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✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, May 21, 2019 and this changes everything (but exactly how is sort of over our heads).
BULLETIN: MAKING NICE
• The Background
While the U.S. hasn’t exactly been making friends lately (see Trump’s comments on Iran and America’s trade war with China), it did mend a very long fence over the weekend. On Friday, Ottawa announced that Canada and the U.S. had come to an agreement to lift the tariffs (which were imposed early last year) on steel and aluminum. According to reports, the Canadian government forced the U.S. to lift the tariffs after officials said they wouldn’t sign the new trade deal until it was done. The tariffs were officially lifted yesterday. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
Everyone was thrilled with the news, from the prime minister, who said it was “pure good news,” to Jean Simard, the spokesperson for the Aluminum Association of Canada, who said it was “a great victory for Canada” and that it was “everything [they’ve] always asked for.”
• What’s Next?
With the steel and aluminum tariffs lifted (along with Canadian tariffs on U.S. bourbon, playing cards and licorice), the U.S. and Canada are free to move forward with the new NAFTA. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters yesterday that the government would be going “full steam ahead” in order to ratify the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), which would maintain free trade between the three countries. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Canada at the end of the month to try to move things along.
• Prairie Fire
It looks like wildfire season is officially here. A mandatory evacuation order was issued yesterday for parts of northwestern Alberta as an out-of-control blaze threatened Mackenzie County. The order followed an evacuation alert (which means residents should prepare to leave the area), which was issued for the town of High Level and its surrounding areas. Derek Gagnon, the provincial information officer with Alberta Wildfire, said that officials believe the fire is about 60,000 hectares in size (but hard to tell exactly because of the amount of smoke). This fire is one of six that are currently burning out of control in the province. Global News
• Twists and Turns
More than two million Texas and Oklahoma residents found themselves smack dab in the middle of one heck of a storm system yesterday. Two “large and extremely dangerous” tornadoes touched down late last night (one in Greer County, Oklahoma, and another in Dickens County, Texas), while seven others touched down across the two states. Both Oklahoma and Texas were under tornado warnings for most of the night, with officials issuing a 5 out of 5 threat level and warning of potentially violent and “intense and long-track tornadoes.” In addition to the severe tornado warnings, more than 50 million people are in the path of other severe weather (which could hit today), including fierce winds, large hail and flash flooding. CNN
• U.S.: Financial Trouble
The Democrats got one step closer yesterday to seeing the president’s financial records. Judge Amit Mehta found that the House Oversight and Reform Committee (led by Dem. Elijah Cummings) has “valid reasons” for wanting to see Trump’s financial records and that accounting firm Mazars should comply with the committee’s subpoena. The decision comes just hours after news broke that the White House had ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy his own subpoena (issued on behalf of the House Judiciary Committee) to testify today. Trump’s lawyers will be back in court this week to try to block similar subpoenas that were sent to both Capital One and Deutsche Bank. The Hill
• World: Acting Out
Things are going to be a bit different around Ukraine. New president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy (in a case of art imitating life, he’s an actor who previously played the Ukrainian president on TV), fulfilled one of his main campaign promises as his first order of business. He took the pretty drastic move of disbanding the Supreme Rada, the country’s parliament. According to Zelenskiy, those guys are only in it for themselves and had to be turfed for the good of the nation. Zelenskiy beat out the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, and has promised to bring peace to the country (which is currently embroiled in conflict with Russian-backed forces on its east side). Time
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m very smart with my control freak — a smart control freak. I welcome other people’s expertise.”
– Rihanna shares the importance of delegating in how she manages to excel at building her Fenty brand without burning out, in an interview with T magazineon the launch of her upcoming high-end fashion label with LVMH.
• Off the Line
Ford Motor Company’s organizational structure ain’t so tough after all. The automaker announced yesterday that it’s cutting 7,000 white collar jobs from its global workforce, including 800 in North America. The mass layoff will eliminate about 10% of its salaried roles, and about 20% of those cut are expected to be senior-level managers. The job cuts (or as Ford so delicately calls them, “involuntary separations”) are expected to save the company about US $600 million a year. The move is just one step in a major restructuring announced a year ago by CEO Jim Hackett that aims to “reduce bureaucracy, empower managers, speed decision making, focus on the most valuable work, and cut costs” in order to put the company on course “to win in a fast-changing future.” BNN Bloomberg
• Heads Up!
It’s been so long since the world got an update on Google Glass, we were beginning to think the company had discontinued it. But alas, it’s back and — according to Google at least — better than ever. Priced at US $999, the new Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is being positioned for professional users (think surgeons and factory workers) rather than general consumers (so nope, you still can’t have a pair of your own). Among the new and/or improved features are a better camera, a USB-C port for faster charging and a faster processor with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip that gives the headset “computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities.” Also new are safety frames designed in partnership with Smith Optics, ideal for Google’s intended goal of “meet[ing] the demands of the growing market for wearables in the workplace.” The Verge
• Hockey: United They Stand…
…divided they fall — that’s the idea behind the new women’s hockey union, already boasting more than 200 members from Europe and North America. Its demands? A new, sustainable hockey league, with health insurance and financial support for training and development. News of the union comes on the heels of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s closure (effective May 1) reportedly because the league was economically unsustainable. Union members plan to stop playing in North America for one season — effectively boycotting the remaining women’s league in order to convince the hockey powers that be that changes are needed to better secure the future of the sport. (For the sake of all the future Hayley Wickenheisers out there, we hope they succeed.) CBC News
• Playoffs update 🇨🇦
↳ The Toronto Raptors lost game two (125–103 😬) and won game three (118–112 in double OT) of the Eastern Conference finals over the weekend. (The Milwaukee Bucks now lead 2–1.) Game four is tonight at 8:30pm ET.
• Lyrical Legacy
While it’s far from the real thing, it’ll do in a pinch. Pat Houston has announced a new deal with music management company Primary Wave to launch a hologram tour starring the late superstar Whitney Houston. As the executor to the estate (which was valued at a cool $14 mil by Primary Wave, by the way), Pat Houston (Whitney’s sister-in-law and former manager) reportedly also has other projects in development featuring the songstress’s works, including an album of previously unreleased singles and a musical. The intent behind these projects? Aside from financial considerations (always a factor), she hopes to restore Whitney’s reputation (which took a hit with reports of substance abuse and marital strife) as a musical powerhouse. Variety
• What’s In A Name?
Whoever’s in charge of product naming at Kraft Heinz is in some deep doo-doo. The food giant got a whole lotta internet buzz when it released its new hybrid condiment creations — but one is going viral for the wrong reason. While the portmanteau names for Mayocue (mayonnaise + barbecue sauce) and Mayomust (mayo + mustard) are thankfully innocent, the mayo-ketchup blend isn’t so clean. Apparently, “Mayochup” sounds a lot like a real word in certain Cree dialects — one that translates to “sh*t face.” The word “happens to match the very vulgar English idiom for extreme drunkenness” used by Cree-speakers in Moose Factory, Ont., says Arden Ogg, director of the Cree Literacy Network. For its part, Kraft Heinz owned up to having sh*t egg on its face, acknowledging the “unfortunate translation” with a statement saying, “The only thing we want our consumers, whichever dialect of Cree they speak, to have on their faces this summer is our newest condiment mash-up.” (At least Kranch is safe.) CTV News
• HBD, B.I.G.
Christopher George Latore Wallace — a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls a.k.a. just Biggie — was born on May 21, 1972. The iconic rapper was killed on March 9, 1997.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• At least three people were killed yesterday when the roof of a bar collapsedin China.
• In a bizarre race (that featured a riderless horse), War of Will managed to clinch the top spot at the Preakness Stakes.
• Cue the wedding bells: Scarlett Johansson and Saturday Night Live‘s Colin Jost are engaged.
• RIP, Grumpy Cat
We’re in mourning for the internet’s favourite permanently perturbed feline — and so are these guys.