✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, June 19, 2019 and if this photo doesn’t make you go green, we don’t know what will. 😲
NOT PASS GO
• The Background
One of the most controversial pipeline projects in Canadian history just got the green light to expand. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement yesterday, sharing that the federal cabinet had approved the expansion of the existing pipeline. The project will proceed under the TransMountain Corporation (the crown corporation that bought the pipeline for $4.5 billion after Kinder Morgan abandoned the project due to political and regulatory uncertainty) which will be responsible for securing any needed permits and approvals. Global News
• What Else You Need to Know
The government’s go-ahead doesn’t mean the pipeline will actually get built. The entire panel of officials agreed that, “it’s likely there will be challenges,” but promised that “there will be shovels in the ground this year along parts of the route.” Construction was shut down last year by a federal court, but officials are confident they’ve made the necessary adjustments — proper consultations with Indigenous stakeholders, appropriate steps to mitigate the marine impact of the expansion, etc. — to move forward.
• What’s Next?
Well, likely trying to overcome those challenges. The corporation must get approvals from the National Energy Board (to authorize construction), authorizations under the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Transportation Act, approval and licensing under the Explosives Act and approval under the Indian Act, along with permits under the Species at Risk Act. Government officials in B.C. and environmentalists across the country have promised to continue fighting the expansion.
• Twin Tremors
A pair of powerful earthquakes struck two parts of Asia yesterday. At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 injured after one hit China’s southwest Sichuan province. Rescue efforts have been underway since yesterday in the region, with hundreds of firefighters sent out to free the many people trapped in their homes. Shortly after, a powerful quake jolted northwestern Japan, prompting fears of a tsunami and a two-hour advisory. Thousands lost power and transportation was suspended, but there have so far been no reports of Japanese injuries or fatalities. USA Today
• U.S.: Another One Bites the Dust
Patrick Shanahan, the acting U.S. defence secretary (i.e. Pentagon chief), has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process. In a statement, Shanahan said that he was withdrawing from consideration after personal family details had surfaced in the media. Scandalous reports have recently emerged about his controversial, six-year divorce from his ex-wife, who accused him of hitting her during an argument in August 2010. Shanahan said of the reports, “after having been confirmed for deputy secretary less than two years ago, it’s unfortunate that a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up and painted in an incomplete and therefore misleading way in the course of this process.” Mark Esper, secretary of the Army, will be replacing Shanahan as the new acting secretary of defence. CNN
• World: One Down
We’re one step closer to knowing who’ll succeed Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister. Yesterday, Dominic Raab, one of the contenders, was knocked out of the race, leaving just five candidates. Once again, Boris Johnson clinched the top spot with 126 votes, while Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart scored enough votes to move on to the next round. The next vote takes place today and the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated. BBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“L.A. won’t love you like Toronto will.”
– Joe Carter, baseball legend and former Toronto Blue Jay, shares some advice for NBA champion (and Finals MVP) Kawhi Leonard, in regards to his pending decision whether or not to stay with the Toronto Raptors. (Love us, don’t leave us!) CTV News
• Hollywood North
Canada’s entertainment industry is flourishing. The Toronto film and production sector has been booming, and just one hour outside the city, six new studio sound stages are set to open in Hamilton, Ontario. Aeon Studio Group (a local developer and film and television operator) is building a 200,000-square-foot production hub, including one 40,000-square-foot stage, another 30,000-square-foot stage and four 20-square-foot stages. The studio is sure to draw attention (and cash money) to Hamilton, as its development will also include office buildings, retail space and two residential buildings. Hamilton has recently served as a backdrop for ABC’s Designated Survivor, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, and Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar winner The Shape of Water. Hollywood Reporter
• Digital Dollars
Facebook has officially revealed the highly anticipated details of its very own cryptocurrency, known as Libra. The tech giant released its white paper, dishing out all the details about the modern moola. Libra allows you to buy products or send money with virtually zero fees, and you’ll soon be able to buy or cash out Libra online or at local exchange points. The cryptocurrency can be spent using Facebook’s Calibra wallet — which will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger, and the Facebook app — as well as interoperable third-party apps. Other founding members of the Libra Association include Visa, Uber and Andreessen Horowitz, which have invested upwards of $10 million each in the project. Facebook is also launching a subsidiary company known as Calibra, with the purpose of protecting users’ privacy. The company will use its testnet to iron out any kinks in the blockchain system, and the public launch will be in the first half of 2020. TechCrunch
• Running: IAA-F Off
We now know why the International Association of Athletics Federation didn’t want Caster Semenya to compete in women’s track: it argued that she was “biologically male.” The federation’s opinion was revealed yesterday when the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport released its 163-page decision on the matter, which included the IAAF’s original argument. Specifically, the organization referred to Semenya (who’s a two-time Olympic champion) and other female athletes as “biologically male athletes with female gender identities.” IAAF won its case, allowing it to put testosterone limits in place for female athletes — however, Semenya has appealed the decision, bringing it to Switzerland’s Supreme Court on human rights grounds. CTV News
• Queer Eye Comeback
The Fab Five are back in action. Emmy-winning Netflix show Queer Eye will return for a fourth and fifth season. The unscripted series featuring five makeover experts will return to Kansas City for season four, while season five will take place in Philadelphia. The fourth season will debut on July 19(!!!), and the fifth will be available on Netflix in 2020. Deadline
• Gut Feelings
Topics like politics, finance and immigration are known to incite divisive views among Americans (and Canadians, too). But if there’s one thing the vast majority of U.S. citizens can agree on, it’s a shared love of food (and eating, for that matter). So it’s no surprise a recent poll found that most Americans say the best part about immigration is better food. We repeat: most Americans think the reason immigration is a good thing for the country is because it keeps their bellies full. Interestingly, 29% of businesses in the hospitality industry are immigrant-owned, while only 14% of U.S. businesses overall are owned by immigrants. Clearly, and unsurprisingly, food (not culture, tolerance, growth or diversity) is the key to Americans’ hearts. The Takeout
• The End of Southern Slavery
Today is Juneteenth, otherwise known as Freedom Day in the Unites States. It’s an American holiday that’s celebrated on June 19 to mark the 1865 announcement that slavery was abolished in Texas, and other southern U.S. states. The holiday is observed in 45 states, which often feature celebratory street parties and parades.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• A Canadian soldier was killed during a parachuting training exercise. An investigation is underway.
• It’s official: Donald Trump is running for re-election. The president announced his plans (and attacked Democrats, the media and Hillary Clinton) at a rally last night in Florida.
• A New Jersey man is dead after falling ill at a Dominican Republic hotel. This will make him the ninth U.S. tourist to die at a Dominican Republic resort in the last 13 months.
• Welcome to Gay Hell: a Michigan town renamed by a YouTuber to retaliate against Trump banning rainbow pride flags at U.S. embassies.
Ed Sheeran just released his new track list for his upcoming album No. 6, featuring collaborations with A-list artists like Bruno Mars, Travis Scott, Chris Stapleton and Skrillex.
• The Look of Love
Looks like man’s best friend is a lot smarter than we thought.