How to grow your Twitter following from 400 to 66,000 in one weekend: Get into a feud with Mike Huckabee

This week on ‘Focus Montreal’: Dec. 8, 2019

This week on Focus Montreal, Global takes a look at the English Montreal School Board under trusteeship and how anglophone Quebecers make up only one per cent of the province’s public sector workers.

Japan’s GDP grew at faster clip than expected

TOKYO–Japan’s economy grew at a much faster pace than initially estimated in the July-September quarter thanks to stronger-than-expected spending by companies, government data showed Monday.

The economy expanded an annualized 1.8% in the quarter, following 2.0% growth in the previous quarter, revised gross domestic product figures showed. That was much faster than the annualized 0.2% growth in a preliminary estimate from the Cabinet Office in November.

The data showed capital spending rose 1.8% from the previous quarter, compared with an initial estimate of a 0.9% increase.

Economists have forecast that the Japanese economy will likely shrink in the October-December quarter due to weaker consumption following an increase of the national sales tax increase in October to 10% from 8% and natural disasters that hit the nation during the period.

"On top of a fallback in demand after the consumption tax hike, typhoon damage resulted in distribution network disruption and the closure of factories and retailers," said Naohiko Baba, an economist at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo. Mr. Baba expects the Japanese economy to shrink by annualized 2.5% in the final quarter of 2019.

In the latest quarter, private consumption rose 0.5% compared with an initial estimate of 0.4%.

Last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved a $120 billion stimulus program, which Mr. Abe said would provide "concentrated support for those who are trying to overcome the downside risks to the economy." The package includes more than $50 billion to help the nation recover from a typhoon in October.

Write to Megumi Fujikawa at

Linda Ronstadt Tells Mike Pompeo to His Face: 'He'll Be Loved, When He Stops Enabling Donald Trump'

Linda Ronstadt did not let Saturday night’s festivities stop her from telling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo what she thought about his connection to President Donald Trump.

“I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling Donald Trump.”

The singer, songwriter and activist is one of the Kennedy Center’s Honorees this year. Both Ronstadt and Pompeo attended a pre-gala dinner where honorees were awarded their ribbons at the State Department.

Early in the evening Pompeo, who played host, referred to the lyrics of “When I Be Loved,” one of Ronstadt’s hit songs, saying to the 200 guests gathered, “As I travel the world, I wonder when will I be loved.”

Later, in the evening Ronstadt rose from her chair to deliver the zinger. And according to Variety, the audience first gasped, which was followed by slow applause that turned into cheers.

Variety, went on to report that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended the event and was greeted with a standing ovation.

Sunday’s Honors gala paid tribute to Ronstadt, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Sesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Big U.S. banks’ reluctance to lend may have caused repo-market shock: BIS

An unwillingness among the four leading U.S. banks to lend cash, combined with a surge in demand from hedge funds for secured funding, could explain the spike in U.S. money market rates and the sudden stress in the repo market beginning in September, the Bank for International Settlements said in a report dated Monday. Cash available to banks for short-term needs, also known as the repo market, all but disappeared in September, and some rates shot as high as 10% on certain overnight loans, which forced the Federal Reserve to make an emergency injection of billions of dollars for the first time since the global financial crisis roughly a decade ago. The major banks were not named in the report. The researchers conceded that the exact cause of the sudden stress is unknown but they reasoned that the factors could have ranged from large withdrawals for quarterly tax payments to the knock-on effects of sizeable trades in U.S. Treasuries. The BIS analysts emphasized that a growing over-reliance on the biggest U.S. banks to keep the repo market functioning may have been the leading factor. The Fed’s ongoing efforts to shore up the short-term repo lending markets have begun to rattle some market experts, as interventions have stretched to a third month.

Tourists injured after volcanic eruption in New Zealand

A volcano popular with tourists has erupted on White Island in New Zealand, with reports of multiple people suffering from critical injuries.

    New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there were about 100 people on the island at the time of the volcanic eruption, and some of them are unaccounted for.

    Al Jazeera talks to journalist Daniel Walker from Newstalk ZB, live from Auckland.

    Volcano at White Island, New Zealand erupts

    WELLINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – A moderate volcanic eruption began at White Island, New Zealand on Monday, about 50 km (30 miles) from the east coast of North Island, authorities said.

    It is hazardous in the immediate vicinity, the National Emergency Management Agency said in an email statement and on its Twitter page.

    Local media reports said there were people on or near the volcano at the time of the eruption, but this was not confirtmed by authorities.

    The agency said falling ash may affect some areas. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Kim Coghill)

    How to grow your Twitter following from 400 to 66,000 in one weekend: Get into a feud with Mike Huckabee

    Mike Huckabee, whether it be on TV or across social media, is the undisputed king of the cringiest dad jokes. Of course, in these divided times, not everybody’s a fan. Mashable once described him as a “sentient moldy marshmallow” who is “one of the worst things about Twitter” after this tweet:

    And who could forget this gem:

    Now, Huckabee, in a formal complaint, has reportedly accused Uhlfelder, who’s on a legal team fighting for public beach access, of “vile and unprofessional attacks” and “repeatedly posting disparaging information about me.”

    According to the Sun-Sentinel, there may be more behind the feud. Huckabee’s complaint was filed on October 15, four days after Uhlfelder fired off this:

    If nothing else comes out of this virtual tussle with Huckabee, Uhlfelder has become quite the Twitter sensation, with his following exploding from about 400 to more than 66,000 over the course of one weekend.