Real World Problems

The World Wildlife Fund's latest report is devastating, IBM invest in Red Hat and Meghan Markle's BFF gets a new gig on 'Good Morning America.'

Real World Problems

The World Wildlife Fund's latest report is devastating, IBM invest in Red Hat and Meghan Markle's BFF gets a new gig on 'Good Morning America.'
Oct 30 Bullet WWF Report

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✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, October 30, 2018 and this is exactly the kind of warm, fuzzy cute fest we need to binge watch right now.


• The Background

ICYMI, humans are totalling effing up the planet. While we hear a lot about greenhouse gas emissions and their effects on the earth’s temperature (oh hello, Category 6 hurricanes), we don’t hear nearly as much about what we’re doing to our furry and feathered friends — but it should be at the centre of the conversation. Yesterday, the World Wildlife Fund released its 2018 report on wildlife populations around the world, and the results are downright devastating. According to the WWF, between 1970 and 2014, there’s been a 60% (!!) decline (on average) among 16,700 species of wildlife around the world. The main causes are habitat loss and overexploitation, but the WWF says climate change is, of course, “a growing threat.” The WWF’s report follows two others with similar findings: one found that less than 1% of the primary forest in Haiti still exists, and that many of its inhabitants (think amphibians and reptiles) have been wiped out with it. The second said climate change is going to wipe out tropical birds that live at high altitudesCBC News

• What Else You Need to Know

If math isn’t your strong suit (we’re a team of writers here, so we feel you), that’s a loss of two-thirds of our wild species, which FYI (and excuse our French, but it’s warranted) is a big f*cking problem. According to the report, the situation is most dire in the “neotropical realm” (made up of South America, Central America and the Caribbean) where wildlife populations have declined by a whopping 89%; freshwater ecosystems, where populations have declined by 83% worldwide. In Canada specifically, barren-ground Caribou and North Atlantic right whales are in decline, as well as many species that breed in the Great White North like songbirds and monarch butterflies. (At this rate, we’re going to be left with just humans…ugh.)

• What’s Next?

According to James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation for WWF-Canada, Canadian politicians are trying to do their part, committing to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity, which would protect 10% of marine areas and 17% of the surrounding land (but we’re “not close to meeting those goals”). Thankfully, some big polluters are taking up the cause, with companies like Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Nestle vowing to cut all plastic waste to try and clean up the oceans.


• Explosive Afternoon

Nine people were injured yesterday in Tunisia’s capital of Tunis when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the middle of the afternoon. The 30-year-old female attacker selected a spot close to a police patrol unit, injuring eight members of security and one civilian. Luckily, she was the only one killed in the attack. CNN


• Canada: Roam Free

Captive cetaceans are one step closer to freedom. Yesterday, the “Free Willy” bill (officially known as Bill S-203) had its first reading in the House of Commons, introduced by its lead sponsor, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The bill, which would ban whale and dolphin captivity in Canada (minus those in distress that have been rescued and those living in facilities as part of legitimate research), spent the last three years in the Senate, held up by retirements and partisan priorities. Now, with support from Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Bloc MPs, it looks like the bill may actually become law in Canada before the next federal election. iPolitics

• World: Border Battle

America’s southern border is getting some reinforcement. Though the U.S. government’s been a little vague on its plan to stop the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy was very clear: America’s sending in the military. The head of U.S. Northern Command said 800 troops were already on their way to the Texas border and that another 5,200 would be en route by the end of the week. O’Shaughnessy also said it was “just the start of this operation” and that the government would adjust the number as the situation unfolds. Setting up what’s sure to be a dramatic (if not violent) confrontation, Trump tweeted that the caravan was an “invasion of our country” and that the U.S. military is “waiting for you.” Global News

• World: Turning the Page

Angela Merkel’s days are numbered as German chancellor. The longtime politician announced yesterday that she wouldn’t seek re-election in 2021, either as chancellor or as leader of the centre-right CDU party (a post she’s held since 2000). The decision comes after a particularly brutal election season for both the CDU (the party suffered a loss of 11% in a recent state election) and the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the CSU, suffered huge losses in a recent state parliament vote. Without Merkel at the helm, the CDU will attempt to win back some of the voters who have abandoned the party in favour of the right-wing anti-immigration AfD (Alternative fir Deutschland) and the left-leaning Green party. Replacement rumblings have already started, with names like Party Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer,  Health Minister Jens Spahn and former CDU-CSU leader Friedrich Merz, all being thrown around. BBC News


If you need anything at all, if you need food for the families, if you just need someone to come to the grocery store because you don’t feel safe in this city, we’ll be there.

Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburghoffering support to the city’s Jewish residents (along with the announcement that the Muslim community had raised more than $70K for the victims and their families). The Hill


• Market Values

It’s being called the “most significant tech acquisition of 2018.” (OK, so the two companies involved are the ones saying that, but to be fair, yesterday’s stock market activity might support the claim.) On Sunday, IBM confirmed rumours it’s struck a deal to acquire open-source cloud software firm Red Hat for a whopping US $34 billion — a 63% premium on the company’s pre-merger market value and the biggest buy in IBM’s history. Yesterday, Red Hat’s shares soared by 50% as a result, but IBM’s investors weren’t quite as convinced by the premium it’s paying for the fledgling company; its shares took a 5% dip following the news. Wall Street Journal


• Phone Improvement

Budget smartphone brand OnePlus revealed its latest device yesterday, the OnePlus 6T. (Yep, $719 is considered “budget” these days. 🙄) While the hardware skips out on features like a headphone jack and wireless charging, the device has one major claim to fame: It’s the first phone to the North American market with an in-display fingerprint sensor. The device runs on the speedy Snapdragon 835 processor chip, and gets an extra kick from a new ‘Smart Boost’ adding to the OxygenOS version of Android, which reportedly increases how quickly apps launch by 20%. The dual camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and boasts a new Nightscape mode, that delivers improved clarity and colour representation in lowlight settings, and Studio Lighting feature for better portraits. In the U.S., the 6T will be Oneplus’s first phone to be sold though a carrier partner — namely T-Mobile. Here in Canada, the phone is exclusively available directly through the brand’s website; the device ships unlocked (sales start Nov. 1) and is compatible with all major phone networks. Mobile Syrup


• Hockey: Betting Big

The NHL is moving forward with a “progressive approach” to sports betting. Commissioner Gary Bettman (coincidence?) announced yesterday a multi-year partnership between the league and MGM Resort International. The move follows in the footsteps of the NBA and WNBA’s big gamble signing a similar first-of-its-kind deal this summer. The NHL will provide the Las Vegas-based casino management chain with proprietary data and analytics (such as puck and playing tracking info) for use in sports betting. While the league won’t receive a direct cut of gambling profits, both Bettman and MGM CEO Jim Murren emphasized “fan engagement” as a key goal of the partnership, making it clear NHL execs are hoping for trickle down effect. CBC Sports


• Foreign Fashion Correspondent

It’s not just brands that are benefiting from the Markle Sparkle, the new royal’s closest pals are, too. Jessica Mulroney — a talented stylist and brand ambassador in her own right — just landed a coveted spot as a fashion contributor on Good Morning America. The Toronto-based mother-of-three will take her style skills to the show’s New York studio, sharing fashion tips and tricks with the show’s four million viewers. Though there’s been no official word on how often Mulroney will appear, her first segment (on how to create a capsule wardrobe) aired Monday and her next one is scheduled for Nov. 5, leading us to believe it’s a weekly gig. Deadline


• Where’s the Beef Cabbage?

Danny Bowien, the chef of renowned NYC restaurant Mission Chinese, has a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to the authenticity of his dishes — but a new addition to his restaurant’s menu just might take things too far. Eatercritic Serena Dai described the US $8 bowl of “Iced Szechuan Water Pickles” she was served at her recent visit as “literally just ice sprinkled with spices.” When she tweeted about it, other diners were quick to chime in with their own experiences of the dish, with most expressing the same flabbergasted frustration as Dai. Some clarity came when Bowien spoke up, explaining the dish as a take on water kimchi and describing it as “a bowl of Napa cabbage, radish and hibiscus fermented in a water and salt brine, served with some of the pickling liquid and topped with pebble ice, tingling chili oil and aloe salt,” — but diners maintain there were no cabbage or radishes to be found in their bowls of spicy ice. (Guess you could say they’re in a pickle.) Bushwick Daily


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

• The federal government is finally introducing a pay equity bill that will govern the compensation packages for federally regulated workers.

• Want to use AI to improve humanity? Google’s willing to give you millions of dollars to do it.

• Panasonic has unveiled the first camera with an 8K organic sensor that offers better dynamic range and sensitivity in low light situations.

• Busy Americans can soon buy individual Blue Apron meal kits commitment-free (that is, without a subscription) through a new partnership with Walmart’s

• Just in time to write our Christmas lists, Sony has revealed the complete list of games to be released for the revamped Playstation Classic.


• Avoiding Quebexit

On Oct. 30, 1995, Canada almost lost a province as Quebec held its second referendum on national sovereignty. Citizens narrowly escaped escape, voting 50.58% to 49.42% in favour of remaining a province.



• Labyrinth of Lies

We’re at a point where the internet is basically trolling itself.

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