Friday, July 19, 2019 View this email in your browser

Sound bites: Police in Ontario busted an alleged crime ring in the city of Vaughan • a suspected arson in Japan killed at least 33 people • the Canadian government is paying a $900 million settlement for sexual misconduct in the military • Trump is in hot water over a racist tweet.



Police have arrested 15 people involved in an alleged crime ring in Ontario. More than $35 million worth of assets were seized from the Figliomeni Crime Family, who were allegedly using cafés in the city of Vaughan to launder money. The members operated gaming machines at the cafés and gave out loans to gamblers at “astronomically” high-interest rates. Of the people arrested, nine were top members, including the alleged boss, Angelo Figliomeni.
This is straight out of a true-crime podcast.
There’s probably one in the works. The investigation started in 2017 when police noticed a spike in violence in Vaughan, including drive-by shootings, arsons, and attempted murder. Last weekend, hundreds of police officers carried out 48 search warrants at cafés, businesses, and residences across the Greater Toronto Area. Police have seized 27 homes, millions of dollars in cash and jewellery, and high-end cars, including five Ferraris – one worth $880,000. The Figliomeni family had close ties to the ‘Ndrangheta mafia group in Italy, where raids also took place and 12 people were arrested. This was the “largest organized crime operation” in the history of the York Regional Police.


At least 33 people were killed and 36 injured when a man set fire to an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan.
OMG. What happened?
A 41-year-old man broke into Kyoto Animation yesterday at around 10:30 a.m. local time and doused the place in gasoline. He then set the place on fire. Knives were also at the scene but it’s still not clear if the suspect used them to attack people. It took firefighters a reported five hours to get the blaze under control. 
Do we know anything about the person who did this?
If the Japanese authorities do, they’re not saying much. All we know so far is that he’s not a former employee, but he did have issues with the studio – apparently, he told victims to drop dead as he lit the building on fire. He then ran from the building before collapsing near a train station where he was nabbed by police and taken to a hospital. Witnesses said the man yelled things like “You copied it” and “You ripped me off.” The studio is famous for its top-quality content, and now, anime fans from around the world are voicing their heartbreak. A GoFundMe campaign called “Help KyoAni Heal” has already raised over $1 million.


The federal government is paying $900 million to compensate victims of a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Armed Forces. This decision comes four years after Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps released a crucial report that identified a sexualized culture hostile to women and LGBTQ2 members. A lawsuit was launched one year later. In 2016, Stats Canada surveyed members of the military to see how bad the problem was, and found that women were 4x more likely than men to experience sexual assault. The monetary settlement also includes a promise from the government to make important changes within the military, especially around how sexual harassment allegations are reported. Previously, victims had to file their complaints within a military chain of command. So, if they were harassed by their leader, they would have to file a complaint to that leader. See the problem? PM Justin Trudeau said his government takes “sexual misconduct extremely seriously.”


It’s been almost a week since President Trump criticized “Progressive Democrat Congresswomen” in a tweet that many have called racist. In the tweet, Trump told the congresswomen to go back to the countries "from which they came.” While he didn’t name any names, it’s believed that his comments were aimed at “the squad,” i.e. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Things got worse for Trump throughout the week. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to officially condemn Trump’s racist tweets, then a video of Trump’s rally in North Carolina showed a crowd chanting “send her back,” apparently towards Ilhan Omar. Yea, that’s not ok. Yesterday, Trump claimed he disagreed with the chant and said he tried to stop it by quickly resuming his speech. But the video shows that he was silent for 13 seconds. Omar, meanwhile, isn’t fazed. She told a crowd of supporters that “we are going to continue to be a nightmare to this president because his policies are a nightmare to us.”


You might’ve heard that two 16-year-old girls who got lost while camping in Ontario’s Algonquin Park were found safe this week! But did you know they owe their lives to one experienced canine? After days of searching, Zoe the police dog was brought in and managed to pick up the girls’ scent in about an hour and a half. Sure enough, Zoe led rescuers to the girls, who were found in good condition. Not only were the girls happy to be found, but they were also pretty excited to pet their furry rescuer – I mean, who wouldn’t be, right?


• The movie remake of Cats is... strange, but we’re willing to give it a chance thanks to its stellar cast. See: Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, and Sir Ian McKellen.

• Sam Smith, is that you? Check out his new song and music video, How Do You Sleep?

• Have we hit peak podcasting? This is your weekend read.

• Tom Cruise debuted the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick during a surprise appearance at Comic-Con.

• Nas has returned with the highly-anticipated sequel to his 2002 classic album The Lost Tapes 2 which features unreleased songs from his last four albums.

• Five years after the release of her first album, Iggy Azalea is back with In My Defense. 

• Beyoncé released her companion album to the new Lion King movie, The Lion King: The Gift.

Hey, have a great weekend. If you liked today's newsletter, consider sharing it with a friend.