Here’s what we’re reading today.
1. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang as ‘neutrals’
“Russia could refuse the offer to compete as neutrals and boycott the Games, which are scheduled for Feb. 9-25. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.
“Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who investigated state-sponsored doping in Russia on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told CBC News there’s a ‘high probability’ that Russia would boycott these Games and prohibit any of its athletes from competing.”
– CBC News
2. Canada’s trade minister stays behind in Beijing to keep hopes of free trade with China alive
“While the Canadian government’s plane was readying to take off from Beijing’s airport, at least two of Champagne’s aides sprung from their seats, grabbed their luggage and darted off the aircraft.
“An official from the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that [International Trade Minister François-Philippe] Champagne stayed behind to continue trying to nail down a framework to launch trade talks, stating that the Canadian side did not want to squander the momentum they had built over two days of discussions in the Chinese capital.
“Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed optimism that free trade talks would kick off between the two countries.”
3. Trump tells Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians he intends to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
“‘Mr. Trump told our president he was going to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,’ said Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who said Abbas had personally briefed him on the call. Trump did not give a time frame, Shaath said.
“Trump also told Abbas that, in exchange, the United States would make future moves that he thought would please the Palestinian people, although he did not offer details, according to Shaath. ‘Our president said, ‘You don’t have anything that would make up for this on Jerusalem.’ He said, ‘Definitely, we will not accept it.'”
+1: Did American missile defense fail in Saudi Arabia? – New York Times
4. New rules mean B.C. could remain Canada’s weed capital after all
“British Columbia, home to the world famous ‘BC Bud,’ has released part of its plan to sell recreational weed next year and it’s promising for those who want to see private businesses thrive in the legal regime.
“The NDP government said Tuesday that wholesale distribution of recreational cannabis will be controlled by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, but both public and private retail stores will be allowed to sell the product. The province also set the legal minimum age for purchasing weed at 19, the same as for alcohol.”
5. How brands secretly buy their way into news sites
“People involved with the payoffs are extremely reluctant to discuss them, but four contributing writers to prominent publications including Mashable, Inc, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur told me they have personally accepted payments in exchange for weaving promotional references to brands into their work on those sites.”