The Globe and Mail

April 15, 2024

Good morning,

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews are making a vow that their children will never join fellow Israelis in the armed forces, filling the streets in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighbourhood near a military recruitment centre in protest of the country’s mandatory conscription.

Their protest was a response to a recent decision from Israel’s Supreme Court that ordered the country’s leaders to end a decades-long exemption from mandatory military service for the ultra-Orthodox community. This exemption is a divisive political issue entwined with profound issues of Jewish identity – one that has become all the more urgent amid the war in Gaza, and has placed into jeopardy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grasp on power.

Even as ultra-Orthodox Jews protest, there are signs of a potential compromise that could allow the Prime Minister to satisfy an Israeli public that has demanded change. Polling shows that nearly three-quarters of Jews in Israel support a new conscription regime that would end the exemption for strictly Orthodox Jews, known in Hebrew as Haredis, who have been allowed to avoid military service while enrolled in full-time Torah studies. Most Israeli Jewish men are conscripted at 18 and required to serve in the military for at least 32 months. Women serve at least two years.

Read more:

Israeli police disperse Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and youth during a protest against Israeli army conscription outside an army recruitment office in Jerusalem on April 11, 2024.
MENAHEM KAHANA/Getty Images

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Swaths of the current media landscape trace back to O.J. Simpson – everything from sports stars as human brands to true-crime podcasts. He can even take credit for launching the Kardashians. Simpson, who died of cancer Wednesday at the age of 76, was best known for his arrest, trial and 1995 acquittal for murdering his former wife (although he was found responsible for her death in a civil lawsuit and was later imprisoned for armed robbery and kidnapping).

But he was in many ways the indicative man of his time – a star athlete, a pin-up, a gadabout, a pitchman and a movie star, as well as the most famous unconvicted American criminal since John Wilkes Booth.

Read more:

Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson reacts after learning he was granted parole at Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on July 20, 2017.
Jason Bean/The Associated Press

British Columbia’s hospitals will soon have designated spaces for patients with substance-use disorders to consume illicit drugs, a requirement prompted by concerns that an increase in such activity in prohibited hospital areas was putting health care workers at risk.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced this week that the province would create a task force to standardize rules and create “active supports” to help patients manage their addictions while in care.

The move is the latest in a province whose approach to substance use has made it an outlier in the country. B.C. is the only jurisdiction in Canada to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit substances, and take a provincial approach to prescribing alternatives to illicit drugs, an intervention limited to small programs and pilot projects elsewhere.

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., April 9, 2021.
JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

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Also on our radar

In Chornobyl, Ukrainians feel aftershocks of two Russian disasters: One in 1986, one in 2022: It’s been 38 years since a Soviet nuclear catastrophe made part of modern-day Ukraine uninhabitable. For elderly locals and workers at the ruined power plant, war added another chapter to the stories they tell.

Calgary vows to continue funding talks with Ottawa despite Alberta bill: Calgary’s mayor says the city will continue to negotiate directly with Ottawa for financial support despite Alberta’s proposed law to stop municipalities from bypassing the province in pursuit of federal funding.

Pierre Poilievre criticizes Trudeau on intelligence briefing-notes disclosure: Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his disclosure to the Foreign Interference Commission that he rarely reads intelligence documents, preferring oral briefings by security officials.

First-time homebuyers can get 30-year mortgages to buy newly built houses under rule change: Ottawa will allow first-time homebuyers to take out 30-year mortgages for newly built homes, relaxing rules as the federal government faces political pressure to ease the country’s housing crunch.

Major lender to trucking firm Pride Group alleges fraud in lawsuit against co-founders: One of Pride Group Holdings Inc.’s major lenders is suing the trucking company’s co-founders, Sam and Jasvir Johal, and alleging fraud, complicating the brothers’ legal woes since Pride filed for creditor protection late last month.

Alberta fails to move needle on emissions reduction plan: A year after unveiling its Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan, Alberta has released no details on how it will reach its 2050 net-zero target or completed an assessment to reduce the environmental footprint of various industries.

Royal Bank of Canada terminated Nadine Ahn, its chief financial officer, after reports she had favoured a vice-president with whom she had an undisclosed personal relationship. How did the relationship come to light?

a. From an internal tip line

b. From posts on Instagram

c. From a joint real estate purchase

d. From a misdirected e-mail

Morning markets

U.S. stock index futures traded in a tight range on Friday as investors awaited earnings reports from big U.S. banks to gauge how corporate America has been faring in the current high interest rate environment.

European stocks were on track to race ahead of Wall Street. In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 was 1.3 per cent higher, boosted by global mining and oil stocks. Germany’s DAX advanced 1 per cent as did the CAC 40 in Paris.

In Asian trading, the Nikkei 225 index closed 0.2 per cent higher while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 2.2 per cent.

The dollar traded for 72.80 U.S. cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Victoria has a problem it can’t solve: homelessness

“While we often think of bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver when we talk about Canada’s homeless problem, Victoria has also been at the forefront of this crisis. Its moderate climate undoubtedly has something to do with it. So, too, has the compassion and sympathy some have held for those living with no fixed address.” – Gary Mason

Conservative MPs display statesmanlike behaviour – not!

“You could almost sense Brian Mulroney eye-rolling in his grave. Mr. Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative politics may not have appealed to everyone, but the former prime minister, who died in February, conducted himself in a way that today’s Conservative Leader would do well to study and try to emulate.” – Marsha Lederman

Today’s editorial cartoon
David Parkins/The Globe and Mail

Living better

Once they know what they want, winemakers can place orders with nurseries that sell various varieties, such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and others that have descended from the germination of a single seed. (Originally these varieties were selected for desirable traits and propagated through cuttings.) Within each variety, there might be a range of different clones that developed over time through genetic variation, spontaneous mutations in their DNA often caused by environmental stresses, that produce grapes with different properties than others. Identifying new clones is a long and costly process, following years of observation and propagation, to enable growers access to vines with reliable and predictable traits.

Ideally, winemakers will be able to order their desired clone(s) and rootstock combinations to set their vineyards up for success. However, increased global demand for specific grapes varieties, clones and rootstocks, which provide resistance to soil pests (like phylloxera and nematodes) and can reduce or boast the vigour of a vine depending on need, has some Canadian producers waiting to plant. Christopher Waters talks clone wines and why they deserve our attention.

Moment in time: April 12, 1954

Bill Haley & His Comets record ‘Rock Around the Clock’

Rock 'n' roll group Bill Haley (1925-1981) And His Comets, famous for the song 'Rock Around the Clock', seen here during rehearsals in London for their first British performance.
Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Just reading the song’s title is enough to conjure Bill Haley’s hooky, borderline schlocky lyrics or Danny Cedrone’s blazing guitar solo in your head. So it’s hard to believe that a tune this ubiquitous was once pilloried as a sparkplug for immorality. Recorded as a B-side in just 35 minutes in a converted Masonic temple, the song enjoyed only mild success until it was picked as the theme song for the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle, a Sidney Poitier vehicle that dared to depict juvenile delinquency in an interracial school. Teens were moved to dance in the aisles to the intro’s spirited verse and sharp snares – at some theatres, police were called – and the movie was censored or even outright banned in cities such as Denver and Atlanta. Adult disapproval, of course, is a primary driver of popularity among teens – Princeton students even played the song out of their dorm windows in protest – and the still-nascent rock’n’roll sound was launched into the mainstream, with the band’s white front man notching the Black-originating genre’s first No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts. Today, thanks to the sterilization that comes with appearing in George Lucas’s gorgeous pastiche American Graffiti or in the iconically agreeable TV show Happy Days, it’s mostly associated with an amiable nostalgia. But 70 years ago, the arrival of Rock Around The Clock made clear that the genre’s time had come. Adrian Lee.

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