We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Rob Ford steps away. Toronto’s mayor bragged about his sexual aspirations with fellow mayoral candidate Karen Stintz. He allegedly smoked crack, again, in his sister’s basement less than a week ago. The Toronto Sun, friendly to the mayor though the tabloid may be, published the incriminating audio that must have sent a cold shudder down Stintz’s spine. Ford’s old nemesis, Robyn Doolittle, once again shared a byline that alleged a crack tape, this time in her new digs at the Globe. The Sun‘s embarrassing recording and the Globe‘s published photos of the mayor holding a pipe, possibly in the process of smoking crack, would end any conventional politician’s political career. Not to mention the Toronto Star‘s scoop, published this morning, that Justin Bieber enraged Ford at a nightclub in March. Toronto’s mayor should be ruined. Instead, Ford told the Sun‘s Joe Warmington, his only ally in any Toronto newsroom, that he’s taking a month-long leave of absence.
Last night, as a city came to terms, again, with its out-of-control mayor, the rest of the world forgot to care about Ford. He was, for a time, the #2 item on BBC, and he popped up on a handful of American news websites. But he was invisible at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. Used to be that the internet salivated at Ford’s bumbling ways. Now, his star has mostly fallen, a relic of yesterday’s late-night jokes. Maybe he’ll make a comeback, as is his wont. Maybe he’ll somehow look Stintz in the eye during a future mayoral debate, awkward as that may sound. Or maybe his leave of absence will turn indefinite. Whatever happens to Ford, no one else much cares. He’s Toronto’s problem, and that’s all he ever was.
2. Gerry Adams is arrested in a 1972 killing. The 65-year-old president of Sinn Féin, an Irish nationalist party that holds cabinet posts in Northern Ireland’s assembly and is also active in Ireland, was arrested in connection with the killing of Jean McConville. The 1972 slaying was allegedly at the hands of the Irish Republican Army, a militant group that has since laid down its arms, but to which Sinn Féin was often linked. Adams played a major role in Northern Ireland’s peace process. He denies any wrongdoing.
3. Canada’s military role near Ukraine is unclear. The Canadian Forces are sending plenty of muscle to eastern Europe, including six CF-18s, a cargo plane, hundreds of support personnel, and HMCS Regina. But their roles are unclear. The fighter jet mission includes, in the military’s own words, “a lot of uncertainty,” and no one will disclose the Canadian frigate’s destination. Separately, Canadians will lead a military observer mission in Ukraine.
4. Xi Jinping vows revenge after Xinjiang attacks. The Chinese president quickly condemned a suspected terror attack that killed three and injured 79 at a railway station in the northwestern city of Urumqi. Xi, who had just spent four days in the province, said authorities “must take resolute measures to crush the audacious terrorists.” The assailants allegedly attacked bystanders with knives and eventually set off explosives.
5. Tories are furious with the Supreme Court. The party’s losing streak at Ottawa’s foreboding Wellington Street institution has some parliamentarians, including cabinet ministers, furious with the court’s supposed activism. A few of them bent the ear of the National Post‘s John Ivison, who dutifully reported that Tory frustration with the top court is “boiling over” but that a prime ministerial edict has warned against a “firefight.”