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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, February 25, 2019 and if variety is the spice of life, it turns out women like it spicier than men. (Sorry, guys.)
BULLETIN: FOR THE WIN
• The Background
Hollywood’s most talked-about stars gathered last night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles for the 91st Annual Academy Awards. Plagued by controversy (from the host-less ceremony to the limited musical performances to the scrapped categories), this year’s awards show had no shortage of drama. Though the 2019 show was like no other, there’s one thing that remained the same: the high fashion and the star power. Everyone from Lady Gaga to Charlize Theron to Jennifer Lopez to Michael B. Jordan was on hand to honour this year’s biggest films, including the biggest film of them all: Green Book, which took home top honours as best picture. Variety
• What Else You Need to Know
In addition to the standard snafus that come with a live broadcast, the Academy did manage to hand out some hardware: Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Rami Malek won for lead actor, The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman for lead actress, Green Book‘s Mahershala Ali for supporting actor and If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Regina King for supporting actress. Lady Gaga took home the Oscar for best original song (after slaying a starry-eyed performance of “Shallow” with co-star Bradley Cooper) while Roma‘s Alfonso Cuarón won for director. The award for original screenplay went to Green Book, and Blackkklansman won for adapted screenplay. After the ceremony, stars hit several Oscar parties, including the infamous Vanity Fair party and Elton John’s buzzy bash to mix and mingle with industry insiders.
• What’s Next?
The next major awards show is on March 14, when the attention turns back to the music industry at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. The ceremony airs live on Fox at 8pm ET.
• Better Late Than Never
According to Pope Francis, there’ll be no more cover-ups or conspiracies in the Catholic Church. The pontiff promised to root out sexual abuse during a landmark four-day summit held in Rome to address the issue, which more than 150 bishops and other high-ranking leaders attended. The pope (rightly) noted that sexual abuse by clergy is “utterly incompatible with [the church’s] moral authority and ethical credibility” and such scandals should not be treated as isolated incidents. In response he unveiled a pledge of priorities designed to change the church’s protectionist culture by exposing the perpetrators and providing support to victims. CBC News
• Canada: Sharing Secrets
The SNC-Lavalin case isn’t the only scandal dogging the Prime Minister’s Office these days. On Friday, defence lawyers for Vice-Admiral Mark Norman (the Royal Canadian Navy officer and former vice chief of the Defence Staff of Canada charged with breach of trust for leaking government secrets in regards to a shipbuilding deal) issued subpoenas seeking to get ahold of notes, emails and texts sent or received by federal officials with alleged knowledge of the affair — and they’re going straight to the top. The officials targeted include PM Justin Trudeau, ex-Principal Secretary Gerald Butts and Trudeau’s Chief of Staff Katie Telford. Lawyer Marie Henein say her team has not received “a single document” since an initial request filed in October and that the notes must be disclosed ahead of a March 25 hearing on the case. The justice department team representing the questioned officials says it’s working to collect, review and disclose the documents. (In other words: “Yeah, yeah, we’ll get to it.”) National Post
• World: Woman Power
Saudi Arabia has just appointed its first female ambassador to the U.S. Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, will replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz in the role. Princess Reema has been heralded as an advocate for women’s rights and a rising political star in the kingdom. Throughout her career in public service, she’s been credited with championing inclusion at the Saudi General Sports Authority (she’s directly responsible for Saudi schoolgirls being allowed to participate in physical education classes) and has been lauded as one of the world’s “Most Powerful Arab Women” by Forbes, among other accolades. The princess lived in the U.S. growing up while her father, Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, filled the ambassador role from 1983 to 2005. Sources say her appointment was already in place prior to the developments of the Khashoggi scandal, so while the progressive hire might look like a PR move by the kingdom, that’s not the case…this time. CNN
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
We continue to call for unrestricted access for humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people.
– Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expresses concern over “reports that the Maduro regime has opened fire on groups trying to deliver much-needed aid to Venezuela.” U.N. agencies are only able to enter the country with the regime’s permission. Globe and Mail
• Oil Get There Eventually
On Friday, the National Energy Board made the recommendation to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but with a couple of strings attached — 156 conditions and 16 non-binding recommendations, to be exact. The board stated that the pipeline construction is in the best interest of the country, but noted there could be “significant adverse environmental effects” in the affected area. This is already the second time the NEB has ruled in favour of the project. A review of the original 2016 decision was ordered after it was discovered that the board neglected to take into account the pipeline’s impact on tanker traffic. And further appeals are expected in response to the current recommendations. Financial Post
• Seeing Is Believing
Heads up to all the early adopters out there: Microsoft has debuted the latest iteration of its HoloLens, creatively called the HoloLens 2. This wearable “mixed reality” gadget (kind of a combination between a VR headset and smart glasses) boasts a wider field of vision, improved resolution and is just plain comfier to wear, according to the tech giant. Definitely important features, especially when you consider that the HoloLens 2 will be priced at $3,500 when it launches later this year — and that Microsoft is marketing the device for use far beyond gaming, with business and educational applications being key consumer focuses. TechCrunch
• Curling: Top Honours
Canadian curling fans were swept away last night as two provincial teams battled till the bitter end in the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Final. Ontario (led by skip Rachel Homan) faced off against Alberta (led by skip Chelsea Carey) in a rematch of the 2017 Olympic Trials final. After a nail-biter of a match, Alberta ended up taking home the trophy, beating Ontario 8–6 (and making history with the largest comeback in finals history). Carey was awarded the 2019 MVP Award, and will lead her team as they represent Canada at the March 16–24 women’s world championship in Silkeborg, Denmark. TSN
• $$ Makes the World Go Round
After being arrested on Friday night on 10 counts of sexual abuse, R. Kelly was unable to make a $100,000 bond payment to leave prison until his pending trial (despite being one of the most successful R&B artists of all time 🙄 ). Kelly’s attorney admitted his client is having problems with cash flow due to poor financial choices (he also apparently owes hundreds of thousands in unpaid child support and rent), but believes he should be able to come up with the money at some undetermined point in the future. Kelly maintains his innocence on all charges, with his lawyer saying (and this is a direct quote), “all the women are lying.” CNN
• The Future Is Now
What’s more exciting than riding the bus? Nothing — at least according to GO Transit, a public transportation system serving the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. In a new ad that debuted last week, the clip (punctuated by lightning bolts, neon lights and a hyped-up soundtrack) makes the case that riding the bus is basically the same as riding in a self-driving car. (Yes, busing is super luxurious.) After all, you can use your phone, read a book, or eat a snack on both. (Wait, don’t people do those things while they’re driving too? But seriously, if you do…please stop.) The Verge
• Dollar Dollar Bills Y’all
On Feb. 25, 1862, the First Legal Tender Act was enacted into U.S. law under President Abraham Lincoln. The law authorized the creation of paper currency notes — a.k.a. “greenbacks” — as legal tender.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• The measles outbreak is continuing to spread, with two more casesreported in Vancouver yesterday afternoon.
• Kraft Heinz had a rough weekend. After revealing that the SEC is investigating some of its accounting practices, the company’s stock plunged to record lows.
• Talk about a stellar engagement gift: This weekend, Taylor Swift surprised a newly engaged couple with a live acoustic performance.
• Peewee VIP
Someone get this budding hockey star an agent and a TV show, stat.