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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, October 18, 2019, and it’s a great day to make “HERstory.”
BULLETIN: BREXIT BREAKTHROUGH
• The Background
In what feels like never-ending divorce drama between the U.K. and the European Union, it seems as though the two have finally settled on a Brexit deal. The major breakthrough comes just ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to officially say buh-bye to the bloc. The draft text of the still-tentative deal was unanimously endorsed by European leaders during a two-day summit in Brussels. But despite the advancement, the tentative deal now needs to be ratified by the British Parliament, which is quite a tall order to say the least. NBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
Even though British Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck a deal with Brussels, he turned his back on a group of 10 lawmakers in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who don’t support his deal. The party, which is a key player in Brexit talks, disagrees with how the new deal aims to resolve the problem of Northern Ireland, which has persisted as a major obstacle throughout the three-year process. Not to mention, the Northern Irish group holds crucial weight in the U.K. Parliament, which will definitely pose another problem for Johnson.
• What’s Next?
Johnson needs all the help he can get to push the Brexit deal through the deeply divided Parliament, which rejected a previous deal by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, three separate times. Johnson is set to put the deal to a rare weekend vote in the House of Commons on Saturday.
• Storm Watch
A tropical storm known as a bomb cyclone hit the U.S. Northeast on Thursday before moving to the Maritimes. The storm, which had a pressure equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of residents from New York to Maine, and caused flight delays and cancellations that are expected to continue over the weekend. At one point, more than 500,000 residents were without power. After wreaking havoc in the U.S., the storm brought blinding rain and powerful winds to the Maritimes. Winds of 60 kilometres per hour hammered parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Thousands were still without power Thursday night. Globe and Mail
• U.S.: The Conscience of Congress
Longtime Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings died yesterday at the age of 68, due to what his office called “complications concerning ongoing health challenges.” The congressman had represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District since 1996, and was commonly referred to as “the conscience of congress.” Cummings served as the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and was a leader in the impeachment inquiry launched against President Donald Trump, who he publicly and vehemently opposed. (RIP.) CNN
🇨🇦 CANADA VOTES 2019
From now until Oct. 21, we’ll be bringing you all the updates from the campaign trail (including who’s making promises and who’s breaking ’em).
• Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer claims he’s confident his party will “win big” on Monday.
• Meanwhile, a new poll shows a major bump in approval for Jagmeet Singh, as the NDP is gaining popular support.
• World: Temporary Pause
In what the U.S. is calling a “ceasefire” and Turkey is calling a “pause,” the two sides reached an agreement that would halt Turkish operations in northern Syria for 120 hours. In return, Kurdish forces must retreat from the safe zone that will then be controlled by Turkey. The negotiations were led by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In announcing the deal, Pence said the negotiated outcome “will greatly serve the interests of the Kurdish population in Syria.” In exchange for the pause, Trump said “sanctions won’t be necessary” — a decision blasted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer. The Kurdish forces — known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG — are a main fighting force of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which U.S. troops partnered with closely in the fight against ISIS. ABC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We do this all the time in foreign policy.”
– White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, stunningly undercutting President Trump’s repeated denial that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. He confirmed that the president froze nearly $400 million in U.S. security to Ukraine, claiming it was related to an investigation on the handling of a DNC server hacked in the 2016 election. CNN
• Not for Sale
Amid growing concerns about the ramifications associated with e-cigarettes, Juul Labs announced it will immediately suspend sales of fruity and dessert-flavoured products. The company has been under fire for the massive upsurge in youth vaping, and the emergence of a mysterious vaping-related lung disease. The move comes just ahead of President Trump’s expected executive order banning all flavoured e-cigarette products. (E-cigarette out, guns…still in.) Washington Post
• Show us the Waze
Google Maps has announced a series of new features that make the app look a lot like Waze, rolling out new tools that depend on user input. Similar to Waze, the platform will now allows users to report incidents, speed traps and traffic jams, as well as construction, lane closures, and objects on the road. The new additions are expected to launch globally on Android and iOS by the end of the week. TechCrunch
• Equal Entertainment
HBO Max is commissioning a four-part docuseries called Equal that will chronicle the history of the LGBTQ+ movement. Each hour-long episode will showcase true stories of leaders in the movement, and will feature a compilation of reenactments, unseen footage and interviews with activists. You can expect to see several pioneers of the LGBTQ+ movement, including Harry Hay, Christine Joregensen and Bayard Rustin. NBC News
• From Tacos to Tuition
Chipotle is adding education to its menu of employee benefits, announcing that it will cover 100% of tuition fees for employees pursuing tech and business degrees at several universities. Through a partnership with Guild Education, the fast-food chain says it will cover costs for 75 different tech and business degrees for all eligible employees — which includes those who have been at the company for more than 120 days and work a minimum of 15 hours per week. The only caveat is that employees must stay with Chipotle for at least six months after earning their degrees. Daily Mail
• We (Mexi)Can’t
Speaking of Mexican fast-food…this may be the first time that Taco Bell has the regrets. Nelson Estrella Rojas and his wife, Joann Estrella, are suing the fast-food giant and its parent company in federal court after they were charged $12.18 for two Chalupa Cravings Boxes, which they say were advertised in a TV commercial for $5 a pop. Expecting to just have to fork over $10, the couple questioned management after they were charged an extra $2.18. (Do they know how much lawsuits cost?) They were told the commercial contained a disclaimer at the end saying, “prices may vary.” The lawsuit is calling this “false and misleading advertising” and the couple is asking for compensatory and punitive damages. (Disclaimer: this story may make you crave a Chalupa — or is that just us?) USA Today
• Girls in Government
Today is Persons Day in Canada, an annual celebration marking the anniversary of a famous constitutional case decided in 1929, which made women eligible to sit in the Senate of Canada.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• California has become the first U.S. state to launch an earthquake early-warning app that will give residents in the area the chance to properly prepare for the worst.
• President Donald Trump will host the 2020 G7 summit at his own Florida resort property, claiming it is “far and away the best facility for this meeting.”
• The mysterious artist Banksy has launched an online store, called “Gross Domestic Product.” The site allows fans to bid for some of Banksy’s most famous pieces, including the stab vest Stormzy wore for his headline at the Glastonbury festival.
• Work management platform, Asana, is launching a new automated feature, allowing users to create “if this then that” rules, plus a new voice transcription service and OCR (optical character recognition) tool.
• New Landmark
Where exactly is Westminister Abbey?