Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. RCMP foil terrorist attack on VIA rail

Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and Raed Jaser of Toronto have been arrested in connection with a plot to derail a VIA Rail passenger train that travels the route from Toronto to New York. RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said the men “were receiving support from al-Qaeda elements located in Iran.” The RCMP has also noted that there is no evidence suggesting involvement from the state of Iran. Toronto police had been keeping a close eye on the suspects after they received a tip a year and a half ago from members of the Toronto Muslim community. [Globe and Mail, CBC]

2. Israel says Assad is using chemical weapons in Syria

General Itai Brun, the head of research and analysis in Israeli military intelligence, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is now using chemical weapons in the civil war that has plagued the country since the spring of 2011. Ten days ago, British scientists said they found hard evidence of the use of chemical weapons in the soil near Damascus, but both sides of the Syrian conflict have pinned the blame on each other. While President Obama has stated in the past that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be crossing a “red line” (I guess the deaths of 60,000 people aren’t sufficient), the U.S. Government is holding out for more evidence. [New York Times, Atlantic]

3. Boston bombing suspect says the brothers worked alone

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the only living suspect from the Boston Marathon bombing, has told investigators that he and his brother Tamerlan received no outside help from international terrorist groups. He has also pointed to his brother Tamerlan (who was killed in a firefight with police on April 19) as the one largely responsible for the planning and execution of the attack. According to CNN, Dzhokhar said Tamerlan’s rationale for the attack was “the idea that Islam is under attack and jihadists need to fight back.” Which totally makes sense because, of all people, runners and their families pose the greatest threat to Islam. [CNN, Atlantic]

4. Anonymous fights back against bill affecting internet privacy

Yesterday, hacktivist group Anonymous called for an internet blackout in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). CISPA, which needs only to pass through the U.S. Senate to become law, would give the government more freedom to respond to cyber-threats, though Your Anon News (an “official” Anonymous news source) has stated that “If CISPA becomes law, the government can spy on you without a warrant, you’ll never even know when the gov’t downloads your private information, it makes it so companies can’t be sued when they do illegal things with your data, and it makes every privacy policy on the web useless and violates the 4th amendment.” [Daily Dot, Pastebin]

5. New trailer for ‘Thor: The Dark Worlds’

Marvel Studios has just released a teaser trailer for ‘Thor: The Dark Worlds’. The new Thor film, which is scheduled to hit theatres in November 2013, will act as a sequel to 2011’s ‘Thor’. According to the trailer, the movie will feature lots of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fighting for the love of his life, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), by hitting everything with his comically oversized war hammer. Click here to watch the trailer on YouTube.

Mark Schram grew up on a ranch in southwestern Manitoba and now writes out of Winnipeg. If you would like to offer him a job or ask him about how to pull a calf, you can contact him at