Odds and Ends 

Techstars Detroit announces first class after major refocus

At the beginning of 2019, Techstars Mobility turned into Techstars Detroit. At the time of the announcement, Managing Director Ted Serbinski penned “the word mobility was becoming too limiting. We knew we needed to reach a broader audience of entrepreneurs who may not label themselves as mobility but are great candidates for the program.” I always called it Techstars Detroit anyway. With Techstars Detroit, the program is looking for startups transforming the intersection of the physical and digital worlds that can leverage the strengths of Detroit to succeed. It’s a…

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Police say two shot as 1.5m pack Toronto streets for Raptors’ title parade

There were reports a woman had been shot as Toronto Raptors fans crowded into the citys downtown to greet the newly crowned NBA champions Toronto police say two people were shot as Toronto Raptors fans packed the citys downtown to watch the teams NBA title parade. Police said two people had sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries two people had been taken into custody, and the parade was resumed after a short delay. Jennifer Pagliaro (@jpags) Im on the roof of city hall and something is happening. People are running…

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Philippines threatens to dump rubbish back in Canadian waters as row deepens

Two nations have been at odds over 69 containers of waste sent to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept the rubbish. The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nation, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a media briefing. Canada says the waste, exported to the Philippines between…

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Spotify reaches 100m paying subscribers worldwide

Streaming service boosted by better-than-expected performance in US and Canada Spotify has reached 100 million paying subscribers, in a landmark for the music streaming service as it faces competition from major tech firms. The number of users willing to pay for the service soared 32% in the first three months of 2019 compared with a year earlier, Spotify said on Monday. The Swedish company, which owned by Jay-Z, Beyonc and other stars. Last month, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with European regulators, alleging that the US tech firm limits…

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Trump’s new Cuba crackdown puts US at odds with Canada and Europe

US will allow lawsuits against companies using property nationalised by the revolution, cap remittances and restrict non-family travel Donald Trump has taken another step towards reversing Barack Obamas Sign up for the US morning briefing It was condemned by Cuba as an attack on international law and by Canada and the European Union as regrettable, since their companies have significant investments in hotels, distilleries, tobacco factories and other properties on the island. Title III of the secretary told reporters. The issue has come to a head now as retorted on…

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Africa Roundup: Kenyas BRCK acquires EveryLayer, Nigerias TeamApt eyes global expansion

Kenyan communications hardware company BRCK acquired the assets of Nairobi-based internet provider Surf and its U.S. parent EveryLayer in a purchase deal of an undisclosed amount in February. Based in Nairobi, Surf is a hotspot service provider aimed at offering affordable internet to lower-income segments. BRCK is a five-year-old venture that pairs its rugged Wi-Fi routers to internet service packages designed to bring people online in frontier and emerging markets. With the acquisition, BRCK gains the assets of San Francisco-based EveryLayer and its Surf subsidiary, including 1,200 hotspots and 200,000 active customers…

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Why Silicon Valley needs more visas

Henrique Dubugras Photo courtesy of Flickr/jvoves While it might sound counterintuitive, immigrants create more jobs and make our economy stronger. Research from the National Foundation of American Policy (NFAP) has shown that immigrant-founded billion-dollar companies doubled their number of employees over the past two years. According to the research, “WeWork went from 1,200 to 6,000 employees between 2016 and 2018, Houzz increased from 800 to 1,800 employees the last two years, while Cloudflare went from 225 to 715 employees.” We’ve seen the same growth at Brex. In just one year…

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Zuckerberg rejects facetime call for answers from five parliaments

Facebook has declined once again to send its CEO to the UK parliament — this time turning down an invitation to face questions from a grand committee comprised of representatives from five international parliaments. MPs from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK have joined forces to try to pile pressure on the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, to answer questions related to his “platform’s malign use in world affairs and democratic process”. The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, which has been running an enquiry into online disinformation for the best…

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Envoy raises $43 million to digitize your office

The office might not seem like an area in desperate need of disruption, but Envoy — a Silicon Valley company used to sign in over 100,000 visitors at offices across the world each day; and a TechCrunch SF office neighbor! — has raised $43 million to do just that. The company started life five years digitizing the sign-in book with a simple iPad-based approach, and it has moved on to office deliveries with an automated system that simply involves scanning a barcode. In both cases, alerts are routed directly to…

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Weed is legal in Canada, and police don’t want to hear complaints about adults smoking weed

Do not call police for this.Image: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images Marijuana became legal in Canada on Wednesday, and authorities are still trying to get used to it. Toronto’s police have been pretty blunt about the matter, telling people to stop tattling on their neighbours for smoking weed or possessing pot plants. SEE ALSO: Pass the poutine: Weed is now legal in Canada and everyone’s celebrating The directive came in a series of funny tweets, comparing the reporting of smoking or possession to trivial matters, like calling 911 to…

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Saudi Arabia Suspends Ties With Canada Over Activist Row

Saudi Arabia halted new trade and investment dealings with Canada and suspended diplomatic ties in a dramatic escalation of a dispute over the kingdom’s arrest of a women’s rights activist. The kingdom recalled its ambassador to Ottawa and ordered the Canadian envoy to Riyadh to leave within 24 hours, according to a foreign ministry Saudi Arabia is shifting, slowly: read more here. Representatives from Canada’s global affairs department weren’t immediately able to comment. Saudi investments in Canada include G3 Global Holdings Ltd., a joint venture between Bunge Ltd. and Saudi…

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Fishermen Think They Found A Seal Floating On An Iceberg, Then They Take A Closer Look

Fishermen Mallory Harrigan, Cliff Russell and Allan Russell were out a few miles off shore from Labrador, Canada recently when they came across something quite extraordinary. Something was atop a small, mushroom-shaped iceberg, drifting helplessly out to sea, and it wasn’t a creature designed for swimming. It was a starving and terrified Arctic fox, wet through and under attack from circling seagulls. Knowing that the poor fox was doomed to a terrible fate, Mallory and her crew-mates decided that they had to intervene and do what they could to try…

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One of the Worlds Hottest Short Sellers Is Changing Tactics

Earlier this month, Soren Aandahl scored one of his biggest victories as a short seller when he dramatically took down the leader of a world-famous brand. In some ways, the parted ways with Glaucus Research Group this year and set up his own investment firm, Blue Orca Capital, this was a deliberate evolution that reflects, in part, Aandahl’s desire to broaden the focus of his investments. There are difficulties taking bearish positions in smaller, lesser-known firms as there’s often a limited supply of shares to borrow — a precondition in…

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Risotto, robotics and virtual reality: how Canada created the world’s best libraries

As libraries across the world battle for survival, one system has embraced the digital age and in Toronto, books take a backseat In the lobby of the downtown branch of Britain has closed hundreds since 2010, reduced hours in others and replaced many paid librarians with volunteers. In Belgium, an advocacy group called staff per visitor has fallen across the board since 2012, and circulation and visits are dropping. The disruption of Silicon Valley in which Uber replaces taxis, Airbnb replaces hotels and Netflix replaces video stores has many governments…

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Insanely Muscular Cat Conquers The Internet And The Memes Are Hilarious

Buff cat was first noticed on the streets of Montreal, Canada by a feline fan. His fan base has steadily grown to the point that his official Twitter page now has over 17k followers, and has spawned a whole load of hilarious memes. While some people are concerned that buff daddy might have some serious health issues going on, others have speculated that he may have a rare genetic disorder that causes some animals, usually cattle, to become ‘double muscled.’ Meet buff cat, literally the biggest feline sensation on the…

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