✨ Good morning! It’s Tuesday, July 9, 2019, and today, it’s Vladdy Guerrero Jr.’s world — and we’re just living in it.
• The Background
After weeks of unrest and massive protests, the Hong Kong extradition bill is officially dead. Earlier today, Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a press conference to share the news, saying that there were no plans to “restart the legislation” and admitting that the entire thing was a “total failure.” The decision comes just 24 hours after another huge demonstration, with somewhere between 56,000 and 200,000 protestors (organizers and police had a slight difference in opinion) took to the streets in Kowloon to share their dismay with the proposed legislation. CNBC
• What Else You Need to Know
Well, you can read the whole history here — but if you’d rather not, here’s the Coles Notes version: Lam introduced a bill that would allow extradition requests to come from mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects in Hong Kong accused of crimes such as rape and murder. Hong Kong residents saw this as another attempt by China to bypass their unique political and legal freedoms. The bill incited massive protests, which culminated in demonstrators storming and vandalizing the legislative building in Hong Kong,
• What’s Next?
The bill’s withdrawal was only one of the protestors’ demands. They’ve also called for Lam to step down, an investigation into police brutality, the release of arrested protesters, and a public retraction of the characterization of the protests as “riots.”
• Busting the Bad Guy
Jeffrey Epstein, an American billionaire businessman, was arrested on Saturday for allegedly operating a sex trafficking ring and paying girls (some as young as 14 years old) for sex. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking of minors, as well as one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. In an indictment released yesterday, prosecutors listed the charges (which, BTW, carry a 45-year maximum sentence if Epstein is convicted). According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Epstein created a “vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit, often on a daily basis,” paying victims hundreds of dollars in cash to participate. Investigators also found nude photos of underage girls in Epstein’s Upper East Side home. The bail hearing is set for July 15. New York Times
• Canada: Case Closed
Women who experienced sexual harassment or gender discrimination while working or volunteering with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) could be eligible for compensation, after the force agreed to a cash settlement in a major class action lawsuit. The amount each claimant will receive depends on the severity of the case, but those impacted will receive between $10,000 and $220,000. A lawyer on behalf of the plaintiffs contends as many as 1,500 women may be eligible, for a total value of approximately $100 million. RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki apologized on behalf of the force, stating “harassment and discrimination do not have a place in our organization.” This marks the second time a major class action lawsuit was filed against the RCMP on the basis of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Just three years ago, a sexual discrimination case with female officers was also settled for $100 million. CTV News
• U.S.: Revolving Door
There’s officially one less Democrat running for president (for now). After struggling to connect with voters and raise the funds necessary to have a real shot at winning the White House, Eric Swalwell announced yesterday that he was throwing in the towel. The 38-year-old made the announcement from his campaign headquarters in Dublin, and shared that instead of vying for the Oval Office, he’ll be seeking a fifth term in Congress, representing the East Bay 15th district. Swalwell may be out, but rumour has it another Californian is getting ready to enter the race: billionaire activist Tom Steyer is expected to announce his candidacy later today. Politico
“People’s personal data is just that — personal.”
– U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, announcing that British Airways has been fined a whopping $230 million after a 2018 website failure compromised the personal details of roughly 500,000 customers. CNN
• Hot Pot
A Canadian pot company is in hot water with Health Canada. CannTrust Holdings Inc., a licensed producer, was caught with its tail between its legs when the federal agency discovered “illegal growing operations” at one of the company’s greenhouses in Pelham, Ont., and seized “thousands of kilograms” of inventory. According to reports, the illegal activity happened in five of the facility’s rooms between October 2018 and March 2019, while it was waiting for the room’s licenses to be approved. (The approvals came through in April 2019.) The announcement caused shares to plummet more than 20%. One CannTrust employee has since been fired. CTV News
• Bye, Bullies
In a world where so much social interaction takes place online, cyber bullies have had full reign to torment innocent victims without punishment. But Instagram is taking a step in the right direction to combat bullying on its app by introducing two new tools. The first will incorporate AI to warn users if a comment they’re about to post is possibly offensive or inappropriate. The hope is that this will teach users to think before they post.The second will allow users to restrict certain followers, making their comments invisible to the public. These new features come amid Instagram’s latest effort to experiment with hiding “like” counts, in an effort to celebrate everyone on Instagram, regardless of their social media popularity. Engadget
• Basketball: Slam Dunk
Toronto could soon be launching its very own Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team, just in time for the spring 2020 season. The WNBATO Bid Leadership Committee announced it will submit the necessary paperwork to the league by the end of this summer, which would give the franchise enough time to properly implement the new team by the 2020 season. All 12 WNBA teams are currently in the United States, so the decision to add a Canadian team to the league would be historic. Seeing as tickets for NBA and NHL games have surpassed what most Canadians can afford, WNBATO is vowing to keep season and single game tickets very reasonably priced. The Toronto Raptors undoubtedly invigorated the basketball culture in Canada, so it seems like the perfect time to add another team to the scene. Yahoo! Sports
• Screen This
Get your popcorn popping, people. A new comedy series written by Tracy Oliver (the brilliant brain behind Wine Country) and produced by SNL alum Amy Poehler has been picked up by Amazon. The 10-episode, single-camera series will follow the lives of four black female friends (who met at NYU) as they navigate their way through the rocky waters of adult life. “This series is a dream project for me,” says Oliver. “I found the perfect partners in Amy Poehler, Amazon Studios, and Universal, who have championed this project from the beginning.” No word yet on who will star or when we can expect this (undoubtedly very funny) series to hit the small screen. Variety
• Deep in the Weeds
If you get queasy, you may want to skip this next one. Dogs in Denver have found a new (and disgusting) way to get stoned, and it’s far more eccentric than breaking into a bag of edibles. After Denver vets noticed an upsurge in the number of dogs with marijuana toxicity, they came up with a probable theory to explain the sudden rise in furry fans of Mary Jane: dogs are eating human feces tainted with marijuana. The Denver vet at the forefront of this theory says he’s seeing between three and 10 dogs each week with marijuana toxicity, and 70% to 80% of those dogs got sick while on campgrounds. It’s now believed that the dogs are finding piles of pot-laced poop in the woods and, well, chowing down. Denver Post
• We The North
Today is Nunavut Day, a public holiday dedicated to celebrating Canada’s newest, largest and most northern territory.
• Quebec has seen an astounding 20% increase from last year in the number of drowning cases.
• Raging wildfires in northeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario have forced hundreds of First Nations communities to flee.
• Fifteen-year-old tennis star Coco Gauff’s remarkable Wimbledon journey came to an end after she was defeated by former world No. 1, Simona Halep.
• Nelson Mandela’s family is joining forces with Michael Sugar’s Sugar 23 and an ad agency to launch Mandela Media, which will produce both long-form and short-form content.
• Get a taste of Renee Zellweger’s performance as the iconic Judy Garland, in the newly released trailer for Judy.
• Mr. Dressup
Some realtors have no shame.