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✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, October 29, 2018, and this phat movie news has us totally buggin’.
BULLETIN: TRAGEDY AT THE TREE OF LIFE
• The Background
In one of the worst hate crimes in American history, 11 Jewish citizens were killed over the weekend at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. The attack took place early Saturday morning during Sabbath services. The gunman — later identified as 46-year-old Robert Bowers — was a fanatical anti-semite, who regularly posted on right-wing websites (particularly Gab, which has since been shut down) about his “people being slaughtered.” In fact, five minutes before police were alerted to the shooting, Bowers wrote that he “can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” In addition to the 11 that were killed, two other citizens and four police officers were injured by gunfire. CNN
• What Else You Need to Know
Bowers was arrested at the scene and federal prosecutors later filed hate crime charges. Bowers didn’t deny his actions, and told arresting officers that he wanted all Jews to die that that Jews were “committing genocide to his people.” He apparently also said the same inside the synagogue before he started shooting. Though the morning’s events were more than horrific, the support the Jewish community has received over the past 48 hours has been heartwarming. Hundreds spoke out against anti-semitism, professional sports teams held moments of silence for the victims, and vigils have been planned in cities across the globe. President Trump condemned the attack, but quickly used it to push the GOP’s agenda, saying the tragedy “would have been different” if the synagogue had armed guards. (Forget simply banning AR-15s — that would be ludicrous.)
• What’s Next?
Bowers now faces 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder and multiple counts of two hate crimes: obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer. There’s a good chance he could receive the death penalty if he’s convicted of a hate crime.
• Plane Down
A Lion Air flight scheduled to travel the short distance from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to Pangkal Pinang, on an island chain off Sumatra, crashed into the sea about 13 minutes after takeoff early Monday morning local time. The Boeing 787-800 had 181 passengers and eight crew members on board. Authorities said early search efforts only turned up plane debris and some personal items, like identity cards and cellphones. The airline’s president said the plane was only delivered to the airline in August, and had experienced a technical problem on its previous flight from Bali to Jakarta, but it had been fixed. The crash marks the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea in December 2014, killing all 162 people on board, but the country has long faced concerns over airline safety. In 2007, all Indonesian airlines were barred from flying to Europe, although that ban was fully lifted last June. The United States lifted its decade-long ban in 2016. CBC News
• Sneak Attack
ISIS took advantage of a sandstorm on Friday to launch a counteroffensive against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour. In the fighting, ISIS killed at least 40 U.S.-backed Syrian fighters and regained areas lost earlier this month. ISIS also posted a video of six gunmen who were captured alive. According to Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, the exact number of causalities is yet to be confirmed. “The sandstorm allowed an ISIS counterattack, which was surprising given the conditions, but now the air is clear,” he said, adding that the coalition will now increase air and fire support. CTV News
• Canada: Giving Birth to Change
Fertile good Samaritans could soon have greater incentives to help out those who have difficulty conceiving. The federal government is proposing three major changes to the existing Assisted Human Reproduction Act. The first would allow women acting as surrogate mothers to receive financial compensation, reimbursing them for more of the expenses incurred from the task. (Does that include stretchy pants and copious amounts of ice cream?) The proposed regulation change also seeks to lift the ban on anonymous sperm donations from men who have sex with other men, and potentially make it legal for for egg and sperm donors to be paid. Currently, payments to Canadian donors are illegal, but would-be parents are permitted to buy eggs and sperm from American fertility clinics, and surrogate mothers can only be reimbursed for limited medical expenses. Global News
• World: Power Move
Brazil’s new president has vowed to change his country’s “destiny” — and considering his extremist reputation as a “far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist” who’s also an “admirer of dictators,” that doesn’t sound like a good thing. Jair Bolsonaro was elected as Brazil’s new leader last night, winning 55.5% of the votes and beating out his leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, who received 44.5%. Bolsonaro campaigned on a promise to quash corruption, crime, and a purported threat of communism. He’s also notorious for his hostility to women and black, gay and indigenous Brazilians. But to his supporters, the new president represents change after decades of economic recession and the 2016 impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff on charges of criminal administrative misconduct. The Guardian
• World: The Votes Are In
In a predictable win, left-wing socialist Michael D. Higgins was re-elected as president in Ireland after winning 56% of the first-preference votes yesterday. “The people have made a choice as to which version of Ireland they want reflected at home and abroad. It is the making of hope they wish to share rather than the experience of any exploitation of division or fear,” said Higgins, referencing his opponent Peter Casey’s attacks on Ireland’s travelling community. Sixty-five per cent of voters also voted in favour of removing blasphemy as an offence from the country’s constitution. While no one in the history of the Irish state had been charged with blasphemy, it carried a fine of up to €25,000. (Jes…uh, never mind.) The Independent
QUOTE OF THE DAY
The informant has made a statement regarding a Cabinet minister involved in the conspiracy to assassinate me.
– Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena reveals the reason he removed the country’s prime minister and suspended parliament. Washington Post
• Off The Beaten Path
Hoping to compete with Airbnb, travel booking site Expedia has acquired Pillow and ApartmentJet, two startups that help users offer their apartments and vacant properties as short-term rentals. Expedia made its first move into alternative accommodations in 2015 when it bought vacation rental brand HomeAway for $3.9 billion. The company hopes its recent acquisitions will help it expand in urban areas and offer users a broader selection of accommodations. For vacations further afield, new booking company Shuttle‘s aim is to make outer space available to everyone and is taking bookings for its first zero-gravity flight, expected to launch in March 2019. TechCrunch
• Game Plan
In a follow-up to Microsoft’s recent announcement of Project xCloud — a cross-platform game streaming service that will bring Xbox titles to PC and mobile devices — Microsoft Research has revived development of a 2014 prototype for a mobile gaming controller (because as any serious gamer can attest, touchscreen controls
kind of really suck for fine-tuned gameplay). The design splits the standard Xbox controller down the middle into two pieces that can be latched on to either end of a phone or tablet; the result looks a lot like a souped-up Nintendo Switch. Microsoft has created 3D-printed prototypes and is currently exploring how gamers will respond to the controls. In the meantime, it’s also introduced mouse and keyboard support for Xbox One to beta-testers playing Warframe, ahead of its official release. (With so many ways to play, you’ll never have to face reality again.) Windows Central
• Baseball: We Are The Champions
For the ninth time in franchise history, the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions. The top team in the American League beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night 5–1 (in L.A.’s own stadium, no less) to take the series four games to one. Game five was a home run bonanza for Boston, with Steve Pearce hitting two (a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and a solo in the eighth), Mookie Betts hitting one out of the park in the sixth and J.D. Martinez following suit with a homer of his own in the seventh. The title caps off a 119-win season that makes this particular Boston team one of the best in the history of the game. ESPN
• Love Hurts
All relationships rely on give and take, but this story shows that when you give too much of yourself, things can go belly-up. A 23-year-old woman from Mexico decided to get her belly button removed to give it to her boyfriend as a gift. Describing the belly button as “what makes us human,” she saw it as the “ultimate token of love,” rather than the worst present ever. (It’s not like he could even re-gift it.) The couple has since broken up (he probably told her to van Gogh away) and the woman says that while she now regrets the decision, it taught her to think things through before acting. (No, duh!) The Mirror
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT…
Sometimes there’s just too much news and not enough space.
• The federal government has upped its expected spending pledge for the 2026 Calgary Olympics to $1.75 billion should the city win its bid for the games.
• The family of murdered billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman is offering a $10-million reward for information on their deaths.
• Tesla is facing a criminal investigation into allegedly fraudulent marketing for its Model 3 vehicle.
• Google has launched its new Discover feed in the U.S., making its habit of stalking users’ interests all the more apparent.
• Four months after Demi Lovato was hospitalized for a drug overdose, her mother says the singer is 90 days sober.
• Aged Astronaut
John Glenn became the oldest person to go to space when the Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off on Oct. 29, 1998. He was 77 years old at the time.
• Halloween in Hollywood
Tinseltown’s characters were out doing what they do best this weekend.