If you play with fire…

The rainforest is on fire, Facebook is making a major change to the way it serves ads, and 'The Matrix' is coming back for a fourth instalment...

If you play with fire…

The rainforest is on fire, Facebook is making a major change to the way it serves ads, and 'The Matrix' is coming back for a fourth instalment...

✨  Good morning! Today is Wednesday, August 21, 2019, and this is what we call creature confusion.


• The Background

Thanks (but no thanks) to climate change, forest fires have become a regular part of modern life. For years, they’ve threatened cities, towns and human lives across the globe, but the most devastating one may be going on right now. According to NASA, the current wildfires in the Amazon rainforest are so bad that the smoke can be seen from space. The “very dense and wide fires” have been burning for several days in Rondônia and Bolivia, and are believed to have caused a daytime blackout in Sao Paolo on Monday. While the rainforest used to be resistant to wildfires (you can thank the natural moisture and humidity for that one), drought and “human activity” have recently changed that. USA Today

• What Else You Need to Know

This year is already one for the books in Brazil. According to the country’s space research centre, INPE, there have been 72,843 fires detected in the Amazon rainforest so far this year. That marks an 83%(!!) increase over 2018. Why the jump, you might ask? Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Program, said the increase is all thanks to an increase in deforestation — which many attribute to the policies of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. The government has ruffled environmentalists’ feathers by considering opening up the Amazon rainforest to “development and agribusiness.”

• What’s Next?

The #PrayforAmazonia hashtag was trending on Twitter yesterday, with many criticizing the president and urging the government to act. Amazonas, which is the largest state in Brazil, has declared a state of emergency due to the fires. 


• Looking For Trouble

The RCMP seized several firearms when officers executed a search warrant at a Manitoba home, in connection with a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. The CAF member (who’s been accused of being an active participant in a hate group) is Patrik Matthews. According to sources, Matthews was recruiting for the white supremacist network known as “The Base” and was putting up Nazi posters across Winnipeg, expressing admiration and support for serial killers and mass shooters. The investigation is ongoing and, in the meantime, Matthews is still actively employed by the CAF. (Safety first, guys.) CTV News


• Canada: Rank and File

Speaking of the Canadian military, there’s a new army commander on the scene. ICYMI, the Canadian army has dealt with years of instability over the failed prosecution of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who was long tied up in a breach of trust case (which was ultimately dropped). Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre officially took the reins of the military from Lt.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier, who had only held the position for a month. The military hopes that the new commander will give the army a sense of stability after all the unrest. Global News

• U.S.: Ciao, Conte

Italy is in ruins (literally). The country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, announced his resignation yesterday, launching a scathing attack against the far-right League Party and its leader, Matteo Salvini. After weeks of political turmoil, Conte called it quits in order to avoid a no-confidence vote proposed by Salvini, who allegedly has his eyes on the PM’s job. Conte is accusing Salvini of putting his personal interests before the needs of the country, as the sudden resignation has left Italy in a state of political crisis. What happens next is still very unclear, but elections will probably be held in the fall. The Guardian 


“The government shouldn’t tax parents for the time they take to care for and bond with their new child when they’re already making such a huge sacrifice.”

– Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, says he’ll make Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for new parents tax-free, offering a savings of about $4K per year for those earning a salary of $50,000. CBC News


• Stop the Spying

Those creepy internet ads could soon be a thing of the past. Yesterday, Facebook announced that after a year of making us wait, it was finally rolling out “off-Facebook activity,” which will allow users to turn off its tracking on outside websites and apps. The new feature rolled out yesterday in South Korea, Ireland and Spain, and Facebook said it will bring the option to larger markets in “the coming months.” The option will appear under “your Facebook information,” which can be found under settings, and will apply to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Global News


• Matrix Makes a Comeback

The seminal series, The Matrix, is officially returning for a fourth instalment. The brains behind the film, Lana Wachowski will write the script and direct the movie, while Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity. Plot details are still not public, but the film is being produced by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow, and is set to begin shooting in early 2020. Hollywood Reporter


• Something’s Fishy

NFL player Antonio Brown is tied up in yet another legal battle, but this time, it’s all over a frozen fish head. The situation started when Brown hired celebrity chef Stefano Tedeschi to cook for Brown and his friends. The chef, who made fish for them, decided to keep the leftover fish head in the freezer to make fish soup the following day. But when Brown found the fish head, he interpreted it as a mob threat (thanks to The Godfather, obviously) and kicked out Tedeschi without allowing him to collect his equipment or his promised compensation. The chef is now suing Brown for US $38,000. Daily Beast


• Aloha

Hawaii became the 50th U.S state exactly 60 years ago, and is still the only U.S. state located in Oceania. To celebrate, grab your lei and cook up one of these Hawaiian delicacies perfect for a summer soiree. 


• At least 13 Chinese tourists were killed when a bus crashed in Laos.  

• Jeffrey Epstein really didn’t want anyone to have his money. He apparently signed a new last will and testament two days before his death, which asked his executors to put all his property into a trust called “The 1953 Trust.” He did not name a beneficiary.

• Several Canadian companies are being urged to ban receipts due to the paper containing cancer-linked chemicals. 

• The Vancouver Canucks have signed general manager Jim Benning to a three-year contract extension. 

• We finally know what the 25th James Bond film will be called and when we’ll get to see it: No Time to Die will premiere in theatres in April 2020. 


• Naughty Nars

Just admit it — your mind went there, too. 

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