Toronto struggles with tragedy in wake of attack
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- In wake of tragic van attack on pedestrians, Toronto is learning something New York, London, Paris and even tiny Humboldt, Sask., already know
- The National Rifle Association has seen a dramatic spike in its fundraising take since the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre, even as calls for gun control intensify across the U.S.
- Netflix is now worth more than CBS, McDonald's and General Electric, and it's not that far behind Disney
- Missed The National last night? Watch it here
Toronto's tragic moment
As in much of the country, spring was slow to come in Toronto.
It was only this past weekend that temperatures finally climbed into double digits, ending the tyranny of hats, gloves and heavy winter coats. People spilled into the streets, liberated by the warm sunshine.
Monday was the nicest day yet. Sweet and bright; the kind of afternoon that invites lazy lunches, a cup of coffee at the neighbourhood cafe, or simply a stroll down the sidewalk.
But 20 years of growth and densification has seen a canyon of condos and office towers sprout up where there used to be bungalows, low-rise plazas and fields. Tens of thousands have moved into the busy neighbourhood, including so many young families that the overburdened local schools have closed their doors to new students.
We may never know why a man selected that stretch of road for murder and mayhem. But his white rental van found plenty of targets in the almost three kilometres between Finch and Sheppard Avenues.
The attack left 10 people dead, and injured 15 — many of them severely.
Some of that might be the geography of a big metropolis. Or the fact that someone is in custody. And the peculiar sense of relief that comes from suggestions that such an unspeakable act was driven by one type of hatred versus another.
Either way, city life barely skipped a beat in the immediate aftermath. The streets were clogged and subways packed per usual, and the hockey game went on.
The sidewalk memorials are already growing. Hashtags and slogans will speak of resilience and recovery. There will be t-shirts, bake sales and acts of remembrance both large and small.
- Live Blog: Deadly Toronto van attack, here's what we know
- The victims of the attack
- What we know about Alek Minassian, alleged driver
- Interactive: How the attack unfolded
- Officer praised after taking down suspect without gunfire
- Watch: Video of suspect's arrest
Quote of the moment
"This unfathomable loss of life has left our city in mourning. While we do not yet know the identities of all those who lost their lives, we can be sure that they were people who were loved, who had dreams and families, who had accomplished many things and would have done so much more."
- Toronto Mayor John Tory, addressing city council this morning.
Is NRA winning gun-control battle?
The National Rifle Association has seen a dramatic spike in its fundraising take since the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre, even as calls for gun control intensify across the United States.
The firearms lobby group's Political Victory Fund logged $2.4 million US in donations in the month of March, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Almost 80 per cent of the money — $1.9 million — came in the form of small donations of $200 or less.
The Victory Fund is the NRA's official political action committee. It's the arm that ranks legislators and candidates by their pro-gun credentials, and allocates money to their campaigns. Most of the gun lobby's expenditures — like the $54 million it spent boosting Republicans during the 2016 campaign — fall outside of election spending scrutiny.
"Punishing law-abiding gun owners is NOT the answer," the fund's splash page proclaims. Gun control advocates "are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment," reads a linked social media post.
Although other gun control groups haven't been as successful, with the political action committee of Everytown for Gun Safe Safety raising just $13,580 in March.
It's hard to tell if momentum is shifting by simply reading the dollars.
A national poll by Quinnipiac University in mid-February showed 50 per cent support among gun owners for tougher laws, seven percentage points more than in December. But the same poll found that 97 per cent of respondents endorsed stricter background checks for firearm purchases.
The Republican National Committee had a record-breaking February, raising $12.8 million, versus the $7 million taken in by the Democrats.
But a race-by-race analysis paints a different picture. By CNN's count, 40 Republican incumbents are now being out-raised by their Democratic challengers — compared to just two sitting Democrats trailing Republicans.
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Netflix market valuation soars
One year ago, Netflix was a $61 billion US company. As of the close of trading yesterday, its market value stood at $138.5 billion — even after a tough day where it shed more than $9 a share.
To put it in perspective, Netflix is now worth more than CBS, McDonald's, or even General Electric. And it's not that far behind Disney's market cap of $150.4 billion.
Investors have long been giddy about the video-on-demand service, which added 26 million subscribers in 2017 and now boasts more than 125 million paying customers worldwide, bringing in $11.7 billion in revenue. (This despite warnings from analysts that its bubble is sure to burst.)
This year Netflix will invest a record $8 billion in content, producing 700 original titles, including 80 full-length feature films — about four times as many as most Hollywood studios.
The streaming service reported that it had $6.5 billion in long-term debt at the end of the last quarter, and expects to have "negative cash flow" — spending $3 billion more than it earns, according to some estimates — through the end of this year.
The company also disclosed what it's paying its CEO, Reed Hastings: $24.4 million in salary and stock options in 2017. As of April 9, the 57-year-old company co-founder owned 10.76 million Netflix shares, worth a little over $3.4 billion.
And to hear him tell it, he doesn't do much.
"I pride myself on making as few decisions as possible in a quarter," Reed told a B.C. audience last week. "Sometimes I can go a whole quarter without making any decisions."
"I find out about big decisions that have been made all the time and I had never even heard about it — which is great!" Reed said in his Vancouver appearance. "And mostly they go well."
People were too polite to mention Iron Fist.
What The National is reading
- Desperate Canadian oil producers turn to transport trucks to ship crude (Financial Post)
- 'Where's my stuff?': Sunwing passengers waiting 10 days for their luggage (CBC)
- China tests 'invisibility cloaks' for fighter jets (South China Morning Post)
- Mummified body of ex-Shah of Iran found at Tehran construction site (Telegraph)
- There's a global shortage of exorcists (Quartz)
- Amazon will deliver packages to the trunk of your car (NY Times)
- Australian boy runs away to Bali - on his parents' credit card (BBC)
- French plumber seeks to prove he is Hitler's grandson via DNA (Daily Mirror)
Today in history
April 24, 1965: When will we make it to Mars?
It depends how you define "we." Mariner 4, the subject of this CBC Newsmagazine report, was the first probe to successfully fly by the Red planet. It sent home 21 pictures, the first images of another world ever snapped in deep space. In the 53 years since, nearly 40 other spacecraft have been sent towards Mars, but we're still waiting for a human to make the trip. NASA's current goal is to land an astronaut there in the 2030s. (Read The National's feature on the difficulties of getting a crew to Mars).
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