Raptors scandal highlights worries about sports betting

After one of its worst seasons in franchise history, Canada’s only NBA team now has the indignity of seeing one of its players kicked out of the league. 

Driving the news: Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter has received a lifetime ban from the NBA after an investigation found he broke the league’s gambling rules by betting on games and, more seriously, manipulating games that he played to benefit sports bettors.

Budget aims to build momentum for Canadian innovations

The government’s plan to support Canada’s innovation sector is less about opening its own wallet and more about sparking investments from elsewhere.

Growing muscles for robots

It’s hard to get robots to move smoothly. All of those rigid parts make for stiff movements and a lot of wasted energy, which — besides looking silly — doesn’t make them all that useful for the commercial settings they are being developed for.

The next AI models could be trained by gig workers

New side hustle alert: teaching ChatGPT how to be a better writer.

Shoppers pharmacists sue over shady practices

Class-action lawsuits can be a real headache, but luckily Shoppers Drug Mart executives have an unlimited supply of extra-strength Tylenol at their disposal. 

What happened: An ex-Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against his former workplace, and its parent company Loblaw, claiming that the chain breached franchising deals by coercing pharmacists into “unsafe and unethical" behaviour.

Tim Hortons has entered the pizza game

Canadians' favourite spot for a double-double and an old fashioned glazed doughnut is trying its hand at a new endeavour: pizza. 

What happened: Today, a line of flatbread pizzas — including cheese, pepperoni, "bacon everything," and chicken Parmesan varieties — is launching at Tim Hortons locations across Canada. It’s part of the brand’s bigger push to get customers into cafes after breakfast.

Taxing times call for taxing measures

With so much spending already announced, we were left wondering what the feds would actually end up unveiling at this year’s budget meeting. 

The answer? A new tax to pay for all those plans, obviously.     

What happened: The federal government unveiled its 2024-25 budget yesterday. The biggest news to come out of it was an increase in the capital gains tax inclusion rate. Starting June 25, gains over $250,000 will be taxed at a two-thirds rate, up from one-half. 

Meta bets on virtual learning

It might not be long until parents are adding virtual reality headsets to their kid's back-to-school shopping lists. 

What happened: Meta is trying to bring Grade 9 algebra lessons into the metaverse by launching a new education hub for its Quest VR headsets. 

Canada says 'bienvenue' to Francophone immigrants

Everybody knows that Canada needs more healthcare workers, more homebuilders, and… more French speakers? 

Driving the news: Since revamping the Express Entry system for skilled immigration last year, 19,700 potential immigrants have been invited to apply for permanent residency based on their French skills, more than any other selection category, per a Globe and Mail analysis.

Happy Budget Day, one and all

It’s Budget Day 2024, and the theme for this year is "generational fairness.” While that’s not as exciting a theme as “year of efficiency” or “murder mystery,” it does sound like a nice idea.

Driving the news: This year, the feds tried out a new comms strategy where they openly trumpeted many of the biggest moves in the month leading up to the budget. Over $37 billion in new initiatives for this year’s budget have already been announced.

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.