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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, January 25, 2019 and we’re feeling kinda bad for Quebec.
BULLETIN: AT A STANDSTILL
• The Background
The White House game of pitting Democrats against Republicans over the border wall crisis has come to another nil-nil draw after a vote to reopen the U.S. government without funding for the border wall was rejected in the Senate. The motion needed 60 votes to advance but fell short at 52–44, perhaps out of fear that POTUS would kibosh it just like he did a similar measure back in December. It follows another failed measure proposed by Trump that called for $5.6 billion in funding for his border wall, as well as new measures to make immigration to the U.S. more difficult. (Surprise, surprise.) Globe and Mail
• What Else You Need to Know
With these new rejections, and the government shutdown entering its sixth consecutive week (and second consecutive payday where 800,000 federal workers won’t receive their paycheques), House Democrats are trying to find some common ground. They’re apparently in talks to put $5.2 billion towards a “smart wall” that will include drones, sensors, and fencing (but nothing concrete) in an attempt to appease the president and reopen government. As for Trump, he’s apparently preparing a draft national emergency order which would declare an emergency along the country’s southern border, which would allow him to pull $7 billion for the wall without Congress’s approval.
• What’s Next?
Both sides have been sent back to the drawing table to come up with something that will make it through the Senate. Until then, the government will stay partially shutdown and there will be no State of the Union address.
• World: A Country in Chaos
Tensions in Venezuela (which are being felt around the world) continued to rise yesterday, as the country’s military confirmed its allegiance to President Nicolas Maduro, despite a call for support from Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó. Vladimir Padrino López, the head of Venezuela’s armed forces, said Guaidó’s behaviour should be considered a coup. International responses to the political crisis continued to pour in, with Russia reaffirming its support for Maduro, and warning the United States not to get involved. The U.S. was not going to be pushed around by Russia, so Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly doubled down on America’s stance, urging other countries to reject Maduro and “align themselves with democracy.” New York Times
• World: You Can(‘t) Sit With Us
A 27-year-long grudge is about to be laid to rest over in the Mediterranean when the Greek government votes to ratify the Prespes Agreement today, which will allow the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to change its name (it’s currently kind of a mouthful) and lift the NATO and EU vetoes that Greece had placed on FYROM (soon to be known as North Macedonia). The vote has been pushed one day (it was supposed to happen yesterday) to allow more time for debate. The agreement has been riddled with political turmoil, including two votes of confidence for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in seven months. The key issue at the centre of all the raucous is identity. “[W]e do not want to open the door to one of the states to have the right to monopolise the Macedonian identity,” international law and foreign policy professor Angelos Syrigos said in a statement. (In other words, it looks like Greece has some self-image issues.) Al Jazeera
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
True, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest but the idea that it’s pay cheque or zero is not a really valid idea.
– U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, expressing confusion as to why unpaid federal workers are hitting up food banks during the government shutdown. (Spoken like a true, out of touch billionaire.) Business Insider
• Done Deal
Canada’s focusing on the future with an upcoming $40-million research partnership with Nokia. The deal between Ottawa and the Finnish telecom giant, announced yesterday, will focus on developing 5G wireless tech. It’s a timely move for the federal government as it begins a massive security review of the potential involvement of Chinese telecom giant Huawei (Nokia’s rival) in their planned fifth-generation mobile network. (Things between Canada and China have been…tense, to say the least.) The Nokia deal will support the more than 2,000 Nokia employees already based in Ontario and create around 237 new positions. BNN Bloomberg
• Listen Up!
Let’s be real: most of us wouldn’t survive our day without headphones to block out the surrounding world (#sorrynotsorry), and both Sonos and Apple hear that. Sonos is reportedly working on wireless over-ear headphones that will be compatible with various voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. However, it’s not yet known what kind of tech Sonos plans to use to make their wireless headphones, you know, wireless, since they’re known to shun Bluetooth for their in-home speakers. Apple is also rumoured to finally be coming out with their own set of wireless over-ear headphones that will feature noise cancellation and the successor to their Bluetooth connecting W1 chip (🙌). If that weren’t enough excitement, Apple’s also planning to launch a new version of AirPods that offer health-monitoring functions. The Apple headphones could both be out this year, while Sonos plans to put their headphones on the market by 2020.
• Hockey: Big Shots
We’re halfway through the NHL season, and while anyone who follows the sport knows who’s playing their best, the halfway point means it’s time for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to officially name the league’s biggest stars. More than 125 writers representing all 31 teams vote on 10 categories, which range from MVP to best defenceman. This year, the Hart Trophy (a.k.a. MVP) went to Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning, with runners-up Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. The Norris Trophy (a.k.a. best defenceman) went to Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames, with runners-up Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks. And the Selke Trophy (a.k.a. best forward) went to Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, with runners-up Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers and Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators. You can see the rest of the award winners here.
• Colour Us Happy
For the first time in 25 years, the cover of Vanity Fair‘s Hollywood issue features mostly people of colour. (The majority of them are on the fold-out…but still!) It also features a 5:6 ratio of women to men. The cover has been a way to measure progress in the past, and this year reflects the changes under new editorial leadership, with Radhika Jones at the helm. From left to right, the cover features Chadwick Boseman, Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Nicholas Hoult, Yalitza Aparicio, Rami Malek, Regina King, John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Tessa Thompson, and Henry Golding. “The actors who are within the pages of this issue give new breath to what Hollywood is and what Hollywood is going to be,” Boseman said. (Wakanda forever!) Jezebel
• Hey Mister
Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey got hella excited yesterday when E.L. James announced that she’s releasing a new book. Staying true to her brand, the new book is called The Mister and promises more of everything that fans loved about the Fifty Shades series (think romance, sex, luxe lifestyles and more). While a lot of the details sound familiar (a “Cinderella story for the 21st century,” a “passionate new romance”) the new book does make one major change: instead of the U.S., it takes place “between London, Cornwall, and the Balkans.” The story follows Maxim Trevelyan, a “privileged and aristocratic” Brit, and Alessia Demachi, a “mysterious, talented, and beautiful” new Londoner who has a troubled past. The Mister will hit book stores in April. Vogue
• Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It’s no secret that Earth has a serious plastic problem, and those responsible are finally doing something to fix it. Yesterday, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, some of the biggest packaged goods manufacturers (Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Danone, Mars Petcare, Mondelēz International and others) announced that they were partnering on a project known as Loop, which will offer some of their most popular products in reusable packaging. (The idea is that once you finish something, you leave the empty container on your doorstep in a Loop tote. It’s then picked up by a delivery service, cleaned and refilled, and shipped out to consumers again.) The group is testing the idea starting in May, when they’ll roll it out to several thousand consumers in New York and Paris. London will come later in 2019, and then Toronto, Tokyo and San Francisco in 2020. CNN
• Parent Trap
For most college kids, seeing their parents is usually far down on the priority list, somewhere after classes, studying, partying, eating, sleeping, and more partying. But while most will suck it up and even enjoy (gasp!) a visit every so often, one student was having none of it — and went to the most extreme lengths possible to keep his parents away. How did he manage that, you ask? By calling in a bomb threat on his parents’ flight. The faux threat forced the crew to turn the plane around, effectively preventing the student’s parents from visiting. But while the 23-year-old did manage to keep his parents away from the school, he was caught, charged and is now facing a jail term of up to five years and a €75,000 fine. (Should have just had lunch with them, no?) Mirror
⚡️STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• The publisher and editor of Toronto-Based Your Ward News were both convicted yesterday of wilfully inciting hatred against women and Jews. The two will be sentenced on April 26.
• For the first time since 2015, Rogers Communications increased its dividend yesterday, but CEO Joe Natale said it might be awhile before they hike the payout again.
• Apple News has finally made its way across the border. The company’s news service was released yesterday to developers as part of iOS 12.2 beta.
• Looks like Suits couldn’t survive without Meghan. The legal drama that made Markle an honorary Canadian is wrapping up after its ninth season.
• The Golden Age of TV
On Jan. 25, 1949, the very first Emmy Awards were presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club. However, they only honoured TV shows produced and aired in the Los Angeles area until the 1950s.
• Cool Moves
Elsa’s got nothing on this dancing duo.