Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Companies show little progress on diversity a year after committing to BlackNorth Initiative
A vast majority of companies that made a high-profile public commitment last July to combat anti-Black systemic racism by boosting diversity within their ranks and elevating Black people to leadership roles have shown little or no tangible progress in meeting those goals a year later, a Globe and Mail analysis has found.
The companies, including corporate heavyweights such as Rogers Communications, Air Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and many more, signed on to the BlackNorth Initiative, created by Bay Street entrepreneur and philanthropist Wes Hall last summer at the height of Black Lives Matter protests across North America.
But a Globe survey of responses from 105 of the 209 companies has found a substantial number of them have neither increased the number of Black employees in their work force nor elevated Black people to executive roles or to the board level during the first year of the commitment.
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos returns safely from space on first passenger flight
Jeff Bezos blasted into space today on his rocket company’s first flight with people on board, becoming the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft, following Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight earlier this month.
The Amazon founder was accompanied by his brother, Mark, a 18-year-old from the Netherlands, Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk – the youngest and oldest to ever fly in space.
Named after America’s first astronaut, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket soared on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The capsule landed near Van Horn, Tex., after the 11-minute ride.
Toronto International Film Festival announces reveals 2021 fare
Movies starring Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Riz Ahmed, Penelope Cruz and one extremely Big Red Dog are heading to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, running Sept. 9-18.
Dear Evan Hansen, based on the smash stage musical, will be the opening-night gala presentation. This year’s festival will feature both in-person and online screenings.
A slate of other buzzy productions appearing at TIFF include the Cannes-certified drama Bergman Island, the darkly comic biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, the sci-fi thriller Encounter, the film-industry satire Official Competition and, perhaps most surprisingly, the children’s film Clifford the Big Red Dog.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Montreal friends identified in condo collapse: Michelle Pazos and Anastasia Gromova, a pair of young Montreal women vacationing together, have been identified as being among the dead and missing following the collapse of a condo building near Miami last month.
Carney takes a pass on politics - for now: Mark Carney says he won’t be on the Liberal ticket if there’s an election this fall. The former governor of the Bank of Canada says he’s made a commitment to help organize the private financial sector in the run-up to the United Nations climate conference scheduled to run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.
Weinstein extradited to face additional charges: Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been extradited from New York to California to face trial on rape and assault charges involving five women. He was convicted in New York last year for sexual assault and rape and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Toronto clearing downtown homeless encampment: Toronto police say they’ve made nine arrests as the city clears a homeless encampment at Alexandra Park, south of Kensington Market.
Tokyo 2020 chief doesn’t rule out last-minute cancellation: Toshiro Muto, the chief of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said today he did not rule out cancelling the Olympics if COVID-19 cases spiked, as more athletes tested positive for the virus and sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday’s opening ceremony.
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Today’s episode of The Decibel podcast: Health reporter Kelly Grant discusses how a growing number of nurses are leaving hospitals, as the relentless workload, the crushing experience of caring for COVID-19 patients and short-staffing have created an untenable situation for many.
Team fined for wearing shorts, not bikini bottoms: Norway’s beach handball team has been fined 1,500 euros (US$1,764) for being improperly dressed after the women wore shorts instead of bikini bottoms at a European championship match in Bulgaria.
Wall Street ended sharply higher today, bouncing back from a multiday losing streak as a string of upbeat earnings reports and revived economic optimism fueled a risk-on rally. Canada’s main stock index followed along, with broad-based gains across sectors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 549.95 points or 1.62 per cent to 34,511.99, the S&P 500 gained 64.57 points or 1.52 per cent to 4,323.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 223.90 points or 1.57 per cent to end at 14,498.88.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed 216.26 points or 1.1 per cent to 19,942.71.
If Justin Trudeau doesn’t win a majority in the next election, Jagmeet Singh may be the reason
“If it is clear that the Conservatives are not going to win, progressives can support whoever appeals to them, and right now many find Singh appealing.” - John Ibbitson
For some, the definition of ‘settler’ is as difficult to pin down as reconciliation
“When you think about it, ‘settler’ seems to be one of the least offensive terms that could be used. Others that have been suggested during a brief and highly unscientific poll I did online (from mostly settlers responding) include colonizer, occupier, original boat people, squatters, second-generation settlers, beneficiaries of genocidal Canadian Indigenous policies, colonial invader, Euro invaders, economic refugees, and my personal favourite, the Second Nation people, as opposed to First Nations.” - Drew Hayden Taylor
Have you ever broken a favourite dish, and wondered what you could do with the colourful shards? Or kept a lone earring, wishing there was something interesting to do with it? Join artist Jenny May at the next session of Globe Craft Club, where she’ll show us how to make an eclectic mosaic of found and salvaged objects on a wooden base. Watch the livestreamed class on today at 7 p.m. EDT at tgam.ca/craftclub or on Facebook, and join our Facebook group for the latest updates.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Montreal startup NorthStar wants to play traffic cop in space
Last May, while examining high-resolution photographs as part of a routine inspection, the Canadian Space Agency spotted a five-millimetre hole in the Canadarm2, the robotic arm that services the International Space Station. A review of the images concluded that the arm had been hit by a piece of space debris.
Fortunately the arm’s performance was not affected – the space agency called it a “lucky strike” – but incidents such as this one are expected to become more common as the amount of debris orbiting the Earth continues to grow.
Orbital debris, also known as space junk, can be anything from a fully intact satellite that no longer works to fragments of an exploded rocket. There are roughly 23,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting the Earth at speeds of up 28,000 kilometres an hour – fast enough for even a small piece of debris to damage or even destroy a satellite or spacecraft, according to NASA.
NorthStar Earth & Space, a Montreal-based company that’s raised more than $80-million from some high profile investors, thinks it has the solution. Read Alexandra Posadzki’s full story here.