Ongoing History Daily: The Lumineers’ name issues

Finding a name for your band is hard and it can take forever to come up with the right one. Sometimes, though, fate can intervene.

The two primary members of The Lumineers have always been Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites. When they first started playing gigs around New York City, they used a variety of names like Free Beer, 6Cheek, and the very basic Wesley Jeremiah. Nothing was working, including all the music they were trying to make.

Then one night before another crappy club show in New Jersey, the emcee made a mistake. Another band called “The Lumineers” was scheduled to play at that same venue in a week. The emcees introduced Schultz and Fraites as “The Lumineers.”

The name stuck—and no one seems to know what happened to the band who originally had that name.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ongoing History Daily: Beck’s family

We’re all familiar with the career and music of Beck, but his family has some pretty interesting history, too. His father is David Campbell, a composer and arranged—born in Toronto, by the way—who has appeared on nearly 500 gold and platinum albums, including records by Muse, Evanescence, Rush, Garth Brooks, and Harry Styles. And yes, he has done work on Beck’s records.

His mom was an actress who used to hang out with Andy Warhol’s crowd in the 1960s. She hung out with The Velvet Underground and later can be seen as a dancer in the Brian De Palma film, Phantom of the Paradise.

His grandfather on his father’s side was born in Winnipeg and was a Presbyterian minister. And the grandfather on his mother’s side is Al Hansen, a big part of the avant-garde Fluxus art moment in the 1960s, and he hung out with Yoko Ono.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ongoing History Daily: Umlaut bands

Anyone who has made their way through the world of rock over the last 50 years has come across umlaut bands. These are groups who spell their name with two dots randomly placed above a letter or two. That’s an “umlaut,” a type of accent mark that was originally used in languages like German to signify how certain vowels should sound.

In the case of rock band names, the use of umlauts (or “rock dots,” as some people call them) is pretty much entirely gratuitous. It just looks cool, evil, and heavy. There’s Mötorhead, Mötley Crue, Spinal Tap (over the “n” which can’t be found in Word), The Accüsed, Green Jellÿ, and a bunch of others.

But who was the first band to use the rock dots? It appears to have been Blue Öyster Cult back in about 1970 when they were on a mission to become America’s version of Black Sabbath. The umlaut looked cool and mysterious, promising some kind of hidden power. It worked and it stuck.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Snorkeller pries crocodile jaws off his head, survives attack in Australia

A picturesque snorkelling trip in North Queensland, Australia, turned into chaos when a man was attacked by a crocodile. Miraculously, he survived by prying the reptile’s jaws off of his own head.

The Queensland Government Hospital and Health Service released a statement from Marcus McGowan, who was attacked by a saltwater crocodile 40 kilometres off the coast of Cape York on Saturday.

McGowan, a Gold Coast resident, said he was snorkelling with his wife and a group of friends when he was attacked. While viewing coral and fish in the water, a crocodile approached McGowan from behind and bit his head. Initially, McGowan thought he’d been bitten by a shark.

Though he did not get a good view of the reptile, McGowan said the attacker was likely a juvenile crocodile about two to three metres long.

“I was able to lever its jaws open just far enough to get my head out,” McGowan wrote.

When the crocodile surged for a second attack, McGowan said he pushed the animal away with his right hand, which was subsequently bitten.

Again, McGowan managed to free himself from the crocodile’s jaws and swim back to the boat. He sustained scalp lacerations and puncture wounds on his head and hand as a result of the attack.

On the boat, McGowan’s friend, a firefighter, administered first aid and antibiotic shots to prevent any infection while en route to Haggerstone Island, about 45 minutes away. Once there, McGowan was airlifted to hospital for treatment.

“I live on the Gold Coast and am a keen surfer and diver, and understand that when you enter the marine environment, you are entering territory that belongs to potentially dangerous animals, such as sharks and crocodiles,” McGowan wrote. “I was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

The Queensland Department of Environment is currently investigating the incident.

“It is important that crocodile sightings and crocodile incidents are reported in a timely manner,” the department said in a statement to Australian broadcaster ABC News. “Crocodiles in the open ocean can be difficult to locate as the animals often travel tens of kilometres per day.”

There have been at least 44 crocodile attacks on humans in Queensland since 1985. McGowan’s crocodile encounter is the fifth incident in the region since April of this year.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Does AI pose 'risk of extinction' for humans? Founders, experts say yes

WATCH ABOVE: Canadian tech experts signal support for AI regulation

Scientists and tech industry leaders, including high-level executives at Microsoft and Google, issued a new warning Tuesday about the perils that artificial intelligence poses to humankind.

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” said the statement posted online.

Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, and Geoffrey Hinton, a computer scientist known as the godfather of artificial intelligence, were among the hundreds of leading figures who signed the statement, which was posted on the Center for AI Safety’s website.

Worries about artificial intelligence systems outsmarting humans and running wild have intensified with the rise of a new generation of highly capable AI chatbots such as ChatGPT.

The latest warning was intentionally succinct — just a single sentence — to encompass a broad coalition of scientists who might not agree on the most likely risks or the best solutions to prevent them, said Dan Hendrycks, executive director of the San Francisco-based Center for AI Safety.

“There’s a variety of people from all top universities in various different fields who are concerned by this and think that this is a global priority,” Hendrycks said. “So we had to get people to sort of come out of the closet, so to speak, on this issue, because many were sort of silently speaking among each other.”

More than 1,000 researchers and technologists, including Elon Musk, had signed a much longer letter earlier this year calling for a six-month pause on AI development because, they said, it poses “profound risks to society and humanity.”

Countries around the world are scrambling to come up with regulations for the developing technology, with the European Union blazing the trail with its AI Act expected to be approved later this year.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Manitoba RCMP to announce details of youth sexual assault arrest on First Nation

Manitoba RCMP will provide details Tuesday afternoon about an ongoing investigation involving an authority figure in a First Nations community arrested for sexual assault on a youth.

Supt. Scott McMurchy will speak to media from Manitoba RCMP headquarters at 1 p.m.

Police say they believe there could be more victims.

Global News will stream the press conference live on this page.


© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Part of Highway 631 in northern Ontario closed as forest fire spreads

Ontario Provincial Police say a highway between the northern communities of White River and Hornepayne is closed due to a forest fire causing “extremely dangerous conditions” in the area.

Police have posted photos online showing heavy black smoke alongside Highway 631.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says there is currently an out-of-control wildfire burning 5.5 kilometres west of White River.

It says there’s another forest fire burning north of Highway 17, in the Kakakiwibik Esker Conservation Reserve, which is also out of control.

The province says there is a new wildfire burning six kilometres east of the town of Chapleau, Ont., that is not yet under control.

Several communities, including White River, Hornpayne, Chapleau and the city of Elliott Lake, have issued fire bans.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Sleeping victims attacked by trio of suspects, including young boy, Winnipeg police say

Three people are facing assault charges after a group of people sleeping near a riverbank were attacked, Winnipeg police say.

One of the accused is a 12-year-old boy.

Police said the assault took place in the Mayfair Avenue area Sunday morning, and that two men, 20 and 25, were taken to hospital — one in critical condition. The incident is alleged to been connected to a previous argument over property.

Each of the suspects has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault. Two men in their 20s remain in custody, while the 12-year-old has been released.

Police continue to investigate, and are asking anyone with information — including video surveillance in the area — to call investigators at 204-986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Shopify layoffs: Company faces class action over severance offers 

Shopify announced that it’s cutting its workforce by 20 per cent, meaning an estimated 1,800 workers from the Ottawa-based e-commerce company will be laid off. Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke says affected staff will receive 16 weeks of severance pay and medical benefits.

A class-action lawsuit alleges Shopify Inc. reneged on a deal it offered some employees who were laid off in a recent round of cuts.

The class action alleges some of the Ottawa software business’ employees laid off at the start of May were presented with departure packages outlining hefty severance sums they would be entitled to should they sign the agreement within a few days.

However, once workers signed the agreements and before the deadline passed, Shopify allegedly told departing staff they would instead be given substantially smaller sums than were initially offered.

“The individuals did the reasonable thing, which is to accept, only to be told even though we made you reasonable offers, even though you accepted that reasonable offer, we’re just not going to do it and you have to sign a brand new agreement for a much lesser amount,” said Lior Samfiru, a lawyer pursuing the case.

“It just doesn’t work like that. I review severance packages every day and have 21 years of doing this and I have never seen any employer ever do anything like that.”

The class action’s plaintiff Iain Russell, who worked for Shopify for seven years, says he was initially offered more than $88,000, which he accepted. Then, Shopify allegedly put forward a roughly $44,000 agreement. If he did not accept the $44,000 offer, he was told he would receive about $36,000.

When their severance offers were revised, Samfiru said workers were sent a “vague statement about miscalculating.”

“For many people…the difference is significant,” Samfiru said.

“We’ve seen anywhere from a $10,000 to $50,000 and $60,000 difference between what individuals accepted and what Shopify now says they’re not going to get. We are not talking about anything minor here.”

Samfiru alleges Shopify’s actions constitute a breach of contract and is seeking $80 million in damages and $50 million in punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages.

Those amounts could change based on how many workers were presented with shifting offers, he said.

Shopify did not respond to a request for comment.

The company reduced its head count by 20 per cent at the start of the month and by 10 per cent last year.

The company refused to give the number of staff that would be departing the company during the May cut, but it reported in a regulatory filing that it had 11,600 employees at the end of 2022. Twenty per cent of that amounts to about 2,300 people.

In an open letter announcing the layoff, Shopify founder and chief executive Tobi Lutke promised departing staff at least 16 weeks of severance plus a week for every year of tenure at Shopify. Medical benefits and an employee assistance program will cover departing staff over the same period.

Those leaving will also be able to keep their office furniture and though they’ll have turn in their company laptops, Lutke said Shopify promised to help pay for new ones.

He positioned the layoff, which came at the time as Shopify sold its logistics business, as an effort to reduce distracting “side quests” that divert attention away from the company’s main goals.

“I recognize the crushing impact this decision has on some of you, and did not make this decision lightly,” Lutke wrote.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

O’Toole says CSIS told him about ‘active’ voter suppression by Beijing

WATCH LIVE: Conservative Erin O'Toole speaks in the House about CSIS briefing on China

Former Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) found an “active campaign of voter suppression” by China against him and his party in the 2021 election.

O’Toole made the comments Tuesday from the floor of the House of Commons, within which MPs are protected by parliamentary privilege from civil or criminal prosecution under freedom of speech provisions. His speech comes after a briefing with CSIS last week.

“I also believe my privileges as a Member and officer of Parliament were infringed by the government’s unwillingness or inability to act on the intelligence related to foreign interference,” O’Toole said.

“The briefing confirmed to me what I had long suspected – that my party, several of my caucus colleagues and myself were the target of a sophisticated misinformation and voter suppression campaign orchestrated by the People’s Republic of China before and during the 2021 general election.”

O’Toole led the Conservatives into the 2021 general election after winning the party leadership just a year before.

Part of O’Toole’s leadership pitch was to take a tough stance against Beijing, including recognizing the Chinese regime’s persecution of the country’s Uyghur minority as a genocide, repatriating and diversifying Canadian supply chains away from China, and cracking down on foreign influence.

Those pledges came through in the Conservatives’ 2021 election platform, which contained 31 references to “China” and 10 references to “Chinese.”

“We must stand up to the Communist government of China,” the platform read.

“The communist leadership represents a clear and rising threat to Canadian interests – and our values. They’ve abducted our citizens, targeted our economy, and intimidated members of the Chinese Canadian community.”

After the party’s disappointing performance in the 2021 election, O’Toole was attacked by the Chinese-Canadian Conservative Association (CCCA) – a group which purports to represent Conservatives of Chinese descent – who called on him to resign as leader.

A source close to O’Toole’s 2021 campaign told Global News that it was an active discussion within the party about how strong a stand to take against Beijing. The O’Toole campaign knew that taking a tough line on China’s communist government could cost them votes, or make them a target of Beijing.

Global News reported in December 2021 that the Conservatives had identified 13 ridings where they believe the party was targeted by foreign influence campaigns. A source told Global the party suspected mail-in ballot fraud, foreign funding of campaign workers, and illegal advertising – although the party had no evidence a foreign government was involved.

David Johnston, the former governor general appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a special rapporteur on foreign interference, recommended last week that the government not hold a public inquiry into the issue.

Johnston argued that the secret intelligence Canada has collected on foreign interference could not be aired in public, so a public inquiry would not be helpful. The opposition parties are still pushing the government to hold an inquiry despite Johnston’s recommendations.

In his report, Johnston said that officials were unable to tie misinformation about the Conservative campaign “to a state-sponsored source.”

“Mr. O’Toole continued to assert over the next several months that (the People’s Republic of China) interference cost the party eight or nine seats,” Johnston’s report read.

“It is hard to accept this assertion, which has been rejected by the (Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections) Task Force and the 2021 panel.”

Johnston has said he cannot disclose exactly what evidence he saw that led him to his conclusions, leaving unanswered questions about his report and the information underlying it.

With files from Marc-André Cossette

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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