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✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, January 29, 2019 and we’ll be taking the stairs from now on.
BULLETIN: CHEW ON THIS
• The Background
For years, doctors have worried about smoking and its effects on human health and the environment, but now (as smoking’s fallen out of vogue in favour of fine dining and fast food), they’re more worried than ever about our eating habits. A new report by the Lancet Commission on Obesity blames the growing food industry for the obesity epidemic that’s sweeping the Western world, malnutrition and climate change. According to Lancet, the industry “gorges populations on empty calories” (responsible for obesity and malnutrition) and “misuses land, energy and other resources” (contributing to climate change). Financial Post
• What Else You Need to Know
Though Lancet stopped short of placing blame on any specific products or companies (we’re looking at you fried turkey legs), it did recommend that multinational corporations be excluded from “policy-related discussions.” (They argued that it’s because of these companies and their lobbying power that food guidelines don’t often match up with nutritionists’ recommendations or scientific evidence.) In fact, a report in the British Medical Journal found that nutritional guidelines in China have been steered by the International Life Sciences Institute (a group that represents several big players in the food industry). With “unparalleled access” to government officials, the Institute was able to prevent documents and representatives from discouraging the consumption of high-sugar foods and drinks.
• What’s Next?
In addition to blocking large food corporations from contributing to policy discussions, the report suggested reallocating U.S. government subsidies from big agriculture companies to sustainable farming and transport. It also recommended taxing red meat to “reduce consumption.”
• The Beginning of the End
The victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash are finally getting their day in court. Yesterday, the sentencing hearing began for 30-year-old Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck driver who pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving in the April 2018 crash which killed 16 and injured another 13. In its first day, the court heard an agreed statement of facts, including the speed at which Sidhu was driving (between 86 and 96 km/h), that he “barrelled through” an oversized flashing stop sign, and that the driver of the Broncos’ bus slammed on the brakes, skidding for 24 metres before T-boning the truck at a high speed (between 96 and 107 km/h). According to the RCMP’s report, Sidhu was not under the influence and was not using a mobile device. Family members also started sharing victim impact statements yesterday, which will continue until the hearing ends later this week. National Post
• Canada: Quick Draw
Well, that didn’t last long. Yesterday, at 12pm ET, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada opened up the new Parent and Grandparent Program that allows Canadians to apply to bring immigrant family members into the country. Within 11 minutes, the allocated 27,000 spots had already been filled. The overwhelming demand sparked anger across the country, as would-be applicants expressed their frustration over being shut out so quickly. Both immigration lawyers and those hoping to sponsor family members have requested an audit of the IRCC’s process, while some have threatened legal action. CBC News
• U.S.: Charging Ahead
The drama between China, Canada, and the U.S. took a criminal turn yesterday when the American government filed 13 charges against Chinese telecom company Huawei, its CFO Meng Wangzhou (who’s currently out on bail in Vancouver), and its affiliates in the U.S. and Hong Kong. The 13 charges include counts of bank and wire fraud, related to Huawei’s affiliate operation in Iran (Skycom). Huawei had said that Skycom was a totally separate, unrelated company (allowing it to skirt U.S. sanctions on Iran and borrow from U.S. banks) but investigators have found that’s not the case. Acting U.S. attorney general Matthew Whitaker also filed the paperwork to formally request Wanzhou’s extradition. CNBC
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
To storm my house with greater force than was used to take down bin Laden or El Chapo or Pablo Escobar … It’s unconscionable.
– How Roger Stone claims he was treated by the FBI during his arrest on charges of obstruction, witness tampering and giving false statements last week. (He realizes bin Laden was shot dead on sight, right?) HuffPost
• Designer Debt
Turns out not even Gucci’s owners want to pay full price for dishing out its luxury wares. The Italian fashion house’s French owner, Kering SA, apparently owes some €1.4 billion in unpaid back taxes to the Italian government. An audit conducted by the government revealed the discrepancy (we’re sure it was just an oversight, right?) — but Kering says it contested the findings. The probe looked into the dealings of a Swiss-based subsidiary of Kering, called Luxury Goods International, from 2011–2017. According to a French news site, the investigation showed that the company dodged Italy’s high taxes by billing for business carried out in other countries at a Swiss logistics centre, where it paid lower tax rates than it would have in Italy. (Creative accounting at its finest.) Financial Post
• Secret Service
With its revamped news and magazine subscription service rolling out any day now, rumours are swirling that Apple is hard at work building its next subscription-based platform. Its next target: Gamers. News site Cheddar says it spoke with insider sources at Apple who detailed (we use that word loosely) a plan for a Netflix-like service for games, giving users unlimited access to play a bundled list of titles for a monthly fee. While a spokesperson for Apple stopped short of confirming the plans, the move would fit in with Apple’s shift towards focusing on monetizing content subscriptions, (over the course of 2018, it’s said to have poured US $1 billion into developing original shows for its yet-to-launch streaming TV service) and games are its most lucrative App Store commodity. (Just add it to our monthly bill. 🤑) Cheddar
Girls Women on in Film
With yet another Oscars soon to be in the books without a single female director nominated, a clutch of Hollywood’s elite have vowed to stop just talking the talk and start walking the walk. As part of the Timesupx2 campaign, more than 50 high-profile producers have committed to hiring at least one female director within the next 18 months. Joining the initiative are Reese Witherspoon, J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, Amy Schumer, Franklin Leonard (a.k.a. the founder of The Black List), Lena Waithe, Rashida Jones, Olivia Wilde, Armie Hammer, Kumail Nanjiani, Bryce Dallas Howard, Brie Larson, Eva Longoria, Rachel Brosnahan, Constance Wu, Kerry Washington and Regina King (who’s stepped up her commitment even further with a promise to staff everything she produces with a crew of at least 50% women) — to name just a few. The goal of the so-called 4% challenge — which gets its name from the fact that only 4% of the country’s top-grossing movies over the past decade were directed by women — is to double the number of women in leadership positions in the film industry. Variety
• Not Playing
If there’s one thing board game-lovers really care about, it’s designer labels (🙄)— which is exactly why Louis Vuitton is getting into the game game. According to reports from the brand’s recent menswear presentation, in addition to luxe sweaters, sneakers and leather bags, the French design house will soon be releasing a high-end version of Jenga. (Yes, the game.) However, unlike the wood blocks that we’ve all come to know and love, LV’s game will feature 54 monogrammed plexiglass cubes and will set players back a whopping US $2,400. (Slightly more than the $15 the original game costs at Walmart.) Fox News
• Happy Birthday, Oprah!
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• There’s more good news for Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president, Juan Guiado: Australia just joined the long list of countries recognizing him as the country’s official leader.
• Now that the U.S. government is officially open again, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited POTUS to deliver the State of the Union from the House chamber (as originally planned).
• HelloSign is now part of the Dropbox family. The online storage site has purchased the e-signature provider for $230 million.
• Tom Brady is definitely not going anywhere. The star quarterback confirmed he’ll be retuning to the NFL next season, no matter what happens in this weekend’s Super Bowl.
• This ain’t no Fyre Festival: Tomorrowland 2019 just announced phase one of its headliners and the music fest is bound to be bonkers.
• Riding High
Home gyms sure have come a long way (if your life is a multi-million dollar branded fantasy).