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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, March 11, 2019 and our sodium intake is about to skyrocket.
BULLETIN: CRASH LANDING
• The Background
All 157 people aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight were killed when the plane crashed suddenly just minutes after take-off. The flight was bound for Nairobi, Kenya when it took off from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport early Sunday morning, but only made it about 50 kilometres before a malfunction caused the devastating failure. The 149 passengers (and eight crew members) included people of more than 30 nationalities, with 18 Canadians among them. Those who have been identified thus far include former Calgary-Kenya association president, Derrick Lwugi; Edmonton mother Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and her five-year old daughter Safiya; and Carleton University professor, Pius Adesanmi. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
This is the second time in less than six months that this particular model of aircraft — a Boeing 737 MAX 8 — has been involved in a majorly fatal crash. (The first was a Lion Air flight that plummeted into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia in October.) Even more concerning, both planes were brand-new before their lethal voyages, and both went down less than 15 minutes after take-off. Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s largest carrier and — until now — has had a stellar safety record.
• What’s Next?
The airline is working with Ethiopian authorities and Boeing to investigate the exact cause of the crash. Says CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, “At this stage we cannot rule out anything.” Search crews at the crash site are still looking for the plane’s flight-data recorder, and Red Cross teams are helping with the search for bodies. Ethiopian officials have declared today a national day of mourning.
• Fifth Time’s Not a Charm
Algerians continued to protest over the weekend, still upset with the news that their current president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is planning to seek a fifth term in the spring. The 82-year-old has been in the role for 20 years despite suffering a stroke in 2013, and has barely been seen in public since. Bouteflika was reported to have spent several weeks in a hospital in Switzerland, returning to the Algerian capital yesterday. The reason behind the (generally peaceful) demonstrations? Algerians suspect corruption in their governing party and are angry about their limited economic opportunities. BBC News
• U.S.: Hard Questions
Last night, Americans got their first look at three of the country’s Democratic presidential candidates. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, all participated in a town hall-type Q&A at SXSW in Texas. Hosted by CNN, the candidates took questions from the crowd for almost four hours, discussing a range of topics including medicare; universal health care; the electoral college (Buttigieg wants to get rid of it); the Supreme Court; nuclear threats against the U.S. (Gabbard’s worried about it); Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent tweets (Gabbard doesn’t think Omar was “trying to offend” anyone); marijuana; and the importance of LGBTQ rights. (Thank goodness everyone agreed on that one 🙏🏼). CNN
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the Nation-State Law that we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People — and them alone.
– Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu issues “an important correction” in response to Israeli actress Rotem Sela’s (somehow controversial) statement on Instagram that Arab citizens “are human beings” deserving of equal treatment in the country. Haaretz
• A GB Don’t Come for Free
Feeling gouged every month when you get your cellphone bill? Relief is coming — in the form of data-only plans. (Who uses their phone to call people anymore anyway?) You’re not imagining it — compared to the rest of the world, what Canadians pay for their wireless plans amounts to highway robbery, so after being ordered by the CRTC to offer lower-priced plans, Virgin, Koodo and Public (the budget offshoots of Bell, Telus and, uh, Telus again) have finally made some of these options available to the public. The good news? You can get connected for about $30/month. The bad news? One GB isn’t going to get you very far. iPhone in Canada
• Listen Up
If your password is still “password,” maybe this latest hack will finally convince you to change it to something a little more secure. Citrix, a software company that provides services and supports to 400,000 companies worldwide (as well as various U.S. federal government agencies) has experienced a security breach, reportedly by Iranian hackers. The FBI advised the company of the possible hack earlier last week, and suspected that the perpetrators gained access to the network by finding and using weak passwords. It’s currently unknown how many users have been impacted, but given the number of companies Citrix works with and somewhere between 6 and 10 TB of data stolen, the fallout could be quite severe. Forbes
• Curling: Battle of Alberta
Curling fans in Alberta were treated to quite a show last night when two of the province’s top teams faced off in the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier Championship. Kevin Koe took his team (hailing from Calgary) to the top, beating Brendan Bottcher’s team (hailing from Edmonton) 4–3. With the win, Koe and team will represent Canada at the men’s world curling championship (March 30 to April 7 in Lethbridge, AB) and guarantee themselves a return trip to the Tim Hortons Brier in 2020. Sportsnet
• Because She’s Worth It
J. Lo said yes to a huge 15-carat, emerald-cut diamond ring over the weekend, after boyfriend Alex Rodriguez popped the question. The two lovebirds took to Instagram on Saturday to share the happy news (putting out an engagement announcement in the New York Times would take too long) and pictures of the giant rock, valued at a stunning $1.4 million. (Who ever said love don’t cost a thing?) And in what was evidently a very busy weekend for celebrity weddings, Lea Michele (and beau Zandy Reich), and Chance the Rapper (and his now-wife Kirsten Corley) both tied the knot on Saturday. ‘Tis the season of love, after all.
• The Great Escape
You know what they say: if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Well in this case, said kitchen is actually a boardroom. According to reports, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently, maybe, possibly has a “panic chute” located under his conference room for when he needs to disappear in a hurry. (Dodging friend requests, Mark?) But to be real, with numerous reports of hacks, breaches and scandals, Zuckerberg’s been the target of multiple death threats, and the company has approved a budget of $10 million for security for the CEO and his family. Facebook has not confirmed or denied the existence of this secret passageway (fair enough…if they did, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore). Business Insider
We’re not saying it was planned that National Napping Day falls the day after Daylight Saving Time took effect, but it sure is a convenient coincidence (and the perfect opportunity to take back that hour of sleep).
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Citizens of North Korea went to the polls yesterday to vote in the next session of the country’s legislature. (But with just one state-sanctioned candidate per seat, they didn’t have much choice.)
• Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says job automation shouldn’t scare us — but the economic structures that say being jobless means “you are left to die” should.
• Rumour has it Google is working on a brand new gaming console and here’s the leaked controller design patent to prove it.
• Toronto, get ready to keep your eyes peeled for local Drake sightings: Canada’s basketball team (a.k.a. the Raptors) have officially clinched a spotin the NBA playoffs.
• It’s official: Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct related to his January “attack.”
• Pine in the Arse
Talk about a fruit farce.