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✨ Good morning! Today is Thursday, September 5, 2019, and we finally know why Vancouver is so damn expensive.
BULLETIN: THE END OF EXTRADITION
• The Background
The ceaseless protests in Hong Kong are finally over (for now). Embattled leader Carrie Lam withdrew the controversial extradition bill that permitted extradition to mainland China, and sparked months of (sometimes violent) protests and public outrage. (Need a refresher on the rocky relationship between Hong Kong and China? We’ve got you covered.) The decision to withdraw the bill marked a dramatic reversal for Lam, who perpetually refused to completely revoke the bill for the last several months. New York Times
• What Else You Need to Know
Though Lam did suspend the extradition bill in June, the mere suspension didn’t satisfy protestors, who wanted the bill to be withdrawn entirely. Over the last few weeks, nearly one million demonstrators marched against the bill, inciting violence and wreaking havoc on the government. Earlier this week, a tape of Lam claiming she would resign was leaked, but Lam says she has no intentions of leaving her position.
• What’s Next?
Of course, the goal of withdrawing the contentious bill is to quell protestors’ fury, but one pro-Beijing lawmaker says Lam’s actions might be too little, too late. “The movement has become more than the bill,” he said. Either way, Lam’s likely hopeful that the move would halt protests ahead of Oct. 1, when China will celebrate National Day.
• On Hold
The Bank of Canada has left its key rate at 1.75%, despite escalating trade tension and pressure to lower it. The rate decision comes as the bank is assessing the damage caused by the deepening trade wars (mainly between China and the U.S.) on both the domestic and global economies. The accompanying policy statement warned that despite a strong economy earlier this year, economic activity is likely to slow in the second half of 2019, as the fallout from trade conflicts start to take a toll. CBC News
• Canada: Pipeline Problems
In another legal hurdle for the Trans Mountain pipeline project, the Federal Court of Appeal has agreed to hear appeals from environmental activists and First Nations who are intent on overturning the Liberal government’s approval of the pipeline expansion project. The court will address six of the 12 appeals to the federal cabinet’s decision, and will look for evidence on whether the Liberals adequately consulted with Indigenous peoples prior to approving the project in June. Global News
• U.S.: Dim Lit
While most of the Democratic presidential nominees spent yesterday discussing their plans to battle climate change, the White House announced its own plan to roll back requirements for energy-saving lightbulbs. New efficiency standards will be prevented from going into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, under a law that was passed in 2007. Naturally, the changes will likely be called out in court, as reducing the use of energy-saving bulbs will undoubtedly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. (Not such a bright idea.) New York Times
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We are currently in a national crisis.”
– British Labour Party MP Jess Phillips, addresses the House of Commons before lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s motion to hold an early election on Oct. 14. It was the third major loss for the PM in 24 hours. CNN
• None of Your Business
In a historic penalty, Google will pay $170 million to settle allegations against YouTube for collecting personal data on children without their parents’ consent. The record fine also came with a promise from the streaming giant to make changes to protect children’s privacy on the platform. The charges were part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New York’s attorney general, for illegally harvesting personal information from children and profiting by targeting them with ads. On the bright side, YouTube announced a $100 million fund to invest in original children’s content, dedicated to the production of appropriate videos for kids to consume. ABC News
• The Cube Comes to Canada
We are definitely fired up for this one. Amazon is launching its Fire TV Cube in Canada, a hands-free Alexa-enabled TV set, which Amazon claims is the most efficient and powerful Fire TV yet. The far-field voice control system lets you talk to your TV using Alexa, allowing users to navigate the Cube without a remote. The Fire TV Cube also works with Alexa features like Multi-Room Music, Alexa Communication and Follow-up Mode. The e-commerce giant also unveiled its first Fire TV Edition soundbar, which will turn any TV into a smart TV with Alexa voice control. The Fire TV Cube will begin shipping Oct. 10. Mobile Syrup
• The Tale Continues
If you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, we’ve got good news: Margaret Atwood’s sequel to the 1985 novel is coming out next Tuesday, and Hulu and MGM are already planning to develop The Testaments for the screen. Hulu has not yet revealed whether The Testaments will be made into a standalone film, a series or an extension of the current Emmy-award winning TV show. (We’re in for all of the above.) Atwood’s new novel takes place 15 years after the events in The Handmaid’s Tale. CNET
📖👀🎧 THE WEEKEND PLAYLIST
This week’s playlist is dedicated to the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off today!
Not to toot our own horn, but we did a pretty stellar job of summing up this year’s festival. From the movies to the best spots for stargazing, here’s everything you need to know.
Thanks to the internet, you can enjoy the festival whether you’re in Toronto or on the other side of the world. Today, TIFF’s kicking off a live broadcast to give film fans everywhere insider access, including close-ups of red carpet premieres, industry talks and much more.
One of the most star-studded premieres at this year’s festival is Hustlers, and it just so happens to have a stacked soundtrack. (With a cast that includes Lizzo, J.Lo and Cardi B, are you surprised?) And thanks to Spotify, you can listen to all the hits right here.
• Senior Suspect
An 81-year-old man is being dubbed the “Holiday Bandit,” after he spent the last 10 years breaking into Manhattan homes over the holidays when residents are out of town. The alleged robber, Samuel Sabatino, was finally taken into custody over the Labour Day long weekend, after surveillance video revealed him stealing cash and jewels from lavish Upper East Side and Upper West Side apartments. (He may be older, but he’s definitely not wiser.) NBC News
• The Giver
Today is the International Day of Charity, an annual event created by the United Nations, to encourage the public to engage with charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Dominic Barton, the head of a high-profile consulting firm and economic advisor, is Canada’s new ambassador to China.
• Michigan has become the first U.S. state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes, in an effort to stop kids from vaping.
• The body of Spanish Olympic skier Blanca Fernandez Ochoa has been found in a mountainous area near Madrid. (She had gone missing on Aug. 23.) Authorities are investigating the cause of death.
• Season 7 of Grace & Frankie will be the last, bringing Netflix’s longest-running show to an end.
• Nominees for the E! People’s Choice Awards have been revealed, including Shawn Mendes, Scarlett Johansson, Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift, among other A-list celebs.
• Play Time
Because a La-Z-Boy in the basement just doesn’t cut it anymore.