Paying the Price

America imposes sanctions over the Kashoggi murder, IKEA announces an exciting new initiative and Instagram makes in-app shopping every easier.

Paying the Price

America imposes sanctions over the Kashoggi murder, IKEA announces an exciting new initiative and Instagram makes in-app shopping every easier.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Saudi Arabia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., Mar. 22, 2018. (DoD photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm)

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✨  Good morning! Today is Friday, November 16, 2018 and for some reason, this immigration news isn’t exactly surprising. 🙄


• The Background

Saudi officials are in the process of convicting almost two dozen of the country’s citizens for the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Oh, is that all?) According to reports, Saudi Arabia’s former chief of intelligence ordered a 15-member team to bring Khashoggi back from Istanbul, by means of persuasion or force. Once the team realized they would not be able to convince him to return, the leader of the negotiating team “decided to kill him in the moment.” Though most of the team members’ names have not been released, we do know Gen. Ahmad al-Assiri, former deputy head of intelligence, has been implicated in Khashoggi’s murder. So far, authorities swear Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman didn’t know what was going on. Saudi prosecutors are now seeking the death penalty for five of the suspects, who apparently “gave the orders and oversaw the execution of the murder.” Al Jazeera

• What Else You Need to Know

Meanwhile, Turkey (which has been leading the charge on this whole investigation) was unimpressed with Saudi Arabia’s most recent account of what happened, pointing out that the story’s changed almost 20 times since the Oct. 2 killing. Turkish investigators also don’t believe that the crown prince didn’t know what was happening. (With 20 lies, what’s one more?) President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the orders came from “the highest levels of the Saudi government.” The U.S. is also not buying what SA’s selling — in its biggest move to date, the White House placed sanctions on 17 Saudis for their alleged roles in the murder. The sanctions freeze any of their American assets and bans Americans from doing business with those involved.

• What’s Next?

Despite Canada’s seemingly unwillingness to risk its friendly relations with Saudi Arabia in the wake of Kashoggi’s murder (at least when it comes to arms sales), the government is apparently now “actively considering” deploying Magnitsky Act sanctions against the country.


• Storm Chasers

There are a lot of titles that Canada’s known for (the nicest? smartest?) but home to the “most powerful storm on the planet” is certainly a new one. Newfoundland and Labrador has been dealing with “wild, whipping winds” over the past 24 hours — some of which have reached gusts of 130 km/h. The storm’s caused massive power outages, along with flight cancellation and delays. Environment Canada also issued a storm surge warning for the northeast and east coasts of the Avalon peninsula. CBC News


• Canada: Financial Planner

After reneging on the Liberals’ promise to hike the minimum wage, Ontario’s new provincial government is trying to make amends with some of the province’s low-income earners. Yesterday, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli (who’s in the midst of his own drama sh*tstorm) shared the PC’s first fiscal update, which the party’s pretty excited about. (So excited, they can’t seem to stop giving themselves standing ovations.) The plan includes cutting $500 million from the province’s $15-billion deficit, while promising to eliminate provincial income tax for those earning less than $30,000 per year, and reducing the tax for those earning less than $38,000 per year. Fedeli said the government found “$3.2 billion in efficiencies in operations,” which included implementing a hiring freeze in the public sector, eliminating three senior positions (the environmental commissioner, the child and youth advocate and the French language services commissioner will be rolled into the auditor general or provincial ombudsman role), and cancelling plans for a French-language university. CTV News

• U.S.: The Sum of All Parts

Like many aspects of the Trump administration, things at the U.S. Defence Department just aren’t adding up. Yesterday, a senior official said the Pentagon had failed its first-ever “comprehensive audit,” where auditors found “accounting discrepancies” that could take years to resolve. Approximately 1,200 auditors conducted the audit, examining the financial accounting on a long list of defence products, including weapons systems, military personnel and property. According to Deputy Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan, the department “never expected to pass” the audit but feels good that they managed to do it. (It is a US $2.7-trillion-dollar organization, after all.) Two areas that Shanahan said the Pentagon must improve on are compliance with cybersecurity policies and improving inventory accuracy. (That last one sounds rather important, don’t ya think?) Reuters


They represent a major branch… that we didn’t know we were missing.

– Dalhousie biology professor Alastair Simpson, on a new organism called hemimastigotes (discovered by Canadian researchers, no less) that doesn’t fit into the known plant or animal kingdoms. CBC News


• Coffee, Chicken, and Cheese, Oh My

Tim Hortons is going after Canada’s most discerning customer: Kids. The coffee chain just launched its first kids’ menu, which many are comparing to McDonald’s Happy Meals. The new menu includes grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken strips, and cream cheese chicken wraps, and is being seen as the brand’s peace offering to unhappy franchisees and disappointed customers. With a plan for improving franchisee relations and customer experiences, Tim Hortons is looking forward to a more profitable end to the year. The new kids’ menu comes on the heels of the chain’s decision to offer all-day breakfast, another step towards competing with big brands like McDonald’s. (Now they just have to fill our coffee cups all the way and we’ll be happy.) Financial Post

• Hand-Me-Down Housewares

On your next visit to Ikea, make sure to visit the as-is department first — and to bring the old furniture you’re replacing along with you. The retailer has launched a new “sell-back” program inviting customers to bring back gently used Ikea furniture to be resold in store, in exchange for store credit to buy something new. (What if it’s been half built for the last five years?) The initiative hopes to help reduce the amount of the store’s furniture heading to landfills by “increasing the lifecycle” of their products. Store representatives will evaluate the condition of the furniture to be resold — currently, only certain styles of dressers, tables, cabinets and chairs are being accepted — and, if accepted, will provide the customer with a gift card in the resale amount. The program is available now for customers registered with the Ikea Family program, which is free to join. CBC News


• Shop Till You Drop

Your bank account’s about to be in some big trouble. (Again?) Yesterday, Instagram announced that it’s introducing new features that will allow users to more easily shop directly within the app. The update adds a “Shopping” section to users’ profiles, where the app will store any saved posts that are shoppable. It’s also launched redesigned business profiles to make purchasing your favourite items featured in influencers’ and business posts even easier. New business profiles will be able to add a “Shop” tab that will organize all posts that feature products for purchase. Videos will now be shoppable too, with a bottom-left “Shop” tab displaying featured items. (No more #FOMO, but way more #DEBT.) Fashionista


• Referee Review

Soccer (or football, as they call it across the pond) in Britain is finally moving into the 21st century. The English Premier League announced yesterday that next season it plans to introduce video review to assist referees. The league has been previously resistant despite VAR (video assistant referees) usage by other top leagues, including FIFA at the World Cup. If approved by soccer’s lawmakers (it’s a serious sport, you guys), VAR will be introduced to all 20 of the Premier League clubs (making the game that much more intense). Sportsnet


• Movie Business

Apple isn’t going to surrender to Netflix without a fight. Yesterday, the tech giant inked a multi-year deal with A24 that will have the film and TV studio produce a whole bunch of full-length movie features for the iPhone maker. The agreement is a major move for Apple, as A24’s produced several Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated films (think Moonlight, Room and Lady Bird) and other blockbusters like Ex Machina. The deal lends even more credibility to the rumour that Apple’s planning on launching a TV subscription streaming service in as many as 100 countries at some point in the near future (which would be free to Apple device users 🙌🏼). Deadline


• California Cookout

While wildfires continue to ravage California, do-gooders from all over the world are stepping up and stepping in to help those affected. Just this week, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl took his show (cooking show, that is) on the road to serve up some much-needed and well-deserved meals to the firefighters that are working 24/7 to try and get the flames under control. The former Nirvana guitarist — who just recently launched barbecue company Backbeat Barbecue — posted about the experience on Instagram, saying “To all the Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department heroes we met last night… Thank you. It was an honor to cook for you.” Pitchfork


• Cup ‘Em

If the fear of having your GP check your manhood at your annual physical has you avoiding the doctors’ office like the plague, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a solution — but you’ll have to travel Down Under to get your hands (er, balls) on it. The Testamatic — launching this weekend at the Big Boys Toys expo — is an innovation that allows men to have their testicles checked without ever coming face to face with a doctor. Men step into a booth, drop their drawers, and a doctor reaches through a hole to give them a little feel. There’s no eye contact, no awkwardness (OK, maybe a little) and men (and those that love them) can rest easy knowing the boys are in tip-top shape. BBC News


Sometimes there’s just too much news and not enough space.

• The midterm news keeps getting better for the Democrats: They just flipped another seat in the House of Representatives.

• First Nations police stations are getting a much-needed upgrade thanks to the federal government. It just pledged another $90 million to build and repair the dilapidated structures.

• Queen Bey must have more hours in her day than us mere mortals. The star just bought the remaining shares of clothing brand Ivy Park, splitting from partner Topshop.

• Tinder’s trying to make it easier for users to find a match. (Just in time for Friday!) The dating app just introduced Swipe Surge to alert potential daters when there’s high activity nearby.

• Nothing funny about this: Amy Schumer (who announced her pregnancy late last month) has been hospitalized for severe morning sickness.

• And there’s more bad news: Kim Porter, Diddy’s ex-girlfriend (and mother to three of his kids) was found dead yesterday. She was 47.


• Severe Punishment

On Nov. 16, 1885, the Canadian rebel leader of the Métis and the “Father of Manitoba” Louis Riel was executed for treason.


• Gross Incompetence

How, pray tell, did this work out?

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