✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, July 10, 2019, and we’re not sure this is the type of reunion the world was hoping for.
BULLETIN: OFF THE RAILS
• The Background
Bombardier Inc. has plans to lay off half of its employees, roughly 550 workers, at its Thunder Bay railway car plant, according to federal and provincial government sources. The plant is responsible for two major Ontario contracts — one to build streetcars for the TTC and another to make Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars — which are both set to wrap up by the end of the year. Though Bombardier has not formally announced the layoffs, the news was confirmed by Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, who protested against the decision. Bombardier has been struggling in recent months with underperformance, late shipments and allegations of corruption, and it has also been downsizing its aerospace and railway operations for the last few years to improve profitability. CTV News
• What Else You Need to Know
Dominic Pasqualino, the local union president, is pointing fingers at U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration for backing “buy America”-like clauses (which require a minimum threshold of local content), making it tougher for Canadian plants to survive. That said, the cuts don’t come as a complete shock. In June, Bombardier’s chief operating officer for the Americas claimed “layoffs are coming” at the Thunder Bay operation, however, he also said the company remained committed to actively securing new contracts for the plant.
• What’s Next?
Bombardier is expected to make an announcement sometime today about the job cuts. Pasqualino fears more layoffs beyond the initial 550 are still to come. “This business is cyclical. Things go up, things go down. But the thing is, it doesn’t look like things are going to go back up,” he said.
• Chemical Chaos
A Winnipeg hotel had quite the scare yesterday after a carbon monoxide leak sent 46 guests and staff to the hospital, with at least 15 in critical condition. Emergency crews were called to the Super 8 Hotel around 10am, after an automatic alarm revealed the leak. Those impacted were taken to several hospitals around the city, and Winnipeg Animal Services provided care for the one dog that was impacted. Manitoba Hydro shut off the gas to the building and is currently investigating the cause of the leak. CTV News
• Canada: Tight Race
We’re less than 100 days from the federal election and it’s started to look like it’s anybody’s race (well, if you’re a Liberal or a Conservative). In a new Mainstreet Research poll, the Liberals have regained the lead from the Tories, who seemed to have a strong advantage in the spring. Though the lead is small (1.8 percentage points) and does fall within the margin of error, it’s still the first time this year that the Liberals have found themselves in a position to win. Among decided and leaning voters, the Liberal party’s held steady throughout the year, while the Conservatives have taken a big hit (down 4.2 percentage points) and a few parties have seen a bump, including the Greens (up about 2.5 points), Bloc Québécois and Maxime Bernier’s right-wing populist People’s Party of Canada. iPolitics
• U.S.: Twitter Drama
Those who follow American politics know that President Donald Trump does most of his unfiltered announcements (for government business or otherwise) through his infamous Twitter account. But there’s a good chance the president will be scaling back his activity after a New York federal appeals court upheld a 2018 ruling yesterday that says POTUS can’t block people for mocking or criticizing him. According to the ruling, the president is actually violating the U.S. Constitution (you don’t say?) by blocking American citizens. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that since Trump uses the account for presidential purposes, he can’t exclude residents from viewing his tweets or his replies to others’ tweets. (Chrissy Teigen‘s going to have a field day.) New York Times
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You have no idea how many times I warned him that that would happen and fought that fight, for how many years of our friendship, of our relationship.”
– Ariana Grande opens up about her relationship with Mac Miller (along with how she’s still processing his tragic death) in a new interview with Vogue.
• New Heights
The race to space has officially begun. Yesterday, U.K. billionaire Richard Branson announced his plans to take Virgin Galactic public in the second half of 2019 — which will make it the first publicly traded space-tourism company. Shares will be listed as part of a merger deal with Social Capital Hedosophia, a special-purpose acquisition company. Social Capital will invest $800 million for a 49% stake in the new company, while its founder, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, will also invest $100 million of his own money. In a statement, Virgin Galactic said the firm will have an enterprise value of $1.5 billion. Branson is in tense competition with rivals including Amazon (which is aiming to take humans to the moon by 2024) and Tesla (which is focusing on cargo missions). CNBC
• Computer Games
MacBooks are getting mad upgrades just in time for back-to-school season. (Wait, didn’t summer just start?) The tech giant announced some major changes to its lineup of laptops yesterday, bringing some exciting updates to its “low-end” models for the first time. The entry-level MacBook Pro is getting the Touch Bar and Touch ID, while the 13-inch model is getting an updated keyboard. Apple’s also taking on some of the internal issues customers have been complaining about, adding 8th-gen quad-core Core i5 and i7 processors (which will improve performance speeds), better graphics and a T2 security chip. The display and sound system are also getting a refresh. The MacBook Air’s improvements are slightly less drastic, but it’s still getting a new keyboard and True Tone tech for its display. TechCrunch
• Baseball: Starry Night
Last night, baseball’s biggest stars gathered at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH., for the 2019 All-Star Game. The American League picked up its seventh win in a row, defeating the National League 4–3. AL All-Star Alex Bregman was the first to score in the second inning. It was a relatively quiet game until Jorge Polanco sent Gary Sanchez home with a single, taking the lead to 2–0. Charlie Blackmon hit a home run in the sixth inning to put the National League on the board, but it didn’t take long for the American League to strike back with Matt Chapman scoring, followed by a homer by Joey Gallo. CBS Sports
• To the Max
We have good news and bad news for our friends south of the border. The bad news is Friends is breaking up with Netflix U.S. in 2020, but the good news is it looks like it’s found a cozy new home on WarnerMedia’s new direct-to-consumer streaming service, HBO Max. Yesterday, the company revealed the details of the new service, which is set to launch stateside in spring 2020. HBO Max will be home to 10,000 hours of content, including exclusive streaming rights in the U.S. to all 236 episodes of Friends (not enough), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Pretty Little Liars (which is also leaving Netflix U.S.). The stacked service will combine content from HBO with a slate of originals and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, The CW, Adult Swim, along with a slew of others. But that’s not even all: it also announced new exclusive movie production deals for the service, featuring producers like Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Riverdale and Blindspot) and Reese Witherspoon. While this all sounds peachy, there’s still no word on when (or if) HBO Max will be available in Canada. Variety
• Criminal Scent
It can be tough to hide from the cops (not that we’ve tried) but it’s even harder when you can’t control your bodily functions. After escaping detection and managing to find a decent hiding spot in the woods, an alleged criminal just couldn’t keep his sh*t together, er, in — he let out a massive fart. The flatulence was so loud (and apparently, smelly) that it alerted officials to the suspect’s location. He was quickly arrested. Fox 2 Now
• Love is Love
Seven years ago, the American Episcopal Church became the first to approve a rite for blessing gay marriages. We’ve come pretty far in seven years, but we still have a long way to go.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk, Canadian military’s second-in-command, abruptly resigned yesterday after 38 years of service.
• Peter John Dalglish, a Canadian and former UN official has been jailed in Nepal for sexually abusing children.
• The British government is on a roll. Just 24 hours after it slapped British Airways with a $230-million fine for its data breach, it handed Marriott a $123-million penalty.
• The NBA announced yesterday that coaches will be able to challenge one call per game in the 2020 season.
• France has figured out a way to fight climate change. The country just announced a new eco-tax on all airlines flying from its airports.
• Role Reversal
Sometimes the internet surprises us in wonderful ways.