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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, December 10, 2018 and Margaret Atwood has something to say on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
BULLETIN: A GULF GAME
• The Background
On the heels of a very uneventful first ministers’ meeting in Canada, another group of politicians got together on the other side of the world to talk shop. The 39th annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) took place in Riyadh over the weekend, with representatives from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in attendance. Established in 1981, the GCC aims to “foster socioeconomic, security and cultural cooperation in the region.” This year, the group had a lot to talk about, with several crises in the area making headlines (think the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and regional beefs). Al Jazeera
• What Else You Need to Know
The meeting is the second one since Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain implemented a blockade on Qatar, and it continues to be a divisive issue for the council. The blockade’s had major effects on Gulf investors, with property prices and stock indexes taking a particularly hard hit in the emirate of Dubai. But those aren’t the only regions with beef. The UAE and Oman are at odds over the presence of Saudi and UAE forces in Yemen’s southern province of al-Mahra (which borders Oman), and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia can’t agree on what to do with two oil fields — Khafji and Wafra — in their shared Neutral Zone.
• What’s Next?
Experts have been worried about the future of the GCC since it hasn’t been unable to resolve any of these years-long crises in past meetings, but seems that the group is intent on sticking it out — at least for now.
• Canada: Minister Mix-Up
The Prime Minister’s Office announced a cabinet shuffle Friday which has some of Canada’s top bureaucrats playing musical chairs. With Shared Services Canada president Ron Parker and deputy clerk of the Privy Council Andrea Lyon slated to retire early next year, a number of senior-ranking officials will be switching gears as of Jan. 7, 2019. Paul Glover (current president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) will replace Parker, while Catharine Blewett will take over for Lyon in the Privy Council office. Tim Sargent is trading in his position as deputy minister for international trade for Blewett’s current role in Fisheries and Oceans Canada and will be replaced in international trade by John Hannaford. David Morrison will continue to act as Trudeau’s representative for the G7 summit and will also take on Hannaford’s current appointment as the PM’s foreign and defence policy advisor. (Confused yet? Let’s hope nothing gets lost in the shuffle.) iPolitics
• Canada: Paying For Your Sins
The Canadian government is trying to make amends for its “dark and tragic” past. Yesterday, the feds agreed in principle to a settlement that would potentially provide billions of dollars to former students of Indian Day Schools. This is the second settlement the government’s paid out to victims of Canadian school programs — the first was in 2006, for the Indian Residential Schools settlement agreement. According to Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, the amount available for individual compensation will be announced early in 2019, and the government will be appointing an independent administration to oversee the execution of the deal. CBC News
• U.S.: A New Lineup
Speaking of government shuffles, the White House announced its umpteenth switcheroo over the weekend, sharing the news that Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly would be calling it quits at the end of the year. (Which is really no surprise if you’ve been paying any attention to Kelly’s body language.) No word yet on who Trump will turn to next to fill the role (though we now know it won’t be VP Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers). But we did find out who’ll be filling three other vacancies in the Trump administration: If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Mark Milley will become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former attorney general William Barr (who previously held the role under former president George H.W. Bush) will once again lead the Justice Department, and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert will succeed Nikki Haley as UN ambassador.
• World: Migration Roadmap
It’s official… sort of. In the wee hours of this morning, representatives of more than 150 United Nations member countries — including Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen — signed on to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakech, Morocco. While the non-binding agreement isn’t an international treaty (meaning it’s not formally binding under international law), it serves as a politically binding “roadmap” that aims “to prevent suffering and chaos” for global migration and “better manage migration at local, national, regional and global levels, including reducing the risks and vulnerabilities the migrants or refugees face at different stages of their journey.” The pact was first approved in July by all 193 member nations in the U.N. except the U.S. (go figure), but controversy surrounding the GCM has built up since then, with several Europe countries backing out of the signing. Canada has steadfastly supported the agreement; U.N. special representative for international migration, Canadian Louise Arbour, has slammed “rampant misinformation” from critics of the pact. Al Jazeera
• World: The Future is (Still) Female
With Angela Merkel set to step down as the leader of her Christian Democratic Union, the party voted Friday on her successor. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the CDU’s general secretary and a former governor, will take control of the party when Merkel’s current term as the country’s chancellor concludes in 2021. Known as an an ally of Merkel’s, Kramp-Karrenbauer — a.k.a. AKK — beat out rivals Friedrich Merz and Jens Spahn in a runoff vote, but played nice after her win by saying “there is a place in this party” for the two men. In the days since her election, AKK has made an effort to distance herself from worries that she would be a “Mini Merkel,” saying she expects Merkel to “clarify” all future policies with her before bringing them forward to Germany’s coalition government, and that she is prepared to push back against her predecessor in “situations where it is in the interests of the party.” CBC News
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Since the Ontario sex-ed curriculum has gone back in time, you can ‘learn’ about sex the way teens in the ’90s did: all the American Pie movies are now on Netflix.
– Even Netflix is throwing shade at Doug Ford for his regressive moves as Ontario premier. HuffPost
• In the Green
As tobacco usage declines, major U.S. companies are looking to invest in the vice du jour: cannabis. Tobacco giant and maker of Marlboro cigarettes, Altria Inc. has announced it will spend $2.4 billion to secure a 45% stake in Canadian cannabis producer, Cronos Group Inc. According to Cronos CEO and President Mike Gorenstein, the company plans to use the influx of capital to develop new products, including “innovative vaporizers,” and increase its understanding of the cannabis plant’s genetic background. Shoppers Drug Mart is also jumping on the bandwagon — the pharmacy has received a license from Health Canada to sell medical marijuana online. (Now it’s really Canada’s drug store.) BNN Bloomberg
• Nap App
Apple acquired Finnish sleep tracking company Beddit back in 2017 and is now releasing its first device, the Beddit 3.5 Sleep Monitor. This 2mm sensor eliminates the need to wear a sleep tracker at night as it’s placed under the bed sheet to measure sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and bedroom temperature and humidity. Users with an Apple Watch can sync with their device to display sleep report notifications, bedtime reminders, and nudges, while those without can access sleep analysis and heart rate data on the Beddit app and Health app on iOS 12 or later. Unfortunately, the Beddit Sleep Monitor is currently only available for U.S. customers at US $149.95 (but will hopefully make its way to Canada soon). The Verge
• Curling: A Stone’s Throw
Canadian curling has two new(ish) champions. Yesterday, at the Home Hardware Canada Cup finals, Jennifer Jones’ four-woman squad and Brad Jacobs’ four-man squad took home the trophies. Jones came back from a three-point deficit, besting Kerri Einarson’s squad 8–5, to win her fourth Canada Cup trophy. Jacobs, on the other hand, played a nailbiter of a game, staying tied with Kevin Koe’s team for all 10 rounds. But in the end, it was Jacobs’ team that was victorious, winning 5–4 to take home the top honour. CBC Sports
• Auditory Accolades
The 61st Grammy Award nominees have been announced and February 10 can’t come soon enough. Kendrick Lamar has come out on top this year with a total of eight nominations (including album of the year for the Black Panther soundtrack) and is closely followed by Drake, who has been nominated for his album Scorpionand hit song “God’s Plan.” The Academy has decided to switch things up with eight nominees, instead of the usual five, for each of the main four categories: best new artist, album of the year, song of the year, and record of the year. Women have a strong presence among this year’s nominees, despite Recording Academy President Neil Portnow’s comments last year that female artists needed “to step up.” Five of the eight albums nominated for album of the year are by female artists and Portnow has since stepped down. (Time to face the music.) People
• In Demand
We all want a babysitter we can trust, but when your list of demands is longer than the list of ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle, you know something’s up. A mom of three recently posted an ad on Facebook seeking a babysitter with a resume Mary Poppins couldn’t match. On the list? No history of traffic tickets, no “sketchy social media behaviour,” a bachelor’s degree in childcare (or a least nine years’ experience), and Native English speaking, but preferably with a second language to teach her children. Anyone still in the running should “ideally” be a Trump fan (what?!) and, despite making only $10 an hour, be willing to pay for the kids’ snacks out of their own pocket. (No wonder today’s teens are all YouTubers and Instagram models.) Mirror
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• According to a CNN source, a translated transcript of an audio recording of Jamal Khashoggi reveals the journalist’s gruesome last moments.
• A stampede at a rap concert in Italy has left six people dead and 53 others injured.
• Seven Israeli citizens were wounded (including a pregnant woman, who’s now in critical condition) after a Palestinian shooter opened fire on a bus stop in the West Bank.
• In other Israeli news, the UN rejected a U.S.-drafted resolution (which was “backed strongly by Israel”) to condemn Hamas.
• Good news for frugal shoppers: OG discount chain BiWay is set to reopen in 2019 with a 7,500-square foot “BiWay $10 Store” in Toronto, with four more set to open by 2020.
• Another TV series might be getting a second life: Hilary Duff just confirmed that there are “conversations” happening about a Lizzie McGuirerevival.
• 2018 Nobel Prize Ceremony
Starting at 10:30am ET, tune in here to watch the 2018 Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and economic sciences receive their medals streaming live from Stockholm, Sweden.
• B*tching for a Boycott
This teen knows the power of quitting with style.