News breakdown: Feb. 24 – March 2

A Syrian troop stands guard near ambulances waiting to transport injured people at the Wafideen checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday. (Courtesy Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

A Syrian troop stands guard near ambulances waiting to transport injured people at the Wafideen checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday. (Courtesy Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

International

China will drop presidential term limits, put the judiciary under the control of the Communist Party and approve a National Supervision Commission to entrench authoritarian rule without the separation of powers, in a host of constitutional changes. These changes, which are to be rubber-stamped by congress on March 5, effectively make Xi Jinping, the General Secretary and President, a dictator “until he dies, chooses to step down, or is purged.”

North Korean General Kim Yong-chol has offered direct talks on improving relations with the United States at a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Additionally, the UN has proved that North Korea has been supplying the Syrian regime with materials and missile technicians to help them build chemical weapons.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger and Walmart are ending sales of assault rifles and raising the age to purchase guns to 21 in response to the NRA boycott movement started by student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Additionally, companies from airlines, to car rental agencies, to banks, to tech companies and hotels have joined this boycott by ending their business relationships with the NRA.

The Afghan government stated that it is willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party, open the constitution for review, put forward reconciliation measures with cooperative Taliban members and help in opening a Taliban political office in the pursuit of a ceasefire agreement with the terrorist group. This comes as more casualties occur in the war in Afghanistan, with 22 casualties in a car bombing in the capital, six dead and 30 kidnappings in the South and 25 dead in two attacks on military outposts.

Five-hundred-eighty people have been killed, more than 1,000 injured and local infrastructure has been destroyed in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian regime with Iranian and Russian assistance. A ceasefire resolution was passed by the UN Security Council, however, it has had little effect with hostilities continuing and aid convoys being denied passage.

Europe has been pummelled by heavy snowfall and blizzards, killing at least 60 across the continent — mostly the poor and homeless who have little recourse from the weather. A weather pattern from Siberia has blown down into Europe plunging temperatures to as low as -40C and freezing entire countries such as Ireland where all schools, train stations, airports and some health services are closed while the armed forces were called in for assistance.

Slovakian investigative reporter Ján Kuciak was murdered along with his fiancée Martina Kušnírova around his work on politically-connected fraud and organized crime. Slovakian police have detained seven people associated with Italian organized crime on suspicion of murder as well as several Italian businessmen about whom Kuciak wrote.

PC leadership candidates left to right: Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney. (Courtesy David Donnelly/CBC)

PC leadership candidates left to right: Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney. (Courtesy David Donnelly/CBC)

National

U.S. President Trump has announced the upcoming implementation of tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, with Foreign Minister Freeland issuing a statement insisting that any U.S. tariff on steel and aluminum would be “absolutely unacceptable.” The Dow Jones lost about 500 points amid fears of a trade war as the E.U., China and other countries and entities have threatened retaliation to these tariffs.

Canada won 29 medals at the PyeonChang Olympics, putting the country in third place behind Germany with 31 and Norway with 39. This is Canada’s largest medal count of all time, surpassing the 26 medals it won at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and cementing Canada’s place as a Winter Games powerhouse.

The federal budget was released with a number of stated priorities: promoting gender equality through ending the wage gap, investing $2.6 billion to support innovation, advancements on national pharmacare and digital security and reconciliation with Indigenous people to the tune of $4.1 billion. The budget was bashed by many, including Conservative leader Sheer saying that the Prime Minister is failing on his big promises, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh pushing the federal government to actually implement pharmacare.

Patrick Brown has dropped out of the Ontario PC leadership race shortly after entering, saying he needs to fight the claims of sexual misconduct against him, which led to his resignation as party leader. Members of the Ontario PC party have begun to vote in the leadership race, however, many have not received their eligibility codes, impairing the voting process. Leaders in the race appear to be the relatively moderate Christine Elliott and the relatively conservative Doug Ford.

Seven of 10 MPs from the Bloc Quebecois quit the party to sit as independents, saying that leader Martine Ouellet’s leadership style is the reason they are breaking off. Ouellet said that she was staying on as leader while former leader Gilles Duceppe and more than 20 ex-Bloc MPs call on her to resign.

Protesters gather outside the Nova Scotia Legislature Tuesday. (Courtesy Craig Paisley/CBC)

Protesters gather outside the Nova Scotia Legislature Tuesday. (Courtesy Craig Paisley/CBC)

Local

The spring sitting of the legislature started off seeing a protest against the government’s policies on health care, education, mental health services and the environment. The sitting is expected to cover education, marijuana legalization, redefining electoral boundaries and much more.

The Nova Scotian government is moving ahead with plans to overhaul the education system, but has made large concessions to the NSTU in a bill that was tabled in the legislature on March 1.

That bill still removes all English-language school boards, but the infrastructure and staff will remain in place and boards will be called regional education centres. Additionally, principals and vice-principals will be moved from the NSTU to a new Public School Administrators Association and a Provincial Advisory Council on education has been created.

Halifax city councillor Matt Whitman has been censured by city council for breaching multiple provisions of the code of conduct. Whitman has been handed a three-month suspension from some committees for refusing to participate in a meeting addressing complaints against councillors.

A Federal Court judge has ruled against an emergency request to pause the deportation hearing of former Somali child refugee Abdoul Abdi. Abdi’s lawyer says that he will appeal the decision, and his sister says the decision is not fair and puts her brother in jeopardy.