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✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, February 5, 2019 and if you stop hearing from us in a couple months, it’s because we got the job.
BULLETIN: FUNDS FOR THE FUTURE
• The Background
Canada’s putting its money where its mouth is. Just weeks after the federal government said it would recognize Juan Guiado as the president of Venezuela, it announced that it’s donating $53 million to help Venezuelans, including the three million refugees who have fled the country amidst its ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Trudeau shared the news in Ottawa at the opening of the 10th meeting of the Lima Group, which has been trying to come up with a solution to the situation in Venezuela since 2010. Globe and Mail
• What Else You Need to Know
The funding will go towards “emergency food assistance, health care, water, sanitation, education and protection services, with a focus on the needs of women and girls.” Trudeau also noted that the funds will only go towards “trusted” organizations that are working in Venezuela, along with groups in surrounding countries that are working with Venezuelan refugees. The PM also doubled down on the country’s support for Guaido (announcing the government would also be recognizing Mr. Guaido’s representative to Canada, Orlando Viera-Blanco) and directly criticizing Maduro, saying “the violation of human rights and the complete disregard for the rule of law shown by the [Maduro] regime has been both inexcusable and unacceptable.”
• What’s Next?
According to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, the all-day meeting, which included representatives from 13 of the 14 Lima Group member states — Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia — has the goal of peacefully restoring democracy in Venezuela. The group was also joined by a few outsiders: eight European countries(United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Denmark) also announced yesterday that they would be recognizing Guaido as the president of Venezuela, and many sent representatives to attend the Lima meeting in Ottawa.
• Off the Tracks
Disaster struck in the wee hours yesterday morning when a Canadian Pacific freight train derailed near the Alberta-B.C. border. All three crew members aboard — the locomotive engineer, conductor, and conductor trainee — were killed in the crash. The train was travelling westbound when it jumped the track around 1am PT near Field, B.C., sending between 40 and 60 grain cars tumbling off the tracks, with the train’s locomotive rolling into the Kicking Horse River below. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent a team of investigators to the site to determine the cause. Global News
• U.S.: Add Him to the List
It isn’t a day in the Trump presidency if there isn’t a new name to add to the staff list. Today, it’s David Bernhardt, the acting interior secretary that DT nominated to stay on permanently, filling the void left behind by Ryan Zinke last year. Like most of the president’s nominations, Bernhardt’s confirmation process is sure to come with its fair share of drama. A longtime energy lobbyist, there’s a good chance environmental groups will have a major issue with Bernhardt holding the highest position in the department that oversees public lands. However, Bernhardt has consistently tried to reassure his critics, saying that despite his past, he takes his “ethics agreement seriously.” CNN
• World: Election Day
For the first time in almost 30 years, the president of El Salvador will not be part of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front or the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance. On Sunday, the tiny Central American country elected 37-year-old Nayib Bukele as its next president, a populist who’s openly criticized both of those two dominant political parties. Bukele, who’s appealed to the younger generation of Salvadorans (his first act as president-elect was to take a selfie), has promised to end gang violence and create jobs. He’s also promised to build a new airport in the impoverished eastern part of the country and get things chugging along again on a defunct train line that would crisscross the country. Vice
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future.
– Pope Francis, speaking to a group of interfaith leaders on the first day of his historic visit to the United Arab Emirates, about the importance of working together to resist religious divisions. CBC News
• Sharing the Wealth
Yesterday, Starbucks announced it’s bringing its charitable FoodShare program to Canada. The program will see the coffee chain donate all (yep, 100%) of its unsold food to local shelters. Starbucks describes the initiative as “a national effort to provide nourishing, ready-to-eat meals to people in need.” It’s kicking things off in Ontario, with a plan to roll the program out across Canada by 2021 and provide more than 1.5 million meals annually. To make it all happen, Starbucks is partnering with the likes of Second Harvest and other community organizations to distribute the food. It’s also developed a “proprietary system to safely store and transport perishable food items” to ensure the food’s temperature, texture, flavour and safety is preserved to meet strict quality guidelines. BlogTO
• Speak Up
Can you hear me now? Even if you can’t, Google’s got you covered. It’s launched two new accessibility apps for Android designed to make interactions a little easier for those who are hard-of-hearing. The first, Live Transcribe, does just what the name implies: launch the app and it begins transcribing whatever’s being said around you. The interface keeps things distraction-free and easy-to-read with large white type on a black background (or the inverse for Dark Mode). The app will also cause your device to vibrate to alert you if someone starts talking to you from behind and a visual loudness indicator detects if surroundings are too loud for it to hear the person you’re talking with clearly, so you can ask them to speak up. The second app, Sound Amplifier, acts as an app-assisted hearing aid: if you’re in a noisy place and can’t hear your pals, plug in your headphones and adjust the in-app sliders to reduce the background noise and boost quieter sounds like your companions’ voices. Engadget
• Gimme More Goop
If she wasn’t already, Gwyneth Paltrow is now officially Martha Stewart for millennials. The actress-cum-lifestyle-guru is taking her lifestyle and wellness brand, Goop, to the umpteenth level, announcing major media expansions focused on original content. Following rumours a deal was in the works, GP has signed with Netflix to produce a Goop docuseries, set to air this fall. The show’s 30-minute episodes will be hosted by Goop chief content officer Elise Loehnen and Paltrow, and feature “experts, doctors, and researchers to examine issues relating to physical and spiritual wellness.” The brand is also fleshing out its library of podcasts with three new series: one hosted by Goop beauty expert Jean Godfrey-June, a food series hosted by a yet-to-be-named (but purportedly “award-winning”) chef, and a Goop book club featuring author interviews and reviews. Lastly, Goop is also partnering with Delta Air Lines to bring exclusive episodes of its eponymous podcast, hosted by Paltrow and Loehnen, to Delta’s in-flight streaming offerings. (In other words? It’s Gwyneth’s world, and we’re just living in it.) Variety
• Sparkle Dust
If you’re a fan of glitter and farting (and what six-year-old isn’t?), it’s time to make the trek to Universal Studios Orlando. The theme park just introduced the newest member of its Trolls dance pack and, boy, isn’t (he?) a sight to behold. Guy Diamond is a sparkly purple troll with a shock of silver hair who prances around the park butt-naked with Troll pals Branch and Poppy (both fully clothed, for the record) doing meet-and-greets, dancing and sharting out glitter for guests’ amusement. No details have been provided by the park on what genius dreamed this character up, or what they were smoking when they did. (Can we have some?) HuffPost
• Gong Hei Fat Choy
Happy Chinese New Year! Today marks the start of the lunar new year and first day of the Year of the Pig..
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Canadian company Sunrise Records just threw HMV a lifeline: a last-minute offer to purchase the company.
• Guess Costco isn’t the cash-saving saint everyone thinks it is. The Ontario government fined the big box retailer $7 million for getting illegal kickbacks at 29 pharmacies from 2013 to 2015.
• Apparently Tesla needs some help in its battery business. The electric-car maker is buying battery-maker Maxwell Technologies for $218 million.
• Looks like Canadians have some solid competition when it comes to winter sports. Germany and Russia just took two golds and a silverin women’s parallel giant slalom at the world championships.
• Neil and Drucilla are no more. Kristoff St. John (most famous for his role as Neil Winters on Young & the Restless) passed away at the age of 52.
• Iconic Beauty
Ninety-seven is the new twenty-seven.