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Morning Update newsletter: Doug Ford takes reins of Ontario PC party, China's Xi one step closer to ruling for life

Doug Ford attends the Ontario Progressive Conservative Leardership announcement.

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Doug Ford takes reins of Ontario Progressive Conservatives as Christine Elliott concedes

Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, brother of late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, is now the undisputed leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. His chief rival for the job, former Tory MPP Christine Elliott, dropped her appeal of the results and decided not to challenge his victory in the court system. The voting process, which was hurried and marred by confusion, was the culmination of a tumultuous and quick leadership race that was kicked off after former leader Patrick Brown resigned in January.

On Saturday, party supporters gathered in Markham, Ont. to hear the results of the leadership race but were told to go home without a final decision. They were supposed to have learned who their new leader was by 4 p.m. It wasn't until several hours later that supporters found out from the party who would be leading them into this June's provincial election. The Globe has the inside story of how a chaotic ballot dispute and a new online voting system derailed the party's plans to smoothly announce a new leader.

Shachi Kurl writes that anything can happen next: "That candidates often defy the odds bears reminding. Christy Clark's political comeback in 2013 is legendary. Greg Selinger recovered from an insurmountable deficit in 2011, to say nothing of the Ontario Liberals' own ability to pull rabbits out of hats, twice."

Lori Turnbull writes that unity may be the internal slogan, but it will be harder to achieve in reality: "The party needs a strategy for, literally, keeping it together. Mr. Ford must make clear his genuine desire to build a team around him and to strike a positive, constructive tone with caucus members, who just want to put this whole thing behind them and get to the business of campaigning and, perhaps, governing. "

Marcus Gee writes that Doug will be Doug: "Remember what everyone said when Mr. Trump won his famous victory. He may mellow with time. He may become more presidential once he bears the burden of office. The apparatus of government will keep him in line. Cooler, cleverer heads around him will prevail. They said the same sorts of things when Rob Ford came to office. They will no doubt say the same things as his handlers polish and burnish Doug into something that looks like a possible premier. Don't believe it for a second. Just as Donald will always be Donald, Doug will be Doug."

Adam Radwanski writes that the stakes are raised for June: "Conservatism may have just taken the kind of dark turn that keeps even unpopular Liberals in power. Or the sorts of people Mr. Ford would dismiss as elites may have just lost their ability to feel smug when casting their eyes south of the border. Voters will have a lot on their shoulders, in three months' time."

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China sweeps away concerns about one-man rule, clearing way for Xi Jinping to rule for life

In the end there were two people that stood against Chinese President Xi Jinping, voting against the constitutional amendment that abolished term limits. Ultimately, Mr. Xi's political machine swept away their concerns — and those of lawyers, labour activists and human rights advocates — who have spoken out against his consolidation of power. The slide toward one-man rule has fuelled concern that China's communist party is eroding efforts to guard against the excesses of autocratic leadership. For example, China is also stepping up its internet censorship of criticism against Mr. Xi. Some who have dared to question his state-media-crafted image are facing more serious consequences, including surprise visits from the authorities. (for subscribers)

Special election in Pennsylvania a test of loyalty to Trump, GOP

In Southwestern Pennsylvania, a deep-red district that went handily for U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012, is in the midst of a special election campaign. The district, PA-18, votes on Tuesday and is in the heart of steel and coal country. The Globe's Washington correspondent Adrian Morrow travelled to the district this past weekend to better understand the elements at play in an area that Democrats are trying to recapture, and Republicans are trying to hold onto.

David Shribman writes that "this is the week Washington and the world will seek answers to some of the most vital and pressing questions prompted by Mr. Trump's ascendancy."

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The long road to fixing Facebook

Fake news. Russian bots. Privacy concerns. Facebook insists it can solve its own problems but critics are calling for increased regulation. Can the social-media giant even pause to solve its problems? The Globe's U.S. Correspondent Tamsin McMahon reports from California

MORNING MARKETS

Stocks rise

Global stocks surged to a two-week high on Monday after strong U.S. jobs data at the end of last week helped take the edge off investors' concerns about the potential outbreak of a trade war between the United States and other major economies. Tokyo's Nikkei gained 1.7 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 1.9 per cent, and the Shanghai composite 0.6 per cent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was up marginally by about 6 a.m. ET, with Germany's DAX and the Paris CAC 40 up by between 0.3 and 0.7 per cent. New York futures were up, and the Canadian dollar was at just about 78 US cents. Oil prices fell on expectations that U.S. output will rise this year.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Weaponizing hunger is a new low for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

"The current economic crisis has been used as an opportunity to manipulate the poorest people's needs for political support and discipline. Contrary to the government rhetoric, Mr. Maduro's government has reduced or eliminated the policies of social protection. They have centered their social policy in a militarized food-distribution network geared toward political control. For the May elections to satisfy minimum fairness principles, at the very least, the government must allow international humanitarian support channelled through independent organizations. In addition, a crucial guarantee would be dismantling the focal points of surveillance and control." – Antulio Rosales

Underinvestment in critical rail, pipeline infrastructure could cost Canada billions

"Justin Trudeau loves to talk about artificial intelligence, superclusters and quantum computing. Just last week, the Prime Minister met up with TV personality Bill Nye (The Science Guy) to chat about these and other futuristic challenges. Unfortunately, Mr. Trudeau is now grappling with a decidedly low-tech crisis: getting a big 2017 grain crop to global customers over a clogged rail network." – Barrie McKenna

End supply management in Canada, but do it fairly

"Free trade's benefits are spread widely across society, but it leaves pockets of victims, too. Ending supply management abruptly risks being a prime example of that. But by doing it generously, Canada could show voters at home and abroad that it's possible to have globalization with a human face." – Globe and Mail editorial board

HEALTH PRIMER

How can you help an overweight child? Start by dropping the 'D' word

It's natural to be concerned about repercussions for long-term health if your child is overweight or obese. But solutions need to be approached in the right way, and a big part of that is by avoiding talk of calories or a diet. Recent studies find the ways we address conversations around weight control within the family can engender unhealthy weight-control behaviours well into adulthood.

MOMENT IN TIME

March 12, 1894: First bottle of coke sold

If you could put it in a bottle and sell it, you'd make a million. At least with Coca-Cola, you could. And they did. The world's most popular soft drink was first brewed in 1886 by Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton, who devised a sweet flavoured syrup that was hand mixed with carbonated water and served at local soda fountains for the then-princely sum of five cents a glass. Seeing the potential in making the drink more widely available, Joseph Biedenharn installed bottling machinery in the rear of his soda fountain operation in Vicksburg, Tenn., in 1894. Five years later, three businessmen from Chattanooga, Tenn., acquired exclusive bottling rights for $1, laying the foundation for a Coca-Cola bottling empire to serve the masses, with more than 400 plants churning out "the real thing" by 1909. Today, more than 1.9 billion Cokes are quaffed across the world every day, mostly from cans or plastic bottles, but it was that first bottle that helped make Coca-Cola one of the world's most iconic brands. While the top four most valuable, according to Forbes, are tech giants, coming in at No. 5, is Coke. – Ian Morfitt

Morning Update was written by Mayaz Alam.

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