We’re halfway there

The first batch of Democrats take to the stage for their first debate, Denmark has a new government and Mary J. Blige is set to take TV by storm.

We’re halfway there

The first batch of Democrats take to the stage for their first debate, Denmark has a new government and Mary J. Blige is set to take TV by storm.
From left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney pose for a photo on stage before the start of a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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Good morning! Today is Thursday, June 27, 2019, and this can’t be for real.


• The Background

Last night, 10 presidential hopefuls gathered in Miami to kick off the first of many political debates. With so many Democrats vying for the coveted nomination, the first of the party’s debates had to be split into two events: Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Julián Castro, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee and John Delaney participated in the first round. Hot topics included immigration, gun control, health care, LGBTQ rights, and the economy. (Is this 2015 or 2019?) CNN 

• What Else You Need to Know

A lot of the debate focused on a lot of the same: presidential candidates couldn’t agree on what to do at the southern border (specifically, Texas politicians O’Rourke and Castro, who had a rather heated exchange), gun control (Booker was the only candidate to demand every American get a license to buy and own a gun), and health care (Klobucher said Medicare for all wasn’t feasible or “wise”). There was also a lot of talk about the corporate tax cuts that have been passed since 2016, with most candidates taking aim at the billion-dollar companies that have benefitted (e.g., Amazon).

• What’s Next?

After all was said and done, early reports have Cory Booker leading as the most-searched candidate, while many viewers said both Booker and Warren were impressive. (A few said Castro caught their eye.) Tonight, Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet and Eric Swalwell will take the stage. You can catch all the action on NBC at 9pm ET.


• Lost At Sea

Following several warnings from Italian authorities to stay out of its territorial waters, a ship carrying 42 rescued migrants has reached the Italian island of Lampedusa. Deputy prime minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, says the migrants will not be allowed to disembark, saying, “they are not allowed to dock, I am ready to send the police.” The ship’s captain said she was willing to risk entering the port because the circumstances on board the Dutch-flagged ship were “more desperate than ever.” Rome is asking the Dutch government to take responsibility for the migrants, as the ship is registered in the Netherlands. The migrants had initially been rescued from an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya in mid-June. BBC News


• Canada: Where They Belong

In a bold move, the Canadian government has added two right-wing extremist groups to its national list of outlawed terrorist organizations. This will mark the first time a neo-Nazi extremist group has made it onto the list, an action that came after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service announced its stern stance against the far right. Blood & Honour (which has a Canadian branch with its own website) as well as the group’s armed branch, Combat 18, have both been added to the list, making it easier for authorities to watch out for dangerous activity and crack down on criminal sanctions. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network chair was very pleased with the move, saying, “I’m hoping this is just the beginning and that there will be more, but this is a really good first start for Canada.” (Amen.) Global News

• World: Leaning Left

Following Finland and Sweden, Denmark is now officially the third Nordic country this year to lean left. At 41, Social Democratic leader, Mette Frederiksen, has become the youngest-ever prime minister of Denmark after finalizing negotiations to form a new, leftist government. The election on June 5 demonstrated clear support among Danish voters for the political left, while right-wing nationalists lost over half their votes compared to the 2015 results. Frederiksen has vowed to increase welfare spending after years of reduced public expenditure. Euro News]


“Obviously, absolutely fine by me.”

The Duke of Cambridge’s response (a.k.a. Prince William), when asked how he would feel if one of his own children came out as gay. The prince was visiting the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity serving homeless LGBTQ youth. (A true prince in our minds.) BuzzFeed News


• Not (Way)Fair

Home goods giant, Wayfair, is feeling the heat from within. More than 500 Wayfair employees walked off the job yesterday (and were joined by hundreds more local Boston supporters) to protest the company’s sale of $200K worth of bedroom furniture to a detention camp for migrant children along the Mexican border. Roughly 1,600 mattresses and 100 bunk beds were sent to the detention facility after the company sold them to a charity group that manages some of the camps. Wayfair employees have been posting to a Twitter account @Wayfairwalkout, where they’ve shared their stance with management, as well as the company’s response. Wayfair fired back, saying filling an order does not “indicate support for the opinions or actions of the groups or individuals who purchase from us.” Employees requested that Wayfair donate all $86,000 in profits to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. CNBC


• Speak Now

Amazon is expanding its family of smart speakers with its latest creation: the Echo Show 5 ($99). Essentially, it’s the little sibling of the original model, the Echo Show. The new 5.5-inch smart display — which has been available in the U.S. since the end of May — includes most of the same features as the Echo Show (weather forecasts, traffic reports, to-do lists, video-calling, messaging, etc.). But there are a few new features: Amazon added a new voice command functionality that allows users to delete their conversation history with Alexa, along with a physical shutter to cover the camera and a switch that digitally disconnects both the camera and the microphone. (Bet that’ll help you sleep at night.) Mobile Syrup


• Hockey: Hanging Up His Skates

After 19 seasons in the NHL, longtime goaltender Roberto Luongo is ready to retire. In a hilarious tweet, the hockey star posted a photo of his equipment hanging from a cable wire, with the caption, “I’ve decided to take my talents to a South Beach retirement home ✌️.” In a heartfelt letter to fans, the 40-year-old wrote, “I love the game so much, but the commitment I required to prepare, to keep my body ready, has become overwhelming.” Luongo included a special shoutout to Vancouver, where he spent eight seasons playing with the Canucks. Sportsnet

• Oops

Yesterday, we mistakenly said Hayley Wickenheiser is 23 years old. While Hayley would likely be flattered by our error, it’s our duty to correct it: she’s actually 40 years old, and has had an illustrious 23-year career. Thanks to all the readers that pointed out our error!


• From Tunes to TV

Rapper and R&B icon, Mary J. Blige, is switching gears from making music to making TV shows. The 48-year-old just signed an exclusive first-look TV deal with Lionsgate, an American entertainment company. Blige will produce and develop television series for the studio with her newly launched production company Blue Butterfly. Not only does Blige produce movies and shows — she also acts in them, too. Recent credits include Mudbound, which scored her two Oscar nominations (for acting and music) and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy (which, fun fact, is filmed in Montreal). Blige says she “can’t wait” to bring all of their projects to life. Variety


• Read

If you’re anything like the rest of the country, you’re not quite done celebrating the Toronto Raptors. Pick up one of the collectible Sports Illustrated editions (featuring a variety of Raps on the covers) or Kings of the North: The Toronto Raptors, a retrospective on this history-making season.

• Watch

Support our TV and film industry (which is booming, BTW) by streaming some of the best Canadian TV shows ever made this weekend. (Our personal favourite is Workin’ Moms — hilarious whether you’re a parent or not.) 

• Listen

‘Tis the time to celebrate this great country of ours — and there’s no better way than by pumping a Canadian-artist-packed playlist around this weekend’s bonfires.


• Watered Down

If your neighbours are up to no good, there are a few measures you can take to deter their bad behaviour. You may call the cops, create a neighbourhood watch (though yours won’t likely be as cool as this one) or install some security cameras. One thing you probably wouldn’t do? Enlist your local church. But alas, that’s what’s happening in Buenaventura, Colombia, where a Catholic Bishop has borrowed a navy helicopter in order to spray holy water down on his city. According to Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya (no relation), on July 14 (which is also the feast day for Buenaventura’s patron saint), he’s going to use the water to get rid of “the devil” and the “wickedness” that the police have been unable to control. (Sidenote: the police have been actually quite good at controlling it. Since 2006, the murder rate has dropped more than 800%.) Newsweek 


• Be Aware

Today is National PTSD Awareness Day, an observance dedicated to educating the public about post-traumatic stress disorder. Though today is the official PTSD Awareness Day, the month of June has been dedicated to the cause. 


•  Grab your TV snacks, Robert Mueller is officially set to publicly testify before Congress on July 17, after Democrats issued a subpoena for him to appear.

• After months of drama, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman reached a settlement with the Canadian government and announced his retirement.

• If things on Instagram look a little different today, here’s why: the company just added ads to its Explore page. 

• Good news for Raptors fans: while we wait to find out Kawhi’s decision, Marc Gasol has made his. He’s staying

• Beth Chapman, Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife, died yesterday at 51 years old, losing her battle with throat cancer.

• Exciting news for country fans (and left-leaning voters): the Dixie Chicks just announced their first album in 13 years.


• Political parody

These are painfully accurate (and hilarious).

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