Eye of the Storm

A massive tropical storm wreaks havoc on southeast Africa, a gunman opens fire on a train in the Netherlands, and more political changes in Canada.

Eye of the Storm

A massive tropical storm wreaks havoc on southeast Africa, a gunman opens fire on a train in the Netherlands, and more political changes in Canada.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, March 19, 2019 and it’s official: motherly metamorphosis is inevitable. 😲


• The Background

Late last week, one of the most devastating natural disasters of the year (thus far) hit Beira, Mozambique. Named Cyclone Idai, the tropical storm made landfall near the country’s fourth largest city on Thursday, bringing with it winds of 177 km/h, destroying almost everything in its path and causing massive flooding. Because of the storm’s effects (including affecting the country’s roadways and its ability to communicate), aid teams weren’t able to reach the city until Sunday leaving it in total disarray, and slowing the flow of information. Unfortunately, both Malawi and Mozambique are at risk of more rain over the coming days. BBC News

• What Else You Need to Know

According to Mozambique’s President Nyusi, Cyclone Idai’s death toll (though still only at 84) may soon be in the thousands. Though the impact in Beira is devastating, neighbouring cities and countries are also facing horrifying consequences from this natural disaster: At least 98 people are dead and 217 are missing in Zimbabwe, and Malawi announced 122 of its citizens have been killed as a result of the brutal flooding.

• What’s Next?

The Red Cross, the Red Crescent Society, Doctors Without Borders and several UN aid agencies are all in Beira as part of a rescue and recovery mission. Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency, and is working with local groups to help identify and rescue its citizens as soon as possible. 


• Terrifying Train Ride

At least three people were killed and another five injured yesterday morning, when a man opened fire on a train travelling through the Dutch city of Utrecht. Though the suspect initially evaded arrest, authorities tracked him down quickly, soon taking 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis into custody, along with a second suspect (though no word yet on that suspect’s role in the shooting). According to early reports, Tanis was known to police and had several previous run-ins with law enforcement. Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said officials are still trying to figure out the motive behind Tanis’s attack, but are considering it a possible terrorist attack. Several nearby cities increased security and elevated their terror threat level in response to the shooting. CNN


• Canada: Making Moves

Thanks to the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin scandal (still not sure what’s up with that? We can help), Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is getting another makeover. Two weeks after Jane Philpott announced her resignation, Joyce Murray has been announced as her replacement, taking over as president of the Treasury Board and minister of digital government. Trudeau also announced the appointment of Anne McClellan, a former Liberal justice minister and attorney general, as his new “special advisor” and has asked her to look into the questions that were raised during the SNC-Lavalin hearings (e.g., whether or not the roles of justice minister and attorney general should be held by the same person) and report back by June 30, 2019. And the appointments aren’t done just yet: Clerk of the Privy Council (and central SNC-Lavalin player) Michael Wernick said yesterday that he’ll retire early, ahead of this year’s federal election, leaving another empty spot in Trudeau’s ever-evolving cabinet. 

• World: Controlling Interest

Juan Guaido has taken another step towards the Venezuelan presidency. The opposition leader (who has been recognized by many countries as Venezuela’s true president) took control of several Venezuelan diplomatic properties in the U.S. yesterday, and anticipates taking control of another in the coming days. Guaido’s U.S. envoy, Carlos Vecchio, said the opposition now controls two buildings belonging to Venezuela’s defense ministry in Washington and one consular building in New York. Vecchio also said Guaido will soon take control of Venezuela’s embassy in Washington. Global News


“The cynical withdrawal of the Philippines from the ICC is a futile attempt to evade international justice and to halt the ICC’s work.”

Amnesty International condemns Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw his country from the International Criminal Court (which officially went into effect yesterday). Time


• Indecent Proposal

If you though Hollywood’s time in the #metoo spotlight was over, think again. Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, resigned yesterday after news broke that he’s facing an investigation into an extramarital affair he had with British actress Charlotte Kirk. The Hollywood Reporter published a report alleging Tsujihara used his power to promote Kirk’s career and to help her get cast in both Ocean’s 8 and How to Be Single. (Seriously, this is the stuff movies are made of.) In a statement, Tsujihara said he realized his “continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.” The company says the investigation into the affair will continue with Tsujihara’s cooperation despite his departure, and an interim leadership team will be appointed until a permanent replacement is determined. Tsujihara had been with WarnerMedia for more than 24 years. Variety


• Keeping Tabs on Tablets

For Apple, size no longer matters. Yesterday, the company debuted a new iPad Air with a larger screen, and introduced the first iPad mini update since 2015. The new iPad Air supports the Apple’s Smart Keyboard, and both support the Apple Pencil stylus. (Both add-ons were previously only compatible with the bigger, better iPad Pro.) The Air also boasts an even faster processor — a whopping 70% faster — than last year’s model, and the Mini will match the same souped-up specs. Both models are available now with a choice of storage capacities and options for either WiFi-only or an added cellular data plan; pricing starts at $649 for the Air and $529 for the Mini. BNN Bloomberg


• Safety First

Canadian athletes competing in dangerous sports can rest a little easier knowing that if they do suffer a head injury, they’ll get the right medical care to minimize the damage. The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees are adopting new medical guidelines for treating concussions and reducing the risk of brain injuries. The new guidelines take effect immediately and provide specific instructions for recognizing sport-related concussion symptoms, what to do if one is suspected, how to assess the severity, and steps for post-concussion management. They also advise for annual clinical assessments of healthy athletes in high-risk sports to ensure nothing is missed. CBC News


• Out of the Box

Put those blindfolds back on and be sure to look away from the light: Birdbox is making its way back into our hearts (and memes). Author John Malerman has announced the highly anticipated sequel to his breakout novel will be released on Oct. 1, 2019. Titled Malorie, the story picks up eight years after when Bird Box ends and focuses primarily on Sandra Bullock’s Malorie’s life. The news of this sequel is followed by (even more exciting) news of a film adaptation of another one of Malerman’s novels, Black Mad Wheel. The psychological thriller follows a band’s harrowing, conspiracy-filled journey on a desert mission for the U.S. Army. (Confused? Same. Intrigued? We are, too.)


• Party Hard

If you thought cherry blossoms were the best reason to take a trip to Japan in the spring, you clearly haven’t heard about the Hōnen Matsuri festival. Held every year on March 15 (sorry, you’ll have to plan your visit for 2020) at the Tagata Jinja Shrine in the city of Komaki, the festival celebrates the male anatomy in all its glory. Revelers can indulge in phallus-shaped treats (like chocolate dipped bananas covered in rainbow sprinkles and “uncircumcised” hot dogs,) while admiring the two-metre-long, 400-kilogram carved wooden penis that’s paraded through the streets by men of an “unlucky age” (whatever that means). Festival-goers are invited to pay tribute to the massive dong by giving it a kiss on the tip, and offer prayers for “a bountiful harvest” and “fertility to loved ones.” (Dick pics or it didn’t happen.) Mirror


• About Time

On March 19, 1918, U.S. Congress passed the Standard Time Act, allowing the country to implement standard time and daylight saving time, and the Interstate Commerce Commission to implement time zones. 


• Canada has extended two of its most important military missions: troops will now stay in the Ukraine through 2022 and in Iraq through 2021. 

• We’re not saying the candidate with the biggest pile of cash should win, but if that were the case, Beto O’Rourke could be the next U.S. president. The Democratic hopeful raised more than US $6.1 million for his campaign in 24 hours. 

• A new report claims the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority may have made some missteps in its approval process of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircrafts. 

• There’s good news and bad news for beauty lovers: Sephora’s launching three credit cards, but for now, they’re only available in the U.S. 

• The lineup for Toronto’s VELD electronic music festival has been released and Cardi B, Skrillex, Kyro, Loud Luxury and Zeds Dead are all on board.


• Ring of Fire

Turns out heaven hell is a place on Earth.

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