850 years of history just went up in flames

One of Paris's most prized structures damaged in a massive blaze, Best Buy makes history and Microsoft is taking on Apple — again.

850 years of history just went up in flames

One of Paris's most prized structures damaged in a massive blaze, Best Buy makes history and Microsoft is taking on Apple — again.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, April 16, 2019 and even though we’re not economists we definitely saw this coming.


• The Background

Yesterday, the world watched as a good chunk of French history went up in flames — literally. At some point in the early evening (local time), the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire. The 10th century structure (construction started in 1163!) had been undergoing a €6-million (US $6.8 million) renovation project, which many believe was the source of the sparks. The monstrous flames brought much of Paris to a standstill, with President Emmanuel Macron cancelling a planned speech, and instead taking to the streets outside the Cathedral to show his support for the firefighters battling the blaze. Before officials were able to contain the fire, it took down the spire and most of the roof. Early this morning, firefighters confirmed the fire was finally out — and that while much of the interior wooden structure had been destroyed, both the stone construction of the cathedral and the “main works of art” from the building had been “saved.” Global News

• What Else You Need to Know

Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot spoke to media shortly after the fire broke out, warning that this would be the end of the Notre Dame as the world knows it: “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.” Despite the bleak outlook, many called for prayers, including the Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, who tweeted to all the priests in Paris: “Firefighters are still fighting to save the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The frame, the roof and the boom are consumed. Pray. If you wish, you can ring the bells of your churches to invite to prayer.” POTUS, of course, offered unsolicited advice (which, as it turns out, would have done more harm than good). 

• What’s Next?

French officials have opened a formal investigation to determine what exactly caused the fire, but for now, they’re treating it as an accident. Once the flames were contained, Macron promised that the government would rebuild the famous landmark — and announced that it had set up a fundraising campaign to do so. It didn’t take long for France’s wealthy to heed the call for help. Within hours, two of the country’s richest men pledged €300 million to rebuild the iconic structure. 


• Power of Words

Proof journalism matters: three U.S. newspapers were just awarded Pulitzer prizes for their work covering three separate mass shootings in 2018. The South Florida Sun Sentinel earned the prize in the public service category for its coverage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people and “for detailing the shortcomings in school discipline and security that contributed to the carnage.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picked up the breaking news prize for reporting on the anti-Semitic massacre that left 11 people dead at a local synagogue. And, the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland, received a special citation for bravely reporting on a deadly shooting in its own newsroom. Pulitzers were also awarded to the Associated Press for documenting the civil war in Yemen, and to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for ceaselessly holding Trump to account on his financial lies and hush-money scandals. Of the awards, former Post-Gazette editor David Schribman said, “We are not so much celebrating as affirming … the job we were put on this earth to do.” (Heroes, all.) National Post


• Canada: Judgment Day

Another government official has decided to leave Ottawa behind. The Supreme Court of Canada’s Clement Gascon announced yesterday that he’s stepping down in September in order to spend more time with his family. The 58-year-old was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 2002, joined the Quebec Court of Appeals in 2012 and finally was named a Supreme Court justice in June 2014. Chief Justice Richard Wagner praised Gascon’s “thoughtful, rigorous, and collegial approach” to the law, and said he’d “served Canadians with integrity and wisdom.” Prime Minister JT also thanked Gascon for his service. CTV News

• Canada: Bad Behaviour

Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle is paying the price for his political transgressions. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced yesterday that Canada was imposing additional sanctions on 43 people close to the disputed leader. Freeland said the government is targeting high-ranking officials in Maduro’s government, along with regional governors and people that Ottawa believes are “directly implicated in activities undermining democratic institutions.” With the 43 additions, Canada has introduced sanctions against 113 members of Maduro’s crew. CBC News


“If we find things we like, 996 is not a problem.”

Jack Ma (a.k.a. the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of China’s richest men), endorses the idea of a “996” work structure, where employees work from 9am to 9pm, six days per week. Obviously, the idea (and Ma’s endorsement) has received a lot of backlash. CNN


• May the Best Woman Win

Yesterday, Best Buy made history when it named its next CEO — Corie Barry — who will become the first female CEO in the retailer’s 53-year history. Barry’s been with the company since 1999 and held a number of operational roles (including serving as CFO) proving (yet again) that women do it best. Best Buy’s success can also be attributed to its outgoing CEO Hubert Joly who’s been instrumental in increasing the stock’s shares four-fold through initiatives like “Geek Squad,” and using innovation to remain a key competitor with online retailers like Amazon. Joly will advise Barry during her transition to CEO as he transitions to executive chairman. Reuters


• Budding Idea

Tired of all the AirPod memes? Well, so is Microsoft. The company is said to be developing a Surface-branded pair of wireless earbuds in order to compete with Apple’s infamous listening accessory. Beat on the street is that Microsoft’s version will include Cortana integration (Microsoft’s personal assistant) and noise cancellation, and could very well be on store shelves by the end of the year. While other companies (like Bose and Jabra) have had a hard time competing with AirPods’ size, price, sound, and reliability, Microsoft could give Apple some much-needed competition (along with retail behemoth Amazon, which is also rumoured to be working on its own version, too). The Verge


• Running: Run, Laurence, Run

You’d be forgiven if you thought the only marathon taking place this week was Game of Thrones-related (yep, we binge-watched season seven again, too), but in fact, the 123rd Boston Marathon happened yesterday. The men’s race had its closest finish since 1988, with first-time Boston Marathon-er, Lawrence Cherono (of Kenya) beating two-time Boston Marathon champion Leslie Dessissa (of Ethiopia) by two seconds (2:07:57 to 2:07:59). Third place went to Kenya’s Kenneth Kipkemoi, who finished with a time of 2:08:07. Wondering what held up all the other runners? Blame it on this handsome devil for distracting them. CNN Sports

• Playoffs update 🇨🇦

↳ The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins in game three of their series, 3–2. Game four is tomorrow night at 7pm ET.
↳ The Calgary Flames lost to the Colorado Avalanche in game three of their series, 6–2. Game four is tomorrow night at 10pm ET.


• Sorry Saga

Florida usually takes the crown for wacky news stories, but Wisconsin is giving the Sunshine State a run for its money. An incident at a Walmart in the city of Eau Claire last week saw a mother-son duo arrested on an impressive variety of charges. The woman was kicked out of the store for “erratically…pulling apart store displays” while her dog, Bo, ran loose inside. Upon exiting to the parking lot, she decided to show off her best karate moves for the waiting police. While she tried to fight the officers, Bo ran out carrying a stolen box of Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix (such exotic taste). Meanwhile, her 26-year-old son was causing a commotion of his own: He’d made his way to the back of the store, stripped down buck naked, and grabbed an armful of clothing before running back out the front, where he attempted to “run over an officer with his scooter” to escape. Between the two of them, the pair were charged with a combination of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, lewd and lascivious behaviour, retail theft and and misdemeanour bail jumping. Bo got off scot-free, receiving only a warning for his crime and the chance to find a new home at the local Humane Association. Global News


• Game On

The first hockey game at Boston Arena was played on April 16, 1910, making it the oldest indoor rink still used for the sport today.


• A newly discovered, 4300-year-old Egyptian tomb was just unveiled and it looks really, really good for its age.

• Brace yourselves — the U.S. Justice Department is said to be set to publicly release the Mueller report this Thursday.

• Speaking of the U.S. government, Trump officially has some competition for the GOP nomination in 2020: Bill Weld announced his candidacyyesterday. 

• Copyright law in the EU has officially been overhauled, with 19 countries voting in favour of the controversial new regulations.

• Your Facebook feed could soon look a lot different. The social network is testing combining the News Feed and Stories into one swipeable interface.

• It’s a good time to be Tiger Woods — Trump is awarding the golfer the Presidential Medal of Freedom

• Aunt Becky still doesn’t think she did anything wrong. Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty in the college admissions scandal. 


• Magical Thinking

This guy can’t really be this densecan he?

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Image credit: GodefroyParis [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons