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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, October 30, 2019, and this is definitely more naughty than nice.
• The Background
BULLETIN: BLOCKING THE BAN
In a major win for opponents of anti-abortion legislation, a U.S. federal judge temporarily blocked a law calling for a near-total ban on abortions from taking effect in Alabama next month. The Alabama law — which is the most aggressive measure passed by lawmakers this year — would make abortion illegal at any stage of pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest. It also criminalizes doctors who perform the procedure.
• What Else You Need to Know
Five other states — Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia — have passed laws banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected, at approximately six weeks. (Louisiana has also approved a so-called heartbeat bill, but it would not take effect unless a federal appellate rules on a similar Mississippi law.) In Utah and Arkansas, lawmakers have approved 18-week bans. All laws have been blocked by federal lawmakers.
• What’s Next?
These restrictive laws are intended to push the issue to the Supreme Court, where conservatives are hoping the recent appointment of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh can help bolster their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 decision legalized abortion up to 24 weeks.
• Unholy Atrocity
In the holy city of Karbala, a masked gunman raged at a crowd of Iraqi protestors, killing 18 people and injuring hundreds more. The brazen attack is one of the deadliest offences since anti-government demonstrations started in early October. The demonstrators are fighting against government corruption, a lack of jobs, and a dearth in municipal services. A total of 240 people have been killed since the onset of the protests. ABC News
• World: Moral Mandate
Believe it or not, there are some governments in this world that have the power to control the moral actions of its citizens. China just released new “morality” guidelines, with rules on everything from how people should parent their children to the appropriate etiquette for raising the national flag. The guidelines focus heavily on Chinese patriotism, and calls on citizens to be “honest and polite,” as well as “civilized when dining, traveling or watching a sports competition” and to “defend China’s honour.” Arguably the most noteworthy element of the guidelines is a rule requiring that all citizens treat President Xi Jinping as the “core” moral compass of the country. (We’ve never been more proud to be Canadian.) The Guardian
• World: Stepping Down
In the wake of unprecedented protests, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has announced he’s resigning. The 10-day protest started out as a revolt against plans to tax WhatsApp calls, but rapidly escalated into a widespread outcry targeting political corruption and economic turmoil. The PM said he reached a “dead end” and resigning was a necessary shock to fix the crisis. Hariri will stay in power until a new administration is established. BBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”
– Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official in charge of Ukraine policy, who testified before impeachment investigators, claiming he believes President Trump undermined U.S. national security when asking Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens. The testimony spurred a shouting match between Democrats and Republicans. (Why are we not surprised?) CNN
• All-Encompassing Emoji
Update your iPhones, people. Apple released iOS 13.2 yesterday, which includes 398 new emoji. The new characters have a strong focus on inclusion and diversity, including interracial couples, gender-neutral figures, and several disability-themed additions like a seeing-eye dog, wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. Other important newbies include butter, a waffle, a yawning face, and of course, a sloth. CNN
• Baseball: Batter Up
The World Series is going to Game 7 after the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 7–2 last night to even up the series. The Astros were up 3–2 in the series and could have clinched the title, but the Nationals powered back to win Game 6 in Houston. Throughout the series, home-field advantage hasn’t had an impact on either team; the Nationals and Astros have each won every away game. But it all comes down to Wednesday night in Houston. If The Astros win, this will be their second World Series title in three years. If the Nationals win, it will be their first. New York Times
• Winter Isn’t Coming
Naomi Watts won’t be going to Westeros, after all. Six months after the series finale of Game of Thrones (which aired to little fanfare), HBO has decided to cancel one of its proposed prequels to the series. It was set to star Oscar nominee Naomi Watts and be produced by Jane Goldman. The studio shot the pilot episode in Northern Ireland earlier this year, but decided not to move forward. However, all is not lost: a second Game of Thrones prequel focusing on the Targaryen Civil War is still very much in the works. In fact, HBO announced late last night that it had ordered 10 episodes of said series, which we now know is called House of the Dragon. Entertainment Weekly
• Count Your Chickens
Honestly, who doesn’t love fried chicken? But even we wouldn’t take things this far for a sandwich. A Tennessee man is taking legal action against Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen after the fast-food chain ran out of a popular limited-edition fried chicken sandwich. Craig Barr is seeking $5,000, claiming he experienced emotional damage and wasted time. He’s also holding the company liable for damage to his vehicle, which he says he was forced to drive back and forth to different locations in search of the sandwich. “I can’t get happy; I have this sandwich on my mind. I can’t think straight. It just consumes you,” Barr told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. (Get a hold of yourself, Craig!) Believe it or not, the case is moving to trial on Jan. 8, 2020. Newsweek
• Defying Gravity
Today marks 16 years since the hit musical sensation, Wicked, appeared on Broadway for the first time. Since the first show in 2003, the production has been consecutively nominated every single year for at least one award, including 10 Tony awards, one Grammy award and 11 Drama Desk awards.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• A new drug being dubbed a “miracle” treatment for patients with cystic fibrosis could be making its way to Canada in the near future.
• A violent earthquake in the Philippines has claimed the lives of seven people so far, and the death toll is expected to rise in the coming days.
• British PM Boris Johnson won the necessary backing to hold a U.K. general election on Dec. 12, leaving the future of Brexit in the hands of the public.
• An airplane crashed into a home in New Jersey, killing the pilot and sparking a massive fire. There were no passengers on board the aircraft.
• In his first testimony before U.S. Congress, Boeing’s CEO admitted to knowing about a problem with the control system in the Boeing 737 prior to a second crash.
• D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the masterminds behind Game of Thrones, have confirmed they’ll no longer be writing or producing a trilogy of Star Wars films.
• Happy Days
This is one way to turn up at a funeral.