Don't Call Us

The CRTC confirms that telecom companies are up to no good, Samsung unveils its latest lineup and the Academy of Country Music reveals its 2019 nominees.

Don't Call Us

The CRTC confirms that telecom companies are up to no good, Samsung unveils its latest lineup and the Academy of Country Music reveals its 2019 nominees.

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✨  Good morning!  Today is Thursday, February 21, 2019 and emojis have officially gone too far. 😳


• The Background

The CRTC just confirmed what consumers across Canada already know firsthand: A new report issued by the Canadian Television-Radio and Telecommunications Commission, based on hearings held in October and released yesterday, asserts that many Canadians “have been subjected to misleading or aggressive sales practices by [wireless and internet] service providers.” (It’s so nice to have our feelings validated.) Financial Post

• What Else You Need to Know

The report says records show seniors, people with disabilities and people whose first language is one other than English or French are the most preyed upon, and that the shady tactics come from all sales channels used by the 12 companies scrutinized in the inquiry (which includes Bell, Rogers, Telus, et al), whether in-store, online, by phone or through door-to-door campaigns.

• What’s Next?

While the CRTC now agrees it’s high time for it to buck up and do something to shut down the behaviour, don’t expect immediate results. Planned remedies — such as a “secret shopper” program to keep tabs on sales tactics and a consumer checklist for filing complaints — will need time-consuming regulatory proceedings to implement that are expected to be further complicated by the federal government’s ongoing review of the national Telecommunications and Broadcasting acts. (Excuses, excuses.)


• Blaze in Bangladesh

A massive fire swept through a historic neighbourhood of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, Wednesday night. The blaze killed at least 78 people, including members of a bridal party, according to officials. The fire in the Chawkbazar district, which was established some 400 years ago during the Mughal dynasty, is known for its narrow streets and bustling markets with buildings that are very close together, as well as chemical businesses and perfume factories. But it is also known for its potential dangers, including electrical wires that hang low over the narrow laneways, and chemicals that are stored in residential buildings that are used for commercial purposes. While the cause of Wednesday’s blaze was not immediately clear, it did appear to start in a building that had flammable material on the ground floor. BBC News

• Religious Revamp

After decades of sweeping sexual abuse under the rug, the Catholic Church is finally attempting to do something about the incredibly (horrible) pervasive problem. Late last year, Pope Francis announced a four-day summit (kicking off today) which would have presidents present from every bishops’ conference and would focus on “preventing abuse, investigating cases and listening to victims.” In a sort of pre-summit seminar, survivors of clergy sexual abuse met with organizers yesterday to demand changes to how the Church handles abuse cases. Among the changes, the group requested complete transparency, zero tolerance for any kind of abuse and that religious superiors are held accountable when they protect priests who rape and molest children. They also asked that the Vatican begin releasing the names of abusive priests, along with their case files. (God willing.) CTV News


• Canada: Motion Denied

It looks like there won’t be a public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin scandal — at least not yet. Yesterday, all but two Liberal MPs voted against a motion that would have pushed the federal government to open a public inquiry into what happened, as well as urge the prime minister to waive solicitor-client privilege (which at the moment is preventing former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, from speaking publicly about the allegations). Both Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches–East York) and Wayne Long (Saint John–Rothesay) voted in favour of the motion. Wilson-Raybould abstained from voting since she felt it was a conflict of interest. Both Prime Minister Trudeau and current Attorney General David Lametti voted against the motion (though their votes may be excluded). iPolitics

• World: Crossing the Aisle

Speaking of MPs breaking from their party — three members of Theresa May’s Conservatives just quit over Brexit, opting instead to join a new group of Independent MPs. The move brings the group’s total to 11, after eight lawmakers opted to ditch the Labour Party (over its handling of a wave of anti-Semitism) earlier this week. In a letter to the PM, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston said they couldn’t stand behind May’s “disastrous handling of Brexit,” are concerned about the Conservative Party’s shift to “the right” and said that the entire party was in danger of being “taken over by extremists.” CNN


Russia will be forced to create and deploy new types of weapons that could be used not only against the territories where a direct threat to us comes from, but also against the territories where decision-making centres directing the use of missile systems threatening us are located.

– Russian President Vladimir Putin, basically threatening the entire world in yesterday’s state-of-the-nation address, should the U.S. set up missile deployment centres anywhere in Europe. CBC News


• Always Upgrading

The rumours were all true. Yesterday, Samsung revealed (or more like confirmed) its biggest mobile launches of the year at its Galaxy Unpacked event, including details on the new S10 and Fold smartphones. Innovations on display include 5G support on the top line S10 model (which also boasts six cameras, for some reason); curved quad ultra-crisp AMOLED displays for the whole S10 family — except the budget S10e — which are apparently designed to reduce eye strain; and an “ultrasonic fingerprint reader” that uses a machine-learning-based algorithm to read fingerprints with sound waves. (But, like, why?) The highly buzzed-about Galaxy Fold was the event’s star: the invisible hinge opens up to transform the 4.6-inch smartphone into a seamless 7.3-inch tablet, courtesy of the Infinity Flex display. Aside from the novelty (a phone that opens like a book! Crazy!) the Fold’s most exciting feature is its ability to run three apps on the screen at one time. (“Netflix and Whatsapp” doesn’t have quite the same ring, but you get the point.) However, the actual execution of this will rely on developers adapting their apps to support the unique feature. If you care about new upgrades to the Galaxy Fit wearables lineup, you can get the details on those devices hereCNN


• Football: Foreign Correspondence

The Canadian Football League is expanding its international footprint. Yesterday, the league announced that it was joining forces with another European country: Italy. The land of pizza and pasta becomes the ninth foreign football federation to form a partnership with the CFL, joining Mexico, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The two will co-operate on “player health and safety issues, coaching exchanges, and possibly, player exchanges, which means the leagues may swap (Italian players may attend next month’s CFL national combine in Toronto, and Canadian players may have the opportunity to play in Italy). Sportsnet


• Read

The boys behind Montreal’s legendary Joe Beef restaurant appeared to have it all — but this behind-the-scenes look, featuring alcoholism and extravagance, paints a very different picture.

• Watch

It’s Oscars weekend! Tune in Sunday night at 5pm ET to cringe through the live red-carpet interviews, then stick around for the actual (host-less) awards starting at 8pm ET on CTV.

• Listen

Take a trip down memory lane with the mixtape that started it all. Drake’s So Far Gone (originally released in 2009) is finally available on streaming services.


• Country Club or Boys’ Club?

The 54th Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards will be held on Apr. 7, but fans would be excused for feelings of déjà vu about the nominations. Revealed yesterday, the ACM is giving top honours to the exact same lineup of stars as did the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards back in November. Nominees for the upcoming event were announced yesterday and the five contenders for entertainer of the year — Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and Jason Aldean — are 1) the same five to be recognized at the CMAs, and 2) all men — a detail host Reba McEntire was swift to point out, despite also saying she intends to keep politics out of her hosting duties. In spite of the, um, oversight, Kacey Musgraves stands her ground with five nominations (including female artist of the year and album of the year), trailing just behind top nominated artists Chris Stapleton and duo Dan + Shay, who each earned six nods. Entertainment Tonight 


Pup Poop Patrol

Housing in Toronto really has gone to sh*t — dog sh*t, that is. A manager of downtown condo reports the building has been overrun by residents allowing their dogs to poop willy-nilly anywhere in the property (yep, in as in inside) without stooping and scooping. There have been so many incidents, they’ve hired an outside company to help identify the culprits so the lazy owners can fined and shamed into correcting the behaviour. (And people think dogs are the ones who need obedience training.) The service, PooPrints, uses DNA testing to check samples from the errant poop deposits against a database of resident pooches (owners are required to pay a fee upon move-in to add a sample of their pup’s DNA, obtained via a cheek swab, to the catalogue). And it’s not just this building — the problem is so prevalent that PooPrints services more than 3,300 properties in North America and Britain. (What a sh*t show.) Globe and Mail


• Fallen Icon

Human rights activist and Muslim minister Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, in front of a 400-person audience while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity. One of the most influential African Americans in history, he’s credited with laying the foundation of the Black Power movement.


• Jeff Rosen will likely be the next deputy attorney general of the United States; Donald Trump plans to nominate the deputy secretary of the Dept. of Transportation to replace Rod Rosenstein, when he steps down next month.

• Petro-Canada is taking baby steps toward a “low-carbon future,” announcing plans to install more than 50 fast-charging EV stations at its outlets nationwide.

• Jussie Smollett has gone from victim to suspect. Police have now charged the former Empire star with “filling a false police report.”

• The world will have to wait a bit longer to see Lady Gaga in a wedding gown — she and (ex)fiancé Christian Carino have called off their engagement. (Now the world waits for the Bradley Cooper breakup news…)


• Udder Chaos

This party didn’t get the memo(oo) that the salad bar is for paying customers only.

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