Need to know

Stories we’re watching: a watch launched, a shipwreck found

Also: Rob Ford meets Mike Tyson
CIRCA 1754: The ’Erebus’ and the ’Terror’ Among Icebergs. Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) British naval officer and arctic explorer commanded the 1845 expedition of the ships ’Erebus’ and ’Terror’ to search for the North West Passage. All members of the expedition perished. Chromoxylograph from The Polar World by G Hartwig (London, 1874). Universal History Archive/Getty Images
Universal History Archive/Getty Images
Universal History Archive/Getty Images

1. Apple launched new phones and, yes, a watch. The tech giant’s loyal devotees celebrated another in a long line of massively hyped product launches. The iPhone 5 will now begin its gradual descent into the land of yesterday’s gizmos, where many an Apple wunderkind of years past lies in obsolescence. The shiny new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the new kids on the block. The 6 is 4.7″ across, while the Plus is 5.5″, smaller than rival phones pumped out by Samsung. The new phones will allow for in-store credit card transactions and unlocking of rooms at Starwood hotels. Spiffy. But wait, there’s more. Apple is also launching a watch for a cool $349US. The catch: the wrist-bound toy requires at least an accompanying iPhone 5. Apple made the mistake of an attempted event livestream. When technical difficulties ensued, foiled watchers predictably aired their displeasure. Things got ironic, as they do on the internet.

2. A Syrian rebel leader died in a suicide attack. At least 20 people died at what Al Jazeera styled a “high-level meeting” of Islamic Brigade leasers in Ram Hamdan, a village in Syria’s Idlib province. They’d gathered to plot strategy as they fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the fearsome terror group that’s wrought havoc in the Middle East (and triggered a forthcoming military response from NATO, which two Tory cabinet ministers defended at a parliamentary committee today).  Hassan Abboud, who headed the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, lay among the dead. That brigade has fought both ISIS and Assad government forces, but no one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

3. Researchers found a lost ship from the Franklin Expedition. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will sleep well tonight. The PM has taken a personal interest in years-long attempts to locate a pair of ships lost when Sir John Franklin’s attempt to traverse the Northwest Passage failed in 1846—and all 129 men on the expedition perished somewhere in frigid Arctic waters. Last month, Harper participated in the search during his annual sojourn to Canada’s North—a preoccupation with the longtime mystery that a CBC reporter recently dubbed a prime ministerial obsession. Harper might now feel somewhat vindicated since, this past weekend, researchers found one of the ships. The Toronto Star published an inside account that explains how the diverse group of Canadian scientists and researchers located the shipwreck. Pretty cool stuff, to be sure. But now what captivating mystery that spawns a thousand friendly headlines will the Prime Minister talk about when he heads north? No doubt the PMO is on the lookout.

Parks Canada footage

4. “Objects” brought down the Malaysian jetliner that crashed in Ukraine. The Dutch Safety Board’s experts don’t know exactly what brought down MH-17, the Malaysia Airlines flight that lost 298 passengers and crew when it fell out of the sky near the Russian border on July 17. But they have determined, in a preliminary report released today, that “a large number of high-energy objects,” of some sort, were behind the tragedy—and that data suggested “no indications of any technical or operational issues.” The safety board drew no conclusions about who was responsible, but did note that several other aircraft were airborne in MH-17’s vicinity when it broke apart.

5. Rob Ford met Mike Tyson. The former heavyweight champion and convicted rapist paid Toronto’s mayor a visit at city hall. Tyson, not traditionally known for his expertise with respect to local politics, called Ford the “best mayor in Toronto’s history.” Tyson’s checkered past offered the mayor another opportunity, in a long line of opportunities, to talk about how nobody’s perfect and everybody deserves a second chance. Mayoral challenger John Tory’s strategists can be excused if they’re trying to get Evander Holyfield’s people on the phone. Gotta fight fire with fire when you’re facing off against a celebrity mayor.