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✨ Good morning! Today is Thursday, January 17, 2019 and we’re kind of starting to want a pair of these…
BULLETIN: NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
• The Background
Canadian citizens have a message for the country’s top police force: We’re watching you. After years of scandals involving harassment and bullying within the force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are being placed under the watchful eye of an external advisory board. The federal government and RCMP announced the plan yesterday, introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. CTV News
• What Else You Need to Know
The new board will consist of civilian advisers – 13 part-time appointees, including a chair and vice-chair – and tasked with development of strategies to “modernize and reform” the RCMP’s culture. Priorities off the bat will include creating a business strategy that puts people first and supports employee health and well-being. Long-term goals will focus on ways to protect employees from harassment and workplace violence, and foster reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. “We want to be a more modern, a more effective, a more healthy and more inclusive national police organization,” Lucki said at yesterday’s news conference.
• What’s Next?
According to Goodale, members of an interim board will be in place by April 1, and legislative changes will be established later this spring to make the board permanent.
• Deadly Explosion
The U.S. military confirmed Wednesday that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deaths of four Americans (including one civilian) and several other casualties in an explosion in the Syrian city of Manbij. (Proof that contrary to what VP Mike Pence stated the same day, ISIS is NOT defeated.) The civilian was accompanying the other three U.S. servicemen to collect security and adversary intelligence. ISIS has stated the explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber. There are currently about 2,000 American troops stationed in Syria, but prior to Wednesday, only two other U.S. servicemen had been killed in action since the start of the American campaign in 2014. Following the news of Wednesday’s attack, the Trump administration confirmed that its plan to pull out of Syria was still in place. CNN
• Canada: Wasted Effort
Alberta First Nations have voiced their interest in buying stakes in the (currently imaginary) Trans Mountain pipeline following the Indigenous Energy Summit held on the Tsuu T’ina Nation reserve. The expansion, which would be managed from Ottawa, has yet to be approved, but the Alberta regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, Marlene Poitras, is backing the project in order to boost economic and employment opportunities on reserves. Wallace Fox, chair of the Indian Resource Council, which organized the conference, supports the idea, saying First Nations groups want to “work with [developers] to create […] economic sovereignty to become independent from government policy.” That would all be great, but the Trans Mountain company wants to focus its efforts on getting National Energy Board approval before it devotes energy to selling stakes. (In other words – thanks…but no thanks? 🤷♀️) Financial Post
• U.S.: Payback Time
While the government shutdown still looms (26 days and counting!), federal workers in the U.S. got a ray of sunshine yesterday. President Trump signed a bill ordering back pay for workers impacted by the shutdown. The move guarantees the some 800,000 will be compensated for lost wages or work performed without pay over the past four weeks. The catch: their paycheques won’t be cut until the government officially reopens. Global News
• World: Brexit Mess
If you think the situation in the White House is akin to a dumpster fire, then you should take a look at what’s happening in the U.K. British Prime Minister Theresa May just survived her second no confidence vote after parliament rejected her Brexit plan the day before. (She might need some aloe for that burn.) This was the second time Labour Party and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn had called for a vote of no confidence, which May won by a slim margin of 19; however, the vote was initially backed by all opposition parties. May’s own Conservative Party voted in her favour (providing 314 of the 325 votes that kept her in, against the 306 votes to oust her from government) but they are still divided on how to move forward in terms of leaving the E.U. May, in the meantime, has encouraged other party leaders to meet with her to discuss next steps. BBC
QUOTE OF THE DAY
I would not call it the greatest crisis, no sir.
– Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s candidate to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, when asked by Sen. Bernie Sanders whether he considers climate change to be a global crisis. (Does he even know what job he’s applying for?) Politico
• Call Declined
Huawei Technologies Co. has been making headlines lately for all the wrong reasons, and now Seattle feds are investigating the Beijing company for potential theft. A probe was launched following a series of civil suits filed against the telecommunications company accusing it of stealing U.S. trade secrets from major companies such as T-Mobile. Huawei Tech has faced increasing scrutiny on an international level over concerns that its tech could be used for spying. (You’re telling us the government isn’t already listening in on our phone calls?) In the meantime, the company’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada for bank fraud within the company. BNN Bloomberg
• Plugged In
Hallelujah! You can finally charge your Tesla by plugging it right into the wall at home (if you’re lucky enough to own one, that is). Musk and Co. just released a new home charger for its electric cars that allows users to plug their vehicle into a 250-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet – that’s the kind used by most home appliances, like your oven or laundry machines. Priced at $633, the “Wall Connector with 14-10 Plug” is said to charge 25% faster than its previous mobile converter model. MobileSyrup
• Tennis: Game, Set, Match
After all four of Canada’s Australian Open hopefuls made it through the first round, some players met their matches in round two. In a tough day for Canadian women, Bianca Andreescu, 18, was eliminated in three sets by Anastasija Sevastova, while Eugenie Bouchard went down to Serena Williams in straight sets despite a bit of buzz going into the match that suggested Genie could give Queen Serena a run for her money. Canada’s men, however, fared better, with Milos Raonic defeating 2014 champ Stan Wawrinka in a four-set, four-hour thriller that included a whopping 39 aces by Raonic. Earlier, Denis Shapovalov defeated Taro Daniel with 16 aces of his own. CBC
• That’s What Trump Said
Just finished binging The Office for the fourth time? Netflix just announced a new show that’s bound to fill the Michael Scott-sized void left in your heart. Inspired by a tweet from President Trump (yup), Steve Carell and Greg Daniels have created an all-new workplace comedy, spoofing Trump’s demand for a Space Force. After making said demand (which FYI isn’t possible without Congress passing new legislation), Trump followed up by ordering a combatant command, which is within his wheelhouse (if you throw enough demands at the wall, something will stick, right?). Space Force (the show) will pick up where Trump left off, following a group of misfits brought together to “defend satellites from attack” and “perform other space-related tasks.” We don’t have a release date yet, but we do know Steve Carell will star in it (and we’re praying for a Jim and Pam cameo). The Verge
• Manmade Medicine
We’re all for natural home remedies, but this is one pain reliever we won’t be testing out ourselves. A man in Ireland sought medical treatment after developing a subcutaneous abscess on his right arm. When doctors questioned the patient, he revealed he’d been injecting a monthly “dose” of semen (you read that right) into his arm to treat his lower back pain, and he’d been doing it for 18 months. (Come on.) The patient claimed to have created this “cure” independently of any medical advice (shocker), and after receiving an intravenous antimicrobial drip to treat the infection, he discharged himself…from the hospital. WJLA
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• A Canadian employee of Vancouver-based Progress Mineral Mining Company has been kidnapped in Burkina Faso in West Africa.
• Nancy Pelosi disinvites President Trump from making his State of the Union address until the government re-opens. (Yep, she can do that.)
• Apple’s playing catch up and finally releasing a US $179 smart battery case, but only for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.
• Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones has resigned to take a coaching job with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
• A sequel to the original Ghostbusters is planned for 2020 (and will totally ignore the female-led reboot from 2016.)
• Our Bestie’s Birthday
Happy birthday, Michelle Obama! The first-ever African-American First Lady — oh, and wife of President Barack Obama — celebrates her 55th birthday today.
• Tardy Party
Why doesn’t anything this fun ever happen where we are?