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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, March 25, 2019 and if you’re priced out of the housing market in Toronto or Vancouver, consider this.
BULLETIN: REPORT CARD
• The Background
The verdict is finally in: There is no evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to get him elected. (Ugh, it’s like binge watching only to get an underwhelming finale.) Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department over the weekend, and its findings were relayed to Congress Sunday in a letter written by Attorney General William Barr. Barr said the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” and that Mueller “made no determination as to whether Mr. Trump committed a crime” regarding the allegations of obstruction of justice. Barr noted that Mueller said specifically that the report “does not conclude that the president committed a crime” but “it also does not exonerate him.” It was Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who determined there wasn’t enough evidence to confirm that the president had obstructed justice. CBS News
• What Else You Need to Know
President Trump, obviously, took the report as a “complete and total exoneration,” telling reporters that it was “an illegal takedown that failed” and pointing fingers at the other side. Speaking of the other side, Democrats were obviously less than pleased with Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report and have demanded that it be released in its entirety — to both Congress and the public. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also pointed out “Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry,” which they claim indicates he’s not a “neutral observer” and “is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report.”
• What’s Next?
Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, said that it would be calling Mueller to testify in the “near future.” And despite the report, several top lawmakers have said that the investigations into the president (specifically related to the allegations of obstruction of justice and abuse of power) will continue. (Stay tuned for the next episode…)
• Rocky Ride
Talk about a rough rescue. Passengers on a cruise ship had to be evacuated via helicopter when the boat ran into engine problems off the coast of Norway, at one point apparently getting as close as 100 metres from running aground. High waves prevented workers from launching a rescue operation by boat. All in all, about 480 people were evacuated when the conditions improved enough for the ship to be towed to the port of Molde in Norway, allowing the rest of the passengers and crew to disembark. Fifteen Canadians were reported to be on board the Viking Sky cruise ship. Global News
• Mystery (Military) Men
Russia’s lending some muscle to its Venezuelan allies. According to a local journalist, Russia has sent two air force planes with about 100 troops on board to the country. Flight-tracking website Flightradar24 showed a passenger jet and a cargo plane departing from an airbase in Chkalovsh, Russia on Friday and landing in Caracas a day later. Also reportedly on board were Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the Russian ground forces, and some 35 tonnes of “material.” (Please don’t be tanks, please don’t be tanks…) Neither country has commented on the reason for the Russian military presence in Venezuela, but the two nations held military exercises together about three months ago — a sign that Russia could be increasing its influence in the area. Global News
• World: Moving Day
Romania is making a major political move. The small European nation announced yesterday that it’s moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officially recognizing the city as the capital of the state of Israel. The decision is bound to be a divisive one, as almost all European nations have agreed that East Jerusalem is in fact Palestinian territory that’s been occupied by Israel. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă said the decision was made after “evaluating the opportunity” and that there was “full consensus” for the decision. In addition to the embassy move, Romania is also working on three new initiatives: granting Romanian citizenship to all Romanian Jews who were forced to renounce it; granting compensation for Holocaust survivors in Romania; and granting access to state archives to specialists from the Federation of Jewish Community in Romania. Politico
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
– Barbra Streisand offers a baffling defense of Michael Jackson’s “sexual needs” when asked her thoughts on the documentary Leaving Neverland. She has since apologized for “not choosing [her] words more carefully.” Global News
• Very Pinteresting
DIY crafters and meal preppers rejoice: Pinterest has filed for an initial public offering of $100 million. The site, which allows people to collect images and articles, much like a digital scrapbook or online moodboard, boasts of stats such as 250 million monthly users and 175 billion items “pinned” since its inception. While the company has yet to turn a profit, reports show that it has been demonstrating revenue growth on a consistent basis over the past several years. The date of the IPO, as well as particulars such as the number of shares that will be made available, have not yet been made public. The Street
• The Cutting Edge
Microsoft wants you…to use their browser. Tired of being your second (or third) choice (depending on how badly you want to read that firewalled New York Timesarticle), the company is reworking its Edge browser to run on Chromium. If you think that name sounds familiar — yes, it’s the same open source code Google uses to run its Chrome browser. (If you can’t beat ’em…) Shade aside, the new version of Edge is reportedly fast and optimized for users, with a dedicated extensions page and promises an easy import process of your favourites and passwords from your previous browser of choice. The company has not yet announced a launch date. The Verge
• Football: Final Catch
One of football’s biggest stars is hanging up his helmet. Yesterday, Patriots’ tight-end Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski announced that last season was his last, retiring after nine seasons with the team, which included three Super Bowl wins and five appearances in the Pro Bowl. In addition to helping the Pats win several Super Bowls, Gronkowski set a number of NFL records over his time in the league, including most receptions by a tight end in Super Bowl history (23) and along with becoming the only tight end to have 1,000+ career postseason receiving yards. In his announcement, the star player thanked the Patriots’ organization, Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and the fans. Yahoo! Sports
• The Kids Are All Right (2019 Edition)
Have no idea what kids are into nowadays? The results of the 2019 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards might offer a clue. Held on Saturday and hosted by DJ Khaled, big winners included Maroon 5, Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande in the music categories, and Noah Centineo and Joey King for favourite movie actor and actress. (Not up to speed on last year’s most popular millennial movies? The two starred in Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth, respectively.) And if you ask the youngins, there’s no question who the Best Chris is — Chris Pratt won the coveted title of favourite butt-kicker. You can check out the complete list of winners here. Deadline
• The Flash
You can’t be too careful when boarding an airplane these days. A man in Russia came up with an, um, interesting way to take his air flight safety into his own control: getting naked. Just before boarding, the man suddenly stripped off his clothes and ran down the skybridge, before he was intercepted by airport security. His motive, according to a fellow passenger: “He shouted that he was naked because clothing impairs the aerodynamics of the body. He flies with more agility when undressed.” (He may have a point — but even Superman has the decency to put on some tights first.) Moscow Times
• Wiki Idea
On March 25, 1995, the world’s first wiki, called WikiWikiWeb, was made public by Ward Cunningham.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Syrian Democratic forces have declared military victory over the last ISIS stronghold in the country.
• President Trump preemptively ordered the withdrawal of new sanctions on North Korea on Friday because, says press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he “likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”
• In the wake of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, PM Trudeau has added a second liaison between his office and the Liberal caucus, appointing current PMO staffer George Young to the role.
• All 18 of Canada’s major canola seed exporters say China has cut off their contracts to import the crops into the country.
• For the first time since 1999, the Canadian women’s curling team failed to make it to the finals of the World Curling Championship.
• In other sports news, the Calgary Inferno conquered the Canadiennes de Montreal to take the 2019 Clarkson Cup (a.k.a. the Stanley Cup of women’s hockey).
• Rollin’ With the Homies
We are majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with this reunion.