpayers (does this guy have a one-track-mind or what?), but savings would only result if more than one party loses its status. CTV News
• U.S.: Feuding with FLOTUS
Melania Trump has a new plan for how the White House staff can “be better.” The first lady has called for the firing of deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel, and from the looks of things, Melania gets what Melania wants. (Did she want a philandering orange husband? To each her own.) Trump took the unprecedented step of issuing a statement publicly calling for Ricardel’s dismissal yesterday, asserting that Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” Rumour has it Trump’s staff and Ricardel feuded over the use of National Security Council resources as well as more
petty personal matters, such as a dispute over seating on a plane during Melania Trump’s recent trip to Africa. The Guardian
• U.S.: A Journalist Becomes the Story
It was only a matter of time — CNN is suing Donald Trump. Alongside its chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, the network filed suit yesterday over the recent suspension of Acosta’s White House press credentials. The lawsuit claims “the wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” adding that the “severe and unprecedented punishment is the culmination of years of hostility” from the president and was “an unabashed attempt to censor the press” and reporters who dispute his point of view. Along with Trump, the suit also names press secretary Sarah Sanders, POTUS’s chief of staff John Kelly and the U.S. Secret Service (plus others, for good measure). In a response from the White House, Sanders ridiculed the suit as “more grandstanding from CNN,” arguing that Acosta’s “attempts to monopolize the floor” at press conferences “[impeded] the ability of the President, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business.” ABC News
QUOTE OF THE DAY
I’ve been trying to get him to do a character with me my entire life.
– Stan Lee’s daughter J.C. Lee, sharing that the two had been working on a new superhero named Dirt Man. TMZ
• Second Coming
It’s officially official: Amazon HQ2 will not be in Canada. Though rumours have been swirling for months, yesterday the tech giant announced its plans to open a dual-location second headquarters, split between a new development in Long Island City (just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan in New York) and one in Arlington, Virginia. The two will cost more than US $5 billion to build, and each office will be staffed by 25,000 employees. But it wasn’t just NYC and Virginia that won big in Amazon’s announcement — Nashville, Tennessee, is also getting an Amazon office, which will bring 5,000 corporate jobs (focused on technology and management for its retail operations unit) to the region. Financial Post
• Class is in Session
Facebook wants to do for people’s careers what it did for their social lives. Yesterday, it launched Learn with Facebook in the U.S., a new portal dedicated to skills development and career advancement. The platform — which previously launched in India, Germany and France — offers online courses to help users learn digital tools, coding, and marketing skills. The library of “bite-sized” classes currently includes 13 courses and Facebook intends to add more in the near future. Learn with Facebook is the latest in a series of career-focused tools from the social media network, complementing its recently launched Mentorship tool and job boards. (Hopefully students can get through a lesson without getting distracted on Facebook.) Yahoo
• Games Night
It’s not just Hollywood that gets honoured with entertainment awards these days, video games get their time to shine, too. Yesterday, organizers of The Game Awards announced this year’s nominees, and — if you have a video game fan in the family, take notes — there were a few standouts that are getting a lot of attention for all the right reasons. God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 both received eight nominations across 23 categories. They were both nominated for game of the year, along with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Celeste, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Monster Hunter: World. Like all modern entertainment, the awards will stream live (Dec. 6 at 9pm ET) on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, Mixer, Steam TV, Playstation 4 and Xbox Live. Polygon
• Olympics: No Means No
Calgary’s hopes of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics are dead. More than 160,000 residents of the city had their say yesterday, voting to kill the bid and not move forward with organizers’ plan to host the Games. In the end, 56% of voters said they wanted the city to give up on hosting, while 43% were on board. Both sides put in their best effort up until polls closed, with Yes Calgary 2026 sending out robocalls and city councillors Joe Magliocca and Jeromy Farkas personally emailing their constituents, encouraging them to vote “no” on the bid. Calgary Herald
• Star Search
Some of music’s biggest stars are heading to Netflix. Yesterday, the streaming giant announced that it had snagged Chance the Rapper, Cardi B and T.I. to judge a new hip-hop competition series called Rhythm & Flow. Much like cable staplesAmerican Idol and the Voice, Rhythm & Flow will see the three musicians set out on a search across America for “the next breakout hip-hop star.” The series will air in 10 hour-long episodes, set to premiere in the fall of 2019. Auditions will be held in Atlanta, Chicago and New York. Pitchfork
• Under the Gun
In case you were wondering why America has such a god-awful gun problem, this should help clarify things. When Wisconsin business owner Ben Wolfgram was trying to figure out what to get his 16 full-time employees for Christmas this year, only one thing came to mind: handguns. The co-owner of Hortonville-based BenShot wanted to give his staff something
that could kill them that would “promote personal safety and team building.” (What?) Wolfgram said he’s not worried about workplace violence because “all of the employees know each other well” and that he’s pleased that he has an “entire armed staff.” (Oh, America, you kill us. Literally.) Post Crescent
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT…
Sometimes there’s just too much news and not enough space.
• Opening arguments were heard yesterday in the trial against infamous (alleged) drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera.
• Glamour‘s Women of the Year awards were held on Monday night, and what we wouldn’t give to have been in the room with the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Hillary Clinton and Hoda Kotb.
• Former team Canada captain and Olympic gold-medal winner Cassie Campbell-Pascall has become the first woman added to the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee.
• A perfectly coordinated family portrait where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling? If only us commoners could know such royal luxury…
• World Diabetes Day
Did you know that one in two people living with diabetes is currently undiagnosed? Not only is November diabetes awareness month, but Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day.
• Cheap Shot
Half the fun is the overpriced drinks anyway.