Talkin' 'Bout a Constitution

Cuba votes in a new constitution, Ontario's getting a revamped healthcare system and the House pulls the plug on POTUS's national emergency. ]]>
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Talkin' 'Bout a Constitution

Cuba votes in a new constitution, Ontario's getting a revamped healthcare system and the House pulls the plug on POTUS's national emergency. ]]>
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✨  Good morning! Today is Wednesday, February 27, 2019 and before you use this, remember: what happens on spring break does not stay on spring break.


BULLETIN: (RE)VIVA LA REVOLUCIÓN!

• The Background

In a nationwide referendum held Sunday, 86.85% of Cuban voters cast their ballots in support of ratifying a new constitution — a stat made all the more impressive by the nation’s 84.4% voter turnout. (Try getting that many people out to the polls here, let alone getting them to agree on something.) The new charter introduces such progressive (that’s sarcasm, fyi) reforms as the legalization of the free market, promotion of foreign investment, and recognition of private property ownership. A governmental restructuring is also part of the plan: a newly created prime minister position will handle day-to-day state affairs, and new term and age limits will be imposed for the president. Al Jazeera

• What Else You Need to Know

Despite the decisive result in the polls, dissent opposing it was significantly stronger than for the country’s previous constitutional referendum in 1976. At that time, a whopping 99.02% voters were in favour of ratification. This time, debate over the constitution has dominated Cuba’s politics for months, with critics arguing the reforms are superficial…and they’ve got a point. The new constitution leaves the Communist Party’s dictatorship one-party system intact, and citizens still won’t have any say in who becomes president. It also declares the socialist system “irrevocable,” with the government’s prime goal being “the construction of socialism and advance towards a communist society.”I

• What’s Next?

Now that the votes have been tallied and constitution approved by the people, it’s up to the government to uphold it and make good on all the new additions.


THIS JUST IN…

• Cohen Campaign

Michael Cohen is coming for Trump, and it doesn’t look good for POTUS. (Are we really surprised?) The “stunning” 20-page report released to lawmakers late Tuesday night details the president’s racist comments about African Americans, how the president knew that advisor Roger Stone reached out to WikiLeaks before it released damaging info on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which Cohen is prepared to testify on, and — the moment we’ve all been waiting for — how Trump also aggressively pursued the building of a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2016. Cohen alleges Trump ordered him to lie about the Russian project to Congress, blowing up a whole can of worms. The White House had repeatedly claimed that Cohen’s statements are false, but Cohen has promised to back up his claims with several documents that will prove his accusations are correct. CNN

POLITICS

• Canada: Medical Makeover

As widely predicted, Ontario’s PC government is overhauling the province’s healthcare system. Health Minister Christine Elliott revealed the plan yesterday, which includes dissolving the 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and merging them with six provincial health agencies (Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Health Shared Services, Health Quality Ontario and HealthForce Ontario Marketing and Recruitment Agency). The new group will become one “super-agency,” though it will be divided into 30 to 50 smaller teams of local health-care providers that will be reponsible for the care of around 300,000 Ontarians. All the changes are part of the People’s Health Care Act 2019, which Elliott tabled yesterday afternoon. CBC News

• U.S.: Don’t Call It An Emergency

Congress is coming for Trump’s national emergency. Yesterday, the House voted to overturn his declaration (the one he used to get the billions he needs to fund his infamous border wall) by a vote of 245–182, meaning 13 Republicans did the unthinkable and voted with their Democratic colleagues. While the support from across the aisle was welcome, it wasn’t enough to give Democrats the two-thirds they’d need to override a presidential veto. (Trump has already threatened to use it should the measure make it through the Senate.) The Senate must now vote on the resolution within the next 18 days. CNN


📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY

Contributing towards peace is a responsibility of each nation in this day and age.

– Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expresses his country’s commitment towards taking an active role in hosting the second “peace summit” between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. Meetings between the foreign heads of state begin in Hanoi today. CNN


BUSINESS

• Espresso Expansion

Canadian staple Tim Hortons is doing its part for international relations with the opening of the coffee chain’s first store in China. As of yesterday, residents of Shanghai can get their coffee and timbit fix from the café’s new location in the People’s Square. In addition to traditional menu options, unique items tailored to the Chinese market will be on offer. Local additions to the drink menu include different varieties of tea (steeped black lemon peach oolong tea sounds like a tasty mouthful), new hot espresso drinks (like the Canadiana-pride-inspired maple macchiato) and a matcha latte, and new foods include shrimp sandwiches and a salted egg yolk timbit. The company plans to open 1,500 new Tim Hortons franchises across China within the next 10 years. CTV News

TECH

• News > Noise

Ads may have been making the internet go ’round since its early days, but that could all be about to change. Yesterday, Scroll, a soon-to-launch digital news subscription service, announced that it’s teaming up with Mozilla to create an ad-free browser experience. (That’s right: no more creepy ads haunting you from site to site.) To kick off the partnership, small groups of Firefox users will be invited to share feedback and participate in surveys about ad-free browsing on the web (a.k.a. how freaking awesome it is). The service has already partnered with several news websites to offer the same ad-free experience (think BuzzFeed, Gizmodo Media Group, and Vox Media) in exchange for a $5 monthly fee. The Verge

SPORTS

• Baseball: Big Money

Professional sports players have always been paid well — but never this well. Yesterday, news broke that baseball player Nolan Arenado had agreed to an eight-year deal with the Colorado Rockies, worth an insane $260 million. The deal also includes a full no-trade clause and the option to opt-out after three seasons. The deal gives the third baseman the largest per-year salary of any position player, breaking the previous record set by Miguel Cabrera’s annual salary of $31 million. Spending the dough on Arenado makes sense; the 27-year-old is a four-time Silver Slugger, four-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glover. (Translation: he’s really effing good.) Bleacher Report

ENTERTAINMENT

• Rhythm Nation

Has taking up a Las Vegas residency become a rite of passage for today’s pop stars? It sure seems that way. The next act making a home in Sin City for 2019: Janet Jackson. Yesterday, the R&B icon announced “Metamorphosis,” a series of 15 concert dates taking place at the Park Theater at Park MGM resort beginning May 17 and continuing through May, July and August. Presale tickets are available to members of Jackson’s fan club (that’s you, right?) starting today, with access for the general public opening up on March 2. The show’s concept “peels back the layers of the immensely private life of Janet Jackson, sharing her transformation from a young girl with issues of self-esteem to global icon.” The production will combine “electrifying visuals, explosive dance numbers,” and Jackson’s “chart-topping hits” to showcase “her path to self-love, empowerment, motherhood and activism,” and help fans “find their own light within themselves.” (Wait, is this a self-help retreat or a concert? Either way, it sounds deep.) Variety

DAILY WTF

• Cockamamie Complaint

If you’re the owner of a Honda Insight, take note of this story: after a recent dusting of snow one night, a resident of a Tennessee condo complex, identified only as “Kathryn,” was slapped with a $100 fine by her homeowners’ association for creating a vulgar image on the property. As depicted in photos submitted by an imaginative watchful neighbour, after Kathryn pulled out of her parking spot that morning, an outline of a (weirdly blobby) penis was left on the pavement where the car was parked. (It had protected the ground from the falling snow.) The offended photographer claimed to have reported the accidental snow art “out of concern for our younger residents.” (Some people need to get their minds out of the gutter — people aside from us, we mean.) Kathryn, naturally, adamantly refused to pay the fine. The Drive

TODAY IS

• Live Long and Prosper

On Feb. 27, 2015, Trekkies lost a beloved leader when Leonard Nimoy (better known as the original Spock) passed away from complications related to COPD. 


⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT

• Well that didn’t take long. Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haleyhas been nominated to join Boeing’s board of directors. 

• General Motors may be pulling out of Detroit but Jeep Fiat Chrysler is going all in, announcing a $4.5-billion investment in Southeast Michigan. 

• North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District is getting a new election and a new GOP candidate. Republican Mike Harris has announced he won’t run (citing an “extremely serious condition”) after campaign staffers were accused of messing with absentee ballots.   


PARTING SHOT

• Permanent Vacation

Retirement homes are so old school (er, home). This is much more our style.


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