What are we reading? January 9, 2020


Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.


Glen Korstrom, reporter:

In an era when sex-assault stories are more frequent and salacious, this one stood out for being incredible on so many levels. Many outlets covered the story about the slight, Indonesian ex-pat and PhD student who regularly attended church in Manchester, England yet found time to rape up to 200 men, most who identify as straight, within about two and a half years. The magnitude of the rapist’s crimes is as amazing as the fact that almost all victims had no recollections of the video-recorded events, and that nobody seemed to die from being given too much of a date-rape drug.

This story appeared to be the most thorough, and it is a long read. It highlights how appearances can be deceptive, and it stands as a warning of the dangers of accepting even water from a new acquaintance. – Manchester Evening News


Given how harsh Thailand's legal penalties for possessing cannabis have been for decades, it is remarkable that the kingdom became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana in 2019. Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said at an event in November that legalizing recreational cannabis "is the next step," according to Bloomberg. While he does not expect that to happen in the government's four-year term, simply saying such a thing underscores the sea change in thinking and hints at both future market opportunities for Canadian producers as well as where future competition will be – Bloomberg



Tyler Orton, reporter:

“Once you’re in the system, you’re in trouble.”

Journalist and author Jake Adelstein sums up the impetus behind Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan’s justice system in just a few words, but give his article a read to understand why an individual with means may not wish to stick around to see his case go through the courts.

I highly recommend Adelstein’s book, Tokyo Vice, as the former Japan crime reporter (he started as a university exchange student and built his career there) details common practices that would make our skins crawl in Canada (weeks of solitary confinement with no charges, forced confessions, ubiquitous deference to authorities). – Japan Times



Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

An exhaustive 2020 inventory of the world's top-performing cities as ranked by Resonance Consultancy finds Vancouver, at 41, just ahead of Dublin, Ireland, and just behind Austin, Texas. Toronto (17) is in the top 20. Rankings are based on a wide range of metrics related to place, reputation and competitive identity and include factors such as employment, investment, transportation connectivity and cultural diversity. Topping the charts, despite the U.K.'s interminable and tedious Brexit tragicomedy: London. – Resonance Consultancy


Mark Falkenberg, deputy managing editor: 

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index rose sharply in December, suggesting a more optimistic mood among consumers after a rocky showing near the end of the year. – Bloomberg



After multiple bankruptcies, Donald Trump couldn’t count on any major financial institution to lend him money – except Deutsche Bank. This exception has puzzled observers for years, but according to reports, a whistleblower has shed light on why the bank would be willing to risk millions on such an obviously bad bet – Russia was vouching for Trump via VTB Bank. – Palmer Report



Hayley Woodin, reporter:

The Daily podcast from The New York Times dedicated two episodes to the killing of Iranian general Qassim Suleimani. The first offers context around why the decision was made and how it came to pass. The second outlines its significance and its consequences; in particular, reaction in Iran and the Middle East. – The Daily, The New York Times




We have a colleague at BIV who is often desperate to get rid of the multiple calendars, coasters, greeting cards and tchotchkes he receives – unhappily – from the organizations he donates to. He tells me he has asked them to stop, but the gifts just keep coming, and not for no reason. Why charities often give to get, and how much courting your charity can cost them. – Vox