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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, December 5, 2018 and let these powerful ladies serve as your morning dose of motivation.
BULLETIN: BETWEEN A STONE AND A HARD PLACE
• The Background
Yesterday was one heck of an eventful day for special counsel Robert Mueller — for better and for worse. First, Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced that Trump ally Roger Stone was invoking the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee (in addition to refusing a request from the Senate Intelligence Committee back in September). The decision is a setback for Mueller, who’s apparently looking into whether or not Stone was communicating with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. But Mueller had some news of his own. He asked that a federal court not give jail time to former national security advisor Michael Flynn because he had provided “substantial assistance” to the special counsel’s investigation. CNN
• What Else You Need to Know
But what exactly does “substantial assistance” mean? According to Mueller’s memo, it means 19 interviews with the special counsel and the Justice Department. Flynn apparently “cooperated with the investigation into links or coordination between the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign” (uh oh) as well as assisted “on a range of issues, including interactions between individuals in the Presidential Transition Team and Russia.” The memo also reveals that the Justice Department is pursuing three ongoing investigations, two of which are criminal and are completely redacted. (Somebody in the Trump family’s definitely sweatin’.)
• What’s Next?
No word yet on whether or not federal Judge Emmet Sullivan will listen to Mueller’s request. Flynn’s scheduled to be sentenced (for lying to federal investigators) in a D.C. federal court on Dec.18.
• U.S.: Political Hack
It turns out Quora isn’t the only one getting hacked these days. Yesterday, it was revealed that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) campaign officials had their emails hacked earlier this year. So far, none of the emails have been made public, and the NRCC has no idea who was behind the attack. (They called it an “unknown entity.”) Apparently the accounts of four senior aides were compromised for months before someone finally noticed in April. The party then kept the hack quiet, hoping that would make it easier to find those responsible. The FBI is now investigating the matter. BBC News
• World: France on Fire
After 48 hours of violence and destruction, French protestors (a.k.a. “yellow vests“) finally got what they wanted: a tax hike reprieve. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that the government would delay the proposed increases on both electricity and gas prices for six months, giving the government more time to “negotiate” with the group’s leaders. Despite the announcement (which is being seen as a “major concession” by the French government), protests continued throughout the day yesterday, with several demonstrations turning violent after protestors clashed with police in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Orleans. CNN
• World: Held in Contempt
Brexit just keeps making history. For the first time ever, the British government was found in contempt of parliament, after it decided not to publish all the legal advice it received in regards to Theresa May’s most recent Brexit deal. Lawmakers in the lower chamber House of Commons backed the motion for full disclosure by a vote of 311 to 293 — and the government’s responded. According to the ruling Conservative Party’s Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, today the government will publish all the documents requested. Still no word on which ministers were behind the decision not to publish all the advice in the first place, or whether parliament will enforce any punishment on those responsible. Al Jazeera
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Remember, I am a Tariff Man.
• Dinner Woes
Inflation is a b*tch, and it’s going to be hitting Canadians hard next year. A new report predicts that the average Canadian family will pay about $400 more for groceries in 2019 and about $150 more on dining out, bringing the annual food expenditure for a family of four up to an average of $12,157. The report, released by researchers at the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University, is especially bad news for those trying to eat healthier — vegetable prices will get the biggest boost of between 4% and 6%. Meat prices, however, are predicted to drop by between 1% and 3%, and seafood prices will remain the same or drop slightly. Ironically, these predictions are based on the growing trend towards plant-based and vegetarian diets, leading to an oversupply of meat in the market. Unsurprisingly, climate change is also expected to play a big role in price fluctuations, with vegetable crops at the mercy of weather changes. BNN Bloomberg
• There’s an App for That
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: When media and companies across all industries reveal their yearly “best of” lists. In that spirit of sharing, Apple has released its 2018 chart-toppers for apps, games, movies, music, TV shows and podcasts. Crowned as the iPhone app of the year is drawing app Procreate Pocket, and the game of the year is Donut Country ($4.99) which is described as a “story-based physics puzzle game where you play as an ever-growing hole in the ground.” (Sounds riveting.) On iPad, those same titles go to Froggipedia, an augmented reality app that lets you dissect a virtual frog, and Gorogoa, a hand-drawn puzzle adventure game. AppleTV’s app of the year is fitness training app Sweat. Mac’s top app is another visual tool, image editor Pixelmator Pro, while the best computer game is The Gardens Between, another adventure-puzzle game with a coming-of-age twist that sees a pair of friends explore a dreamlike garden. 9to5Mac
• Hockey: Seattleites on Ice
It’s official: The National Hockey League’s getting its 32nd team. Yesterday, commissioner Gary Bettman announced that Seattle’s bid to reenter the league has been approved in a unanimous vote by its board of governors. The franchise will become part of the Pacific Division (booting the Arizona Coyotes over to the Central Division), and will cost its group of owners (which includes majority owner David Bonderman, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and former NHL CEO Tod Leiweke) a league entry fee of US $650 million along with US $800 million in major renovations to the city’s KeyArena. The yet-to-be-named team will make its debut for the 2021–2022 season, nearly a century after the short-lived Seattle Metropolitans (1915–1924) folded. To build out its roster of players, the Seattle will pillage from existing teams using the same expansion draft rules followed by the Las Vegas Golden Knights last year. ESPN
• Sunny Days Ahead
Sesame Street is coming to the big screen and from the way the cast and crew is shaping up, its going to be just as much of a draw for parents as it will be for kids. Academy Award-winner Anne Hathaway is said to be Warner Bros.’ top choice to star in the movie — after leading characters Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster, of course. Seeing that she won her Oscar for her role in Les Misérables, Hathaway’s a natural for the role; the untitled production is said to be planned as a musical. Portlandia co-creator Jonathan Krisel is signed on to direct, and Shawn Levy, the Canadian producer behind Stranger Things, will produce the film alongside Hollywood veteran Michael Aguilar. Hollywood Reporter
• Delinquent Drinker
They certainly don’t take stealing lightly in Taiwan. Police in Taipei decided to bring the full force of the law in their efforts to find a thief accused of stealing a $2 beverage — which included conducting $100 DNA tests. The “criminal” investigation centred around a group of students, including one very pissed-off roommate who discovered one of her housemates had consumed one of her yogurt beverages without her permission. Adamant that the felon be punished for her atrocious crime, the victim fished the empty container out of the garbage and asked police to investigate. (For some reason, they agreed.) When the container didn’t provide viable fingerprints, the scorned roommate asked that police bust out the DNA kits. (And once again, they agreed — which begs the question: who’s running the show here?) Turns out the tests cost $100 a piece, so the investigation into the stolen $2 drink cost taxpayers 300 times as much. (Somebody’s definitely drinking something…) BBC News
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Flags on all Canadian federal buildings will fly at half-mast today in honour of America’s 41st president, George H.W. Bush.
• Schools in Manitoba were placed on a “hold and secure” yesterday after someone shared the same social media post that forced Monday’s closures.
• Joining the long list of Canadian retailers calling it quits, Crabtree & Evelyn filed for bankruptcy on Monday.
• Canadian superstar Drake has topped Billboard’s 2018 charts again, scoring top artist of the year and the No. 1 Hot 100 song of the year for “God’s Plan.”
December 5 is International Volunteer Day — celebrate by showing your appreciation to someone who gives their precious time and energy away for free, or by devoting some of your own to a needy cause like your local food bank.