Hoop, there it is… 🏀

YouTube makes a big move, Amazon makes some major announcements, and another celebrity biopic is on its way.

Hoop, there it is… 🏀

YouTube makes a big move, Amazon makes some major announcements, and another celebrity biopic is on its way.

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✨ Good morning! Today is Thursday, June 6, 2019, and here’s further proof that life in plastic is far from fantastic. G


• The Background

In a bold move by YouTube, the popular video-sharing giant announced yesterday that it’s banning thousands of videos and channels that promote extremist viewpoints, including neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies. (It’s about freakin’ time.) YouTube will also block videos that deny the occurrence of violent incidents, like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to a statement, the new guidelines will prohibit “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion.” New York Times

• What Else You Need to Know

This marks YouTube’s latest attempt to eradicate the spread of hate speech and disinformation on its platform: “It’s our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.” The move comes just after YouTube recently came under intense scrutiny for not addressing the flagrant spread of hateful and false content on the site.

• What’s Next?

YouTube’s new policy against hate speech could fuel a cycle of outrage and anger in the users and communities directly impacted. The company will still allow videos it classifies as “borderline,” which is pretty ambiguous.


• Global Gathering

Yesterday, to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day (75 years ago, the Allied troops invaded the Nazi-occupied region of Normandy, marking the beginning of the end of WWII), world leaders gathered in Portsmouth, England, to pay tribute to the veterans who risked their lives to help end the war. Queen Elizabeth, who was joined by Theresa May, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump, among others, said, “the heroism, courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives will never be forgotten.” More than 350 Canadians were killed on D-Day, and another 5,000 died fighting in the war during the following two months. The monumental operation was the largest seaborne invasion in history. CBC News


• Canada: Money Tree

The federal government is stepping in to save Ontario’s trees. Just two months after Premier Doug Ford’s government unveiled its budget for 2019 which included scrapping the 50 Million Tree Program, Ottawa’s stepping in to save it. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna made the announcement yesterday, sharing that the Liberals were planning to put up $15 million over four years to extend the program, meaning “cleaner air, a healthier environment and good local jobs.” The funding will help plant an additional 10 million trees, bringing the program’s total to 37 million. CBC News

• U.S.: Don’t Pass the Tissue

In a big win for pro-lifers (and perhaps an even bigger loss for abortion advocates), the Trump administration will no longer allow government scientists to use fetal tissue for medical research. (It’s often used to uncover the source of several diseases.) Trump is also cancelling a multi-million-dollar contract for a university lab that uses fetal tissue to test HIV treatments. Scientists are deeply disappointed by this decision, claiming the tissue collected from abortions has been critical to discovering the root of illnesses ranging from HIV to cancer, as well as vaccine production and treatment for Parkinson’s and other debilitating diseases. The scientific community argues that no adequate experimental substitute for human fetal tissue exists. In a statement, the White House said, “promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration.” Washington Post


“Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia.”

– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham shockingly splits from the president (along with several other Republican senators), announcing that the group plans to force congressional votes on 22 resolutions that would block Trump’s recently-announced sales of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Al Jazeera


• Drop Shipping

At Amazon’s first re:MARS conference, an AI event for machine learning, the e-commerce giant announced a slew of some of the company’s most exciting innovations yet. First, Amazon is upping its delivery game by unveiling its brand new Prime Air delivery drone. Soon, your packages will be arriving by way of a hybrid aircraft capable of takeoff, landing and sustained forward flight. Speaking of self-operating devices, Amazon is also showcasing its new robots, designed to make the company’s fulfillment centres even more efficient. Amazon currently has approximately 200,000 robots worldwide. The company also has plans to use artificial intelligence to help customers shop for clothing (as if we needed more help spending money). The new software will allow Amazon to detect what a customer wears from photos they’ve uploaded, and find the most similar items available on the site. Last, but not least, Amazon also announced that it’s working on improving Alexa’s conversation fluidity, with the goal of giving her an even more human-like feel. TechCrunch


• Basketball: How the West Was Won

Our Toronto Raptors are looking more and more like champions. Despite taking the wrong bridge to the game, Canada’s basketball team took on the Golden State Warriors on their home turf and brought the injury-laden team to its knees (a.k.a. they won, 123–109) in game three of the NBA Finals. The incredibly rambunctious crowd (we all saw that push, bud) didn’t rattle the Raps. Led by Kawhi Leonard who put up 30 points, the rest of the team stepped up in a big way: Kyle Lowry had 23, Pascal Siakim and Danny Green both had 18 (Green’s three-pointer is back), while Marc Gasol picked up 17 and Fred VanVleet Sr. added 11. On the other side of the court, Steph Curry played the best game of his playoff career, raking up 47 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Game four is tomorrow night at 9pm ET. TSN


• Read

If you can stomach it, Washington insider Michael Wolff’s back with Siege: Trump Under Fire, a followup to his bestseller Fire and Fury

• Watch

Strong female characters take over TV this weekend: the third season of the Handmaid’s Tale is back on Sunday (Bravo, 9pm ET), along with the second season of Big Little Lies (HBO, 9pm ET). 

• Listen

Blockbuster, a new(ish) six-episode podcast that dives into the past of iconic filmmakers (think Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and John Williams) and how the films they’ve made changed cinema forever.


• Spotlight on Sammy

Hollywood (and all of us, tbh) cannot get enough of celebrity biopics. Lee Daniels Entertainment has teamed up with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman to create a miniseries about the one and only Sammy Davis Jr. Davis Jr. was not only a talented musician, but a dancer, singer, and actor. While the series, tentatively titled Sammy (so creative), is still in preliminary stages, the creators are using anecdotes from friends and family as well as the 2003 biography In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.by Wil Haygood as source material. This isn’t the first attempt at portraying the prolific artist’s life on screen — in 2013, Paramount Pictures filmed at Davis’s former estate. This miniseries will be full of drama, as Davis’s life contained more scandals, storylines, and excitement than your favourite Real Housewives franchise. Deadline


• Fight Fire With Fire?

Some days, literally nothing can go right, and two Florida burglars learned this lesson the hard way. Authorities caught two men trying to break open an ATM machine using a blowtorch. Instead of the ATM machine burning down (or you know, cracking open and giving the two criminals loads of cash), the machine actually welded shut leaving the men with nothing but stunned looks on their faces and one-way trips to the country jail. (What a burn.) CTV News



• Slam Dunk

In a timely anniversary, 73 years ago today, the Basketball Association of America (the precursor of the NBA) came into existence, setting the stage for today’s modern National Basketball Association. So HBD, NBA! 


• The Chinese ambassador to Canada is calling it quits. Lu Shaye has apparently gotten a promotion and is moving to Paris.

• Mexican and American officials are hard at work trying to figure out a way to avoid the 5% tariffs the Trump administration wants to impose on Mexican imports. 

• Carnival Corp. (which owns both Princess and Carnival cruise lines) just accepted a $20 million fine after a court found it guilty of dumping mass amounts of trash in the ocean. (Good job, guys.)

• In news that will definitely induce a massive eye roll, three men in Boston are trying to start a Straight Pride Parade

• Get ready for another epic roasting: Comedy Central just announced that Alec Baldwin’s next on its hit list. 


• Holy Guacamole

Apparently, humans aren’t the only species gaga over guac.

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