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Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe and Mail.

In this issue, Kathryn Blaze Baum and Tu Thanh Ha report on how slow-moving regulatory systems and resistance to change by governments and industry have left building code standards decades behind. “It was important for us to do this because the buildings that we construct today are the same ones that will be standing 100 years from now,” Kathryn said. It was challenging to understand the process, which she described as a “bureaucratic, cumbersome, convoluted and complex, slow-moving machine.” The reporters were shocked to discover such an unprepared patchwork, made even more confusing when the federal government changed the governance structure and how it goes about creating national model codes mid-investigation. All in all, the story took almost five months to complete and around 75 interviews, with Ha ending up learning how to extract data from websites through the use of coding – a tool known as “webscraping” – to pore over nearly 1,600 proposals submitted to national code-makers from the last 15 years.

Andrea Woo, meanwhile, looks at B.C.’s coming push to decriminalize simple possession – a critical step, supporters say, in overhauling punitive drug laws that have caused more harm than good. But detractors of the pilot project fear it could paint drug use as permissible rather than encourage people to seek treatment.

And Mark MacKinnon embeds with a Ukrainian volunteer unit called the Black Tulips, responsible for helping repatriate those who died risking their lives for the country.

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Code minimum: Your home isn’t built for extreme weather

Stage smoke helps to illustrate the cyclone of wind created by 106 fans at the WindEEE dome a Western University research facility in London, Ont.Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Across the country, extreme weather events are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity. In this new world, the way the places in which we live, work and play are designed and built becomes more important than ever. Building codes, which set minimum standards for structural protection, have become an instrumental tool that could save lives and property, but if they don’t adequately take climate change into account, we’re setting up our infrastructure and systems for failure. Read on as The Globe interviews dozens of engineers, architects, builders, researchers, meteorologists, inspectors and government officials to better understand how well building codes across the country protect us.

CI Financial’s grand plans for U.S. expansion leave Canada behind

Kurt MacAlpine, the CEO of CI Financial, in downtown Toronto on Dec. 20, 2019.Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

Canada’s largest independent asset manager is betting the house on an expansion in the United States, acquiring more than 30 U.S. wealth management companies for $2.85-billion – and taking on billions in debt over the last three years. Now, unhappy shareholders are sending signals that chief executive officer Kurt MacAlpine’s grand U.S. plans aren’t working out.

As B.C.’s decriminalization pilot project takes hold, political hopes collide with public fears

Police speak to a man and woman on East Hastings in Vancouver's downtown eastside on Feb 7, 2019.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

British Columbia is on the cusp of monumental policy shift: when a legal change takes effect Tuesday, it will become the first province in Canada to decriminalize simple possession. While many police departments have moved away from arresting and recommending charges for possession alone in recent years, officers will now also stop confiscating illegal drugs – a standard practice throughout their careers. B.C. is hopeful it will diminish the stigma of addiction and motivate those struggling with drug use to seek help, but some municipal leaders fear it will have the opposite effect.

Ukrainian volunteer unit braves minefields to bring back remains of the dead

Black Tulip volunteers carry the remains of a dead Russian soldier in Dovhenke, Ukraine, Jan. 20.Anton Skyba/The Globe and Mail

The Black Tulips, a team of volunteer body collectors, retrieve and examine the dead Russians with a purpose: to help bring fallen Ukrainian soldiers home. It’s not a task without risk, with corpses potentially booby-trapped. When the bodies are found, the volunteers take them to a specialized morgue, which sends DNA evidence, as well as the location where the dead were found, to the Russian side. If Russia accepts the fallen soldiers as one of its own, they’re added to a list for a potential exchange of the dead.

Opinion: ChatGPT has convinced users that it thinks like a person. Unlike humans, it has no sense of the real world


Many have fallen under the spell of the buzzed-about chatbot, spending untold hours probing its mind and trying to uncover its flaws. But like the Mechanical Turk, the game-playing robot pitched as a complex automaton with the mind of a chess master that turned out to be a hoax, you’ll find nothing there, Wayne McPhail argues. ChatGPT isn’t thinking at all. What it’s doing is searching, at a blistering pace, McPhail writes, through the trillions of linguistic connections it’s created by scanning mountains of human-generated content.

Thousands of artifacts to be returned to First Nations after years boxed away in an Ottawa building

A pair of Meadowood cache blades, made on Onondaga chert which are estimated to be between 2,500 to 3,000 years old, Ottawa, Jan. 23, 2023.Spencer Colby/The Globe and Mail

Word of the existence of a cache containing thousands of pre-contact artifacts had long circulated among Indigenous peoples. Except for a coterie of archaeologists and representatives of Algonquin First Nations, few had ever laid eyes on the artifacts. For years, around 300,000 finds – ranging from arrow heads to canoe-making tools – had been stashed away in a converted office in the National Capital Commission, just steps from Parliament. Now, that’s all about to change.

A forever changing tiger, Toronto restaurateur Charles Khabouth starts over in Miami

Amal in Miami is a sister restaurant to the one he owns by the same name in Yorkville.Maxime Bocken/Handout

Charles Khabouth doesn’t like things easy. After decades of making a name for himself in Toronto, the restaurateur and nightclub owner has expanded his offering in Miami, a city that tends to turns its nose up at restaurants that arrived from elsewhere. The risks he’s taken have certainly turned heads. In 1982, he survived a near-disastrous PR stunt when a tiger he rented to drum up publicity smashed its glass enclosure, taking swipes through the bars at pedestrians. That tiger has defined his work ethos, he says, in his search for one thing that’ll make his places different, and hopefully, better.

Why pro boxing is enjoying a resurgence in Ontario

From the left: Profesional boxers Melinda Watpool, Sukhdeep Singh Batt and Brandon Cook at the Pickering Casino Resort, in Pickering, Ont., on Jan. 25.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Once considered moribund, pro boxing has begun its ascent back into public consciousness – at least as niche sports obsession. The renewed interest has been boosted in part by the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, new venues and new ways of distributing content online. Though Toronto is far from becoming “Las Vegas North,” the numbers point to a resurgence: more shows are being held, to sold-out crowds.

Drawn from the Headlines

Illustration by Anya Ivanenko