We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Crimea’s new PM breaks with Kyiv. Sergey Aksenov, Crimea’s new prime minister, says the new government in Kyiv is “mad” and has requested all Ukrainian forces leave Crimea. The town of Novo-Ozerne is divided between residents loyal to the new Ukrainian government and the de facto Russian occupiers. Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin still reserves the right to use force in Ukraine, where he insists an anti-constitutional, western-backed coup forced the resignation of former president Viktor Yanukovych. No matter the sanctions threatened, Putin says the west will come to regret its hostile language. Eastern European nations are nervous. China considers its position with some caution.
2. Pauline Marois is expected to call an election for April 7. Quebec’s premier will ask the province to go to the polls, confident her government’s proposed charter of values will sway enough voters to her side. The Globe and Mail’s Rhéal Séguin reports that Marois will call the election tomorrow, following a cabinet meeting. She’ll hope, of course, to win a majority government after 18 months in a minority position. Philippe Couillard, her Liberal counterpart, will attempt to stymie those plans in his first election as leader.
3. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi could still run for president. Egypt’s defence minister, who was widely assumed to be leaving cabinet to pursue a presidential run, seemed to waver, and claimed to be awaiting a new election law before declaring any candidacy. But now he’s let slip that “official procedures” were on the way shortly, so it appears the worst-kept secret in Cairo will finally be put to rest.
4. Venezuela’s unrest goes global. Foreign minister Elias Jaua told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday that, after weeks of violence in his country, only three Venezuelans were dead at the hands of illegal police action—which, he said, should be prosecuted accordingly. Jaua’s furious opposition, including prominent state governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, petitioned the UN council to hear the other side of the story. Meanwhile, protests and roadblocks continue in the streets.
5. Rob Ford appeared on late-night television. “I wasn’t elected to be perfect, Jimmy,” Toronto’s mayor told Jimmy Kimmel, the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Kimmel mocked the mayor repeatedly, and the mayor just chuckled nervously and defended himself in all the ways that have become second nature. His message, as usual, was Toronto Toronto Toronto booming booming booming.