Sound bites: PM Trudeau met with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky • Nike pulled special edition sneakers because of racial insensitivity • at least 33 people were killed in heavy rains in India • EU leaders nominated a woman to lead the European Commission for the first time.
PM Justin Trudeau met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Toronto yesterday at the Ukraine Reform Conference, a three-day international conference that brought together 30 countries. Because life imitates art, Zelensky, a former comedian who once starred in a comedy about an accidental president, became Ukraine’s president in April. Zelensky met with Trudeau before heading to the U.S. and specifically chose to land in Canada first because of the positive relationship between the two countries.
Why are they such good friends?
When Ukraine gained independence in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union, Canada was one of the first Western countries to recognize it as an independent country. In 2014, Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in one of the worst attacks on Europe’s borders since the Second World War. Canada and other Western allies called the move illegal. Since then, Canada has provided Ukraine political assistance and $785-million towards military and legal help. Yesterday, Trudeau took the opportunity to discuss trade and security in Ukraine. Canada will give $45-million in financial support to the Ukrainian government, another $6.5-million to help Ukraine develop its police force, and send 45 Canadian training police to serve in the country until 2021. It will also expand Canadian TV and movie access in Ukraine and promote student exchange opportunities for Canadians and Ukrainians.
STARS AND STRIPES
Nike pulled its special edition Fourth of July Air Max 1 USA sneaker off the shelves after former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who is sponsored by Nike, criticized the sneakers for using an old version of the American flag commonly known as the Betsy Ross flag. The flag, a circle of 13 stars representing the first US colonies, was created during the American Revolution and is linked to slavery in the U.S. Kaepernick argued that version of the flag doesn’t deserve to be celebrated on a sneaker. But the bad press made the sneakers even more appealing. Some websites were selling the shoes for $1,500 on markup from $140. Nike isn’t the only company that has had to reverse a decision due to racial insensitivity. Last year, Prada pulled its blackface products, and earlier this week, Kim Kardashian announced she was renaming her shapewear line, Kimono after she was called out for culturally appropriating traditional Japanese clothing.
India’s largest city got flooded with over 14 inches of monsoon rain, prompting the Mumbai government to declare yesterday a public holiday. Businesses and schools stay closed so that the city’s 18 million residents could be kept out of harm’s way. The rain pelted the region for only 24 hours, but it caused deadly flash flooding, and a plane skidding off an airport runway forced the cancellation and delay of flights. The heavy rains also caused the walls of poorly constructed homes to collapse, and trapped cars on streets, leading to deaths of at least 33 people. While a curse for some, the rain has been a blessing for others, bringing much-needed water to areas of the country that have been experiencing drought and a near-zero supply of water.
HEAD OF THE PACK
EU leaders have put forward their nominations for five roles in the European Commission, an organization within the European Union that proposes new laws, supervises budgets, and manages trade negotiations with outside countries. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen was nominated for the role of president, and France’s Christine Lagarde was put forward to lead the European Central Bank. It’s the first time two women have been nominated for these roles. The nominations came after days of negotiations between leaders. But in the end, French President Emmanuel Macron said both candidates were good choices, competent and qualified. Two other nominations were also announced, and the role of European Parliament president will be chosen today.
Bangladesh has made moves to protect its river systems and precious biodiversity. The country’s high court declared Bangladesh’s rivers “living entities,” meaning the rivers will receive the same rights as a person and they’ll be protected from industrial pollution and harm caused by humans. Now, anyone caught polluting, dredging, or developing land near the country’s protected rivers will face action from the National River Conservation Commission.
WATCH LISTEN READ
• Wimbledon, one of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments of the year, kicked off last week. Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Eugenie Bouchard got bounced from the tournament yesterday, but Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime are still in it. The Canadian both play matches today.
• Check out these stunning new images from the Lion King.
• New music: K-pop group BTS dropped a music video for new song Lights and Miley Cyrus released a NSFW vid for Mother’s Daughter.
• Go behind the scenes of the making of new album Revenge of the Dreamers III, featuring J. Cole, DJ Khalid, and Ludacris.
• The U.S. women’s soccer team beat England in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals yesterday, which means the U.S. is heading to the Finals. Kick-off is Sunday at 11 am ET.
Kick off your Wednesday by sharing Pressed.