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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, February 1, 2019 and we’re ready to say sayonara to steak. (We’ll miss you.)
BULLETIN: ONE BIG BUST
• The Background
Just when the president needed a strong argument to convince Congress to fund his infamous border wall, he seems to have gotten one. Yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that over the weekend they seized 254 pounds of fentanyl in the largest bust of the drug in the country’s history. Camouflaged amongst crates of cucumbers (interesting choice) in a hidden floor compartment of a tractor trailer, officials credit a drug-sniffing dog with a “sensitive nose” for the find. In addition to the fentanyl, officials found 395 pounds of methamphetamine. In total, the seized drugs are worth almost US $5 million ($3.5 million in fentanyl and $1.1 million in methamphetamine). The fentanyl seizure is more than double the apparent previous record of 118 pounds, which was found in a truck trying to enter the U.S. in Nebraska in 2017. NBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
The bust was made at a border checkpoint in Nogales, Arizona, where the 26-year-old driver was trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico. (No word yet on his identity or nationality.) He’s since been charged with possessing drugs with the intent to distribute them.
• What’s Next?
There’s no doubt this record-breaking bust will come into political play over the next few weeks. Ever since he was elected, Trump’s argued that America needs a wall at its southern border to prevent Mexicans from bringing drugs into the country.
• The End is Near
Yesterday was the final day of the sentencing hearing for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the 29-year-old truck driver responsible for the 2018 crash that killed the majority of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. It was arguably the hardest day, as Sidhu finally had an opportunity to speak to the more than 90 friends and family members who read victim impact statements over the course of the week. Incredibly remorseful, Sidhu apologized for his role in the crash, saying, “I can’t even imagine what you guys are going through or what you have been through. I have taken the most valuable things of your life.” He also took full responsibility for the accident, blaming his inexperience. The Crown’s asked for a 10-year sentence, arguing that Sidhu committed a “very serious crime” and that all he had to do was stop. The judge will hand down Sidhu’s sentence on March 22. Global News
• Canada: Costly Cleanup
With low oil prices causing many energy companies in Canada’s western provinces to close up shop, the Supreme Court has ruled that the cleanup of their former oil and gas wells must take financial priority over paying off creditors. The ruling, announced yesterday, should ensure that these former companies can’t shirk off the responsibility of cleaning up on other companies or public services. The decision has been hailed a victory by the Alberta government, but critics were quick to note that there may be cases where a company’s assets after they’ve filed for bankruptcy might not sufficiently cover their cleanup costs and suggested that up-front bonding requirements would guarantee that assets are set aside for such costs. The ruling revolves around the Redwater Energy case, in which the company went bankrupt in 2015 but owed so much to creditors that there was nothing left to cover the expensive and legally required cleanup operations at its inactive wells. (The more you owe know.) The Star
• U.S.: Front Lines
POTUS is rolling out the troops as three more migrant caravans make their way to the southern U.S. border. The additional troops headed south will number at approximately 3,500, bringing the total number of troops on active duty at the border to 5,300, slightly less than their previous peak of 5,900. Trump tweeted yesterday, “More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the Invasion of Illegals.” (Because we all know how dangerous refugee women and children can be.) The Pentagon has stated that the new troops will participate in a “mobile surveillance and detection” campaign that will also be tracking the caravans, one of which is estimated to be carrying 12,000 migrants. (Looks like more tent cities may be on the horizon.) CNN
• World: Better Late Than Never
Eight months after its general election, Lebanon finally has a new government in place. Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri made the announcement yesterday at a press conference in Beirut, where he presented his 30-member cabinet. Four women will take office, with two leading the interior and energy ministries for the first time in the country’s history. To appease Hezbollah (a terrorist organization according to Washington, but a powerful political party in Lebanon), it was allowed to choose the health minister (it chose a Shia doctor, Jamil Jabak, who is not a member of the group) along with two other cabinet seats. Al Jazeera
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
This isn’t going to be a small deal with China.
– President Donald Trump on what he’s hoping will come out of the two-day trade talks he held with representatives from China (which wrapped up yesterday). Reuters
• Picking It Up
Turns out Torontonians aren’t the only ones who hate waiting in line for their takeout — and Ritual is capitalizing on the world’s need for speed. The Toronto-based app, which allows users to order ahead for quick pickup, announced an overseas expansion plan yesterday, which includes launching in London and Sydney. (The first time the service will be offered outside North America.) Ritual will also be making its way into almost two dozen new cities across the U.S. and Canada, including Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Portland, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Austin, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Charlotte, Nashville and Miami. (The only thing we love more than fast food is faster food.) Techvibes
• Uber Update
Uber is looking to staunch some criticism by adding public transportation info to its app. The update just launched in Denver where Uber users saw the addition of a tiny train car next to the word “transit” in addition to the other ride options. The app has received increased criticism over the years for its supposed negative effects on public transportation, including declining ridership. (It’s not Uber’s fault that they’re better.) The company’s transit team has responded by saying the goal is to decrease the number of personal vehicles on the roads by offering increased commuter options, such as Ubers, buses, and trains. By clicking on the transit option in the app, Uber’s Denver customers will now be able to see all their bus, train, and subway options, including prices and travel times. With Denver’s population on the rise and the city struggling to keep up with transportation options, only time will tell if the app will garner any sort of increase in Denver’s public transportation traffic. The Verge
• Basketball: Star Power
It’s official: Kyle Lowry will be joining his new teammate Kawhi Leonard at the 2019 All-Star Game. A week after the captains (LeBron James for the West and Giannis Antetokounmpoto for the East) and the starters (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Paul George, James Harden, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Kemba Walker) were announced, the league revealed the 14 reserve players that would round out the two teams. Selected by the head coaches, Lowry was named as one of the All-Star players from the East, along with Victor Oladipo, Blake Griffin, Khris Middleton, Bradley Beal and Nikola Vucevic. Reserve players from the West include Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Karl-Anthony Towns. The captains will participate in a school-yard pick to finalize their teams on Feb. 8. The two teams will face off Feb. 17 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. Sportsnet
• Sing Me a Song
Everyone’s favourite Canadian crooner is heading back to the small screen. Michael Bublé announced his seventh primetime music special yesterday, called bublé, which he said will be his “most personal” yet and will feature songs from his entire career (think hits like “Home,” “Haven’t Met You Yet” and “It’s a Beautiful Day”) along with eight songs from his new album ♥️. In addition to his own music, the star will also perform classics that helped popularize his style of music, like Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and Dean Martin’s “Till Somebody Loves You.” The Grammy award-winner will also be accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra. The special airs Mar. 20, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT on NBC. Deadline
This one will warm your cold winter hearts. A good samaritan in Chicago has picked up a hotel tab for more than 70 homeless people from a downtown homeless camp after temperatures dipped below -20°F during the week. The camp residents had been using propane tanks to heat the tents on a vacant downtown lot when one of the tanks exploded shortly after noon on Wednesday; nobody was hurt, but the portable propane tanks were confiscated, leaving the residents without a heat source in frigid temperatures. Preparations were put in place by the city to move the camp to one of the Salvation Army’s warming centres when the city got a call that someone had paid to put everyone up in a hotel for the week. (The temperature might be cold, but our hearts are hella warm.) Chicago Tribune
• Poor Pups
We’ve heard of glitter beards, but…glitter balls? That’s the new (and ridiculous) trend on the rise as pet owners post pics of their beloved pooches with glitter-covered testicles on social media (you read that right). Fear not for our furry friends: it’s edible glitter applied with corn syrup, so it’s safe for their sacks…even if it seems a little (OK, a lot) weird. (We’re more concerned for the owners, to be honest.) The original post on Groomery Foolery, a Facebook page for dog groomers, read, “Very few things surprise me. Yet here I sit looking at glitter dog balls.” Another groomer commented, “Please know that I love doing creative [sic] but, I will NOT be doing this.” (We don’t blame you.) Mirror
• Warming Up
Former U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian Leader Boris Yeltsin proclaimed an end to the Cold War on Feb. 1, 1992 with a joint statement promising to follow new arms limitations agreements.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Two Parisian police officers have been found guilty of raping a Canadian woman and have been sentenced to seven years in prison.
• According to reports, the Department of Homeland Security set up a fake college in order to catch foreign students who were trying to stay and study in the U.S. without proper documentation.
• Another leak is giving Apple fans a sneak peek at the next generation of iPhones, iPads and the new iOS.
• It’s been a sad week for Toronto FC fans: star player Sebastian Giovinco has been sold to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal club (a move he doesn’t seem too happy about).
• Peter Jackson is moving from mystical movies to music. The famed director is set to make a Beatles movie out of unseen “Let it Be” footage.
• All the Toppings
This isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you order a burger and Coke.