Consumers go big on Black Friday

Shoppers don’t need to wait for their credit card statements to know how much they splurged this year, with new Shopify data spilling all the details… 

What happened: Shopify merchants processed $4.1 billion in sales over Black Friday weekend this year, a 22% jump from last year—a spending surge that surprised analysts and delighted retailers who had low expectations for the holiday shopping season.
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First Quantum might lose a shiny copper deal

Panama’s top court is currently weighing whether or not to block a Canadian mining giant from tapping into the region's copper.

Driving the news: A ruling by the country’s Supreme Court this week could squash First Quantum’s plans to mine copper at the Cobre Panama mine—which accounts for ~1% of global copper supply—by blocking a 20-year government deal.
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Scientists develop electronic nose to prevent food poisoning

The days of wondering if those leftovers you’ve had in your fridge for a week are still good or not (before eating them anyway and just hoping for the best) may be coming to an end. 

What happened: An Israeli company has developed an “electronic nose” called Sensifi that uses AI to detect when harmful bacteria has contaminated food. 
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Canada wins dairy dispute with US

While we, of course, have nothing but fondness for our southern neighbours, we also love beating them on the hockey rink, the soccer pitch, and in trade dispute court.

Driving the news: Canada came out on top of a major trade dispute with the US over dairy imports, with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) dispute resolution panel finding that Canada’s dairy policies were “not inconsistent” with the trade deal’s rules.
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What to do this weekend

Our picks for what to eat, read, watch, and listen to this weekend.
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Jennifer Quaid on Canada’s competition laws

On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, Jennifer Quaid returned to inform us further about Canada’s competition laws, how they work, and how they’re going to change.
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No lab-grown meatballs for Italy

Imagine eating a strip of prosciutto or a slice of capocollo that was cultivated in a lab. Sounds a little strange, right? Well, to the Italian government, it’s downright criminal.   

Driving the news: Italy has taken a full-blown stance against lab-grown meat products. The country has banned fake meat after one of Italy’s largest farming associations made the case that it poses a risk to Italy’s rich culinary cultural heritage and agricultural sector. 
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The limit does not exist for Germany’s spending

Like us on Black Friday weekend, Germany is turning a blind eye to its credit limit and hoping everything turns out okay in the end. 

Driving the news: Germany will suspend a constitutional limit on new borrowing for the fourth year running as it scrambles to fill a €60 billion hole in its climate-focused fund, which has sparked a debate over whether its “debt brake” is slowing down needed investments.
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Huawei backs new Canadian AI lab

One of the foremost researchers in artificial intelligence is hoping people will keep an “open mind” about where his new lab is getting its money.

What happened: Openmind, a new AI research lab from Canadian AI pioneer Richard Sutton, is getting $4.8 million in funding from Chinese technology giant Huawei.
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Why the philosophical rift at OpenAI might become everyone’s problem

If you’ve been wondering what “EA” means as you’ve been reading about the Sam Altman/OpenAI saga or why those “e/acc” accounts on X are so riled up about it, now might be a good time to get up to speed.
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A truce between Israel-Hamas starts today

A hostage deal is expected to bring the first break in the fight between Israel and Hamas.

What happened: As of writing, a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas is set to begin this morning after both sides reached a deal to free hostages taken by Hamas on October 7th in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
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Canada’s momentous spy trial comes to a close

Canada’s historic spy trial wasn’t quite as exciting as a James Bond movie — it featured zero cool cars or giant lasers — but it was an important test for the judicial system. 

What happened: Cameron Ortis, the former director general of the RCMP’s intelligence unit, was found guilty on all six charges related to leaking state secrets brought against him. 
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OpenAI and the Case of the Mystery Letter

The fallout at OpenAI escalated from “spicy corporate drama” to “arbiter of humanity’s fate” real quick. 

Driving the news: Several OpenAI staffers allegedly sent a letter to the board of directors days before Sam Altman’s abrupt dismissal, warning about a new development with the potential to threaten human existence, per reporting by Reuters and The Information.
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Ski resorts turn to subscriptions

Hanging out with a fancy group of friends and don’t know what to talk about? As if they prefer Epic or Ikon, and watch the ensuing debate light up the room. 

Driving the news: Ski resort conglomerates across Canada and the U.S. are turning to a subscription model (tell us if you’ve heard this before) to lock skiers and snowboarders into their networks — which means selling as many season passes as possible, per The WSJ. 
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Wild pigs are taking over

If you’re worried about Canada’s housing market, just wait until we tell you about the country’s wild pig problem. 

Driving the news: A domestic swine and wild boar crossbreed known as ‘super pigs’ are wreaking havoc across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — and are spreading at an alarming rate, ruining farmers' crops, killing wildlife, and contaminating water and livestock.
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Sam Altman is once again CEO of OpenAI

After a whirlwind five days that included teary breakdowns, a pizza party, and even the launch of a new product, Sam Altman is once again CEO of OpenAI. 

What happened: Sam Altman returned to lead OpenAI, the ChatGPT creator that has become the buzziest name in AI, after being unceremoniously dumped last week. The move came after Microsoft offered Altman a job, and nearly every employee threatened to quit
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After 50 years, someone figured out how to make a thinner fridge

Even with all the screens and smart features, the basic form of a refrigerator hasn’t seen much innovation since the 1960s: A big box with thick foam that uses a lot of power. But Whirlpool might have changed that.
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The Q&A: Jenny Lemieux, co-founder and CEO, Vivid Machines

Jenny Lemieux is the co-founder and CEO of Vivid Machines, which uses computer vision and machine learning to give growers data and intelligence to better manage the entire food supply chain.
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Cleantech, open banking get help from the feds

Housing and the cost-of-living crisis got the most attention in the government’s fall economic statement yesterday, but it also had some (eagerly awaited) support for parts of the tech sector.

What happened: The government is putting big bucks into making carbon capture and other environmental tech more economically viable. 
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Sam Altman is CEO of OpenAI again

It looks like Sam Altman is going to end a whirlwind five days at the same place he started it: as CEO of OpenAI.

What happened: After reopening negotiations amid intense pressure from investors and staff, OpenAI’s board stepped down and paved the way for Altman to be reinstated.
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