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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, July 12, 2019, and we’re not quite sure how POTUS survived this.
BULLETIN: BAD NEWS BARRY
• The Background
New Orleans is under water — again. Residents in south Louisiana were forced to evacuate yesterday as Tropical Storm Barry brought rain and rising water levels to the vulnerable state. Barry’s the first tropical storm to hit the U.S. this year (though certainly not the last) and is likely to make landfall tomorrow morning. Experts are warning that by the time Barry hits, it could very well be a full-blown hurricane, and could bring with it mass amounts of rain and a dangerous storm surge. Newsweek
• What Else You Need to Know
According to the National Hurricane Center, Barry could put Louisiana residents in a “life-threatening situation” and encouraged anyone in the storm’s path to “take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising waters.” Metropolitan New Orleans is already under a tropical storm warning (which could escalate as the storm intensifies) and areas from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle are already under a hurricane warning.
• What’s Next?
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency and closed city hall for the weekend. Authorities will be paying close attention to low-lying areas around the Mississippi River — the levees are already almost at flood stage and Barry hasn’t even made landfall.
• Hellish Holiday
A severe storm hit Halkidiki, Greece, on Wednesday night, leaving seven people dead and more than 100 injured in this popular tourist destination. Heavy rains, hail and strong winds (tracked at over 100 km/h) lashed the area for only about 15 minutes, but caused falling trees, damage to buildings and extended power outages. At least 20 people have been hospitalized for their injuries, and two Romanians, two Russians, and a Czech couple are reported to be among the dead. The government’s declared a state of emergency in the region, and rescue crews are being sent to clear the area and provide assistance. BBC News
• U.S.: Serving Up Subpoenas
In the world of politics, it’s starting to feel like a relatively mundane occurrence when someone is handed a subpoena. But yesterday, House Democrats voted to authorize a dozen subpoenas for White House immigration officials, a move that will undoubtedly elevate the already heated showdown between the Dems and the Trump administration. The committee is seeking information about Trump’s infamous rule of separating children from their families at the border, a practice known as the “zero tolerance” policy. Documents and testimony will be requested from 12 current and former officials related to the administration’s immigration policy (think Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, and Jared Kushner), as well as the panel’s ongoing investigation into the possible obstruction of justice. Trump took to Twitter to respond to the subpoena spree, claiming the Democrats are taking too many “bites at the apple.” (Whatever that means.) Still no word on when the subpoenas will formally be served, but rumour has it, they are not likely to be issued immediately. ABC News
• World: Taxing Tech
The French Senate has officially passed a controversial bill that will directly impact global tech giants, many of which are based in the United States. Tech companies with more than €750 million in global revenue and €25 million in French revenue will be obliged to pay a 3% tax on total annual revenue generated by services to French users, which will amount to roughly €400 million this year. Major players, like Facebook, Google and Amazon, will be forced to pay, as the French government says such firms headquartered outside the country pay little to no tax. The U.S. is threatening to retaliate, claiming the move unfairly targets American companies. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation echoed that sentiment, claiming the bill is “an ill-disguised effort to target companies that are thought to be too powerful, too profitable, and too American.” The Verge
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We will leave no stone unturned.”
– President Donald Trump announces that the White House is abandoning its mission to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but isn’t giving up on determining the true “citizenship status of the U.S. population.” Instead of going through the census, the Trump administration will ask government agencies to provide records that will help determine head-counts. CNN
• Training for the Future
In a world that’s constantly being disrupted by new technology, Amazon is taking steps to retrain a third of its U.S. employees to help them better adapt and progress within the rapidly changing landscape. The company will invest $700 million in voluntary training for 100,000 employees over the next six years, with the goal of helping Amazon staff advance to higher positions both within and beyond the company. The plan, which is being dubbed “Upskilling 2025,” will give employees the rare opportunity to hone a new skill, allowing them to shift into a position they wouldn’t otherwise have been qualified for. For instance, warehouse workers could train for technical IT roles, even if they have a limited technical background. Amazon Apprenticeship is another training initiative, which offers paid classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships within the company, fostering connections between employees at all levels. CBS News
• Lace Up
Google is taking a second stab at the oversaturated realm of social networks. Despite its failed Google+ initiative, the search giant is lacing up once more, with a new network called “Shoelace.” The hyperlocal network will allow people to find others (friends or strangers) who want to join them in various activities, like playing sports and seeing movies. Shoelace stems from Google’s experimental tech incubator, Area 120. The app will notify users of any events or activities they may be interested in attending, but in order to join, you must be invited by someone already on the app, and then further verified. This isn’t the first time Google has taken a stab at a concept like this one — a similar social network the company created called Schemer shut down in 2014. Shoelace will launch first in NYC before expanding to other U.S. cities (and maybe, possibly, hopefully worldwide). MobileSyrup
• Owl Be Back
No trust issues here. After a one-year hiatus, OVO Fest is back, just as Drake promised (thank the 6 God). The rapper first dropped the news back in June during the Raptors’ championship parade, but saved the specifics about the concert lineup until today. The show, which will take place Aug. 4, 2019, at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, features some big hip-hop names, like B2K, Chingy, Ying Yang Twins, Lloyd, Mario, Pretty Ricky and Bobby V, with Drizzy himself capping off the performances a day later. But that’s not all. The ‘fest’ will include OVO Bounce, a basketball skills showcase held at U of T’s Goldring Centre, and the OVO Summit, a very cool-sounding conference to educate creatives on career opportunities in the arts and entertainment sector. Interested? Give that refresh button a workout — concert tickets go on sale tomorrow here. Global News
• Sweet Storytime
Australian Matt Zurbo is committed to writing 365 children’s books in 365 days (he’s currently on day 333). The project, which was inspired by (and named after) his 20-month-old daughter Cielo, has a simple objective. As Zurbo puts it, “The more kids love stories and love books, the better the world will be for my daughter. Imagination trumps violence and ignorance, and always will.” (Sniff, sniff.) The new dad is a multi-hyphenate of sorts: a published writer of various novels and picture books, with 30 years of past experience in the forestry sector, and a day job at an oyster farm. (If you suspect you don’t hustle hard enough, here’s proof.) Want to share his whimsical tales with the kids in your life? You can find his yearlong series (as well as fun extras) here. New York Times
• Opposites Attract
Of all the burglars out there, you want one like this guy: a Kansas homeowner woke to the sound of a man yelling for help from his basement. The man (burglar) had strapped himself to an inversion table after stealing — wait for it — some cranberry juice, and couldn’t get free on his own. The burglar, Jeremy Sanders, was first taken to hospital to check for drug use, and then to the Saline County Jail where he was charged with aggravated burglary for the cranberry juice theft. WNEP
• The Smoking Gun
On this day in 1957, American surgeon Leroy Burney discovered the positive correlation between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tapped Quebec judge Nicholas Kasirer to fill a pending vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada.
• In a mid-air scare, an Air Canada flight made an emergency landing in Honolulu, after extreme turbulence. The incident left 35 passengers with minor injuries.
• A Canadian teacher is back in Canada as a free man after being convicted of crimes against young boys in Indonesia. He was arrested in 2014, though he has maintained his innocence ever since the accusations surfaced.
• How to Get Away With Murder has officially announced that the upcoming sixth season will be the show’s last.
• Broken Telephone
This is one heck of a misunderstanding.