✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, July 31, 2019, and this is what we call a true rock star.
BULLETIN: UNDER PRESSURE
• The Background
Canada’s rocky relationship with China is news to no one, but the recent conflict between the two countries has sparked controversy amongst Canada’s own political parties. In a special summer meeting, opposition Conservative and NDP members pointed fingers at the federal government, accusing them of attempting to muzzle two ex-ambassadors who have been outspoken about Canada’s diplomatic dispute with China. The opposition parties alleged the Liberals pressured the two former diplomats to align their public dialogue about China with the government’s own message. Members of the House committee on foreign affairs shut down the opposition parties’ request to launch a rare summer study into the claims. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
The bid to open the investigation failed after the Liberals, who hold the majority of seats, defeated the motion in a 5-4 vote. The Globe and Mailreported last week that former Canadian ambassador to China, David Mulroney, alleged that Trudeau asked him to consult with Global Affairs Canada before making public comments about China. Another former diplomat, Guy Saint-Jacques, claimed he got a similar call from the same official, relaying a message from the PM.
• What’s Next?
Prime Minister Trudeau denied the allegations, claiming that the government regularly engages with key stakeholders but would not apply pressure. Though the motion did not pass, Foreign Affairs Minister Chyrstia Freeland called Saint-Jacques herself to assure him that the government was not trying to censor his public commentary.
• School’s Out in Sudan
The Sudanese government has ordered all schools nationwide to suspend classes indefinitely amid mass student protests over the shooting of five people at a rally. Young demonstrators gathered in Khartoum, one day after four teenage protestors and one adult were killed. Students were demanding an independent investigation into the killings, which took place at a demonstration over bread and fuel shortages in the struggling nation. Protest leaders were meant to hold talks with Sudan’s ruling generals to discuss implementing civilian rule, after the two sides signed a power-sharing deal earlier this month, however, the meeting was cancelled after the killings. BBC News
• U.S.: Deepening Debate
Night one of the second round of the Democratic presidential debates is in the books. Ten 2020 presidential hopefuls sparred over health care, education, the economy and more. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren took centre stage, winning the night in terms of air time and defending their progressive ideologies while shaming the more moderate members of the Democratic Party (including John Delaney, who perpetually attacked his progressive counterparts). The night consisted of a battle between moderate and liberal Democrats, highlighting the stark division of viewpoints within the party itself. The crowd cheered for candidates who support ambitious endeavours, like the Green New Deal, as well as reparations for African American communities. Stay tuned for more details tomorrow, following the conclusion of round two. CNN
• U.S.: Trump’s Taxes
In other U.S. political drama, California signed a new law yesterday that prohibits President Trump from appearing on the state’s primary ballot unless he releases his tax returns from the last five years. The law requires that all presidential candidates release their tax returns in order to be eligible for placement on the state’s ballot for the primary. (It’s about time.) The new legislation is clearly targeted at the president, who has ongoing tensions with California over issues ranging from environmental regulation to immigration. Trump’s attorney threatened to challenge the law in court. New York Times
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’re going to continue to protect the privacy of Canadians.”
– Finance Minister Bill Morneau, a day after it was revealed that Capital One was hacked by a software engineer named Paige Thompson, in one of the biggest data breaches ever. Here’s what the six million impacted Canadians need to know. Global News
• Money Talks
Messaging app giant WhatsApp is reportedly launching its own payment system sometime this year. The company, owned by Facebook, has been testing its payments in India since last year, coinciding with Facebook’s recent unveiling of its global digital coin, Libra. WhatsApp Pay will make sending money to fellow WhatsApp users as simple as sending a message. CNET
• Sports Media Makeover
Two iconic superstars are pairing up to reshape the sports media landscape in Canada. The one and only LeBron James and Canada’s own Drake are joining forces to bring Uninterrupted, a digital platform for athletes, to us. The platform, which was founded in 2015 by James, is run by Scott Moore, former Sportsnet president, who says “it’s not a TV channel, it’s not a website, it’s not a Twitter feed. It’s a brand, it’s a content ecosystem that can appear anywhere.” Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka and Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (who was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday) will both have motivational series. CBC News
• No Good Deed
A 79-year-old Ohio woman received a 10-day jail sentence for feeding stray cats. An admitted cat-lover, Nancy Segula says she often feeds the stray cats her neighbour left behind after he moved. Ironically, the city she lives in is called Garfield Heights (if you think we’re kidding, we aren’t), where it’s illegal to give food to stray animals. This was not Segula’s first conviction, either. In 2015, she was sentenced to two years of probation after having too many animals and not disposing of their waste. (Talk about a crazy cat lady.) CNN
• Holy Guacamole
Today is National Avocado Day (because yes, of course the miracle food deserves its own special holiday). Here’s an easy, authentic guacamole recipe to help you celebrate.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• A military plane crashed into a major city in Pakistan early yesterday, killing 18 people.
• Two people are dead after a disgruntled Walmart employee fatally shot two coworkers in Mississippi.
• Data collected by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that more than 900 migrant children have been separated from their parents in the last year in the U.S.
• South African runner, Caster Semenya, has been blocked from competing at the World Championships in Doha, after a Swiss court reversed a ruling that temporarily lifted the IAAF’s testosterone regulations.
• The torch has been officially passed from Mariah Carey to Lil Nas X. The rapper’s “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, is now the longest-running No. 1 single ever on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
• The Big Reveal
This takes #nofilter to a whole new level.