TODAY’S TOP STORIES
Ten years later, another hazing incident at McGill
A McGill University student says he was subjected to a hazing ritual while a member of the school’s basketball team in 2015. The incident sent the student into a “downward spiral” and he ended up leaving the team. As a result, the men’s team was put on probation for this past season and next, while the women’s team was on probation this year. McGill wouldn’t say what those probations involved.
This isn’t the first time McGill has dealt with a hazing incident. In 2005, the school was thrust into the national spotlight after an 18-year-old football player was assaulted as part of an initiation. That prompted the school to announce a “zero-tolerance” hazing policy, and the football team was suspended for the season.
“The fact that these events are still going on and not getting dealt with is astonishing for a university like McGill, which touts itself for its reputation of higher learning,” said D’Arcy McKeown, the victim of the 2005 incident. “Hazing is not conducive to higher learning. It’s not conducive to teamwork. It doesn’t help anything.”
Clark promises B.C. campaign finance reform – after the election
Amid growing criticism over political fundraising tactics, the B.C. Liberals have unveiled a plan that would see an independent panel to come up with a new system for campaign financing. But that panel wouldn’t convene until after the May provincial election, and Premier Christy Clark said whatever the model is, it won’t include public subsidies for political parties. The B.C. Liberals raised more than $12-million in donations last year, while the provincial NDP brought in more than $6-million. B.C. doesn’t impose contribution limits and also allows corporate and union donations. By contrast, federal politics, and many provinces including Ontario, have strict limits and only allow individuals to give money.
24 million would lose health coverage under Republican plan: report
The Republican overhaul of Barack Obama’s health-care legislation would cause 24 million fewer people to have health insurance by 2026 than if Obamacare were retained, according to a non-partisan congressional report. President Donald Trump’s team refuted the report, saying it doesn’t take into account all of the measures that will be phased in. But not even all Republicans fully support the GOP plan. In an open letter, four senators wrote: “Reform should not come at the cost of disruption in access to health care for our country’s most vulnerable and sickest individuals.” One major critique of the overhaul is its removal of the individual mandate that made it illegal under Obamacare for people not to have insurance. Such a move would cause young people to opt-out of an insurance plan, in turn leading to increased costs for those in poorer health.
Putin confidant at the heart of Bombardier’s Russia scandal
Last week, Swedish prosecutors filed bribery charges against three Bombardier employees. Deep in those court documents came a mention of Vladimir Yakunin, a man who ran Russian Railways. Yakunin has been linked to a businessman who set up an apparent shell company named Multiserv Overseas. Sweden is alleging that Bombardier sold train equipment to Azerbaijan via Multiserv (for subscribers).
The U.S. called Yakunin a “close confidant of Putin” and placed him on its sanctions list as part of its response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. During the Harper government, current Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called for Yakunin to be placed on Canada’s sanctions list. But in power, the Liberals haven’t added him to the list. Bombardier has acknowledged it lobbied Ottawa in 2014 to keep Yakunin off the sanctions list.
Most European stocks retreated as signs of caution started to show in markets before this week’s packed schedule of events, which includes a U.S. interest rate decision. The pound tumbled as the British Prime Minister won permission to trigger the country’s departure from the EU. Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.1 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched down, while the Shanghai composite gained 0.1 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 per cent by about 5:30 a.m. ET, though Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were down by between 0.1 and 0.3 per cent. New York futures were down. Oil traded near a three-month low as U.S. crude stockpiles were seen rising for a 10th week.
Controversial politician could win Dutch election
A far right, anti-Muslim politician could pick up the most seats when Dutch citizens head to the polls in the country’s national election tomorrow. But even if Geert Wilders does win, he’s unlikely to form a government. No single party is expected to hold a majority, and the other parties would likely build a coalition that excludes Wilders’s Party for Freedom. But his ability to carry a significant number of seats could serve as a marker of growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe following Brexit and Trump’s victory. France, Germany and Italy all have populist parties angling for greater vote shares in upcoming elections.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Why are the Dutch so riled up over immigrants?
“Why has a crazy populist seized centre stage in Wednesday’s [Dutch] election? The peroxide-headed Geert Wilders makes Kellie Leitch look like Shirley Temple. Never mind a values test. He wants to ban the Koran, shut down mosques, bar asylum-seekers, and have ‘no immigrants any more from Islamic countries.’ … the Dutch have not suddenly turned into a country of racists and xenophobes. The problem is that a significant number of immigrants have failed to integrate successfully into Dutch life. Turks and Moroccans have significantly higher unemployment and welfare rates than the general population, and young Moroccan men are disproportionately involved in crime. This is the frustration that Wilders has tapped into.” – Margaret Wente
There’s nothing binding about Christy Clark’s donations panel
“The Premier’s reluctance to fully commit to [campaign finance reform] ahead of the election gives her critics a legitimate target. What she appears to be doing is simply kicking the can down the road, giving her an out during the election campaign when her opponents hammer her on the scandalous cash-for-access political environment that is allowed to not only exist in British Columbia, but thrive. … We will see if the public buys this manoeuvre by the Liberals to quiet the storm around their troubling campaign donation ways. Or whether they can see right through a decision that ultimately binds the Liberals to absolutely nothing.” – Gary Mason
A new approach to Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s was discovered in 1906, but scientists have yet to find any success in stopping or reversing the damage dementia causes. Now, a new approach is taking shape: try to prevent it before symptoms even start surfacing. “We’re trying to keep healthy people healthy,” said a Toronto doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s research.
MOMENT IN TIME
Albert Einstein is born
March 14, 1879: His parents, Pauline and Hermann Einstein, initially wanted to name him Abraham. But the Jewish couple from Ulm, an industrial town in southwest Germany, later decided on something more secular. They kept the “A” and called him Albert. His father was a partner in a featherbed company that fell on hard times and a year later the family moved to Munich. Stories about Einstein’s lack of boyhood brilliance have been used in defence of underperformers everywhere and are frequently overstated. But even Einstein, father of relativity and the world’s most recognized scientist, attributed his insights to a failure to fathom what others accepted as common sense. “I developed so slowly that I only began to wonder about space and time when I was already grown up,” he said. “Consequently, I probed more deeply into the problem than an ordinary child would have.” – Ivan Semeniuk
Morning Update is written by Arik Ligeti.
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