✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, August 27, 2019, and now’s the time to push for that elusive work-from-home policy.
BULLETIN: THE BLAME GAME
• The Background
Johnson & Johnson is in some deep trouble. In a landmark ruling that could have far-reaching ramifications, an Oklahoma judge ruled against the corporate giant, ordering it to pay the state $572 million for the destruction brought on by prescription pain killers. Johnson & Johnson is responsible for supplying 60% of the ingredients that drug companies use for opioids, and it is also known to aggressively market and “push” opioids to doctors and patients as a safe and effective drug. The healthcare giant, as well as its subsidiaries, is accused of being the root cause behind the opioid crisis, which has led to the suffering of millions of people. New York Times
• What Else You Need to Know
Johnson & Johnson, which has (or had) built a strong reputation as a family-friendly company, also raised red flags in December, when its talc-based baby powder was linked to cancer. Oklahoma has suffered tremendously from the opioid crisis — since 2000, roughly 6,000 Oklahomans have died from overdoses, and thousands more continue to struggle with severe addiction. Oklahoma is the first U.S. state to take an opioid maker to court and make it to trial.
• What’s Next?
The landmark ruling could signal a big warning for the two dozen opioid makers, distributors and retailers out there, nearly all of which face more than 2,000 similar lawsuits around the U.S. Johnson & Johnson says it plans to appeal the ruling.
• Ecuadorian Exodus
Ahead of new visa restrictions from the Ecuadorian government, more than 85,000 Venezuelan migrants have crossed into Quito, the country’s capital. Ecuador is tightening its immigration policies, now requiring a visa for Venezuelan citizens to live in the country. The new rule, which will take effect in October, will likely spur an increase in migrants entering through unauthorized areas, which could boost crime and put people at risk. The uptick in migrants entering Ecuador from Colombia (where many Venezuelans have fled to) reached a 30% increase over the weekend, compared with regular traffic. Reuters
• Canada: Big Shot
Arguably the most productive portion of this year’s G7 Summit was the agreement to form a deal to help save the Amazon rainforest, which will provide logistical and financial support to help fight the fires. Not to be outdone by Leonardo DiCaprio, the G7 nations agreed to contribute a total of $26.5 million to relief efforts. But, that wasn’t quite enough for Canada. Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered up an extra $15 million on top of the G7 deal to provide water bombers and additional aid. CBC News
• U.S.: Never a Dull Moment
As per usual, people are making moves in American politics. For starters, vice chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Matthew Petersen, has resigned, and his departure will leave the FEC with only three of six commissioners. In other resignations, Rep. Sean Duffy is leaving Congress at the end of the month to care for his family, the latest in a series of Republicans opting to call it quits. In other news, the State Department announced Peter Berkowitz will serve as its new head of policy planning, while Sarah Huckabee Sanders launched a new website, making it even more likely that she’ll enter the 2022 race for governor of Arkansas. Politico
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Iran is not the same country it was two and a half years ago when I came into office.”
– President Donald Trump seems to do a complete 180, saying he’s open to sitting down with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “under the right circumstances.” BBC News
• Computer Competition
Watch out, Windows — Google means business. Dell and Google are teaming up to launch new Chromebook Enterprise laptops, giving Microsoft (which has dominated the enterprise computing industry for years) a run for its money. The launch will include a pair of popular business-focused Latitude laptops, offering a classic clam-shell design and a two-in-one option. (And good news! They’re available to order starting today.) Google is teaming up with several other original equipment manufacturers, hoping to better target business customers. The Verge
• Let the Music Play
The stars were shining brightly last night in New Jersey, as some big names celebrated the MTV Video Music Awards. Hosted by comedian and author Sebastian Maniscalco, the awards played second fiddle to the performances. Taylor Swift overcame some sound issues to belt out “You Need to Calm Down” and “Lover”; Shawn Mendes made Canada proud, taking the stage twice (once to perform “If I Can’t Have You” and then again with real-life amour Camila Cabello for “Señorita”); Lizzo brought down the house with her medley; Missy Elliott took everyone on a trip down memory lanebefore accepting the Video Vanguard Award; Miley Cyrus maybe shaded soon-to-be ex-husband Liam Hemsworth during her performance of “Slide Away”; and New Jersey hip hop stars (think Queen Latifah, Redman, Wyclef Jean and more) linked up to bring down the house. CNN
• Towel Off
Things got rowdy at a New Jersey water park, when more than three dozen people engaged in a massive brawl. The fight wasn’t over a person, a car, a home, or a political issue; it was over a measly beach towel. The fight started when two women disagreed over who took whose beach towel, and ended when one 35-year-old man tried to break up the fight and got serious injuries as a result. (So much for soaking up some fun in the sun.) KRON4
• Sugar & Spice
Starbucks has declared today the official start of fall, and while we’re not thrilled about ending summer early, we are pretty excited about these brand-new pumpkin-themed drinks.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Despite reports to the contrary Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the Liberals have not changed their carbon tax plans.
• A beach in Barcelona was evacuated yesterday after an unexploded bomb was spotted in the water.
• Ottawa’s lending a hand to help with Toronto’s growing pains, pledging $1 billion to help improve the city’s transit system.
• Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty yesterday to new rape charges filed by actress Annabella Sciorra.
• Viola Davis just landed the role of a lifetime. The actress will portray former first lady, Michelle Obama, in an upcoming Showtime series.
• Big news for Saturday Night Live fans: Eddie Murphy is set to host the show for the first time in 35 years. (Mark your calendars for Dec. 21!)
• Car Trouble
Proof that karma is very, very real.