✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, August 19, 2019, and why is this not even a little bit surprising?
BULLETIN: UNHOLY MATRIMONY
• The Background
What was meant to be an event of joy and unity rapidly turned into a scene of carnage, chaos and destruction. A wedding in Kabul, Afghanistan, was interrupted by a suicide bomber, who randomly marched into the venue hall and incited a brazen attack, leaving 63 people dead and nearly 200 wounded. The Islamic State (IS) has taken responsibility for the brutal bombing, which marks the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital so far this year. New York Times
• What Else You Need to Know
The incident comes at a highly sensitive time. The Trump administration is in its final stages of peace talks with the Taliban, and the suicide bombing has called the deal into question. The bombing has spurred heightened concerns about Trump’s proposed plan, which would pull approximately 10,000 international troops in Afghanistan, so long as the Taliban pledges not to allow the country to foster extremist groups. Though the Taliban denied responsibility for the attack and condemned it, Afghanistan’s president says the militant group cannot absolve itself of blame, arguing that it is “providing a platform to terrorists.”
• What’s Next?
The groom, who survived the deadly attack says, “I feel very weak. I know that this won’t be the last suffering for Afghans, the suffering will continue.” POTUS says he’s still ambivalent about whether or not he can trust the Taliban and move forward with the plea deal.
• Another One
Hong Kong’s Victoria Park just saw its largest-ever pro-democracy protest, following a string of regular weekend demonstrations. After being denied a permit to march by police, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered despite a rainstorm and growing tensions with the police and Chinese government, which has threatened to put an end to the civil unrest now going into its eleventh week. Protestors wore face masks to protect their identities and eye patches (a symbol of solidarity with a woman whom they say was shot in the eye with a projectile by the police). Though the demonstration was generally peaceful, Chinese officials have claimed that the protestors “have begun to show signs of terrorism.” ABC News
• Canada: Britain’s Babysitter
Dual Canadian-British citizen Jack Letts (or Jihadi Jack, as the U.K. media began calling him after he moved to Syria to fight for ISIS), has been stripped of his British citizenship, meaning it’s up to Canada to clean up the mess. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released a statement expressing disappointment saying, “terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe.” Letts grew up in England; his dad’s Canadian, but that’s about as far as his connection to the Great White North goes. (No wonder the Canadian government is a little peeved with the Brits right now.) Letts is currently being detained in a Kurdish prison, but Canadian prosecutors have said that charging him for terrorist offences will be difficult since he didn’t live in Canada in or around the time of committing them. CBC News
• World: Doomsday Dossier
A leaked no-deal Brexit dossier detailed what the U.K. envisions as the worst-case scenario and let’s just say, it ain’t pretty. From food and medicine shortages, import and export delays, and public disorder to fuel shortages and job losses, the government has painted a truly grim picture of Britain’s likely future. Though the dossier is apparently old and confidence in new PM Boris Johnson remains fairly optimistic, it’s still a rather shocking insight into some U.K. ministers’ fears. Particularly alarming is the idea that a hard border could form between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland if peace with Northern Ireland can’t be secured. BBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Greenland is not for sale. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously.”
– Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, after President Trump expressed interest in buying Greenland (an autonomous territory that belongs to Denmark), despite the fact that it’s not exactly on the market. NBC News
• Dollar Defence
Five of the world’s largest economies are staring down the recession barrel, but the top two White House economic advisers say there’s nothing to worry about. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s senior economic advisor, claimed that strong retail sales and low unemployment rates are sure signs that the American economy is still thriving. The president himself claims the economy is doing “tremendously well” despite last week’s scare. A recession and its potential spillover into the U.S. economy could threaten President Trump’s reelection bid, particularly as he utilizes economic growth during his term as a major talking point. But Trump’s own policies, such as the potential for a trade war with China, could tip the pot — and not in his favour. CNN
• Here Comes the Sun
Tesla is shaking up the solar power industry. The company has introduced a Rent Solar program, which allows residents in six U.S. states to pay a monthly fee (rather than coughing up an exorbitant amount of money upfront) to install solar panels. Customers will pay $50 a month, but there is no long-term contract required so the pressure is off. Tesla Solar should arrive in Europe next year, and hopefully Canada shortly thereafter. (We’re feeling lit!) Engadget
• Dirty Little Secret
A sample of 2,000 Americans were surveyed on their intimate hygiene habits and the results are, frankly, really gross. In the first thousand respondents, 45% admitted to wearing their underwear more than two days in a row, while 13% admitted to wearing the same pair for a week or more. 🤮 Men were found to be a lot nastier than women in the junkyard (we’re not surprised). The surveyors pointed to a study that showed there are upwards of 10,000 living bacteria on clean underwear and stressed that underwear should be replaced at least once per year. People
• Unsung Heroes
Today is World Humanitarian Day, a special observance to pay tribute to aid workers who dedicate their lives to helping those in crisis around the world. This year, female humanitarians, who make up a large portion of those who risk their lives in the name of helping others, are being especially recognized.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• A pipeline rupture has spewed 40,000 litres of crude oil into an Alberta creek.
• A total of 60 homes were evacuated in Tillsonburg, Ontario, after a lightning strike hit a gas line causing a major leak.
• A far-right rally in Portland left more than a dozen people under arrest and several others injured, as left-wing demonstrators spent hours counter-protesting extremist groups.
• Peter Fonda, the star, co-writer and producer of Easy Rider, passed away at the age of 79.
• Former NFL player, Cedric Benson, tragically died on Saturday night in a motorcycle crash.
• Surprise, Surprise
But seriously, how on earth did she not know?