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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, January 9, 2019 and we’re lonely for this little guy.
BULLETIN: SWITCHING SIDES
• The Background
Last night, the Republicans (led by President Donald Trump) and the Democrats (represented by House leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer) each tried to convince the American people there was a reason the government shutdown has gone on so long. (Nineteen days now!) According to Trump, the government closure is because Democrats refuse to fund his border wall (which is now a steel barrier, as opposed to the monstrous concrete slab he once described). He awkwardly tried to argue that the wall is imperative to the safety of the country, and without it, women and children will continue to face violence, drugs will continue to flood into the U.S. killing American citizens, and criminals will easily be able to enter the country. CNN
• What Else You Need to Know
As soon as POTUS’s feed was cut, Pelosi and Schumer were ready and willing to take down his arguments. The two Democrats said they wouldn’t negotiate on funding the border wall until the president reopened the government (which obviously puts the two sides in a bit of a pickle). Pelosi demanded that Trump “must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government.” She also mentioned that there are budget bills with bipartisan support that would reopen the government (allowing about 800,000 federal workers to get paid) but that Trump refuses to sign them.
• What’s Next?
Honestly, we can’t say. If we were gamblin’ gals, we’d bet that they continue to argue like children until ahem, someone gets impeached, or a a powerful member of either party intervenes.
• Beachside Shootout
The surviving victims of the fatal Humboldt Broncos’ crash last April can breathe one heavy sigh of relief: the driver of the semi-truck that collided with the team’s bus pleaded guilty to all charges yesterday. Twenty-nine-year-old Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 charges of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Everyone involved was relieved to hear the news, noting that Sidhu’s decision to plead guilty saved them from being dragged through a lengthy (and no doubt, painful) court case. Attention now turns to 36-year-old Sukhmander Singh, the owner of the trucking company, who faces an additional eight charges related to non-compliance with federal and provincial safety regulations. Calgary Herald
• Canada: Strength in Numbers
Protestors in Northern British Columbia got a little help from their friends yesterday, as rallies took place in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and other cities across the country in solidarity with the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The Indigenous group had set up camp on a service road near Houston, B.C., that leads to a pipeline construction site, but was removed Monday by the RCMP. (The police were enforcing an injunction by the B.C. Supreme Court that authorizes authorities to remove “anyone who interferes with a Coastal GasLink pipeline project in and around the Morice River Bridge.”) According to Coastal GasLink, the company’s signed agreements with all First Nations along the route, except for the Wet’suwet’en house chiefs who have not given their consent. Global News
• World: All Are Not Welcome
India’s making moves to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants — but not everyone’s on the welcome list. Yesterday, the country’s lower house of parliament passed legislation that will grant residency and citizenship rights to non-Muslim immigrants that crossed the border illegally from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, including Hindus, Jains, Parsis and several other religious groups. But that’s it. Muslims aren’t part of the residency proposal, which critics say is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to boost his Hindu voter base ahead of May’s general election. (He’s a part of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.) The passage of the bill also sparked protests across the country, burning tires, setting up blockades and vandalizing businesses. More than 700 protestors were arrested. Al Jazeera
QUOTE OF THE DAY
It’s harder to grow cannabis than most people think.
– Everett Knight, executive vice president for strategy and investments at Valens Groworks Corp., on Canada’s inability to adequately supply the population’s demand for legal marijuana. (Come on, people!) Financial Post
• Banking On It
Canada’s big banks spent yesterday competing for headline space. First up, RBC Global Asset Management announced a partnership with investment firm BlackRock that will see the launch of RBC iShares. The new venture will focus on ETFs and feature an offering of 150 exchange traded funds with a combined $60 billion in assets. Sharing the news spotlight, BMO and CIBC also joined forces to deliver an $80-million bank loan to cannabis company PharmHouse. The pot grower, backed by Canopy Growth Corp’s investment arm, is using the money to purchase a 1.3-million-square-foot, all-glass greenhouse facility in Leamington, Ont. Finally, TD called attention to its revamped mobile app: It’s added an AI-powered chatbot named “Clari” (must be Siri’s long lost cousin) to provide “conversational answers” to customer questions, sharing details like nearby branch locations, exchange rates, and even your latest transaction data.
• Smarter Than Ever
If you don’t already shout, “Okay Google” across your living room on an hourly basis, you will soon. Yesterday at CES in Las Vegas, Google unveiled a ton of new launches for the year including new features for Google Assistant, new gadgets and a new program focused on bringing in more partnerships with third-party device makers. Google Assistant Connect aims to grow the voice-assistant’s ecosystem by allowing companies to create devices that leverage the powers of the Assistant, like this smart alarm clock from Lenovo and retroactive integration with Sonos One and Sonos Beam speakers. Among the new features announced are a flight check-in action, navigation controls for Google Maps, an interpreter mode for real-time translation, and long-overdue auto-punctuation when dictating messages. Fast Company
• Golf: Hitting the Sweet Spot
Golf season may be a long way off, but the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame is using the break in play to announce two new welcome additions to its ranks. Yesterday, the authority revealed that veteran player Rod Spittle and longtime U.S. college coach Herb Page will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the RBC Canadian Open in Hamilton in June. Spittle, 63 from Niagara Falls, Ont., waited until the tender age of 50 to kick off his 13-year professional golfing career, during which he raked in over US $4 million in prize money (not bad for a retirement gig). Markham, Ont. native Page, 67, has served as a golfing coach at Kent State University in Ohio for nearly five decades, helping develop several young golfers into pro athletes. TSN
• Believe Women
After years of accusations, sh*t is finally hitting the fan for R. Kelly. It seems everyone and their mother is watching the scathing, multipart docuseries Surviving R. Kelly — including criminal prosecutors in Chicago and Atlanta. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx held a press conference in Chicago yesterday where she urged anyone with information about alleged sexual abuse by Kelly or wrongdoing by police officers to “please come forward,” saying “we cannot seek justice without you.” Meanwhile, reports say Atlanta-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has launched an investigation of his own, reaching out to some of the women interviewed in the documentary for questioning. No criminal charges against the singer have been filed — yet. USA Today
• Lickety Split
From stealing packages to pooping on lawns, porch cameras catch a lot of weird activity in homeowners’ front yards — but this might just be the wildest one yet. A surveillance camera in the Dungans’ California home caught Roberto Daniel Arroyo licking their front doorbell (gross) for three hours straight. (Yes, straight.) If that wasn’t weird enough, Arroyo also moved an extension cord to the front yard (but didn’t plug anything in) and relieved himself in the camera’s view. Luckily, Sylvia Dungan took the weird incident in stride, saying she could laugh about it since he didn’t “harm anybody” or “break anything,” but did say they gave their doorbell a good scrubbin’. (We’d sure as hell hope so.) ABC 7
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• It looks like Sears has used up its last life line. The company (which has already closed up shop in Canada) is requesting liquidation, after it failed to reach a takeover deal with Chairman Edward Lampert.
• A rogue drone caused headaches for passengers at Heathrow airport yesterday, sparking a “full criminal investigation” by Scotland Yard.
• Millennials may be over Facebook, but it turns out the breakup will be damn near impossible for Samsung users.
• We finally know who will bring the early days of Westeros to life. In addition to Naomi Watts and Josh Whitehouse, HBO just announced eight rising stars as the cast of the Game of Thrones prequel.
• Attention all music festival fans: the 2019 Bonnaroo lineup is here and it’s spectacular.
• Star Wars
On Jan. 9, 1992, astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail announced that they had discovered the first extrasolar planets. Two planets were discovered orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12 (a neutron star located 2,300 light years from the sun in the constellation of Virgo).
• Find a Penny…
Million-dollar proof you should always pick it up.