✨ Good morning! Today is Monday, July 22, 2019, and if this isn’t proof that time’s flying by, we don’t know what is.
BULLETIN: ON THE BRINK
• The Background
It’s more than just the weather that’s running hot these days. Tensions with Iran are escalating after Iran illegally seized a British oil tanker on Friday. It’s believed that Iran seized the HMS Montrose in retaliation over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar early last week. At the time, Iran called the seizure an act of “piracy” and Iran’s foreign minister condemned the U.K. in a tweet for “being an accessory to [the] #EconomicTerrorism of the U.S.” Family members of the HMS Montrose crew haven’t heard from the crew members since the seizure. BBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
While Iran claims the Montrose was in violation of international laws at the time of seizure, according to the U.K. Chamber of Shipping, charts showing where the Montrose was positioned prove that it wasn’t doing anything wrong. While the British government claims it has things under control, ex-Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith has called the Montrose’s capture a “major failure” on the U.K.’s part. UK’s Chief of Finance Philip Hammond has said it’s unclear what more can be done, given that all possible sanctions against Iran are already in place. Other government officials have questioned why the government didn’t provide the tanker with more protection as relations with Iran become increasingly strenuous.
• What’s Next?
The crew has been removed from the vessel for questioning, and the tanker’s owner, Stena Bulk, has formally requested to visit the crew members. (You know sh*t’s hit the fan when welfare checks are in order.) The U.S., France, and Germany have thrown their support behind the U.K., and the U.S. is apparently in the process of deploying troops in Saudi Arabia to defend against the “emergent credible threats.”
• Perpetual Protests
Just when you thought the extradition bill protests were over in Hong Kong, they are back again — and with a vengeance. (ICYMI, here’s our summary on why the demonstrations are happening in the first place.) The public’s been protesting the extradition bill (which Hong Kong pronounced “dead” but did not formally withdraw), as well as other democracy-related issues. The clashes turned violent after demonstrators ignored a designated finish line, continuing to charge China’s central government office and throwing eggs at the building. Police responded by launching tear gas into the crowds, while subway riders were attacked by masked assailants targeting pro-democracy protestors. USA Today
• World: Russia Rallies
Roughly 25,000 people turned out in central Moscow over the weekend to protest the barring of opposition figures from the city council ballot. Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, seemed to be leading the rally, and called for another protest next Saturday if election officials continue to ban opposition candidates. Many well-known opposition figures were rejected from the fall election last week, after being disqualified because their details matched those of deceased citizens (or soon-to-be, if you catch our drift…😰). The barred candidates responded to these (ridiculous) claims by posting photos of themselves on social media to prove they are still alive and kicking. USA Today
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He was a true competitor, ready to do whatever it took to give his team the best chance to win.”
– Brandy Halladay, speaks at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on behalf of her late-husband (and former Toronto Blue Jay), pitcher Roy Halladay. TSN
• Boxing: Welterweight Win
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao made history over the weekend, while proving that age is just a number. In a duel with fellow boxer Keith Thurman, the 40-year-old took home the WBA welterweight title in a thrilling split-decision, becoming the oldest fighter in history to win the title. After teaching the younger Thurman a boxing lesson, Pacquiao says he plans to keep fighting. (Boxing fans are now hoping for a Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup.) CNN
• Marvel Movie Madness
Marvel just announced 10 dates to mark in the calendar. Phase Four is the next instalment of stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Disney+ (which launches next year) and includes 10 titles that are sure to excite comic book fans everywhere: Black Widow, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, WandaVision, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Loki, What If…?,Hawkeye, and Thor: Love and Thunder. President Kevin Feige also hinted at a new Blademovie with Mahershala Ali and confirmed Natalie Portman will star as the new Thor in the next film. The Verge
• Probe-Bono 👽
Florida residents can sleep easier tonight knowing that an insurance agency in Altamonte Springs now offers limited or comprehensive alien abduction insurance. (What a relief. 😅) Owned by Mike St. Lawrence, who claims to be in the “humor business,” the St. Lawrence Agency offers coverage for outpatient psychiatric care, sarcasm, and double identity for the low, low cost of $19.95. If policyholders feel like shelling out a bit more, $24.95 includes a framable certificate. In case an abduction does arise, claimants are required to obtain a signature from an “authorized, on-board alien” in order to file a claim. St. Lawrence is also preparing clients for the viral Area 51 raid with a unique policy that is “activated if you go in and don’t come out.” WBTW
• All Across America
On July 22, 1793, Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first human in recorded history to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello announced he will not run for re-election in November 2020, thanks to mass protests.
• Speaking of resigning, Gerald Butts (former senior advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) appears to be making a return to politics.
• British Airways cancelled all flights to Cairo, Egypt as a “security precaution,” but the airline did not specify exactly what that precaution is.
• Two brands of ice cream sandwiches have been recalled by a Canadian company, over concerns they could contain fine metal particles. Avoid: Iceberg or Originale Augustin brand Mega Sandwiches.
• The U.S. military says a Venezuela fighter jet made an “unsafe approach” to a U.S. Navy aircraft in international airspace on Friday. Venezuela’s military responded, denouncing the U.S. aircraft for violating “security of air operations and international treaties.”
• Trump (and Justin Bieber, for that matter) want A$AP Rocky out of jail in Sweden, ASAP.
• A Wild Ride
We should probably rethink buying toy cars for kids.