5 Things You Need to Know About What Went Down This Week - August 25

Curious to what’s going on in the world? Here’s a quick snapshot of five things you need to know. Powered by Pressed News, here is your round up of what you need to know about this past week—from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro being ready to accept international funding to help with the Amazon wildfires to Taylor Swift’s new album.

PHOTO CREDIT: TAYLOR SWIFT

PHOTO CREDIT: TAYLOR SWIFT

1. ALL HANDS ON DECK

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is ready to accept international funding to help with the Amazon wildfires. The fires have been burning for three weeks, but Bolsonaro only recently acknowledged them. On Tuesday, after saying that he wouldn’t accept funding from France (over $20 million!) until French President Emmanuel Macron apologized, Bolsonaro quickly backtracked and said Brazil would accept all international funding as long as his government could decide how the money would be used.

What’s his beef?

Bolsonaro thinks that European countries want to get their hands on Brazil’s natural resources. He claims that any good deed is just a veiled attempt to gain power in the region. Then last week, things got personal when Macron said Bolsonaro lied to him about climate commitments and vowed to press pause on a trade deal with South American countries until Brazil did more to help the Amazon fires (an approach that Canada did not follow). Bolsonaro took offence and on Sunday liked and commented on a Facebook post that insulted Macron’s wife. While both sides wait for an apology, residents in the area say the fires are starting to affect their health. 

2. TOTES INTO IT

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) just closed a deal to sell Lord & Taylor for a cool $100 million USD to online fashion subscription company Le Tote. Here’s how it will work: Le Tote will take over Lord & Taylor’s 38 department stores and all their inventory. It will also continue to employ most of its workers. But HBC will retain ownership of the real estate the stores occupy.

Why sell it?

HBC is making moves to take itself private so it can focus on its “core business” without having to worry about managing other outfits – literally and figuratively. It also doesn’t help that Lord & Taylor’s $1.4 billion in sales last year wasn't enough to turn a profit for HBC. The Canadian company is shifting its focus inward to allow for bigger changes and better impact on the bottom line. But HBC isn’t cutting ties entirely – they’ll still have a 25% stake in the company, and in three years, the two will come together to assess how business is going and if HBC would like to buy back some of the previously sold locations.

3. FEELING THE PAIN

A judge in Oklahoma found Johnson & Johnson (J&J) guilty of pushing opioids and fueling the drug crisis that’s currently plaguing the state. Opioid overdoses in Oklahoma killed 4,653 people between 2007 and 2017. And now, J&J owes the state $572-million to help fix the problem.

What happened?

The drug company was accused of overstating the effectiveness of opioids (which are often prescribed as a painkiller) while understating their addictiveness. This is not the first time Oklahoma has gone after a drug manufacturer for its misleading marketing. The state got an $85-million settlement from Israeli-based drug company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and a $270-million settlement from Purdue Pharma.

So, now what?

Oklahoma originally wanted $17-billion to address the opioid crisis over the next 30 years, but a judge decided that a year’s worth of funding was justice enough. The state says it will use the money to fund treatment and prevention programs. But TBD whether J&J is ready to pay up. The company is planning to appeal the decision, arguing that it followed the strict rules of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

4. OPEN SESAME

Records are being broken on left, right, and centre court at the U.S. Open. Especially in the women’s singles tournament. On Thursday, 15-year-old Coco Gauff became the youngest player to move on to the third round in over 20 years. But the American has a tough road ahead – she’ll face defending champ Naomi Osaka in the third round.

What else do I need to know?

Most of the big names are still in it: Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic. More importantly, two Canadians are still in it: Bianca Andreescu and Denis Shapovalov. This is the first time Andreescu, who is coming off a Rogers Cup win, is moving on to the third round. She will face Danish player Caroline Wozniacki tomorrow. Shapovolov will play French star Gaël Monfils tomorrow as well.

5. GOOD NEWS

Did you have Taylor Swift’s Lover on repeat all week? Then you probably listened to It’s Nice To Have A Friend a few times without knowing that the Regent Park School of Music in Toronto is sampled on the song. The school’s youth choir can be heard playing instruments and singing backup. Proceeds from the sample and the royalties will go toward the music school, which provides highly subsidized music programs for kids in at-risk communities.

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