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✨ Good morning! Today is Thursday, February 14, 2019 and we’ve got to admit — we’re already in love. ❤️
BULLETIN: LIAR, LIAR
• The Background
Paul Manafort just can’t stop committing crimes. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the former Trump campaign chair lied to investigators after signing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller. According to Jackson’s statement, Manafort “made false statements about his communications with longtime associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a separate, as-yet-nonpublic Justice Department investigation, and a payment related to a debt that Manafort owed to a law firm.” Though Manafort wasn’t totally honest, it wasn’t all lies either: Jackson said there was no proof that Manafort intentionally made the false statements. His lawyers said he was trying to recall information from 2016 “as best as he could” and any mistakes he made were not intentional. BuzzFeed News
• What Else You Need to Know
Despite him so clearly breaking the law, Mueller said he’s not planning to bring any more charges against Manafort. Instead, he’s satisfied with Jackson voiding the plea deal (which she did). Now it’s up to the courts to decide on Manafort’s sentence — which will definitely be more harsh since Mueller is no longer required to support a shorter sentence. (The office had agreed to do so as part of the deal.) The lying will also affect Manafort’s ability to argue for a lighter sentence. Unfortunately, this whole snafu will also affect the sentence Manafort receives in the second case Mueller’s office has filed against him in Virginia. That one’s been put on hold until this whole lying thing has been sorted out.
• What’s Next?
Back in November, a federal judge had set Manafort’s sentencing for March 5, 2019. No word on if this development will change that.
• Deadly Drive
At least 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were killed yesterday, when a suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosives near a bus transporting the military personnel. The attack happened in the Sistan-Baluchestan province near the border with Pakistan as the bus was bringing border guards back from their postings. It didn’t take long for the al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim militant group, Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) to claim responsibility for the attack. However Iran’s foreign minister was quick to blame Western nations, tweeting, “Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that #WarsawCircus begins? Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with Twitter bots?” (It actually sounds pretty unlikely, but OK.) This is the worst attack to hit the Guard in years. BBC News
• Canada: Loose Lips
If there’s one thing Canadians are good at, it’s answering an international call for help, and once again, we’ve delivered. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced yesterday that more than 750 Libyan refugees who’ve been rescued from slavery are being resettled in Canada. According to Hussen’s statement, we were “one of the few countries” who responded to a request from the UN’s refugee agency in 2017, and have resettled more than 150 people since. Another 600 are expected to arrive over the next two years, and will be resettled as part of the regular refugee settlement program. In addition to those immigrating from Libya, the government is working on resettling “100 refugees from Niger, rescued from Libyan migrant detention centres, including victims of human smuggling.” National Post
• U.S.: Switching Sides
Speaking of Iran and leaking information, turns out the country’s been getting some help from an unlikely source: An American Air Force agent. Yesterday, the Department of Justice indicted Monica Witt for helping the country set up a “cyber-spying trap” that targeted fellow U.S. intelligence officials. According to reports, the 39-year-old defected to Iran in 2013 after working as an intelligence specialist for 11 years. She joined the Air Force in 1997, and worked in both the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and was later deployed abroad to conduct counterintelligence missions. Unfortunately for U.S. security, Witt had a top-secret clearance and also worked for the Department of Defense. The DOJ has issued a warrant for her arrest. Business Insider
• World: Doing the Write Thing
Journalists’ plight against political powers continued yesterday, when the editor of a top Filipino news site was arrested as part of a libel case. Maria Ressa, who runs Rappler Inc. (and was one of the journalists Time magazine selected for its 2018 Persons of the Year), has been openly critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. National Bureau of Investigation agents served the warrant after a businessman made a libel complaint against the site, which Amnesty International said was “brazenly politically motivated.” As for Ressa, she’s refusing to go down without a fight saying “No amount of legal cases, black propaganda, and lies can silence Filipino journalists who continue to hold the line.” CTV News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
I don’t feel safe anywhere anymore.
– Anna Crean, 16, a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooting that killed 14 of her classmates and three staff members happened one year ago today. To mark the occasion, a group of student reporters along with news organizations the Miami Herald, McClatchyand The Trace, have launched Since Parkland, a website profiling the nearly 1200 American children that have been killed by gun violence over the last year. New York Times
• Forever in Blue Jeans
A 165-year-old company is plotting a new lease on life. The original blue jeans brand, Levi Strauss & Co., filed yesterday to go public, moving to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as LEVI. While the paperwork filed gave only a placeholder amount for the company’s valuation, reports say it’s looking to raise between US $600 million and US $800 million with its initial public offering. The American heritage company plans to use the funds to boost its international presence in emerging markets, such as China, India and Brazil. This will be the second time in its history Levi’s has gone public; the first was in 1971, but descendants of the founder re-privatized it in 1985. CNBC
• Blockbuster Bid
With more ways to watch movies at home than ever, theatres have to promise something pretty impressive to get butts in seats. Enter the new Sony Digital Cinema system. The large format theatrical system, which aims to compete with Imax and Dolby Cinema offerings, combines Sony’s high-end laser projection technology with 4K support, “high dynamic range images, Dolby Atmos sound and reclining seats.” As of this spring, Galaxy Theatres has bought in to have its Las Vegas Boulevard Mall location become home to the first auditoriums using the setup. Sony hopes to roll out the premium offering to theatres across the U.S. first, before bringing the “very large, immersive screens” to global audiences. But that’s not all: The company is also hard at work developing a 32-foot LED screen that would replace the current projection technology. Hollywood Reporter
• Racing: Fast Car
It’s a rarity, but sometimes Canada gets an exclusive — which is exactly what happened yesterday when Canadian F1 driver Lance Stroll and his new Mexican racing partner Sergio Perez unveiled their new ride. The announcement was one for the history books, as it marked the first time ever that a racing team has unveiled its new car exclusively in Canada. The newest F1 team, known also as the SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team, wore pink uniforms for the announcement, to match the exterior of the car they’ll be taking on the road. The duo will compete in 21 races this season, starting on March 17 in Melbourne, Australia. Sportsnet
📖👀🎧 THE WEEKEND PLAYLIST
This week, we’re really feeling the love…
This Valentine’s Day reading list has something for everyone, from the heartbroken to the happily in love.
Whether you live for Valentine’s Day or absolutely despise it, new comedy Isn’t It Romantic (starring the hilarious Rebel Wilson and Andy Bovine) will make your weekend.
If anyone knows how to get lovers in the mood, it’s Pornhub — which is what make this Valentine’s Day album so spectacular.
• Flygirl for Life
After a six-year hiatus, J.Lo is loading up her tourbus with bronzer, big earrings and see-through glitzy outfits and hitting the road. Jennifer Lopez is celebrating her 50th birthday (shocking, we know!) with the It’s My Party: The Live Celebration tour, kicking off in June. (Her big birthday is July 24.) Joining her for guest appearances on the tour will be stars of NBC reality competition World of Dance, on which Lopez acts as a judge and an executive producer. Among the 24 concert dates announced will be two Canadian shows, in Toronto (July 7) and Montreal (July 10). Rolling Stone
• Rear View
The world has a new hero, and his name is Assman. Dave Assman (yep, that’s his real name) of Melville, Sask. made headlines last week when he was denied a personalized vanity licence plate emblazoned with his last name, which is apparently pronounced “OSS-men.” On Tuesday, Assman appealed Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), the body that oversees drivers’ licensing and vehicle registrations in the province, to reverse the decision — but was rejected once again on the grounds of the requested plate being “offensive, suggestive or not in good taste.” So, he took a back route to success. Assman commissioned an oversized decal mimicking the design of the Sask. license plate of his dreams, but blown up to span the entire back of his truck. Luckily for Assman, the decal is 100% legal. National Post
• New Media
Three former PayPal employees banded together to launch a fledgling video-sharing platform called YouTube on this day in 2005. Now, it’s the second-most popular website in the world — right behind now-parent company Google.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• According to scientists, Canada’s climate is going to undergo some major changes over the next 60 years.
• As Canada’s ethics commissioner starts looking into the SNC-Lavalin situation, the Liberal government has voted to limit the scope of his investigation.
• Hopefully hurricane season comes a little later this year: FEMA Director Brock Long just resigned.
• Dave Brubaker, the former Canadian women’s gymnastics coach accused of two sex-related charges, was acquitted yesterday.
• Another Hollywood star has been accused of using his power to abuse young women. This time, it’s singer-songwriter Ryan Adams.
• Written in the Star(buck)s
It’s not just a cup of coffee — it’s fate.