✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, August 7, 2019 and sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures.
BULLETIN: UNDER PRESSURE
• The Background
An astonishing one quarter of the world’s population is in dire need of water. New data published by the World Resources Institute (WRI) reveals the worrisome prospect that a large portion of the planet is experiencing water shortages sparked by overwhelming demand and lack of supply, plus the added toll of climate change. The data reveals that 17 countries are facing “extremely high” water stress, meaning the population is consuming up to 80% of the available water per year. New York Times
• What Else You Need to Know
The WRI established a ranking of the countries with the highest water stress based on 13 different indicators, including groundwater availability, water depletion, rainfall variability and water regulation. From India to Iran, Botswana to Mexico, more than a third of major urban areas with a population of over three million people are experiencing high or extremely high water stress. Qatar is the world’s most water-stressed country, followed by Israel, Lebanon, Iran and Jordan. (Now we’re stressed, too.)
• What’s Next?
The findings cited population growth, socioeconomic development and urbanization as the central contributing factors causing increased demands for water, while global warming has simultaneously made precipitation and droughts more variable. The WRI says countries can bolster water security with proper management, including increasing agricultural efficiency, investing in better infrastructure, wetlands and healthy watersheds.
• Let’s Talk Turkey
Thousands of activists in Turkey took part in a protest at a gold mine owned by Dogu Biga, the Turkish arm of Alamos Gold, a Canadian-based company. In a terrible look for the firm, it has apparently chopped down 4 times as many trees as it had indicated in their published reports. (Oof.) Environmentalists are also concerned that the mine will pollute the surrounding soil and water, and damage the delicate forest ecosystem nearby. Dogu Biga has promised to undertake a tree replanting program once their mining project wraps up. CBC News
• Canada: A Good Investment
Canada’s Federal government is investing upwards of $22 million to combat and prevent child pornography and online sexual abuse of young people. The new national strategy, which partners with police, the digital industry and international allies, aims at raising awareness, reducing the stigma around reporting abuse and enriching Canada’s ability to prosecute offenders. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also called on private companies to be more proactive in halting the spread of online child pornography by advancing technology to detect the illegal activity quickly and effectively. (Amen.) CBC News
• World: Sweeping Sanctions
In a tough move that until now had only been imposed on Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran (a motley crew), the Trump administration has frozen all Venezuelan government assets in the U.S. Currently in the midst of a severe economic crisis, Venezuela is experiencing rampant hyperinflation and a scarcity of basic necessities like food and medicine. The executive order also bans American companies and people from doing business with the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro’s regime, in hopes of pressuring him into stepping down. Reuters
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’re going to continue to protect the privacy of Canadians.”
–Beloved writer and Nobel laureate, Toni Morrison, who died yesterday at the age of 88. (RIP.) The Guardian
• An Apple a Pay
As if we needed more ways to spend money, Apple’s long-awaited credit card has officially launched, by invitation only. (What, you didn’t get one? A wider launch is planned for later this month.) Offered in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, the cashback credit card boasts no annual fees, late fees or fees for running over your limit and (of course) integrates seamlessly with the iPhone Wallet app. No word on whether there’s any plans to make the card Android compatible (but unlikely). CNET
• Sports World-Stage Skating
This might make you wish you didn’t give up skateboarding in your teens. The street sport (along with surfing and climbing) is slated to debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Medal hopefuls will test their mettle (get it?) in two separate competitions: park and street. Park skaters will perform gravity-defying tricks on ramps and bowls, while street skaters will show off their best tricks on stairs, curbs, and rails. Canada has seven men and four women gearing up for the big games. CTV News
• Simpson’s Suit
The longtime musical mind behind the cartoon-favourite, The Simpsons, is suing Fox and Disney over his dismissal, claiming he was wrongfully discriminated on the basis of his age and perceived disability. Alf Clausen, the 78-year-old composer in question, filed a lawsuit against the two entertainment giants nearly two years after he was fired from the show. Disney, which now owns The Simpsons (though Fox remains the central home of the show), claimed Clausen was replaced because the series was taking its music in a new direction. Rolling Stone
• Wedgie Weirdo
Among the many strange fetishes we’ve written about, this one is right up there (and we mean up there). A London man has confessed to paying upwards of £100 to be given wedgies in public to satisfy his admittedly bizarre obsession. The man, who says he particularly enjoys being given wedgies by women in crowded places, believes his fetish might have been spurred by the frequent wedgies he received in high school. The man says he receives a wedgie on a bi-weekly basis. (Needless to say, we’re cracking up…) Mirror
• Purple Pride
Today is National Purple Heart Day, an unofficial observation meant to encourage American citizens to pause and reflect on the many brave men and women who have been wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• The RCMP say they’ve found “several items” connected to the B.C. murder suspects, but still no sign of the fugitives themselves.
• Unsurprisingly, President Trump sued California over a law enforcing presidential candidates to reveal tax returns.
• Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, has resigned. Rumour has it, he’s planning to run for governor of Utah.
• Luxury clothing store, Barney’s, has officially filed for bankruptcy.
• Afton Williamson, co-star in The Rookie, has quit the show, alleging sexual assault and discrimination, which she experienced during the first season of the series.
• What Goes Down
Proof that Greek mythology might actually have had a point.