February News Briefs

Ontario pledges C$97 million to Toronto for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

On Thursday, February 1, a letter from Ontario to Toronto’s city manager revealed that the province would pay up to C$97 million for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This includes the cost of the five games Toronto is hosting. The US and Mexico will also co-host the upcoming world soccer tournament, which will span 16 different cities. The first game will be on June 11, 2026, in Mexico City.

The funding is provided by Ontario on the condition that the city will use it to construct long-lasting public infrastructure that will benefit the community even after the tournament. The letter also stipulates that the nearly C$100 million must be matched by funding from the federal government. According to the letter detailed by Deputy Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Sarah Harrison, “The money is not to go toward any costs where the primary beneficiary is a private, for-profit, or otherwise non-public entity.” 

The estimated cost of the five games hosted in Toronto is approximately C$300 million. The city will contribute around C$90 million, the province will provide C$97 million, and the federal government will cover the remaining costs. The games, set to be held at the BMO field, are predicted to generate 3,300 jobs and welcome 174,000 tourists.   

Instagram will no longer recommend political content for its users

On February 9, the social media platform Instagram announced on its website that it would no longer “proactively recommend content about politics on recommendation surfaces across Instagram and Threads.” This change does not apply to political accounts that Instagram users already follow.  

Professional accounts can use “Account Status” to verify if their posts are recommended to users and if their content is regarded as political by the platform. If any users with professional accounts disagree, they have the option to edit or remove their posts, request a review, or stop posting content temporarily until they are eligible to be recommended again.

According to Instagram’s blog post announcement, Facebook will also eventually undergo these changes. While no specific date was provided for when these changes would come into effect, the platform stated that the changes would be enforced “slowly over time to get this right.”

Massive oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago calls for national emergency

On February 7, an unknown 330-foot-long vessel capsized, resulting in a massive oil spill along the coastline of Trinidad and Tobago. Prime Minister Keith Rowley referred to the spill as a national emergency on February 11. When an event is classified as a national emergency, it indicates that the local resources are incapable of containing the situation and require international help. 

The oil leak spanned 15 kilometres of the coastline, damaging a reef and some Atlantic beaches. Authorities installed floating barriers to ensure that the spill does not continue to spread. A preliminary investigation found that the overturned vessel was being tugged into Guyana after departing from Panama. Authorities are still searching for the owner.

Tourism is crucial for the dual-island’s economy, and Carnival season is one of the nation’s biggest tourist attractions. Prime Minister Rowley has expressed concern that the spill will impact Trinidad and Tobago’s economy in the coming months.

Gunshots fired amid Super Bowl victory parade in Kansas City 

On February 14, gunshots were fired at a Kansas City parade and rally celebrating the Chiefs’ Superbowl victory. About one million people attended. One person died by gunfire and 22 were injured from the shooting, eight of whom had life-threatening injuries. According to a local hospital, 11 of the injured were ages six to 15. 

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves stated during a media briefing on February 14 that firearms had been retrieved but did not provide information on the types of firearms involved in the shooting. The shooting broke out after an argument between two men, both of whom were wounded and charged. Both men are recovering in a hospital while being held on a one-million-dollar bond. 


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