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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, January 30, 2019 and we’re stuffing our faces with these for breakfast in honour of National Croissant Day. (Don’t judge.)
BULLETIN: ADMISSION OF GUILT
• The Background
Bruce McArthur is no longer an alleged serial killer — he is a serial killer. Period. The 67-year-old landscaper appeared in a Toronto courtroom yesterday where he pleaded guilty to murdering eight men connected to the city’s Gay Village neighbourhood. Each first-degree murder charge comes with an automatic life sentence, which means he’ll likely spend the rest of his days behind bars. (He can apply for release at 91.) BBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
According to Crown prosecutor Michael Cantlon, all of the murders were “sexual in nature” and McArthur kept mementos from his crimes (jewellery and a notebook). He also “staged” and photographed the victims (in an effort, we assume, to document what he’d done) along with a duffle bag filled with what can only be described as a serial killer kit (duct tape, a surgical glove, rope, zip ties, a black bungee cord and syringes). Cantlon also explained where McArthur hid his victims’ remains: many were found in planters at 53 Mallory Cres. (which police excavated last year), while others were discovered in a nearby ravine.
• What’s Next?
By admitting his guilt and avoiding a lengthy trial (and possible appeal), McArthur’s sentencing will begin next week. On Feb. 4, friends and family members of his victims will appear in court to give victim impact statements. After hearing from those who’ve been affected by his gruesome crimes, the judge will have to decide whether McArthur will serve his eight life sentences consecutively or whether he can serve them concurrently
• The Blame Game
Five men were arrested yesterday in connection to the dam collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil that has left at least 84 dead, with another 276 still missing. Police arrested three employees of the giant mining company Vale (the dam was full of mining waste when it burst) and two engineers working for the Brazilian subsidiary of the German industrial testing company TÜV Süd. (TÜV Süd conducted two inspections on the dam last year.) In addition to the five arrests, police also executed seven search warrants all in an effort to investigate “criminal responsibility for the rupture.” The men will be held for 30 days, and could eventually be charged with “participating in homicide, false representation and environmental crimes.” New York Times
• Canada: Step in the Right Direction
After almost two years in peril, the Canada-EU trade deal (also known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA) is finally inching towards full approval. Yesterday, Advocate General Yves Bot (which means BFD when it comes to the EU’s highest court) said that the agreement does not “impede the autonomy of EU law or question the exclusive right to interpret EU law.” Critics of the agreement have argued that having an open trade deal with Canada would give “too much power” to multinational corporations. The small region of Wallonia in Belgium was specifically worried about member states’ ability to maintain their independence and implement their own trade practices. According to Bot, there are sufficient safeguards in place to protect individual members. The full court will rule on the deal later this year, but it typically follows the advice of its advocate general. CTV News
• U.S.: Super Stoned
If Roger Stone is going down, it’s not going to be without a fight. Yesterday, the longtime ally of President Trump pleaded not guilty when he appeared in a Washington courthouse for his arraignment. Stone, who’s called himself a “dirty trickster” in the past, claims he’s changed his ways and didn’t do any of the things he’s accused of, including lying to lawmakers, engaging in witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. (Is that all?) Global News
• World: Here We Go Again
In what feels like a scene out of Groundhog Day, Theresa May is heading back to Brussels (yet again) to try and negotiate a Brexit deal that British MPs will accept. Parliament voted yesterday 317–301 to send the prime minister back to the negotiating table, despite her resolve that there wasn’t another deal to be made and EU leaders’ insistence that they weren’t willing to budge on their terms. The main issue? The Irish border, which has been a thorn in May’s side since day one. In addition to voting to send May back to Brussels, the House of Commons also voted against moving forward without a deal (by a vote of 318–310).CNN
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
We can keep trying to convince people that they misunderstand their own lives, or we can try to understand what they are saying and offer some solutions.
– Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a video released Monday titled How Trump Won, in which he suggests “populist conservatism” grounded in “tried and true conservative values” as a way to better serve “ordinary people” while remaining “pro-immigration,” “pro-trade” and “pro-globalization.” CTV News
• Up for Grabs
Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. has put its 75% majority stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline up for sale. RBC Capital Markets Inc. will manage the planned sale for the oil giant, which is looking to bring down its holding in the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline project to somewhere between 25% and 49%. The sale is deemed to be TransCanada’s biggest divestment to date. The announcement of the sale comes as the project faces a challenge brought to the National Energy Board by a B.C. resident claiming that the pipeline’s planned connection to the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. system means the two systems will form a single pipeline crossing the Alberta-B.C. boundary — and therefore it must be regulated by the federal government. This challenge is in addition to the opposition from hereditary clan chiefs, despite TransCanada having signed 20 support agreements with Indigenous communities along its route. Global News
• Constant Contact
Any driver who has downloaded Waze knows how quickly you become reliant on the traffic-dodging app…and the panic that sets in if your phone loses its GPS signal midway through a commute 😲. The app’s developers have been working on a fix for the nerve-racking problem and surprisingly, the solution isn’t a software update. After successfully testing the technology in Chicago last fall, the company is now installing Bluetooth-connected “Waze Beacons” in New York City’s traffic tunnels. The battery-powered beacons use Bluetooth signals to provide one-way communication with smartphones, feeding users traffic information and enabling “uninterrupted location services underground” to ensure “drivers never miss an in-tunnel exit.” Waze is aiming to expand its Beacon Program through partnerships with municipalities and tunnel developers and is even allowing other navigation services to leverage and use installed beacons free of charge. The Verge
• Soccer: The Ball Drop
If you’re a soccer fan, plan to be in The Hammer on April 27, 2019. That’s when the southern Ontario city of Hamilton will host the first-ever game of the Canadian Premier League, kicking off the inaugural season of the new professional national league. The opening game will see hometown team Forge FC face off against York region’s York 9 at the Tim Hortons Field in a matchup that’s been dubbed the “905 Derby.” But the game’s timing could leave some soccer-loving 416ers peeved; the MLS’s Toronto FC have a home game scheduled the same day. (Great planning, guys.) The remaining dates in the season have yet to be announced. The CPL includes seven teams nationwide: Along will Forge FC and York 9, other teams are FC Edmonton, HFX Wanderers (Halifax), Valour FC (Winnipeg), Cavalry FC (Calgary) and Pacific FC (Vancouver Island). Sportsnet
• Homegrown Talent
Good news if you’ve missed Sarah McLachlan: the singer-songwriter and activist is set to host this year’s Juno Awards, to be held March 17 in London, Ontario. Adorable pop star Shawn Mendes leads the nominations for the 48th annual awards show with six nods; the Pickering, Ont. native is up for artist and songwriter of the year along with album and pop album of the year for his self-titled debut EP, single of the year for “In My Blood” and the Juno fan choice award. Trailing with five nominations is The Weeknd, followed by up-and-comers bülow and Loud Luxury with four each — not surprising, as bülow was recently named to Pandora’s Artists to Watch 2019 list (her track “Not a Love Song” is catchy AF), and Loud Luxury’s single “Body” has gone multi-platinum. See all the nominees on junoawards.ca. CBC News
• Complete Convenience
Attention Super Bowl fans: if you live close to the U.S.-Canada border, you might want to make a run stateside and back sometime before Sunday. Just in time for the most important snacking day of the year, Reynolds Wrap has introduced the Hunger Harness: a wearable sling with pockets for all your game day essentials. The shiny silver contraption features a thermal foil-lined main compartment and dip holder to keep your Buffalo wings and spinach-artichoke dip piping hot and melty; a breathable mesh side pouch so your popcorn or chips stay crisp, and a fold-down tray in the front to keep potato skins and nachos upright and within reach. And of course, there’s an insulated beer can holder for your frosty beverage. (How about a bucket?) KGUN
• Mourning a Mahatma
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi — better known by the honorific Mahatma Gandhi — was assassinated by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse on Jan. 30, 1948. Gandhi became a global activist icon as the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Quebec Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio has officially resigned — or at least, House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan says he did. (Di Iorio himself just spewed a bunch of gibberish.)
• After buying up Middle Eastern e-commerce site Souq.com in 2017, Amazon is merging it into its own site to launch Amazon in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
• Turns out FaceTime users had more to worry about than just Big Tech eavesdropping on them — Apple has disabled the app’s group chat function after discovering a bug lets callers activate another user’s microphone remotely.
• UFC rivals Connor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have been slapped with expensive fines and lengthy bans as punishment for the violent aftermath of their October 2018 fight.
• After saying farewell last year, it turns out Vans Warped Tour was just kidding about that whole ending-the-tour thing. Warped Tour will be back for a 25th-anniversary celebration tour with dates in in Cleveland, Atlantic City and Mountain View, CA, this summer.
• Empire actor Jussie Smollett was attacked by two assailants “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs” on Monday night. Chicago police are calling the incident a possible hate crime.
• Pesty Present
Someone finally figured out exactly how to celebrate your ex this Valentine’s Day.