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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, March 22, 2019 and we didn’t need any more proof that Danaerys Targaryen is a total badass, yet here it is.
BULLETIN: NO-FLY ZONE
• The Background
It goes without saying that many of us are less than impressed with Boeing right now, and the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into the company just turned criminal. The DOJ issued multiple subpoenas related to an ongoing investigation into “Boeing’s Federal Aviation Administration certification and marketing of 737 Max planes,” including the training manuals for pilots (which have been the subject of much criticism over the past couple weeks). The Justice Department has not yet revealed which laws may have been broken, but between the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash and the October 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia, questions surrounding the jets’ safety have made global headlines. Investigators are taking a very close look at the protocol that’s involved for Boeing to deem an aircraft “safe.” CNN
• What Else You Need to Know
To make matters worse (so much worse), Boeing apparently charged extrafor certain safety features that were missing on both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets (which, in the wake of all the scandal, they’re now installing for free). At present, all 371 of the 737 Max jets are grounded until global aviation authorities give them the OK to fly (which is just fine by us), though Air Canada and WestJet passengers can rest assured knowing that their jets were equipped with the extra safety features absent on the crashed flights despite the additional cost.
• What’s Next?
While Boeing could now be facing criminal charges over the two crashes, it’s trying to make up for its past mistakes. (Too little, too late, guys.) The company announced yesterday that in addition to installing the safety features for free (duh), it’ll also be adding a warning light to help pilots navigate the sensor issue that was likely responsible for both crashes.
• Fatal Ferry Ride
Celebrations turned to tragedy as an overcrowded ferry capsized in Iraq’s Tigris River in Mosul amidst Nowruz (Persian New Year) and Mother’s Day festivities. Of the 200 passengers on board, at least 71 have been reported dead so far, as most of the passengers “could not swim” according to the head of Mosul’s civil defence agency. The ferry was on its way to Um Al Rabeein, a small tourist island, four kilometres upstream and north of the city centre. Iraq’s prime minister has requested an inquiry to “determine responsibilities” and has ordered “all-state efforts” to recover and treat the survivors as some are still missing. Passengers were reportedly warned by officials ahead of their journey that there were rising water levels due to the opening of the Mosul dam. BBC News
• U.S.: Back in Black
POTUS may forgive but he certainly doesn’t forget. Weeks after the abrupt collapse of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the U.S. is penalizing two Chinese shipping companies for helping North Korea evade its sanctions. Dalian Haibo International Freight Co. Ltd. and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding Co. Ltd. are both accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions imposed by the U.S. and international agencies. As per a U.S. Treasury report, 67 vessels illicitly engaged in transferring refined petroleum and exporting coal from North Korea. The U.S. will not associate itself with the newly discovered companies and has already frozen any assets the companies held in the U.S. According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. “will continue to enforce [its] sanctions, and [it is] making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.” Reuters
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There’s much more to the story that should be told.”
– Liberal MP Jane Philpott, explaining why she resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, and what she thinks about the whole SNC-Lavalin scandal. Maclean’s
• Facebook F*cks Up — Again
No one was ever under the impression that Facebook = premium cyber security but we’re learning just how unsafe the social media site is now that it’s admitted to storing hundreds of millions of users’ passwords in plaintext (a.k.a. the most easily accessible form) for years. (This includes Instagram, FYI.) The discovery was made in January during a routine security review where engineers and developers were able to access some 2,000 logs dating back to 2012. Nobody knows why it’s taken three months for Facebook to release the information, though the company is currently under criminal investigation for making deals with tech companies allowing them access to account data without users’ consent, so it’s not all that surprising at this point. TechCrunch
• Go Shopping
In this day and age, you can buy almost anything in your PJs, but some industries have been a little slow to catch up. Namely, the car indsutry. But thanks to Cadillac, you can now shop for a new vehicle from the comfort of your own home. Launched yesterday, Cadillac Live (which is the first live car shopping initiative of its kind) pairs car shoppers with a live agent on a one-way video call. The agent (who’s connecting from a remote showroom and is as knowledgable as any dealership salesperson) can walk potential buyers through the car’s features, and answer any questions the customer may have. Don’t feel like talking? No problem. Buyers can type away through the site’s chat feature and let the agent do all the talking. Want to see the car in a different colour? You can do that, too. As shoppers receive their private walk-through, they can also adjust colours and learn more about vehicle features through a pop-up menu. Finally, when the tour’s complete and all questions have been answered, shoppers can opt to connect with their closest dealership or take some time to think it over (without any added sales pressure). Canadian Autoworld
• Hockey: EuroTrip
The NHL is travelling across the pond for the 2019–2020 season in what is now part of its annual global exhibition game series. Three games are scheduled in Europe so far, including the season opener between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks in Prague on Oct. 4 and two games between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning in Stockholm in November. In addition to the overseas games already scheduled (which are exciting for players who hail from Europe), there are apparently games planned for China as well. TSN
• Schitty News
Every rose has its thorn, and for the Rose family, that thorn is season six. Yesterday, Canadian darlings Eugene and Dan Levy announced that they were ending their hit CBC show, Schitt’s Creek, after its sixth season. The creative duo (who share creator and executive producer credit on the series) made the announcement with a note on Twitter. In addition to the renewal news, the duo said they “are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that [they] had envisioned from the very beginning.” The final season will consist of 14 episodes and will air on both CBC and Pop (in the U.S.) in 2020. Variety
• Chess Champ
An eight-year-old Nigerian immigrant living in a New York homeless shelter has just become a chess champion. Tanitoluwa (Tani) Adewumi only learned how to play a year ago but already has a trophy collection that rivals some of the world’s best, including the award for winning the New York State Scholastic Primary Championship for his age bracket. (Along with our hearts.) Tani’s chess coach, Shawn Martinez, says that while the average kid does 50–100 puzzles per week, Tani’s at around 500 and has a great tactical memory for the game. Acccording to Tani’s father, the third-grader practises every single day. A GoFundMe has been set up for Tani and has already collected almost $200k in just four days, which his family plans to put towards the Tanitoluwa Adewumi Foundation, which will help refugees and immigrants like themselves. The Adewumi family fled the Boko Haram extremist group in 2017. CNN
• Side Effects May Vary
Some things in life are hard, but other things can be harder — or so one man in Uganda learned after an energy drink gave him a six-hour erection. Power Natural High Energy Drink SX, produced in Zambia, was found to have an active Viagra ingredient in it, delivering much more than a thirst-quencher to those who consumed it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the energy drink has become popular with men, though several have also complained about its, er, soaring side effects. Several African countries have already recalled batches of the drink and it’s now been banned in Malawi. Newsweek
• Fight for Your Rights
On March 22, 1872 (that’s not a typo), the state of Illinois passed a law that required the equal treatment of men and women in hiring practices and employment. It was the first state to legislate gender equality — the rest of the country didn’t follow suit until almost 100 years later, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• At least six were killed yesterday in a chemical plant explosion in Yancheng, China.
• DT is going rogue — again. The president tweeted his support for “Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights” yesterday, marking a major shift in U.S. foreign policy.
• Brexit is still alive. All 27 EU countries have approved Theresa May’s extension request, pushing the possible departure date to May 22.
• Good news for Joe Biden fans: not only is he considering a run for president in 2020, but Stacey Abrams might be his running mate.
• Levi Strauss went public yesterday for the second time in the company’s history.
• Life’s a Party
Whoever thinks millennials don’t have their priorities straight is dead wrong.