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✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, May 14, 2019, and we’d say a grocery store launching a mobile game is the definition of a “frill.”
BULLETIN: ON THE VERGE
• The Background
The U.S. is looking for allies in its dispute with Iran’s energy industry — and it’s not finding them. Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo crashed a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels, hoping to win them over in his push to throw out the nuclear deal with Iran they had gathered to try to save. Unsurprisingly, the EU ministers weren’t having it. Iran, meanwhile, is demanding an increase in exports of its oil to Europe by three times the current levels as a condition for salvaging the nuclear pact. (Casual.) CTV News
• What Else You Need to Know
At the same time as the diplomatic gathering, news broke that two Saudi Arabian oil tankers traveling near the coast of the United Arab Emirates sustained “significant damage” in what the country called an act of sabotage. One of the tankers was en route to pick up Saudi oil destined to be delivered to the United States. Earlier in the day, the U.S. issued a warning that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the area. On Sunday, four ships were similarly sabotaged off the coast of the port city of Fujairah. (Coincidence? We think not.) In response to the threats by Tehran, the U.S. military has deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf.
• What’s Next?
Once only a worst-case scenario, the fear of all-out war between the U.S. and Iran is becoming more and more real. Following the ministers’ meeting, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he and his counterparts “are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side.”
• Canada: What the Frack?
As evidenced by this viral YouTube video (with vocals by pretty much every celebrity that matters right now), we can all agree that we really love the Earth — but NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wants Canadians to know his party loves it the most. Yesterday, Singh unveiled the NDP’s climate change platform, with an ambitious plan to cut Canada’s emissions by half in the next ten years. The eight-point plan calls for PM Trudeau to declare an environment and climate emergency, cut emissions, eliminate federal aid for oil and gas companies and cancel the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, all while urging Canadians to accept that the death of the fossil fuel industry is “the direction the world is headed.” Some called out Singh for hypocrisy on the matter; he’s been involved in a major liquified natural gas project in British Columbia for the past few months. However, Singh told reporters outside the House of Commons yesterday that he’s now against the project and withdrew his support for it, saying “the future of Canada does not include fracking.” Huffington Post
• World: Not Backing Down
China’s not going to blink first. In response to American duties being placed on their imports, China plans to apply tariffs on over 5000 types of US goods entering their country, including coffee, meat and produce. The tariffs will affect US $60 billion in imports and range from 5% to 25%(!). According to Chinese officials, the American duties were not levied in good faith, and will negatively impact the economies of both countries (which is definitely not a wild assumption: a report by Goldman Sachs says the cost of Trump’s tariffs thus far have “fallen entirely on U.S. businesses and households”). The Chinese tariffs will be officially effective June 1, meaning the two countries have until then to settle their differences and work things out. (Why can’t we all just get along?) USA Today
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits.”
– he U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a proposed antitrust case against Apple by App Store consumers can go ahead, in a majority ruling written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The case asserts that the 30% commission Apple charges to developers who sell their apps through its App Store amounts to an unlawful markup for consumers since they aren’t allowed any other option for where or how to purchase the apps. CNN
• Flying High
WestJet is on the cusp of becoming privately-owned, after agreeing to a $5 billion buyout by Onex, an investment company based in Toronto. Originally founded back in 1996 as a budget carrier, the airline (like so many other airlines) had been struggling as of late against high fuel costs, competition and labour issues. Revenues and efficiencies were not meeting expectations in 2018, with the company posting its first quarterly loss in over 10 years. Shareholders will be voting on the the deal in July, and if passed, the buyout will close by the beginning of 2020 at the latest. CBC News
• Ready, Set, Binge
Just when you thought you’d watched everything your streaming service has to offer, Apple TV has come to the rescue. Apple just launched its redesigned Apple TV app giving viewers access to various “channels,” its name for the third-party streaming services available by subscription within the app. In the U.S., that includes networks like HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central Now, MTV Hits, and Lifetime Movie Club; disappointingly, in Canada it currently only includes Acorn TV (who??), a U.S.-based subscription service dishing out British programming. (Apple promises that CBS All-Access and the Smithsonian Channel are coming soon.) The app also includes a dedicated kids content section and a curated TV show and movie recommendations panel. The in-app subscriptions are eligible for “Family Sharing” between up to six users, and the new app is available on iOS, 4th generation Apple TV devices and some Samsung smart TVs, and will be added to macOS this fall. Mobile Syrup
• Sad Day
Mid-century film star Doris Day has passed away at the age of 97 after contracting pneumonia. The Oscar-nominated actress was known for her cheerful, wholesome image onscreen (although her real life was decidedly darker, with several failed marriages and money troubles), becoming famous for her roles in lighthearted, romantic comedic films. Day (born Doris Kappelhoff) got her start in the biz as a singer before eventually moving into acting as well. And for good effect — in the 60s, theater owners voted her as the top moneymaking star four separate times. In recognition of her achievements, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. (RIP.) Canoe
• Hairily Ever After
In the most hair-raising news of the day (we had to), a woman has claimed that her boyfriend proposed to her using a ring made out of his own hair. Yes, you read that right. (Points for creativity…we guess?) The lucky fiancée wrote in a video posted to Youtube (and then reposted in a “ring-shaming” Facebook group, because that’s a thing, sadly): ‘My boyfie [sic] is now my fiance. He proposed with a ring made from a lock of his own hair.” Naturally, the entire Facebook community had something to say about it — one comment: “Did she pull his hair from the drain and just wrap it around her finger? Does he even know they are engaged?” and another: “I’m not sure what’s more offensive, the ring or the fact she calls her boyfriend her boyfie” — while many offered conspiracy theories about whether this is all just an elaborate prank, a commentary on the multi-billion dollar wedding industry, or just a genuinely bizarre new ring trend. (Our money’s on prank.) Metro
• Boy King
Louis XIV was crowned King of France on May 14, 1643, at the tender age of four-years-old. He held the throne for 72 years, making him the longest reigning monarch in European history.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Now that he’s been evicted from the Ecuadorean embassy, Sweden is reopening the rape investigation against Julian Assange.
• Lithuania’s presidential election is going into a second-round run-off votebetween front runners Ingrida Simonyte and Gitanas Nauseda; current Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is calling it quits after coming in third.
• Starting at Portland’s airport, Uber is testing a new security PIN feature to ensure riders are matched with the right drivers in high-traffic areas.
• Call it the Jussie Smollett curse: Fox announced yesterday that Empire will be cancelled following its sixth season.
• Not So Tough
Would someone please give these guys some umbrellas?