C ya, CZ

It feels like Earth-shattering developments upending the entire crypto industry are becoming a November tradition! Last year, it was FTX’s collapse. This year, it’s Binance paying billions.   

What happened: The world’s largest crypto exchange, will pay US$4.3 billion after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering, unlicensed money transmitting, and sanctions violations. As part of the deal, founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao will step down as CEO.
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Northvolt makes EV battery breakthrough

As if giving the world IKEA, ABBA, and Spotify wasn’t already enough, Sweden is also solving a major hurdle for EV battery production.

What happened: Swedish startup Northvolt has developed a sodium-ion battery free of the critical (and pricey) metals that lithium-ion batteries require, a breakthrough which could make EV batteries cheaper and cut manufacturers’ current reliance on Chinese metals.
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Québec just bowled a turkey, ‘cause it’s got three straight strikes

A coalition of ~420,000 Québec public sector employees from four different unions, dubbed the Front Commun, are on the second leg of a three-day strike.

What happened: The strikers are a ragtag assemblage of fed-up public workers, including orderlies, hospital technicians, and the majority of high school and elementary teachers.  This strike is the first of three public worker strikes set to hit Québec this week alone. 
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OpenAI future in jeopardy

A complete meltdown at the world’s leading AI company continues to provide a steady stream of watercooler talking points and cast doubt on the future of the company

Driving the news: By late last night, around 700 of OpenAI's 770 employees had signed a letter calling for Sam Altman's reinstatement as CEO — including board member Ilya Sutskever, one of the board members who initially voted to fire Altman, according to people who have seen the letter.

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An update on the fall economic update

Are you self-conscious about your spending? Luckily, you don’t have to broadcast it to the entire nation like the federal government will later today in its fall economic update

Driving the news: The update — which we must note is merely a statement on the budget and not a new budget — will focus on two top-of-mind matters: Housing and affordability. 
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Amazon wants you to go back to (AI) school

Like us, you may have thought your school days were behind you… but since this AI thing seems to be sticking around, we might all be hitting the books again soon. 

What happened: Amazon is launching an AI skills program that will offer free training for up to two million people by 2025, including non-employees. The goal is to address the shortage of AI-trained talent that many companies are struggling with, per The Wall Street Journal. 
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Starship reaches space for first time

SpaceX made progress in the second test flight of its Starship rocket, but the program’s success is still far from certain. 

What happened: The 400-foot tall rocket rose more than 100 kilometres, leaving Earth’s atmosphere and entering space before its booster exploded.
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500+ OpenAI staff threaten resignation

We’ve been glued to our phones following the drama unfolding at the world’s (arguably) most important AI company so that you don’t have to

What happened: OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT and widely regarded as one of the organizations at the forefront of AI research, is embroiled in a dramatic internal power struggle.
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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, we sat down with Jennifer Quaid to talk about Canada’s competition laws and how they have shaped the country’s economy.
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Xi makes a splash in America

To the surprise and delight (emphasis on the surprise) of the world, Xi Jinping’s second face-to-face meeting with Joe Biden actually went pretty well. 

What happened: This week, Xi Jinping wooed politicians and business leaders during a four-day-long visit to San Francisco, where the Chinese President broke bread with America’s top political and business leaders at a $2,750-a-head welcome banquet. 
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The Las Vegas Grand Prix is a grand disappointment

The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix happens tonight on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s F1’s glitziest, costliest event of the year — it also looks destined to be its biggest disappointment. 

Driving the news: Like countless Vegas visitors, F1 owner Liberty Group miscalculated a risky bet. The company lowered its profit expectations after ticket sales severely missed expectations, despite being the most expensive of any Grand Prix race this season. 
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Microsoft bakes up its own computer chips

Just like making nachos at home is cheaper than getting them delivered from a restaurant, Microsoft hopes making its own computer chips will help rein in its AI costs.

What happened: Among the many AI-related announcements Microsoft made at its Ignite conference this week was a pair of new chips it will build itself, geared towards reducing the costs of delivering its sprawling suite of services.
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How brand safety tech hurts news websites

In Mad Men, Don Draper pulled airline ads so they wouldn’t run next to newspaper stories about a plane crash. Now imagine if that was happening all the time, every day, to every online news site.
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Big deals come early

In a bid to spread holiday cheer (read: get folks spending), retailers are expected to offer steeper discounts earlier this year.

Driving the news: Many major shopping destinations started Black Friday sales two weeks in advance, experts told Bloomberg, and, per Square’s holiday retail report, Canadian retailers plan to offer shoppers an 18% discount on average (a higher rate than U.S. stores).
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Toyota cuts a recycled battery deal

Like all of us in fourth-grade science class, Toyota is learning to reduce, reuse and recycle. 

What happened: Toyota will begin making batteries for some of its new electric and hybrid vehicles using recycled materials, including components from its old Prius models — part of a new deal with Redwood Materials that could have broad implications for the EV industry. 
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YouTube ushers in the age of AI music clones

If you’re like us, there’s a good chance your music career began and ended with high school band class. Now, YouTube’s new AI tools could make your popstar dreams a reality.

What happened: YouTube has launched Dream Track, its new generative AI tool that lets users create short pieces of music in the style of famous artists with a simple text prompt (i.e. “A sunny morning in Florida, R&B”) or hummed tune.
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Family docs drop plan to require extra training

The body in charge of certifying family doctors in Canada is throwing the Uno reverse card at planned new training regulations.

What happened: The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is rolling back a new rule that would have required an extra year of training for doctors entering family medicine.
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GM buys itself a win over Tesla

Fed up with trying to crack the code of Tesla’s low manufacturing costs, GM decided it would just buy the EV maker’s secret weapon. 

Driving the news: General Motors has bought casting company Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), one of the manufacturing specialists that has allowed Tesla to produce vehicles at lower costs than its competitors, per Reuters
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Meet your new weather forecaster: AI

AI could force us to find a new go-to topic for small talk by bringing about a future where we already know everything about the weather.

Driving the news: A new study found that Google Deepmind’s AI weather model, called GraphCast, was more accurate than the leading conventional three-to-ten-day forecast system run by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). 
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