You'll never guess who's taking on Airbnb now

An ISIS leader makes his return, the TV gets turned upside down and the world loses a history-making Hollywood director.

You'll never guess who's taking on Airbnb now

An ISIS leader makes his return, the TV gets turned upside down and the world loses a history-making Hollywood director.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Tuesday, April 30, 2019, and we want to be Halima Adenwhen we grow up.


• The Background

There are a lot of people most of us would be happy to never see again (our ex, a bad teacher, a high school mean girl, to name a few), but we’d take any of those over this: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (a truly terrible ISIS leader) has resurfaced after being out of sight for more than five years. The terrorist organization released an 18-minute propaganda video yesterday acknowledging that it had lost its “stronghold in Syria” but promised that this wasn’t the end, and that there would be a “long battle” ahead. Al-Baghdadi also praised those responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka (more on that below), the “courage, steadfastness and resilience of the nation of Islam,” and took aim at the West and its “barbarism and brutality.” (We’re thinking pot, kettle…) Global News

• What Else You Need to Know

Rumours swirled over the last few years that al-Baghdadi had been hurt or killed, but unfortunately, it seems we’re not that lucky. Dressed in a black robe with a beige vest and sporting a bushy grey and red beard, the 47-year-old leader looks very much alive and well. Despite his change in appearance, his message is very much the same: that the “brothers” of the many fallen fighters “will avenge that, as they will not forget as long as they have blood in their veins, and there will be a battle after this one.” 

• What’s Next?

Though many of al-Baghdadi’s aides have been killed, he’s managed to evade death and capture. He’s currently the most wanted man in the world with a US $25 million bounty on his head.


• Safety First

In the wake of the tragic Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, and given the threats of another imminent attack, the Sri Lankan government has temporarily banned women from wearing face veils. The head of the ministerial security division announced that “there could be another wave of attacks,” and that these attacks may involve Islamic extremists in military uniforms. Certain human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, have condemned the ban as they claim it violates Islamic law. This ban is not only causing a rift between different religious and human rights groups but political groups as well. According to reports, “many Sri Lankans believe a deep rift between President Maithripala Sirisena and [Prime Minister] Wickremesinghe has undermined national security.” CBC News


• Canada: Safe Passage

Despite a rather rough year for Canadian steel and aluminum, the federal government has decided not to renew the 25% tariffs it had placed on concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel and wire rod ends. The decision comes after the Canadian International Trade Tribunal found that only imported steel plate and stainless wire warranted that type of safeguard. Though the government feels comfortable with its decision, United Steelworkers does not. In a statement, the director of the union said the decision was already having a negative effect on the sector and that “thousands of jobs are now at risk.” However, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said this isn’t the end of the road for the government’s protection of the steel industry. The feds are starting a month-long consultation period to figure out what other safeguards are needed and can be put in place. BNN Bloomberg

U.S.: Gun Money

Democrats have been trying to make gun reform a reality in the U.S. for decades, and now they want the government to shell out $50 million to make it happen. The House Labor-HHS-Education fiscal 2020 funding bill was unveiled yesterday, and it includes a $50 investment split evenly between the CDC and the NIH, so the two groups can research how to prevent firearm injury and death. (Um, maybe stricter gun laws, perhaps? Just a thought.) There’s a good chance the bill won’t make it very far (Republicans are already talking about that shutting that sh*t down), but with a Democratic majority in the House, it has a fighting chance. Politico


“Donald Trump is the only president who has decided not to represent the entire country.”

–  Joe Biden goes after the current POTUS (rather than his rival Democratic candidates) in his campaign kickoff speech in Pittsburgh. Politico


• Off the Beaten Path

You say you want a revolution? Well, you got it — Hotel giant Marriott is getting in on the gig-economy craze with the launch of a home-sharing business set to compete with hospitality industry disruptor Airbnb (which happens to be on the cusp of a rumoured US $31 billion IPO). But as the world’s largest hotel company, Marriott is doing things its own way; CEO Arne Sorenson is quick to point out that many home-sharing customers are looking for the cheapest stay, but that’s not what Marriott will offer. In a pilot launched to test the program in Europe last year, Marriott sought to offer a “better product” and let visitors both earn and redeem loyalty points as they would when staying at a Marriott hotel. In May, it’s bringing the pilot stateside, adding 2,000 home rentals in U.S. vacation destinations like Lake Tahoe and Maine. Bloomberg


• A New Spin

On the topic of digital revolutions, here’s another, more literal one: Samsung has just unveiled its newest TV which flips the traditional format on its head side. That’s right: It’s trying to make vertical TVs happen. (What a time to be alive.) The Sero, as it’s calling the new model, has a 43-inch, quantum-dot QLED display that swivels to allow the viewer to physically rotate it 90° when watching a video that was shot in portrait mode, rather than yelling frustrated profanities at the inconsiderate cameraperson through the screen (oh, is that just us?). Unsurprisingly, the company is marketing the set to millennials, while also pricing it at an obscene US $16,000, far out of the reach of nearly all millennial consumers. It’s due for release in South Korea next month; no plans for a North American launch have been announced. TechCrunch


• Hockey: Taking on the World

We finally know who’s going to represent Canada at this year’s World Hockey Championship — and let’s just say, our chances of taking home the gold are lookin’ pretty damn good. Toronto Maple Leafs centre John Tavares, Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot and Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone are three of the stars leading the pack, along with Philadelphia centre Sean Couturier, Vegas defenceman Shea Theodore and Edmonton rearguard Darnell Nurse. Tending the net is two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Murray (out of Pittsburgh), supported by Philadelphia’s star rookie Carter Hart and New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood. You can see the whole 22-man roster here.

• Playoffs update 🇨🇦

↳ The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors in game two of their second-round series, 94–89. (The series is now tied 1–1.) Game three is Thursday night at 8pm.


• Singled Out

Hollywood director John Singleton has passed away at the age of 51. Known for his Oscar-nominated film Boyz n the Hood, Singleton became the youngest (he was just 24!) and the first black filmmaker to receive an Oscar nomination for best director and best original screenplay. He continued making movies about inner-city life and coming of age, including Poetic Justice and Baby Boy. He was also behind AbductionShaft2 Fast 2 FuriousRosewood and Four Brothers. Singleton passed away after being taken off life support — he’d suffered a stroke earlier this month. NBC News


• Packing Light

We were 100% here for the return of the fanny pack when it got rebranded as the “belt bag,” but we’re not sure we can get behind the nostalgia-inducing pouch’s newest iteration. Crocs (who else?) has collaborated with Japanese clothing line Beams to create a pair of the “classic” plastic clogs with mini zippered pockets attached to the heel straps. The pouches are reportedly “large enough to store essentials like keys, cash or other items,” although we can say with complete confidence we have never once wished we could store our keys in our gardening shoes. The shoes are available in the U.S. in either Ultraviolet or Tropical Teal for US $53, but we have no idea if they’re also being sold in Canada because frankly, we can’t bring ourselves to Google it. Footwear News


• What’s Up, Doc?

Bugs Bunny made his world debut on April 3, 1938, in the short animated film Porky’s Hare Hunt. (Does that sounds as dirty to you as it does to us?) The insouciant rabbit has since appeared in more films than any other cartoon character.


• Japan’s Emperor Akihito announced Tuesday that he will abdicate to make way for his son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

• The Justice Department just revealed that police have charged a 26-year-old army veteran with plotting terrorist attacks in the L.A. area. 

• Speaking of the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has officially (finally) resigned. His last day is May 11. 

• After a soft Roll Up the Rim season, Tim Hortons has said it’s planning to revamp the whole program

• The CFO of healthy fast-food chain Freshii has resigned after helping the company through its IPO in 2017. 

• Good news for the Canadian car industry: Toyota’s building the brand new Lexus luxury SUV at its Ontario manufacturing plants. 

• Because we don’t need another Fyre Festival, Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary festival has officially been cancelled (despite what organizers have said). 


• Make Love, Not Discrimination

To (loosely) quote a member of the Beatles for the second time this newsletter, change is here if you want it.

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