5 Things You Need to Know About What Went Down This Week - August 11

We know you’re busy out there crushing it so here’s a bite sized scoop on what’s happening in the world. Powered by Pressed News, here is your round up of what you need to know about this past week—from confirmation on Justin Trudeau violating the Conflict of Interest Act to Rome Italy accepting bottles for metro fair.




Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has completed his report on the SNC-Lavalin scandal and concluded that, yes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act.
It’s been a while. Remind me.
Here’s what you need to know: SNC-Lavalin is a massive, Montreal-based engineering firm that brings in a lot of money to Quebec and employs a lot of people. But some of its business dealings are nothing to be proud of. The company has been charged with attempted bribery and fraud and could be banned from bidding on government contracts for 10 years.

Go on.

Earlier this year, The Globe and Mail reported that the PM may have pressured then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to keep SNC from criminal prosecution. She refused. Things escalated. She was shuffled into another job, resigned from cabinet, and is now seeking re-election.

What did Trudeau have to say?

The PM maintains Wilson-Raybould was never “directed” to intervene, and says he accepts responsibility for how things went down (admittedly not well) but “can't apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs."

What are the main findings of the report?

Dion said three key actions by Trudeau helped him come to his conclusion. 1) In September 2018, in a meeting with Wilson-Raybould about the SNC case, Trudeau stressed his status as an MP from Quebec (SNC is based in Quebec), 2) a month later, after SNC filed an application to be re-considered for a special plea deal, the PM’s Office kept discussing the case and even asked Wilson-Raybould to speed up the process for that application. A big no-no. And 3) a secretly recorded phone call between former Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick and Wilson-Raybould revealed that Wilson-Raybould was definitely pressured to intervene in the SNC case. Here’s what opponents Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh had to say. 


Protesters took over Hong Kong’s international airport for a second day. This time, flights were cancelled by 4:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday. It was not a friendly scene: protesters staged a massive sit-in, travellers were p.o.’d, and at one point, a police officer drew a gun at close range at demonstrators. But the violence wasn’t one-sided. A reporter, who protesters thought was an officer, was tied up and beaten by protesters. Ambulance had to force their way into the crowd and wheel the man out on a stretcher.

How did things get this bad?

Protests started in June after a proposed bill threatened to send suspected criminals in Hong Kong to be put on trial in China. The bill has since been suspended, but protests have continued and are now a fight for autonomy and democracy. Under Hong Kong and China’s two-systems, one-country policy, Hong Kong is supposed to be able to operate under its own political, social, and legal system. But protesters argue China has been too controlling. They want the bill completely withdrawn, and they want Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign. She said she's staying.

How will this all end?

Probably not well. Chinese state media published a video of the military making its way to Hong Kong, and officials have started calling protesters terrorists, which some think is a way for China to use more force. The international community, including Canada, has condemned the violence but has mostly called for a peaceful resolution. China likely won’t even think about compromising until the chaos stops. Who will budge first? 


Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday morning from an apparent suicide.

Epstein. Sounds familiar.

Last month, the 66-year-old was charged in New York for sex-trafficking girls as young as 14 between 2002 and 2005. He pleaded not guilty and was waiting for trial after being denied bail. He was facing 45 years behind bars. The news of Epstein’s death was not surprising to everyone. He was put on suicide watch just two weeks ago after trying to commit suicide in his jail cell.

So, how did this happen?

He was taken off suicide watch six days later. The New York millionaire was supposed to have a cellmate and was supposed to be monitored every 30 minutes, but that didn’t happen. A tired guard – on his fifth day of mandatory overtime – was the only one around at the time of Epstein’s death. Two investigations have been launched to figure out how Epstein was able to kill himself in jail.

Is the case closed?

Not exactly. A day before Epstein was found in his cell, thousands of documents from a previous trial were released with testimony about what happened inside the millionaire’s Florida mansion. Court documents like a memoir written by one of the victims, photographs, and receipts showed that underage girls were hanging around Epstein’s mansion all the time and that Epstein’s butler was ordered to pay them in jewellery and iPods.

I’m afraid to ask. What else?

Epstein is connected to high-profile people like President Trump, former president Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, and Leslie Wexner, the billionaire behind Victoria’s Secret. His death has also sparked several conspiracy theories. One claims Epstein was killed to prevent him from talking and incriminating others – his testimony would have pulled back the curtain and implicated some powerful people. Prosecutors have promised to continue the investigation. 


Canadian breakout star Bianca Andreescu is a Rogers Cup champ. This is the first time a Canadian has won the Women’s Singles title in 50 years! But Andreescu didn’t quite win it the traditional way. In a dream finals matchup against superstar Serena Williams, Andreescu only had to play 19 minutes and 15 seconds of tennis before Williams bowed out with a back injury. Still, the 19-year-old has come a long way. Last year, she was ranked 208th in the world. This week, after beating three top-10 players to get to the Rogers Cup finals, she’ll be ranked 14th, the highest-ranked teenager in the world. Let that sink in. On the men’s side, No. 2 in the world Rafael Nadal easily beat Daniil Medvedev to win his 5th Rogers Cup.


Rome, Italy has come up with a nifty idea to get people to recycle pesky plastic bottles – just trade them in for transit credits! Citizens can now get €0.05 off the price of their next metro fair when they trade in used bottles. Specially made machines will take the bottles, compact them and then add money to a user’s metro app. Canada, are we paying attention?


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