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✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, October 9, 2019, and we’re guessing the cost of living has a little something to do with this?
• The Background
BULLETIN: THIS MEANS WAR
We’re coming in hot with more impeachment drama. (ICYMI, here’s the backstory.) The new news is that the House of Representatives is considering extending the articles of impeachment against the president beyond the Ukraine issue, adding accusations of obstruction of justice and interference with a federal election. House Democrats are broadening their scope, partially because of the White House’s lack of cooperation, namely by blocking Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a key witness in the case, from testifying. Apparently blocking Sondland from testifying could amount to obstruction — and it may not have been worth it: House Democrats plan to issue a subpoena for Sondland’s testimony and any relevant documents. The drama between House Democrats and POTUS finally came to a head last night when the White House declared war on the impeachment inquiry, claiming it would not cooperate in the effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election.” New York Times
• What Else You Need to Know
The war was declared in a formal letter from the White House to House Democratic leaders, which claimed that the inquiry has violated precedent and neither Trump nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents. But in refusing to cooperate, the White House is risking the very outcome they’re hoping to dodge.
• What’s Next?
The White House’s unwillingness to cooperate carries substantial risk to Trump’s case, as it gives Democrats (and the American public) greater reason to believe the president has something to hide. So Trump’s declaration of war against the impeachment inquiry could very well backfire. Only time will tell. (Tick, tick…)
• Rough Waters
A boat carrying 50 people capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa yesterday, leaving at least 13 women dead and eight children missing. The vessel was mostly carrying migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, and initially left Libya before sailing the coast to reach Tunisia, where 15 more people boarded before the boat journeyed to Sicily. Italian authorities managed to rescue 22 survivors, and are still searching for more. The Guardian
• U.S.: Blacklisted
The U.S. Commerce Department has made a bold move, adding 28 Chinese companies (including prominent artificial intelligence businesses), government offices and security bureaus to a blacklist, for allegedly participating in human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region. China has been detaining hundreds of thousands of Muslim ethnic minorities, in what Beijing refers to as “voluntary de-radicalization camps” and “vocational training centres.” The decision to blacklist the various organizations comes just days before the U.S. and China are expected to meet for crucial trade talks. Tensions are running high, folks. 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).
• The Conservative Party is on a spending spree. Yesterday, Leader Andrew Scheer announced that his government would fund two of Premier Doug Ford’s Toronto-area subway projects.
• The NDP, on the other hand, has been focused on the student vote, announcing that if elected, the party would immediately remove all interest on student loans, and would start replacing loans with non-repayable grants.
• World: Great Escape
The Ecuadorian government made an unprecedented run for it, moving from Quito, the capital, to the coastal city of Guayaquil, amid raging demonstrations against recently imposed economic measures. President Lenín Moreno announced a number of strict policies last week as part of a plan to lower debt and prime the economy for growth, sparking public fury and protests. The move that enraged demonstrators the most was the end of a fuel subsidy that had been in place for 40 years, but had been costing the country $1.3 billion annually. New York Times
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’ve all got to get our act together.”
– U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, on how things are progressing (or not progressing) with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), after meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Though ratification has been moving slowly, Pascrell expects things to pick up after yesterday’s meeting, as Obrador finally promised union freedoms, higher wages and other labour rights — three issues that had been holding up the deal. Global News
• Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Two of our favourite media companies are breaking up. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (a.k.a. CBC) announced that it will no longer work with Netflix to produce television programs. The two teamed up for successful series like Anne With an E and Alias Grace, but have decided to part ways. Due to international streaming services’ ability to skirt Canadian taxes, CBC’s president and CEO, Catherine Tait, said these co-production deals are “feeding the growth of Netflix” or “feeding the growth of Amazon, rather than feeding our own domestic business and industry.” In the meantime, it’s unclear what will happen with future seasons of the duo’s shows. Financial Post
• Five Alive
Gamers, get excited (but not too excited, since it’s still a year away): Sony has officially revealed its next-generation console, creatively called PlayStation 5, and it’s set to launch just in time for the 2020 holiday season. The PS5 will feature several changes to the controller, including a new haptic feedback technology that will provide a “broader range of feedback” to players. Sony also announced “adaptive triggers,” which will allow players to actually feel increased tension when making certain moves (e.g., drawing back a bow or driving through rough terrain). The PS5 will also have a completely revamped user interface with more detailed social features. (Game on.) The Verge
• Milk Man
Finding a stranger in your home is horrifying no matter what, but this story might take the cake for the most intrusive, least stealth invasion. A poor homeowner in Pennsylvania was startled to hear someone casually belting out tunes in their house at 3am. The homeowner grabbed a weapon and marched downstairs to find a naked man sitting on the floor, chugging a carton of milk. (Gulp.) The intruder is now in police custody. (With clothes on, we hope.) ABC News
• Love Letters
There are few things better than a good, old-fashioned letter. Today is World Post Day, an international observation marking the onset of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which started in 1847 and marked the start of the global communications revolution.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Practicing safe sex is no joke. A new report by the Center for Disease Control found that three STDs (including gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis) have reached all-time highs in the U.S.
• GlaxoSmithKline has recalled its popular heartburn drug Zantac, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found “unacceptable” levels of NDMA, a cancer-causing “impurity.”
• Instagram is going dark, and has made the app compatible with system wide dark modes.
• Mike “Pinball” Clemons is replacing Jim Popp as the new general manager of the Toronto Argonauts.
• There’s a new superstar on the coaching panel of The Voice: Nick Jonas is taking the seat left vacant by Gwen Stefani for the show’s upcoming season.
• The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
You gotta see it to believe it.