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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, May 31, 2019, and if you weren’t already counting down to July 18, you will be now.
BULLETIN: THE STREAK STOPS HERE
• The Background
Basketball fans from coast to coast got their first taste of a Canadian NBA championship last night, when our very own Toronto Raptors took on the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA Finals. Though things got off to a pretty even start, it didn’t take long for the Raptors to begin outscoring the defending NBA champs (who were also coming off a six-game winning streak). Toronto led by 10 at the end of the first half, even stretching their lead to 12 at one point, but the only score that really matters is the one at the final buzzer: the Raptors took home the W, beating the Warriors 118–109. CBC News
• What Else You Need to Know
While most assumed the stars of the game would be Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Stephen Curry, the real stars were Pascal Siakim (32 points) and Marc Gasol (20 points). Despite being double-teamed for most of the game, Leonard and Lowry still had a major impact (Leonard had 23 points), and the Raps defence stepped up to shut down Curry and his partner-in-shooting, Klay Thompson. At the post-game news conference, Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr gave the Raps the credit they deserve, saying they “outplayed” the Warriors and they “deserved to win.”
• What’s Next?
Hopefully, another win. Game two goes down in Toronto Sunday night at 8pm ET.
• Deep Trouble
Thousands of Midwestern homes along the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers are under threat as historic rainfall causes massive flooding in the area. One of the riverside levees, the Dardanelle Levee, has already breached, causing an emergency evacuation in Yell County this morning. A levee in Missouri was also breached, resulting in a mandatory evacuation of West Quincy residents. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, more than 300 roads are currently underwater. (This will be one heck of a construction job. 😬) Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has requested that President Trump declare a state of emergency for fifteen Arkansas counties, but it’s expected that the number will already have increased. 500 homes have already been directedly impacted. There is some minor hope, though: the Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans district announced they will operate the Morganza Floodway sooner than expected on June 9, which will divert floodwater from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya Basin…but that’s a long way off considering the rapidly rising water, and its operation will cause damage to surrounding properties. CNN
• Northern Fireball
Alberta is already feeling the heat of wildfire season, and now a critical evacuation alert has been ordered in remote Chipewyan Lake Village in northern Alberta (just 130 km west of Fort McMurray). The order went out at 3:40am yesterday morning, and a reception centre has been set up at Calling Lake Community Centre to assist the 38 people who live in Chipewyan Lake Village. (Yep, it’s a little on the small side.) Other evacuation orders were issued for Wabasca, the Bigstone Cree Nation, and Meander River as multiple fires continue to ravage the area. The Chuckegg Creek fire, meanwhile, is working on doubling its size from 150,000 hectares Wednesday morning now up to 230,000 Thursday afternoon, making the air quality health index in the Edmonton area a seven, or “high risk.” CBC News
• Canada: Cross Border Conversation
In a private chat between North American neighbours (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence), the two discussed a number of hot-button topics dominating both sides of the border. In the longer-than-anticipated sit-down, Pence pledged that the U.S. will stand in solidarity with Canada and called again on China to release the two detained Canadians being held there. The two politicians also touched on the issue of abortion — a topic that Pence (a staunch pro-lifer) conveniently sidestepped in light of his clashing opinions with the PM. Another agenda item: trade. Pence repeatedly underscored his government’s effort to get the new USMCA deal ratified. CTV News
• U.S.: Capital Override
Criminals in New Hampshire are resting a little easier now that lawmakers have repealed the death penalty (effective immediately). The news comes after Republican Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the bill to repeal the death penalty earlier this month — a veto that was then voted out by lawmakers with a two-thirds majority override. (Sununu’s feeling the burn. 🌞) While New Hampshire hasn’t executed any criminals since 1939, there is an inmate on death row, Michael Addison, who might be spared with the new law in place. (That decision will go to the courts.) The Hill
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Users rely on their confidence in reputable providers to […] verify that the participants in a conversation are the people they think they are, and only those people.”
– An open letter from 47 signatories, including Apple, Google and WhatsApp, condemning the GCHQ’s (Government Communications Headquarters) proposed “ghost protocol” plan, which would allow it to “eavesdrop” on end-to-end encrypted communications. CNBC
• Speedy Strike
The B.C. port lockout ended just a few hours after it began yesterday, following an all-night bargaining session between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the B.C. Maritime Employers Association. The union was concerned that a shift to automation would deplete jobs. (They’ve seen I, Robot; they know how this goes down.) However, the roughly 6,500 union members can chillax for the next 18 months as the two sides have come to a tentative agreement. It was originally estimated that the strike would hit the economy with $5 billion a day in losses as all port operations (except cruise ships and grain terminals) came to a standstill, heavily impacting imports. CTV News
• Game Changer
PC people, this one’s for you: Microsoft is heating up the competition and launching a brand-new version of its console game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, now specifically formulated for Windows computers. The program is packed with more than 100 games from at least 75 developers, with the goal of encouraging customers to buy games in more than one destination. “We designed a service specifically for the needs of PC gamers and PC game developers,” says Xbox chief, Phil Spencer. “It’s a new experience that we are building together with the PC community.” (Game on.) The Verge
• The Neverending Story
If you thought you’d seen the last of Harry Potter, we have good news: J. K. Rowling just announced that she’s not done with Hogwarts just yet. The four new non-fiction books — to be released on the Pottermore website next month — will be devoted to all things from the “wizarding world” and give fans the chance to “delve deeper into the rich history of magic.” Called Harry Potter: A Journey Through…, the series will feature “notes, manuscript pages and charming sketches as previously seen in Harry Potter: A History of Magic.” BBC News
• Content Collab
The Atlantic and Anonymous Content are teaming up to produce a number of unique, multi-platform projects including podcasts, feature films, documentaries and television series. Anonymous Content is known for producing movies and TV shows such as Spotlight and True Detective, while the Atlantic is known for groundbreaking journalism. The two media giants signed a first-look agreement, outlining how Anonymous Content will develop both scripted and unscripted pieces to accompanythe Atlantic’s past and present articles. The Atlantic’s president, Bob Cohen, explained the perfect partnership: “We’re cut from the same cloth in terms of our commitment to high-quality storytelling.” (We’re staying tuned-in.) Variety
• Good Deed Divorce
Alexa, play “thank u, next.” MacKenzie Bezos has promised to give at least half of her $37-billion fortune to charity after finalizing her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. Clearly, she’s handling the breakup like a boss. She joined the Giving Pledge, which was launched by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010 to encourage the world’s richest people to dedicate their wealth to charitable causes. MacKenzie Bezos has garnered support from friends (you know, casual people like Warren Buffett himself), family, and her ex-husband for her generosity and kindness. CNN
• Mountain Don’t
A suspected shoplifter at a North Carolina Walmart was arrested by police after she was caught in the trunk of a car, drenched in Mountain Dew. But apparently, she had a good reason for soaking herself in the green, sticky soda. The 34-year-old woman told authorities she poured the pop all over herself as a way to “stay cool” in the sweltering trunk. Now you might be wondering why she was in that hot trunk in the first place. Well, she thought it was an excellent hiding place after store employees suspected her of stealing $20 worth of goods. She was caught by police when they realized that no cars had left the lot, and the trunk was slightly ajar. Next question: was it seriously worth “dewing” all that for $20? 😆 Charlotte Observer
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Early yesterday morning, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck El Salvador, triggering a tsunami warning. Luckily, the tsunami never materialized and nobody was injured.
• For the first time in 40 years, Canadians’ life expectancy hasn’t increased, (no) thanks to the opioid epidemic.
• Could CBS and Viacom soon become one? The two media companies are apparently starting merger talks next month.
• Salesforce is taking a stand against semiautomatic guns. The software company said it will no longer work with online retailers who sell the weapons.
• Facebook is forgoing modern technology in favour of kites. It just filed a patent for a drone made with the vintage toy.
• Be A Quitter
This is one of the few instances in life where being a quitter is actually the goal. Today is World No Tobacco Day, a campaign by the World Health Organization, dedicated to increasing awareness about tobacco’s impact on lung health. It’s also a call to action to reduce tobacco consumption and production worldwide. (So butt out.)
• Accidental Appendage
Does anyone actually believe this wasn’t done on purpose?