Look who’s talking

What you missed in last night's federal election debates, Google makes improvements to its Photos app, and SNL announces three new cast members.

Look who’s talking

What you missed in last night's federal election debates, Google makes improvements to its Photos app, and SNL announces three new cast members.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Friday, September 13, 2019, and you better get out your telescope


• The Background

Perhaps the most glaring part of last night’s federal party leaders’ debate was the absence of a critical figure: the Prime Minister himself. The first debate of the federal election campaign took place in Toronto, and was a battle between Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. The missing piece was Justin Trudeau, who chose to spend the second day of the campaign in B.C. and Alberta. Naturally, Scheer claimed Trudeau’s absence was a strategic tactic to dodge the SNC-Lavalin questions that would inevitably arise. Singh echoed Scheer’s sentiments, shooting a video of the debate stage and voicing his frustration:   “[Trudeau’s] not been there for Canadians for the past four years and now he’s not there today.” National Post 

• What Else You Need to Know

While Trudeau opted not to attend, another party leader wasn’t invited: People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier. Before the debate even kicked off, the party’s supporters made it known that they were displeased with the decision. Once things got rolling, it was more of the same: Singh compared Scheer to Doug Ford’s Ontario government; May promised the Green Party wouldn’t cut any services no matter what they found in the federal budget; and all three leaders agree that the Liberals have made life more expensive for Canadians.

• What’s Next?

The next English language debate is scheduled for Oct. 7 — and Trudeau will be there. All leaders have also accepted an invitation for the French language debate on Oct. 10. (It’s still unclear if Maxime Bernier will be invited to attend.)


• Russian Raid

In a major nationwide crackdown, Russian forces raided thousands of homes and offices around the country, targeting activists associated with the opposition leader Aleksei A. Nalvany. The raids mark the largest-scale operation against Nalvany and his supporters, and was part of a criminal money-laundering investigation announced in August against the leader’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Nalvany, who is President Vladimir Putin’s greatest opponent, issued a statement condemning the raids as a clear attempt to “intimidate” and “demoralize.” New York Times


• U.S.: Dirty Water

In a string of bold policy changes with major environmental consequences, President Trump announced plans to repeal a major Obama-era clean water regulation that restricted the amount of pollution and chemicals in the country’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Trump has long criticized the water rule as infringing on the rights of farmers, real estate developers and landowners. 🙄The clean water rollback will restrict the government from protecting certain waterways from pollution, which environmental advocates say will substantially harm the country’s sources of safe drinking water and habitats for wildlife. (We’ll be hitting the bottle…of water, that is.) CNBC


“Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47.”

– Beto O’Rourke, makes it very, very clear where he stands on gun control at last night’s Democratic debate, which included the 10 leading candidates. CBS News


• New Navy

It’s been awhile since there’s been retail news like this: Old Navy is opening 800 new(!) stores, which will almost double the company’s retail presence to 2,000 locations across North America. Old Navy plans to open up 75 stores per year, avoiding struggling malls. Gap, the parent company, plans to spin off Old Navy into a public company sometime in 2020, and the aggressive expansion is part of Gap’s plan to increase the franchise’s value for shareholders. CNN


• Making Memories

There’s a brand new feature in Google Photos that will help you reminisce about old times. The new tool called “Memories” will bring back old photos and videos on their anniversaries, and they’ll appear at the top of your photo gallery as small circles in a similar format to Instagram Stories. Right now, the feature is purely personal, but within the coming months, you’ll also be able to share the photos and videos with friends in a more conversational format, as part of Google’s latest messaging app. (Let the nostalgia begin.) The Verge


• Basketball: All-Stars

Sports Illustrated has unveiled its Top 100 NBA Players list for the upcoming season — and things are looking good for our Toronto Raptors. Four players from the team cracked the top 100, including Pascal Siakam (Spicy P!), Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Sitting at the top of the list is Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, and our beloved Kawhi Leonard is just behind at No. 2. TSN


• (New) Funny Faces

Saturday Night Live may still be reeling from the loss of Leslie Jones, but here’s hoping three fresh faces can fill the void she left behind. Yesterday, NBC announced that Chloe Fineman, Shane Gillis and Bowen Yang would be joining the series for its 45th season. Both Fineman and Gillis were recognized as New Faces at the Just for Laughs Festival (in 2018 and 2019, respectively), and Yang, who’s hosted the Las Culturistas podcast since 2017, joined the show last year as a staff writer. Variety  


• The Big Guns

Major CEOs in the U.S. rallied together to sign a letter demanding the government address gun violence in the country. The bipartisan plea, which was signed by 145 business leaders, is the strongest statement yet from Corporate America, addressing the gun violence epidemic that’s been plaguing the U.S. for years. The group is urging senators to pass a bill making background checks on all gun sales mandatory, citing “doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable.” (Amen.) CNN


• Seal the Deal

Three men have been charged in a massive AU $1-billion drug bust in Australia, after a huge seal blocked the path of the criminals. The men, part of a larger drug gang, were caught with methylamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy they had tried to hide under seaweed. Thanks to the seal, the criminals are now in custody. (That is some good animal instinct.) The Guardian


• Freaky Friday

Today is Friday the 13th, a day that’s long been considered haunted and a harbinger of bad luck. This Friday the 13th will be extra spooky, as a rare harvest moon is expected to light up the sky for the first time in years.


• Purdue Pharma’s problems aren’t even close to over. Sixteen states have rejected the settlement deal made with the maker of OxyContin.  

• More than 120,000 B.C. residents were without power early yesterday morning, thanks to a massive lightning strike. 

• The federal election has barely started and two NDP candidates have already resigned over allegations of domestic abuse and “problematic” comments. 

• The bad news isn’t over for Google. The company has agreed to pay nearly €1 billion to settle a “fiscal fraud probe” conducted by French authorities.

• J.J. Abrams is bringing his sci-fi series to WarnerMedia. The media giant just announced a partnership with Abrams’ product company, Bad Robot. 


• Lost and Found

Apparently happy endings like this do exist, after all. 

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