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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, February 15, 2019 and this is the stuff sweet (peaceful) dreams are made of.
BULLETIN: A LONG OVERDUE LONG WEEKEND
Is it just us or did January feel like the longest year month in history?
We can barely remember the much-needed break we took over the holidays, and between snowstorms, political sh*tstorms and school closures, we’re about ready to hibernate ’til spring. And while that’s not going to happen (there’s serious news happening!), we’re going to get a little extra shut-eye on Monday. (Thanks, Family Day!)
In the meantime, we’re sending you into the first long weekend of 2019 with some of this week’s top feel-good news stories. If there’s anything that can make a midwinter break better, it’s this.
See you Tuesday, friends!
• Improving Access
Vending machines on college and university campuses across the United States certainly are stirring up conversation (and this time, it’s in a good way). Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania has stocked emergency contraception, such as Plan B, in on-campus vending machines since 2012, and now the trend is making its way across American campuses. While some states have laws in place that prevent over-the-counter medication from being sold in vending machines, students are pushing for a change. Just this week, lawmakers in Maine (at the behest of students from the University of Southern Maine) introduced a bill that would reverse the state law and allow some over-the-counter medications — including emergency contraception — to be sold in vending machines, giving girls the easy access they so desperately deserve. The Verge
• U.S.: This Land Is Our Land
There’s some good news coming out of the U.S. for once: the Republican-controlled Senate just passed the Natural Resources Management Act, which will set aside more than one million acres of new wilderness and conservation areas in the western U.S., including nearly 500,000 in California alone (🙌). Also key to the Act is that it renews the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which the Republican-controlled Congress had refused to do in the first years of Trump’s reign. The Act will expand Joshua Tree national park, which was recently damaged by uncontrolled crowds during the government shutdown, and protect 30,000 acres of watersheds adjacent to the Yellowstone River in Montana from mining. The Guardian
• World: Girls’ Rule
In a landmark ruling, “upskirting” — a.k.a. taking pictures up somebody’s skirt without their permission — has been deemed a criminal offence in England and Wales following an 18-month campaign lead by Gina Martin, who was targeted by a man at an outdoor festival in 2017. (We’re glad to know that women are allowed somepersonal boundaries. 😑) Martin reported the incident to police only to discover that the man hadn’t actually broken the law, but offenders who upskirt will now face two years in jail and be forced to register as a sex offender. The campaign initially received House of Commons support from Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse but was subsequently blocked by Conservative MP (and man, ahem) Sir Christopher Chope, though this only served to garner more outrage. Theresa May called his actions “disappointing” and brought the campaign before parliament, where it was written into law. (You go, girls!) BBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
We want to give opportunities not just to students in big cities whose parents are doctors, but to students in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and Chicoutimi.
– John McCall MacBain, announcing that he and his wife Marcy are donating a $200-million scholarship fund to McGill University, the largest philanthropic gift in Canadian history. Globe and Mail
• Born-This-Way Barbie
Mattel made waves back in 2016 when it introduced three new body types to the Barbie lineup, and now it’s taking inclusivity to a whole new (and welcome) level. In addition to diverse fashion such as braided hair and a more realistic body shape, the new line will also add handicapable features such as wheelchair use and prosthetic limbs. “As a brand, we can elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including them into our fashion doll line to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion,” said Mattel, which worked with UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and wheelchair experts to ensure the wheelchair design accurately matched those made for permanent use. The Barbie with the prosthetic limb(s) is the brainchild of Mattel and 13-year-old Jordan Reeves, who also happens to be the founder behind the nonprofit organization Born Just Right (and our new hero). The new line launches this June. Mashable
• Taking Flight
If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s this: the world needs more renewable energy. Thankfully, one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies has finally got he memo. This week, Shell announced that it was making an investment in Makani Power, a venture making electricity-generating kites. Originally started by Alphabet’s innovation team (a.k.a. the Moonshot Factory) as a small side project, Makani Power will now become a full-fledged subsidiary of Google’s parent company, thanks to Shell’s influx of cash. Alphabet sees a strong future for the kites, as they can be used offshore where winds are strong, and will be easier to deploy than windfarms (considering all they need to operate is a buoy). Engadget
• Taking Flight
P!nk’s not at all sad about losing out on her 20th Grammy nomination. The “What About Us” singer was at home caring for sick son Jameson the night of the 61st Annual Grammys despite her album Beautiful Trauma being nominated for best pop vocal album. She lost to Arianna Grande’s 2018 album Sweetener but tweeted, “I think it’s kind of rad that I just lost my 20th Grammy nomination. I’m always honored to be included.” Her children, meanwhile — seven-year-old daughter Willow and two-year-old son Jameson that she shares with husband Carey Hart — awarded her with a homemade Grammy crafted out of aluminum foil. “Thanks Kids:) my favorite kind of award,” she captioned the snap shared on Instagram. (Aww, it almost makes the diaper changes and sleepless nights worth it…) Time
• Nothing to be SAD About
Singles’ Awareness Day, celebrated on February 15, is an international day that celebrates being single. Falling one day after Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect time to announce to the world that you’re single and happy to be. (Take your romantic relationships and your pity somewhere else, thanks.)
⚡️ A REALLY QUICK SHOT OF REAL NEWS
Just because we’re prepping for a long weekend doesn’t mean the rest of the world is.
• At least 39 members of India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed yesterday when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying the officials.
• Yesterday, the U.S. Senate confirmed William Barr as the new attorney general, by a vote of 54–45.
• There won’t be another government shutdown in the U.S. this weekend. Donald Trump said he’ll sign the bipartisan funding bill — but he’s also going to declare a national emergency to get the billions of dollars he needs for his wall.
• Amazon has called off its planned HQ2 in New York after facing fierce opposition. It’ll now re-locate the NY jobs to its new base in Arlington, Virginia.
• Joke’s On You
Because if you can’t laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, then what’s the point?