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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, November 23, 2018 and it turns out millennials are actually having the last laugh.
BULLETIN: SWIFT EXIT
• The Background
Despite having a really hard time in British parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit plan found one unlikely ally: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Yesterday, the two announced that they had agreed on the draft, and would now pass it off to the EU27 governments to “examine” the text. After a particularly rough month (with ministers resigning and even signs that May could be ousted), the prime minister is finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. In a statement to the media, May said that “[A] deal is within our grasp” and that she’s “determined to deliver it.” Politico
• What Else You Need to Know
The 26-page political declaration complements the 585-page Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed to last week. (Who has time to read these things?) The Withdrawal Agreement outlines the split, while this one outlines the post-split relationship and rules. (We could use one of those for our exes.) The new document calls for an “ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership” between the two. Some notable specifics include a “free trade area, combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition”; reneging on the Northern Ireland backstop provision, meaning there won’t be a hard border, and possible cooperation with EU agencies like the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The two would also allow visa-free travel and visitors would likely be able to stay “for purposes such as research, study, training and youth exchanges.”
• What’s Next?
May still has quite a few hurdles to clear with her biggest critics and toughest opponents on home soil. (Oh, and in Spain, where the government apparently has a big problem with some of the details of the deal.) Even if the EU27 agree to endorse the plan at Sunday’s economic summit, there’s a good chance May will still face challenges getting the deal through Britain’s House of Commons. If it doesn’t make it through, May’s time as prime minister could be over and Britain could leave the EU without solidifying any terms or having a deal in place.
• All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
Amtrak passengers on a U.S.-bound train from Montreal were left (briefly) stranded after the train broke in two on its way to New York City. The train was just outside Albany when two of its cars separated from the rest of the train following a popping sound, visible sparks and the smell of burning. Passenger Reuben Clark pulled the emergency braking system on the detached cars, which had been quickly picking up speed on the tracks. (In other words: our worst nightmare.) A second train was dispatched to rescue the stranded passengers and deliver them safely to New York City in time for U.S. Thanksgiving. (And more importantly: Black Friday.) No word yet on what caused the malfunction. Global News
• Canada: The Long Hand of the Law
Yesterday, they said it wasn’t a sure thing — but today it sure as hell is looking like one. Again, in a quick turn of events, the Liberals tabled back-to-work legislation for Canada Post yesterday, saying that while the feds are keeping their fingers crossed for a resolution, the strike is causing major headaches for “small businesses, people in rural and remote communities and low-income Canadians relying on cheques to pay bills.” Labour Minister Patty Hadju said the government has a responsibility to act “when a strike or a lockout is affecting thousands, or even millions of people.” The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) clearly doesn’t agree. The union said the government is “violating its members’ constitutional rights” by pushing the emergency legislation. CBC News
• U.S.: Twitter Tantrums
President Trump’s most recent tirade comes as the migrant caravan of 4,000 Central Americans approaches the Mexico-U.S. border, which Trump has threatened to close – completely. (So much for that recent trade deal, eh?) After his attempts at refusing the asylum seekers were shut down by a federal judge, Trump has changed tactics, threatening to close cross-border trading of all kinds between the U.S. and Mexico if the situation gets out of hand. His attacks, carried out on Twitter (of course), also forewarned of a potential government shutdown next month if more money isn’t provided for the border wall. (Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.) BBC News
• World: (Un)Timely Demise
The Russian military intelligence was dealt a major blow yesterday, when its head of the Main Directorate of the General Staff, Igor Korobov, passed away from a “serious and prolonged illness.” Korobov was 62 and had served as head of the GRU since 2016, when his predecessor died in 2016 at the age of 58 of unknown causes. (Nothing to see here.) Korobov’s death comes amidst Western accusations that the GRU has been behind a series of attacks on international targets, such as the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England earlier this year. Korobov had apparently participated in a cyber meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin but the two had not recently met face-to-face. The Russian president has already extended his condolences to Korobov’s family. CNN
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Greg Reeves and Fr. Thompson have always put the welfare, education and formation of our students first – and they do so once again today.
– Michael Forsayeth, the Chair of the Board of Directors at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, announcing that both the president and the principal had resigned amidst the sexual assault investigation. Global News
• Fashion Fiasco
Dolce & Gabbana’s major Shanghai fashion event was called off this week after offensive language and images were used in two separate exchanges with the company’s Instagram account. One of the exchanges, in which co-founder Stefano Gabbana refers to China, was quickly circulated and led to huge backlash from Chinese retailers and e-commerce sites, who were quick to pull the fashion line’s merchandise. D&G blamed the posts on hackers, but with many Chinese celebrities threatening to boycott, they decided to pull the plug on what was billed to be one of the brand’s biggest events outside of Italy. (Yikes.) But it gets worse: the Instagram oops occurred after D&G’s promo videos for the event were dubbed “racist” by the Chinese. (Do you smell smoke? Because we think D&G just got burned.) CNBC
• Broncos Brotherhood
It was a bittersweet reunion for two Humboldt hockey players who were left paralyzed after the Humboldt Broncos were involved in a devastating bus crash when a semi-trailer ran through the stop sign at a rural intersection, killing 16 people and injuring 13 others. Months later, teammates Ryan Straschnitzki and Jacob Wasserman will be together again on the ice for the first time since April’s Junior Hockey League playoffs in Saskatchewan. They have both turned to sledge hockey since the accident and have been invited to play in an exhibition game at the University of Denver today. The weekend-long exhibition also includes other activities like attending an NFL game, but it’s the on-ice reunion that the two young men share the most excitement for. (We’re not crying, you’re crying!) TSN
• Fans Unite
‘Tis the season of giving — and for one hockey fan, that gift came in the form of a brand-new kidney. Thirty-one-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins fan, Kelly Sowatsky, didn’t feel well on Christmas Eve 2015, and soon found herself in the hospital with septicemia. She was told her kidney function had dropped to 7% and that she may have to wait five years for a new kidney. Sowatsky was determined to beat the odds, and turned to her hockey family to make it happen. Attending a game last March, Sowatsky put together a sign that asked for a lot more then a puck: “Calling All Hockey Fans! I Need A Kidney! Kidney! Kidney! Gratefully Yours, Kelly.” The Penguins’ social media team saw the sign and tweeted it out to their 1.83 million followers. Fellow hockey fan Jeff Lynd, all the way out in Delaware, saw the sign and stepped up. Saying he saw “desperation” and “courage,” Lynd offered up his kidney — and eight months later, Sowatsky’s got a new lease on her hockey-loving life. Sportsnet
• Generous Gift
If there’s one thing Gwynnie and her beloved Goop is known for, it’s being totally out of touch with the average Joe (not to be confused with our very own Average Jo). From a $15,000 vibrator to the infamous jade eggs, Goop’s carved out its niche by recommending its readers buy the most
ridiculous over-the-top products it can think of. And the brand didn’t disappoint with its 2018 Gift Guide. The most absurd product you’ll find on GP’s suggested gift list? An entire Spanish village that’ll cost you a cool $200K. The steal-of-a-holiday-deal gets you a village complete with three houses, electricity, a functioning water system, and an oven to bake bread. If that’s a little outside your Christmas budget, Gwynnie also suggests coughing up $8K for a Hermes surfboard. (We’ll get right on that.) Travel + Leisure
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Yesterday, the Ford government announced an overhaul to Ontario’s social assistance program, where those who receive disability support will get to keep more of the money, but it might be harder to qualify.
• The cord-cutting struggle is really, really, real. ESPN just announced it lost two million subscribers this year.
• Forget cash or credit, AliPay and WePay will now be accepted at 35 7-Eleven locations across Canada.
• Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas are already in India ahead of their rumoured nuptials next weekend.
• Jersey Shore‘s getting a new addition: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is pregnantwith her third child.
• Back in Black
• Naughty or Nice
Tell us something we don’t know.