Failing Grade

Six Canadian students are arrested for sexual assault, Ivanka Trump misused her personal email (seriously) and 'Moulin Rouge!' is heading to Broadway.

Failing Grade

Six Canadian students are arrested for sexual assault, Ivanka Trump misused her personal email (seriously) and 'Moulin Rouge!' is heading to Broadway.
St Michaels College School The Bullet

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✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, November 20, 2018 and it’s time to start annoying your officemates with a constant stream of holiday tunes.


• The Background

Late last week, news broke that police were investigating a video that had spread on social media depicting a horrendous sexual assault involving students from St. Michael’s College School (which despite its name, is a high school) in Toronto. The investigation picked up steam when other St. Michael’s alumni came forward, admitting that they too had experienced a similar type of abuse when they were students at the school. Since then, several other current students have come forward and police are investigating three other alleged assaults, one of which was sexual in nature. City News

• What Else You Need to Know

Ahe school was the first to act, expelling eight students and suspending another whom it believed were involved in the assault and the filming of the video. But police were quick to respond with the weight of the law. Yesterday, six students (ranging in age from 14 to 15 years old) were arrested and charged with assault, gang sexual assault, and sexual assault with a weapon, though all have been released on bail. According to police, all the incidents appear to be related to hazing (an initiation-type event).

• What’s Next?

With the story making national headlines, the school has become the target of several threats, including a bomb threat yesterday morning. The school says it’s planning to launch an “independent examination” that will look at the “underlying attitudes and behaviours” that may have caused this type of criminal activity under its roof.


• Trumped In Court

A federal judge has blocked United States President Donald Trump from denying asylum to migrants who cross the border with Mexico illegally. Late Monday on the West Coast, U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order (it will remain in effect until Dec. 19) after hearing arguments on the case in a San Francisco courtroom. “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote in his order. Trump issued the asylum ban back on Nov. 9, as caravans of migrants drew close to the U.S.-Mexico border. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights went to work seeking the court order, arguing that the president can’t deny asylum to anyone based on how they entered the country. NBC News


• Back in Action

The Volcano of Fire is getting fired up. Yesterday, authorities asked residents in 10 communities in Guatemala to evacuate after the volcano showed signs of erupting. This is the second time this year that the 3,763-metre volcano has threatened lives in the area — in June, it killed 194 people and left at least 234 missing (though organizations insist the number is in the thousands). It’s now up to each of the nearby communities to decide whether or not they evacuate the area. Time 

• Hard Line

Germany’s using its power to take a stand against Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, the country issued entry bans (which prevent those named from entering the passport-free Schengen zone) for 18 Saudi citizens who it believes were involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi. According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christofer Burger, this is only one part of Germany’s plans for punishment: it’s already implemented a ban on weapons export licenses to Saudi Arabia and now it plans to further cut down on arms exports by pressuring arms manufacturers to stop shipments that were already authorized. And Germany isn’t standing alone — Bruger said the country had “co-ordinated closely” with France and Britain before making the decision. CBC News


• U.S.: Isn’t It Ironic?

Remember when DT was running for prez and wouldn’t shut up about “Crooked Hillary’s” emails? Well, turns out his daughter didn’t quite get the memo. According to the Washington Post, Ivanka Trump used a private email account to send “hundreds of emails” discussing government business in 2017 — though the spokesman for her ethics counsel says that it was “almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family” and never contained classified information. (Sounds familiar, right?) To make matters even more ridiculous (you really can’t write this sh*t), Ivanka said she “was not familiar with rules about personal email use” when asked about the correspondence. CNBC

• U.S.: Acting the Part

POTUS might be pleased as punch with his new “acting” attorney general, but his Democratic opponents are not feeling the love. Yesterday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, filed a lawsuit arguing that Matthew Whitaker’s appointment was “unconstitutional” and requested that a federal judge remove him from his post. While the Constitutions Appointment Clause specifically requires the Senate to confirm all principal officials, the White House and Justice Department said the appointment doesn’t violate the clause (or the Federal Vacancies Reform Act) because Whitaker is simply serving in an acting capacity. Despite the administration’s defence, both the state of Maryland and a Washington lawyer also questioned Whitaker’s appointment, urging their respective courts to appoint Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instead. Globe and Mail


Our lawsuit is no longer necessary.

CNN, after press secretary Sarah Sanders and deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine announced that they would be reinstating reporter Bill Acosta’s press pass (without an expiration date).


• Car (Market) Crash

An auto exec’s attempt to give himself a secret raise has landed him in jail. Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, was arrested by Japanese procecutors on Monday evening along with fellow Nissan board member Greg Kelly. The arrests are a result of a months-long internal investigation by Nissan into “significant acts of misconduct” by the pair. Those acts include under-reporting Ghosn’s compensation as well as personal use of company assets. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa is set to propose that the company’s board of directors “promptly remove Ghosn from his positions as chairman and representative director,” and also remove Kelly from the board. Mitsubishi Motors also intends push its board to remove Ghosn as chairman. At Renault, which counts Ghosn as CEO as well as chair, a representative said its board would convene “very shortly” to discuss the matter. The news caused shares in the three carmakers to plummet yesterday — bad news for the industry considering they form the biggest global car-making alliance, making one of every nine cars sold worldwide. CNN

• Extra, Extra

When it comes to paying for news content, millennials apparently aren’t as stingy as everyone thinks. BuzzFeed just introduced a paid membership program for its readers to provide financial support to its journalistic efforts — something it says readers have specifically been asking for. Earlier this year, the company gave the category its own channel with the launch of the dedicated BuzzFeed News website (presumably so readers wouldn’t get distracted finding out which combination of Disney heroines they are while trying to read up on real-life government drama) and in August, it began asking readers for optional one-off donations to support the news team. From there, BuzzFeed says some readers asked for a way to support the organization on an ongoing basis. The new program will give those paying US $5/month exclusive “members-only emails highlighting the latest scoops and taking them behind the scenes of BuzzFeed reporting.” Upgrade to a flat US $100/year, and you’ll get a sweet canvas tote bag, too. But those wanting to keep their news consumption free shouldn’t fret — BuzzFeed Global News Director Lisa Tozzi  reassures that “this is not a prelude to any sort of paywall.” Fast Company


• Engineering Marvel

A Montreal company is bringing electric bikes into the future. The team behind the Carbo bike has not only managed to streamline the typically bulky frame of most electric bikes, they’ve made it completely collapsible for portability. Touted by the makers as “the world’s lightest folding electric bike,” the Carbo weighs just 12.9 kg thanks to a frame constructed from lightweight, durable carbon fibre. The three models range in price from US $1199 to $1699 depending on the number of gears, speeds and extra bells and whistles (think fenders and a cargo rack). Orders are being accepted through the fully funded Indiegogo page now, with plans for the first batch of bikes to ship in April 2019. TechCrunch


• Curling: Rink Rage

Leave it to Canada to take ownership of a sport that can be played at a professional level while completely hosed. On Sunday, the foursome of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby was booted from the Red Deer Curling Classic for “unacceptable behaviour” that included being “extremely drunk” during their afternoon bonspiel. The Classic is a World Curling Tour event with $35,000 purse on the line, and one of the team members, Ryan Fry, won Olympic gold at the 2014 games in Sochi — so you’d think the team may have refrained from double-fisting Coronas for breakfast, but you’d be wrong. By the time their 12:30pm game time rolled around, Koe was so drunk he was unable to play, and Fry hit the ice only to fly off the handle when they lost the first end (they’d also lost their previous two games on Saturday), reacting by swearing and breaking brooms. The team was forced to forfeit the match and was banned from finishing the tournament. CBC Sports


• Crimson Cabaret

Eight years after it was nominated for eight Oscars, Moulin Rouge! is in (chorus) line for another awards opportunity. Following a sold-out first run in Boston, the stage adaptation of the Baz Luhrmann musical is hitting Broadway. The production is led by two-time Tony Award-nominated director Alex Timers, with a book by Tony-winning playwright John Logan that stays true to the film’s pop-music-fuelled Belle Epoque love story, making it a shoe-in for award consideration. (The US $30 million production budget doesn’t hurt either.) The Boston show’s cast will make the move along with it to New York once that run has wrapped in April 2019. The Broadway production will take up residence at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and is set for its official debut on July 25, 2019, with preview shows beginning June 28. Variety

• Second Time’s a Charm

Esi Edugyan is officially a two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner. The Victoria-based author — who previously won the $100,000 prize for her novel Half-Blood Blues in 2011 — won for her new novel Washington Black, a story about an 11-year-old boy who escapes slavery in Barbados. Eduygan beat out several other prominent Canadian writers to take home the top honour including Patrick deWitt for French Exit, Thea Lim for An Ocean of Minutes, Sheila Heti for Motherhood, Eric Dupont for Songs for the Cold of Heart (which was translated from French by Peter McCambridge). Started by Jack Rabinovitch to honour his late wife Doris Giller, the Giller Prize has been recognizing Canadian literary talent since 1994. It then teamed up with Scotiabank in 2005, at which point it was renamed the Scotiabank Giller Prize. CTV News


• Eat Me

Just when we thought we’d seen the weirdest sh*t the internet could throw at us, it sends us something that puts all the rest to shame. And Eric does exactly that. Known just by his first name, the middle-aged man developed a YouTube channel called “man eating food,” where he literally just eats food in front of a camera. If that wasn’t strange enough, Eric eats whatever the internet tells him to. So far, the requests have been relatively mild: a spoonful of mayonnaise (gross but OK), a garbage bag (definitely toxic, but he lived), soft shell crab on ice cream, a cheeseburger on ice cream, gummy bears on ice cream… (There was an entire ice cream series.) While things haven’t gotten too crazy yet (it’s the internet, so you know they will), Eric has said he’ll “respond to any food request in the comments with the appropriate video” and the only things off-limits are “animals that are on the endangered species list” (which still leaves a lot of food for thought). AV Club


Sometimes there’s just too much news and not enough space.

• After much public uproar, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he isn’t moving forwardwith a controversial motion to remove mentions of gender identity from the sex-ed curriculum.

• It was another bad day for gun violence in the U.S., with a shooting in the middle of downtown Denver and another at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital.

• The migrant caravan that’s making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border didn’t receive the warmest welcome in Tijuana.

• The Recording Academy is getting serious about driving diversity among its members: it’s changing its submission process from a rolling cycle to an annual cycle to have a better overview of the class of applicants, which will allow the organization to “make decisions that will better represent culture at large.”

• Two smartspeakers just got major updates: You can now use Skype on Alexa-enabled devices and Pandora Premium is available on Amazon Echo devices.


• #GoBlue

For World Children’s Day 2018 (which is today, in case it wasn’t clear), Millie Bobby Brown, Liam Neeson, Lilly Singh, Dua Lipa, Orlando Bloom, the Blue Man Group and UNICEF are asking kids and adults alike to wear blue and sign the petition in support of advancing children’s rights to attend school, be safe from harm and to fulfill their potential.


• Customer Complaint

Careful Martha — your WASP-y celebrity privilege is showing.

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