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✨ Good Morning! Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2018.
BULLETIN: FAILED EMISSIONS TEST
• The Background
Despite White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissing the U.S. government’s recent report on climate change (“it’s not based on facts”…which, FYI, is completely based on facts), those who respect science should heed this warning: Global greenhouse emissions could be between 13 and 15 billion tonnes more than they should be in 2030. (And “should be” means the level needed to keep global warming within 2°C this century.) The ninth annual U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) report, released yesterday, publishes the results of the organization’s assessment of emissions targets. Reuters
• What Else You Need to Know
While the world had a good run (we had three years of consistent decreases), greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high of 53.5 billion tonnes in 2017. If we’re going to come even close to keeping global warming where we want it to be, emissions in 2030 will need to be 25% to 55% lower than they were last year. According to the report, if the gap isn’t closed by 2030, “it is very plausible that the goal of a well below 2°C temperature rise increase is also out of reach.” (In other words, it’s not cool to be hot.) UNEP deputy executive director Joyce Msuya said “governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We are feeding this [climate change] fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.”
• What’s Next?
The findings will be discussed at the UN climate conference which starts Sunday and runs till Dec. 14. Members will put together a “rule book” on how to best implement the 2015 Paris Agreement.
• U.S.: A Big Win
Despite all the drama, Mississippi still managed to make history in its 2018 Senate race. In a runoff election that was often overshadowed by “race-related controversies,” the state elected its first female representative to Congress. Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith (who made questionable hanging comments earlier this month) defeated BIll Clinton’s former agriculture secretary, Democrat Mike Espy, by more than 70,000 votes. The win means Republicans will now hold a 53–47 majority in the Senate come January. NBC News
• U.S.: A Small Win
But it wasn’t all good news for the GOP. Yesterday, the Democrats took another seat from the Republicans, when Xochitl Torres Small defeated Yvette Herrell to take the seat in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. The win marks the Democrats’ 39th gain in the 2018 election, and brings their total number of seats to 234 (with the possibility of securing 235 by week’s end). With Small’s win, the Democrats now control all three House seats in New Mexico. CNN
• World: Crash Report
A preliminary investigation has found that an Indonesian airliner that crashed last month killing all 189 people on board was not air-worthy, and should have been grounded. The Lion Air Boeing 737 Max crashed into the Java Sea not long after taking off from Jakarta’s airport on Oct. 29. The report found that the plane had technical problems on previous flights, and offers details about what was happening in the brief time the plane was in the air, but it did not say what exactly caused the deadly crash. According to the findings, the pilots struggled with the aircraft’s automated anti-stall system, a new feature in Boeing’s Max family of planes. But Nurcahyo Utomo, aviation head at the National Transport Safety Committee, said it was “too early to conclude” whether the anti-stall system had contributed to the crash. BBC News
• World: Crash Report
Russia’s beef with the Ukraine is alive and well — and the EU is straight-up pissed about it. Yesterday, several senior politicians (including German conservative Norbert Roettgen; foreign minister of Austria, Karin Kneissel; and Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki) suggested that the bloc implement new sanctions against Russia for its aggressive actions against the Ukraine over the weekend. (ICYMI, on Sunday, Russia fired on and then captured three Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait.) Obviously, once Russia got word of the proposed sanctions, they freaked the F out, saying sanctions would “solve nothing” and that it was all Kiev’s fault. (Apparently Kiev “deliberately provoked” Russia in order to “trigger a crisis.”) EU foreign ministers are planning to discuss the crisis on Dec. 10, with EU leaders expected to vote on extending existing sanctions before New Year’s Eve. Reuters
QUOTE OF THE DAY
It is very easy for us to go back to what we were before — even to a better position. We can start the 20% enrichment activity. We can increase the amount of enriched uranium.
– Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, delivers a not-so-subtle warning to the European Union to ramp up oil trade with the country, or else it will pull out of the 2015 deal that curbed its potentially dangerous nuclear program. (Yikes.) Reuters
• Offshore Banking
Scotiabank’s 129-year Caribbean vacay is coming to an end. The Canadian bank announced yesterday it’s selling off its banking operations in nine Caribbean countries — Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines — to Trinidad and Tobago-based Republic Financial Holdings Ltd. It’s also struck a deal with Barbados-based Sagicor Financial Corp., which will take on its insurance business in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. As part of that deal, Sagicor has signed on for a 20-year insurance distribution contract, and has also agreed in a separate deal to be bought by Toronto-based Alignvest Acquisition II Corp. (Confused yet?) Following the Alginvest buy, Sagicor will continue to operate under its own brand and will be publicly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. For Scotiabank, the sales are part of a drive to renew focus on “core markets with significant scale.” BNN Bloomberg
• Playing Chicken
GM isn’t the only major company shuffling its factory game. Yesterday, Maple Leaf Foods announced it’s building a brand new $660-million fresh-poultry facility in London, Ont. — and closing three other aging plants in the province by 2022. The move will result in a net reduction of about 300 jobs, but will “enhance” the company’s ability to process higher-margin products (like air-chilled, tray-packed boneless chicken and ground poultry), thanks to the addition of state-of-the-art chicken processing technology. (Yes, that’s a real thing.) According to Maple Leaf President and CEO Michael McCain, “This is going to be, to the very best of our knowledge, the single most technologically advanced facility of its kind in the world.” Federal Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains echoed McCain’s excitement, saying the project will “keep Canada competitive in the global market and create new middle class jobs in Ontario.” HuffPost
• Bull’s-Eye 👌
Say goodbye to the notch. (So soon? We hardly knew ya.) Huawei and Samsung are both working on new smartphone designs that would trade the maligned black box for a circular cutout. The notch became a necessary evil of current generation smartphones when manufacturers answered the call from consumers for bezel-free, edge-to-edge displays, without giving up their (sometimes multiple) front-facing camera lenses. Both Huawei’s and Samsung’s leaked designs (which the companies confirmed are genuine) shift those components to the top left corner of the screen, framing the camera lens with a tight hole in the display glass. Reports say the design could make its way onto a smartphone near you as early as next month — though it remains to be seen which company will beat the other to the (hole) punch. Engadget
• Women’s Web
As we know, women are real-life superheroes in their daily lives, and another movie studio is looking to cash in on their extraordinary abilities. After Wonder Womanbecame a bona fide blockbuster, Sony is bringing a little girl power to its own movie universe — it’s apparently working on an animated Spider-Women film that will focus on three generations of powerful Spidey women. (Sign us up.) According to reports, Bek Smith will write the script and Amy Pascal (Little Women, Spider-Manfranchise) will produce. Deadline
• Butt of the Joke
When you’re about to become a dad, one thing you should probably not do is go out to a club until the wee hours the night before your wife is being induced and then drive home very drunk. Another thing you should not do is stop at a McDonald’s drive-thru at 5am (still, while very, very drunk), ask for a staff discount and then offer to pay for your meal with a sock and then a “crisp packet” (an empty chip bag), because you think you’re funny. These are both things that Shamsher Butt, a 29-year-old U.K. man, most definitely did, which resulted in him getting arrested and tossed in the drunk tank, thus missing the birth of his child. Butt has been banned from driving for 18 months and handed an £115 fine for his high jinks. According to Higher Court Advocate Alison Muir, “His wife is supportive of him but not very happy about him going out that evening and jeopardizing the family finances.” (She might want to consider suspending his license to parent too.) The Takeout
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• According to Health Canada, the consumption of human placenta products poses a risk of bacterial or viral infections in mothers or their babies.
• Talk about a green wedding! Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is engaged to John Kidder, who helped form the Green Party in B.C.
• Forget solo binge-watching, Facebook’s making it easier to watch (and debrief) with your pals with the site’s new Watch Party feature.
• The New York Times‘ famous Modern Love column is getting the TV treatment — and some famous faces have signed on to bring it to life.
• Build a Better Breakfast
It’s national french toast day! Start your hump day off right by whipping up this extra decadent version. (If you don’t have time this morning, it also makes an excellent evening dessert.)
• Fake News
Dictionary.com’s pick for its 2018 word of the year is not surprising in the least.