How the tables have turned

A major move in the Brexit negotiations, another attack on schoolchildren in China and Walmart takes somewhat of a stand on gun control.

How the tables have turned

A major move in the Brexit negotiations, another attack on schoolchildren in China and Walmart takes somewhat of a stand on gun control.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Wednesday, September 4, 2019, and the stars were shining bright last night in London. 


• The Background

We know you may be tired of reading about Brexit, but yesterday was a big day in British politics, so bear with us: In a major blow to the new prime minister, Boris Johnson lost his majority in British parliament, allowing Tory rebels and opposition MPs to clear their first major hurdle in halting Johnson’s Brexit plans. In a historic showdown between Johnson and British lawmakers, the PM lost the vote 328 to 301, allowing lawmakers to take control of parliament away from the government, giving themselves the power to pass legislation that would block the U.K. from leaving the European Union without a formal agreement. New York Times

• What Else You Need to Know

The news marks a pivotal moment in the three-year Brexit saga, which has divided the country and the British government. As proven by yesterday’s vote, the majority of lawmakers are intent on blocking Johnson’s plan for a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31, citing it would be detrimental to the U.K.’s economy. As a result of the defeat, Johnson will seek a general election on Oct. 14, but will need a two-thirds vote in parliament to schedule the election. The election should be approved in the coming days as an emergency measure, but the Opposition said it wouldn’t vote for an election unless a no-deal Brexit was ruled out.

• What’s Next?

We’re really sorry to say this, but you’ll probably be reading about this again tomorrow. Opposition and rebel Conservative MPs will likely pass a bill that will block Johnson from pulling the country out of the U.K. at the end of October, and parliament will vote today to approve Johnson’s election request. (Relationship status: very complicated.)


• First Day Devastation

In a brazen attack on innocent children, a 40-year-old man killed eight people outside a primary school in China. The motive behind the violent attack is still unknown, and the way in which the attacker carried out the killings is also not yet clear. The attack comes after several other high profile murders of school children in China in recent years, including last April, when nine students were stabbed to death on their walk home from secondary school. The victims of yesterday’s attack range in age from six to 13 years old. BBC News


• Canada: In It to Win It

As we creep closer to the federal election, the NDP has revealed a new slogan and campaign ad. The party has unveiled its “In it for you” slogan, plus a video ad featuring NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaging with various groups of people and prospective voters. Singh is still trailing behind Conservatives, Liberals and Greens in terms of fundraising and nominating candidates. In the 30-second ad, Singh says, “I don’t work for the wealthy and well-connected. I don’t think government should be run for their benefit, like it has for decades.” Globe and Mail

• Canada: The Grand Plan

Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney assembled a six-person panel to evaluate Alberta’s financial situation, which has been in dire straits. The panel unveiled its findings along with 26 recommendations, including a shocking warning: the province’s operating expenses must be cut by at least $600 million in order to balance the budget by 2022–23, plus a significant reduction in capital spending. (And we thought our spending habits were bad.) The panel also suggested other sweeping reforms, including legislating salaries for public sector workers, allowing day procedures in private clinics and unfreezing the post-secondary tuition. Boiled down, the report suggests the Alberta government must completely rethink how and what services are delivered through the public budget. Edmonton Journal 



– Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a hurricane relief organization, explains what she saw when she flew over the Bahamas’ Abaco Island, which was hit hard by Hurricane Dorian. Associated Press


• Restricting Rifles

In a long-awaited decision, Walmart is limiting sales of certain types of ammunition, in response to the deadly shooting in an El Paso location last month that killed 22 people. The country’s largest retailer says it will discontinue selling specific short-barrel rifle ammunition and all handgun ammunition once it sells the remainder of its current inventory. The move will likely reduce Walmart’s share of the country’s ammunition market to 6% from 20%. In addition to restricting its ammunition sales, Walmart is now also requesting that customers don’t bring firearms into stores, even in open-carry states. New York Times 


• Going Dark

‘Tis the season for new phone releases. Google has officially unveiled the Android 10, which comes with several exciting new features, including dark mode, privacy controls, and Live Captions. The phone’s new “dark theme” is the most popular addition to the device. It will allow users to activate a battery-saving setting, which will turn the background of system-wide menus to black. Google is encouraging third-party developers to support the feature, so you can expect more apps to accommodate dark mode over time. Mashable 


• Basketball: The End of the Road

Canada may be home to the Larry O’Brien championship trophy, but it appears that’s where our basketball dreams will end. Yesterday, the national team was booted from the FIBA World Cup after suffering a shellacking at the hands of Lithuania. (They lost 92–69.) With two losses (they lost to Australia 108–92), the Canadians can’t advance to round two. The team will have one more shot to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next June. CBC News


• Music for Mental Health

A slew of popular artists including Adam Lambert, Rita Ora, Aloe Blacc and David Guetta, are putting on a tribute concert for the late Swedish DJ, Avicii, who died last year by suicide. The concert, which is set for Dec. 5, 2019, in Stockholm, will feature 19 of the original artists on his biggest songs, as well as several sets from his DJ friends. All proceeds from the concert will go towards organizations that support mental health needs and suicide prevention. Rolling Stone


• Vegan Vengeance

We know that some people who go vegan take the lifestyle very seriously. Well, that’s certainly the case for an Australian woman who decided to sue her neighbours for barbecuing fish and meat in their backyard. Cilla Carden took the case to the Supreme Court of Western Australia, accusing her neighbours of intentionally creating meat fumes to irritate her. The case has been rejected twice, and Carden has filed 600 pages of documents in her appeal. (Clearly she’s not into protecting trees as much as animals.) USA Today


• The Call of the Wild

Today is National Wildlife Day, an event established to raise awareness about endangered species and the importance of conservation. The fact that it falls on September 4 is no coincidence: it’s the day Australian conservationist Steve Irwin died after a stingray attack.


• The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for divers after a deadly boat fire off the California coast. 

• The White House has imposed sanctions on the Iran Space Agency, accusing it of attempting to advance Tehran’s missile programs. 

• The U.S. has agreed to withdraw 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close military bases in a draft peace accord with the Taliban. 

• Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for $10 million, after the company apparently stole her name and likeness to promote its products.

• Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie join four others on the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist


• The Proposal

This is one helluva risky move. 

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