Middle East conflict ratchets up with Iran attack

Violence in the Middle East escalated over the weekend with an Iranian attack on Israel. 

Catch up: Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at targets in Israel on Saturday, 99% of which were intercepted in the air by Israel and its allies.

Tesla slashes prices for self-driving software

Tesla is hoping that a good old-fashioned sale will get more customers to buy into the whole self-driving car thing. 

Driving the news: Tesla is slashing the price of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software subscription from US$199 to US$99 per month in the U.S., part of a larger effort to boost customer subscriptions amid tough financial times for the EV maker. 

Best of Around the Peak

This week, we’re looking back at some of our favourite episodes of Free Lunch by The Peak.  

What to do this weekend

Saudi Arabia dials back its mega-city ambitions

Saudi officials are learning that constructing a city from scratch is turning out to be a real financial headache. 

Driving the news: Saudi Arabia is scaling back its ambitions for Neom, a trillion-dollar desert development project aimed at diversifying its oil-dependent economy.

Vietnamese court sentences tycoon to death for fraud

Sam Bankman-Fried might be having a rough go of it as he faces 25 years in the slammer,  but hey, at least he didn’t commit large-scale financial fraud in Vietnam. 

What happened: Real estate developer Truong My Lan has been sentenced to death by a Vietnamese court for orchestrating the country's largest-ever financial fraud. She embezzled over US$12 billion (or ~3% of Vietnam’s GDP) from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank.

Apple takes a (small) step towards right to repair

Explain It Like I'm Five: CPUs and GPUs

A central processing unit (CPU) is a chip that acts like the brain of a computer, managing all of the tasks that keep a system going, from running programs to passing instructions to hardware. A CPU does this with a handful of “cores” — parts of the chip that quickly process data and handle instructions.

Independent web browsers are so trendy in Europe

It turns out the key to breaking Big Tech’s hold on the browser market is letting people know that other options exist.

Rogers Centre gets revamped

The Jays might have a losing record right now, but their stadium is turning into a real winner.

Driving the news: Toronto Blue Jays fans got their first taste of the latest Rogers Centre renos this week. Those seated in the 100-level bowl experienced cushier, wider seats (with cupholders!) and a better view of home plate. 

The government has been using AI… a lot

New mortgage rules for first-time home buyers

Today on “keeping up with federal budget announcements coming out weeks before the actual federal budget announcement” is a policy change covering housing affordability.  

What happened: Canada is rolling out new housing affordability measures for first-time homebuyers, including extending maximum mortgage amortizations to 30 years and increasing the amount that can be withdrawn from an RRSP to buy a first home to $60,000.

Canada has an accountant crisis

As if tax season wasn’t stressful enough, Canada is also dealing with an accountant shortage.

Driving the news: Canadian finance and accounting hiring managers are feeling overtaxed this tax season, with 90% reporting that they are experiencing challenges due to a widespread accountant shortage, according to a new survey by Robert Half. 

Track and field to pay its Olympic gold medallists

New hardest way to earn 50 grand just dropped: winning the Olympic 400-metre hurdles.

What happened: This year in Paris, track and field will be the first-ever Olympic sport to pay prize money to gold medallists. World Athletics, the governing body in charge of track and field, has set aside US$2.4 million to pay $50,000 to first-place finishers across 48 events. 

Canada holds interest rates steady

Let your friends with variable-rate mortgages know you’re thinking of them this week.

What happened: As expected, the Bank of Canada held the policy rate steady at 5% for the sixth consecutive meeting, noting that "inflation is still too high and risks remain" in the form of a resilient growth forecast, even though both inflation and the labour market are cooling.

What Google announced at Cloud Next

No better place than Las Vegas for Google to put a big bet on growing its cloud business.

Getting more cancer tests with faster scans

Prostate cancer is among the most common forms of the disease, with an estimated 25,900 new cases in Canada last year. It is highly treatable if caught early, but a diagnosis requires a three-stage MRI, with the last stage involving an injection of contrast dye to make the scan easier to read.

Digitizing an entire country

It’s important for you to digitally back up your photos and documents, a lesson some countries are putting into practice.

Canada leads the world in fossil fuel funding

Some of us are addicted to spending money on things like shoes or total solar eclipse memorabilia. Canada is addicted to spending money on oil and gas developments. 

Driving the news: A new study found that between 2020 and 2022, Canada led all G20 nations in foreign fossil fuel investments

Your bank is all in on AI

Artificial intelligence is coming to your mobile banking apps in a big way (unless you bank with Laurentian, or something). 

What happened: Three of Canada’s Big Five banks were ranked within the top 10 globally for AI innovation by Evident Insights, which crunched the numbers on AI-related research papers and patent filings as well as investments in AI startups over the last five months.