Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. India announces low-cost Rotavirus vaccine

An Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer has unveiled a new vaccine for Rotavirus that will cost only about a dollar—almost 20 times cheaper than the current vaccine. Rotavirus is the leading worldwide cause of diarrhea among infants and children, resulting in the deaths of more than 450,000 children each year, and 100,000 of those deaths are in India. Once clearance is given, Bharat Biotech is expected to mass-produce the vaccine beginning within the next year. [BBC]

2. Obama calls IRS targeting ‘intolerable and inexcusable’

U.S. President Barack Obama has called the intentional targeting of conservative groups by the IRS “intolerable and inexcusable,” adding that “the IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.”

Obama was pressured to hold the press conference Tuesday evening after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered an FBI investigation into actions taken by the IRS leading up to the 2012 presidential election. Obama played the fool to his critics, saying he wasn’t aware of the corruption until a few weeks ago, which seems suspicious, especially since he’s accumulated a bit of a scandalous record as of late. [BBC]

3. Kuwaiti police arrest more than 200 people for being gay

Kuwaiti police, who’ve obviously run out of real crimes to pursue, have arrested 215 people on suspicion of being gay. After investigating “internet cafes and suspicious places” throughout the country, police launched the massive raid earlier this week. The Kuwaiti media, who seem to share their opinion of gay people with the police, covered the event with all sorts of demeaning headlines, like the following from the Kuwait Times:

“Over 200 homos, lesbians held in countrywide Net cafe raids”

According to the Kuwaiti penal code, “consensual intercourse between men of full age (from the age of 21) shall be punishable with a term of imprisonment of up to seven years.” [Atlantic]

4. China cracks down on controversial bloggers

The growth of the internet has been giving the government of China a difficult time lately; just a few weeks ago, they had to censor people from making fun of their new penis building, and now they’re having to take it to bloggers writing about social injustice. Not one to beat around the bush, the Chinese government said their goal “is to cut off at the source channels for disseminating erroneous currents of thought”. Two notable accounts that have been terminated are those of He Bing, a professor at Beijing’s University of Politics and Law, and Murong Xuecun, a novelist who’s blog was followed by more than 1.1 million people. [Guardian]

5. DNA finding suggests new origin of ancient civilization

A new study suggests the Minoans, a Bronze Age civilization originating on the island of Crete, Greece, likely descended from Neolithic populations in Europe. The original theory was that Minoans had come from Northern Africa, but DNA testing of more than 100 individuals ranging from 4,900 to 3,800-years-old resulted in no evidence of DNA markers common in present-day African populations. [Nature]

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