Are America and Iran going to war?

New sanctions for countries importing oil from Iran, a massive earthquake hits the Philippines and the Jonas Brothers announce a new album.

Are America and Iran going to war?

New sanctions for countries importing oil from Iran, a massive earthquake hits the Philippines and the Jonas Brothers announce a new album.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, April 23, 2019 and this could either be really good for Trudeau’s approval ratings, or really, really bad.


• The Background

POTUS is set on taking down Iran — and he’s not letting anyone (or any country) get in his way. The Trump administration announced yesterday that it would be changing a longstanding policy of not imposing sanctions on countries that import Iranian oil. But that’s all about to change. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that Trump decided “not to reissue” the waivers that protected those countries (India, China, South Korea, Japan and Turkey) from sanctions, and that the current waivers would expire on May 2. CNN

• What Else You Need to Know

According to Pompeo, the main goal is to bring “bring Iran’s oil exports to zero” which would deny “the regime its principal source of revenue.” Pompeo also said the U.S. would continue imposing widespread sanctions until Iran stopped pursuing nuclear weapons, stopped testing and growing its ballistic missiles, stopped “sponsoring and committing terrorism,” and stopped arbitrarily detaining U.S. citizens. In the meantime, Pompeo said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to “ensure an appropriate supply (of oil) for the markets.”

• What’s Next?

Though it seems the U.S. has its heart in the right place, the change in policy could have major effects on oil supply and oil pricing. There could be more instability in an already unstable market and prices could be pushed up even higher. South Korea specifically shared its concern about the U.S.’s demands, noting that the country’s oil refineries are “specifically set up to process crude oil from Iran.” 


• Shaky Ground

The Philippines was rattled early yesterday morning when a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the main island of Luzon, leaving at least eight people dead and 20 more injured. The quake caused a four-storey commercial building to collapse in the Pampanga province, and authorities spent most of the day using heavy duty equipment and search dogs to try and locate trapped civilians who may have been caught in the ground-floor supermarket when the building went down. The earthquake also forced Pampanga’s international airport to close, along with all elevated rail services. (Two quakes also struck off the coast of Vancouver yesterday, but luckily, no damage or casualties were reported.) Global News


• U.S.: Sue Me

The Trumps really, really, really don’t want anyone to see their tax returns. Yesterday, the president and the Trump Organization filed a lawsuit to stop the House Oversight Committee — chaired by Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings — from obtaining financial records from an accounting firm that the family’s used to prepare financial statements. The legal response comes less than a week after the committee issued subpoenas to at least nine financial institutions, asking for 10 years’ worth of Trump’s financial records. The president’s personal lawyers have argued that the requests are “an unprecedented overreach of congressional authority.” CNN

• World: Big Data

The EU has come up with a new way to track its citizens. Parliament has approved the creation of the Common Identity Repository (CIR), which will allow officials to search a single information database with fingerprints, facial images, birth dates, passport numbers, and more. The CIR — which will become “one of the largest tracking databases on the planet” — will amalgamate the records of more than 350 million people (both citizens and non-citizens of the EU). Privacy advocates are obviously concerned with the approval, while supporters argue it’ll allow professionals to do their job more efficiently and effectively. Gizmodo


“If the names of the persons involved were already known, why were they not arrested?”

Rauff Hakeem, minister of city planning in Colombo, Sri Lanka, expresses his shame and dismay at the revelation that local security agencies had been tipped off about this weekend’s devastating bombings (the death toll’s risen to 310) before they occurred. Sri Lanka has since declared a nationwide emergency, which gives the military and police the ability to detain and interrogate suspects without a court order. New York Times


• $(2)1 Menu

There’s big money in fake meat. Beyond Meat has been steadily rolling out its plant-based burgers, sausages, and other meat replacements to fast food joints and grocery stores across North America — and now, it’s going public. The L.A.-based startup has just priced its IPO at US $21 per share with the intention of raising $200 million in stock, putting the business’s valuation at more than US $1 billion. The move makes Beyond Meat the first venture-backed meat substitute maker to list its shares on the stock market, beating out fellow startup and primary competitor Impossible Foods. While the company is still operating in the red — it was down about $28.9 million for 2018 — its revenues have been increasing steadily since its launch, jumping from $16.2 million up to $87.9 million in just two years. (It’s a real (non) meat market out there.) TechCrunch


• Ready for Overdrive

An empty, parked Tesla exploded in a Shanghai parking lot on Sunday (the secondTesla to spontaneously combust in a week), and no one has the faintest idea why… but enough about that! Elon Musk would like us to please redirect our attention to the event held at his car company’s Palo Alto, CA headquarters yesterday, dubbed “Autonomy Investor Day,” where he hyped up the vehicles’ future Autopilot capabilities. Musk revealed plans to add “gradually more aggressive” self-driving modes, allowing drivers to “dial the setting up” even more from the currently available “Mild,” “Average,” and “Mad Max” driver assistance modes, each of which introduces slightly quicker lane changes than the last when driving on the highway. The current most extreme “Mad Max” setting “handles highway driving from on-ramp to off-ramp,” but a new “LA traffic mode” takes it further with quick movements that give “a nonzero chance of a fender bender,” which, says Musk, is “unfortunately, the only way to navigate LA traffic.” (Sounds… not safe?) To achieve this, all Tesla cars produced will now be equipped with a new custom “self-driving” computer and software enabling the souped up capabilities will be pushed out later this year. The Verge


• Basketball: Air Time

At least one women’s league is getting a much-needed boost from another big network. Yesterday, CBS Sports announced that it had signed a multi-year deal with the WNBA, doubling the league’ national TV exposure. The network will air 40 games beginning next month when the season opens, starting with the Minnesota Lynx vs. the Chicago Sky on May 25. CBS is the second major network to sign on to the support the women’s basketball league: the WNBA already has a 16-game broadcast deal in place with ESPN. The deal is “one of the biggest and most impactful women’s sports programming arrangements ever at CBS Sports.” Associated Press 

• Playoffs update 🇨🇦

Don’t forget! Both the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs have big games tonight:
↳ The Raptors hope to close out the series against the Orlando Magic tonight. (The Raps are up 3–1.) The game’s at 7pm.
↳The Toronto Maple Leafs have one chance to keep Canada’s Stanley Cup dreams alive. The puck drops for game seven at 7pm. 


• The Bros Are Back

The Jonas Brothers have put aside their differences — and they’ve got a new album on the way to prove it. The trio announced their first album in 10 years(!) yesterday. Titled Happiness Begins (a sign the brothers have shed the teenage angst that spurred the “deep rift” responsible for their breakup, perhaps?), the album is due for release on June 7. Speaking to the creative process, eldest brother Kevin wrote on Instagram that “after seven years of not working together living life and finding ourselves in our own paths we came back to give you our journey in album form.” Kevin set expectations high, adding, “I have to say out of all the albums we have done together I’m the most proud of this one.” Two singles for the album, “Sucker,” and “Cool,” were released over the past two months. Rolling Stone


• Wedding Woes

Keeping a wedding budget in check is nearly always an uphill battle. The internet abounds with planning hacks to save money on your big day — but hacking up your neighbour’s prized rosebush under the cover of night is not one we’ve seen published anywhere. One Australian bride came up with that particular money-saving trick all on her own: A woman posted to a “wedding shaming” Facebook group (yep, that’s a thing) that she woke up last Friday to discover her garden had been massacred, with “every single rose…cut and my potted impatiens and petunias gone, pots and all,” including her “extremely rare Amelia Earhart hybrid tea [roses] that took me three years to track down” and cost £165 to purchase. After filing a police report, she was tipped off by a local friend who spotted similar flowers in another women’s recent wedding photos (and she just happened to live nearby). The gardener brought the evidence to the police, who issued a fine to the culprit — a mere £27. Mirror


• Good Reads

Today is World Book Day, and Amazon is giving away a ’round-the-world trip for your imagination in the form of nine free ebooks from around the globe, each translated to English from its original language.


• There’s yet another Democrat running for president in 2020: Rep. Seth Moulton announced yesterday that he’s joining the race. 

• Measles cases continue to rise — and there’s been another possible exposure in Richmond Hill, Ont.  

• Kraft Heinz has found its next CEO. Miguel Patricio will step into the role on July 1, 2019, one day after current CEO Bernardo Hees steps down. 

• House-hunting from your sofa just got a whole lot easier. Zillow’s 3D house tours are finally available across North America. 

• Mark your calendars: Prince’s memoir, The Beautiful Ones, will hit store shelves on October 29, 2019


• Raise the Roof

We haven’t been this excited for a movie in a long time.

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