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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, May 13, 2019, and at least one Canadian is flying high.
BULLETIN: (OVER) DUE NORTH
• The Background
We’ve all been told the need for action on climate change is at a now-or-never tipping point (just ask U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres), and now an Inuit land-claim group is joining the chorus speaking out on behalf of Mother Nature (and their own heritage). The group is asking the federal government to enact permanent environmental protections for a vast region of the Eastern Arctic, shielding it from industrial development before it’s too late. CTV News
• What Else You Need to Know
A five-year moratorium on Arctic offshore energy development is due to be reconsidered in 2020, and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association is asking that it be extended indefinitely. The area in question is the Baffin Bay-Davis Strait region between northeastern Nunavut and Greenland. In a report submitted to the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs department, the group sums up the results of consultations in seven communities on Baffin and Ellesmere islands, saying a big fat “no” to opening the area up for the unchecked discovery of oil, gas and mining deposits. The association’s president, P.J. Akeeagok, says it’s “very evident there has to be a lot more research” before seismic testing should be allowed to proceed. The report also asks for seasonal bans on marine transport at times when narwhal, walrus, and seals are breeding.
• What’s Next?
The group wants Ottawa to establish a dedicated research institute for Arctic oil and gas that would include an advisory board to ensure Inuit peoples have a say in decision-making. It’s also pushing for consideration of alternative ways to build the area’s economy, like fisheries and tourism. (Might we suggest a new national park?)
• Case Not Closed
Prosecutors in Sweden have decided to reopen a rape investigation against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced the move on Monday, saying that she believes there is still “probable cause to suspect that Mr. Assange committed rape.” The case was dropped two years ago because prosecutors felt they couldn’t take the case to court while Assange, who denies the allegations, remained holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought refuge back in 2012, thereby avoiding extradition to Sweden. But Assange, now 47, was given the boot last month and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for violating his bail conditions. He is serving that sentence at Belmarsh prison in London. Meanwhile, Assange’s legal issues are likely to get worse as Sweden and the United States will presumably battle it out for the right to extradite him. Assange is facing a U.S. charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion over the release of classified military and diplomatic documents back in 2010. BBC News
• If It Feels Good, Don’t Do It
Abortion rights are on the verge of being significantly rolled back in several southern states, and Alyssa Milano is not about to take it lying down. The actress has proposed a sex strike in response to new “heartbeat” bans that are making their way through state legislatures. These laws would prevent women from obtaining abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected (about 6 weeks in, well before most pregnancy symptoms show up). According to Milano in a tweet, “until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy,” (meaning sex is out the window until then). Hashtagged #sexstrike, she’s attracted supporters and detractors alike, some of whom say the whole idea’s more than a bit sexist. In a bit of good news, these laws are far from being a sure thing. They’re expected to face significant legal challenges before they’ll be passed. CP24
• World: Clash & Chaos
Hong Kong’s legislative assembly spiralled into utter mayhem this weekend when members of two opposing political camps battled (literally) over the control of a committee vetting the territory’s controversial extradition bill. Punches were thrown, people were shoved, and at least one lawmaker was taken out of the chamber on a gurney. (True story.) Controversial changes to the extradition law — the process in which a person who has committed a crime is handed over from one region to another — are seen by many as diminishing the semi-autonomous Hong Kong’s judicial independence. The amendments make it simpler to send suspects to mainland China, where trials could be unfair and criminals could face lax punishments. In 1997, Hong Kong was promised the right to maintain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years following its handover from British to Chinese rule — but with the country’s ruling Communist Party, it seems the agreement is being eroded. And clearly, tensions are running high. National Post
• World: Pollution Progress
Yet again, the United States is one of the only countries in the world refusing to participate in a global effort to address environmental issues. In a string of refusals from the U.S. to acknowledge the ramifications of global warming, or to participate in preventing climate change from worsening, the country is once again refraining from a critical new agreement to limit plastic waste. Almost every other nation in the world has agreed to this legally binding framework (yay!), which will track thousands of types of toxic waste and hazardous chemicals. The initiative was proposed at the end of a two-week-long U.N.-backed meeting. “It’s sending a very strong political signal to the rest of the world — to the private sector, to the consumer market — that we need to do something,” says Rolph Payet of the U.N. Environmental Program. (He’s talking to you, Trump.) Associated Press
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The expected countermeasures have not yet materialized.”
– White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow braces for the backlash to the new tariffs imposed on China by the U.S. as a result of heavy-handed trade negotiations on the Trump administration’s part. (Maybe China knows you can’t fight fire with fire?) Global News
• Don’t Get Left Behind
If you need more proof that artificial intelligence is the way of the future — here it is. Actua, an organization that promotes STEM education to Canadian youth, is the lucky beneficiary of a $500,000 investment from Google. The money will be used to create AI learning programs for 15,000 secondary school students across the country. Far from being your garden variety computer science class, students will learn basics of AI and how to apply this knowledge in their future career paths. A pilot will be launched later this year. (Time for us to sign up for that coding bootcamp…gotta keep up with the kids.) Mobile Syrup
• Swipe Lite
Tinder’s got FOMO — the company recently announced plans to launch a “lite” version of its dating app by the end of the year, so everyone can find their next hookup (or life partner), no matter where they are or what phone they’re using. (How egalitarian of them.) Lite apps are designed to load and run quickly by using less bandwidth and RAM, making them perfect for use in areas with unreliable data connections or on lower-range phones. While Tinder is still posting some pretty good numbers in terms of subscriber growth (up 38% in 2019), it’s planning to expand into emerging markets like Southeast Asia to keep its numbers booming, where a more nimble app will give it an edge. Techradar
• Basketball: Buzzer Beater
Canadian basketball fans let out a massive, collective sigh of relief last night as the buzzer rang on Game 7 of the Toronto Raptors’ battle against the Philadelphia 76ers. It was an uncomfortably close game — the two teams ended every quarter within three points of each other — but in the end, Kawhi Leonard clinched the series for the Raps with a rim bouncing basket that went in at the last possible second (literally), bringing the final score to 92-90. Now, fans will have until Wednesday to steady their heartbeats: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals will take place in Milwaukee as the Raptors take on the Bucks — and Leonard takes on Giannis Antetokounmpo — in the next round. Sportsnet
• Lipton’s Legacy
Peggy Lipton has died at 72 after a battle with colon cancer. The actress (and mom to Rashida Jones) had a prolific career with starring roles in The Mod Squad TV series, which aired in the late ’60s, and the ’90s cult hit Twin Peaks. For her work, Lipton was nominated for four Golden Globes with a win in 1971. In her early years, she also dabbled in modelling and later used her success in acting as a springboard to a music career. According to a statement made by her two daughters, “She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side…we feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her.” Hollywood Reporter
• Bad Odds
It’s safe to say that almost everyone who buys a lottery ticket is at least mildly aware that the odds of winning are slim. But a Quebec woman feels she’s been duped by Loto-Quebec, claiming she was misled about her chances — so much so that she attempted to launch a class action lawsuit against the provincial Crown corporation. Unsurprisingly, Quebec’s Court of Appeal announced that her request has been rejected. (No sh*t!) Martha Karras, the plaintiff, had been regularly buying tickets for 6/49 for last 20 years (and Lotto Max for seven) and says she was never adequately informed of her chances of winning, either on the tickets, website or promotional materials… even though the odds actually are printed right on the back of the ticket and in promotional materials that Loto-Quebec showed the court. This is the second time Karras brought this same case to court. In 2017, the Quebec Superior Court rejected a very similar request. (Better luck next time, Martha.) CTV News
• Driving in Circles
The 1950 British Grand Prix was the first-ever World Championship Formula One motor race, held on May 13, 1950. The 70-lap race (which makes us dizzy just to say) was won by Giuseppe Farina for Alfa Romeo.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Things aren’t looking so hot down in Cuba. The government has launched widespread rationing of food staples like chicken, eggs, rice, beans as the country’s economic crisis grows.
• A state of emergency was called and evacuation orders have been issued in Fraser, B.C. due to a raging 260-hectare wildfire.
• Opposition MPs aren’t about to let the Liberals sweep their now-dropped breach of trust charge against Mark Norman under the rug. They’ve called for an emergency meeting of the House of Commons national defence committee to examine the government’s conduct in the case.
• Second Cup’s CEO has had his fill: Garry MacDonald is retiring from his post as head honcho of the coffee chain.