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✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, December 4, 2018 and some people are already waayyyy too into the holiday spirit.
BULLETIN: SPACE JAM
• The Background
Yesterday, three astronauts from three corners of the globe blasted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and landed on the International Space Station. Among the station’s new visitors is Canadian David Saint-Jacques, a 48-year-old doctor, who also holds degrees in engineering and astrophysics as well as a commercial pilot’s licence. (What a slacker.) He’s there to conduct experiments on the physical effects of weak gravity and ways to provide remote medical care. He’s joined by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and American astronaut Anne McClain, who are scheduled to stay aboard for six-ish months. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
The new trio is relieving NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst, who are all scheduled to return to Earth just before Christmas on Dec. 20. Saint-Jacques’ mission to the ISS wasn’t the only notable space adventure that made headlines yesterday — one of NASA’s deep-space probes, OSIRIS-REx, reached its destination after travelling through space for two years. It’ll spend the next part of its mission extensively mapping the surface of an asteroid named Bennu, before returning to Earth with some sample rocks from its surface.
• What’s Next?
After the trio successfully docked, NASA and the Russian space agency announced the next mission: On Feb. 28, 2019, Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague (the two astronauts forced to abort after their October launch went horribly wrong), along with NASA astronaut Christina Koch, will head up to the ISS.
• No School For You
Fifteen schools in the Selkirk, Manitoba-based Lord Selkirk School Division were shut down yesterday, after RCMP received two threats of violence against one of the schools in the district. The threats were posted on social media, and led to the arrests of an 18-year-old man, an 18-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy, all from the area. Police aren’t looking for any other suspects, and schools in the area are expected to resume normal operations today. CTV News
• Canada: Big Money
Possibly taking a cue from POTUS, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used Twitter to announce a $50-million donation to a global education fund. Apparently upset that he was unable to attend the Global Citizen Festival Sunday in Johannesburg (the festival celebrates Nelson Mandela and is often attended by world leaders and A-list celebrities), Trudeau tweeted at South African comedian and host of The Daily Show that he would pledge $50 million to Education Cannot Wait, a charity that helps fund education for children affected by global crises. The PM’s critics were swift to respond: Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said Trudeau was trying to “impress” a TV personality. National Post
• U.S.: No More Handouts
Not only is the Trump administration not on board with government action to slow climate change, but it’s going to stop rewarding American citizens who are trying to do their part for the environment. Yesterday, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the government is going to end subsidies for electric vehicles and renewable energy sources by 2020/2021. Though the subsidies are nearing the end of their lives anyways — the US $7,500 tax credit is only available until each car company sells 200K electric vehicles which is a number many are close to hitting, and the utility subsidies have been in action since before Obama’s time and are set to expire soon — but ending the incentives early would certainly affect how eager Americans (and American companies) are to make environmentally friendly changes. Kudlow didn’t say how the White House would go about ending the subsidies or if it would need to involve Congress. The Hill
QUOTE OF THE DAY
No matter how hard the internet or anyone tries to make me kill myself. I won’t. I’m upset I even have to say this.
– In a statement posted to Instragram, Pete Davidson calls out the intensive online bullying he’s been subject to since his breakup with ex-fiancée Ariana Grande. (Thankfully, Grande’s manager totally has Davidson’s back against the bullies.) Cosmopolitan
• Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
With all the world edging ever closer to the brink of climate change disaster, one oil company has come up with an innovative new plan to address its contributions to the problem. Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday its establishing short-term carbon emissions targets beginning in 2020 — and the size of its executives’ paycheques will rely on meeting these goals. The plan is a response to criticism by shareholders that the energy producer’s earlier goal of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2050 wasn’t good enough. The new strategy will see Shell set targets on an annual basis, and executive compensation will be linked directly to its success. Though it’s still nailing down the exact figures on the percentage of their pay that will be affected and how, the commitment is a first — and a major step in the right direction. CNN
• Listen Here
With artificial intelligence getting better by the day, we’re glad to see that more tech companies are using it for good and not evil by applying the technology to make their products and services more accessible. Yesterday, Microsoft announced its new AI-powered tool for Powerpoint and Skype that transcribes and displays captions and subtitles in real time. Along with captioning presentations and calls for those who are hard of hearing, the tool can also translate speech into the viewer’s choice of 12 supported languages for live subtitling. The feature comes thanks to Microsoft’s recently announced AI for Accessibility program and will launch next month. Engadget
• Olympics: Top of the Podium
It may have taken six years, but Canadian Christine Girard finally got her hands on a gold medal. The 33-year-old weightlifter from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., was awarded a bronze from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and a gold from the 2012 Olympics in London after the original medallists’ urine tested positive for banned substances. Girard was awarded the medals at a ceremony yesterday in Ottawa, more than two years after she learned of her elevation to bronze and six months after the news of her elevation to gold (which makes her Canada’s first ever Olympic champion in weightlifting). CBC News
• What a Hoot
Hootie’s hitting the road again. Yesterday, lead singer Darius Rucker, guitarist Mark Bryan, bassist Dean Felber and drummer Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, announced that Hootie & the Blowfish are reuniting and going on tour for the first time in more than a decade. The multi-platinum band is joining forces with the Barenaked Ladies for the 44-stop “Group Therapy Tour.” Kicking off May 30 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the two bands will make their way across the U.S. (with one stop in Toronto on Aug. 29). On top of the tour news, the Grammy-winning band also announced that next year, they’re releasing their first album in nearly 15 years. Rolling Stone
• A Date With Death
A little mystery on a first date can add to the intrigue, so when one woman’s Tinder match instructed her to “wear a black dress and I’ll surprise you” ahead of their first meeting, she thought she was in for some serious romancing… until they pulled up outside a crematorium. According to screenshots from a text conversation with a friend posted to Twitter following the date, her would-be suitor’s idea of a “surprise” was to bring her along to his grandmother’s funeral, where he told her he “just really needed someone to come with him” to the funeral and thought that if he’d told her the truth, she wouldn’t have come. (And to be fair, he was most definitely right about that.) The woman took pity on her grieving date and stayed to comfort him through the entire service, where he introduced her to his family as “Emily” — which (you guessed it) is not her real name, but the name of his ex-girlfriend who’d “left him a few weeks earlier and everyone had been looking forward to meeting her so he looked for someone to fill the spot.” (That’s what we call a deadbeat.) Mirror
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• After 58 years, Qatar is calling it quits on OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to focus on its liquefied natural gas production.
• Ukrainian police are cracking down on the Russian Orthodox Church, searching homes of priests and raiding churches as part of a “a criminal investigation into inciting hatred and violence.”
• Tumblr is taking a stand against porn. The social media site said it’s banning all adult content as of Dec. 17, 2018.
• You won’t need to tune in to the Grammy nominations to see which of your fave stars are up for awards — this year, Apple Music will stream the noms as they’re announced.
• Fresh off the success of Crazy Rich Asians, Marvel is developing a Shang-Chi film, making it the first superhero movie with an Asian lead.
The Montreal Canadiens ice hockey club was founded on Dec. 4, 1909 as a charter member of the National Hockey Association — making it the oldest surviving professional hockey franchise in the world.