Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Rob Ford to chair executive committee meeting today as senior communications staff resign

Beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will attend an executive committee meeting today as chair just days after the committee urged him to come clean on the crack scandal (crackergate?). Yesterday, Ford’s press secretary George Christopoulos and deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom tendered their resignations while last Thursday, Ford’s former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, left his job at the Mayor’s office telling the media that it was not his decision. [National Post]

2. Canada a pretty good place to live, OECD ranking

Canada has placed third in an OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Better Life Index ranking of the best countries to live in, but the report lists income inequality in Canada as an area of concern. The top 20 per cent of Canadian earners make five times more than the bottom 20 per cent. However, Canadians are more satisfied with their lives in general than the OECD average, trust their government more and work fewer overall hours per year than the OECD average. [Winnipeg Free Press]

3. Russia to provide arms to Syria in effort to deter foreign intervention

Russia will deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, saying the munitions will help deter foreign intervention while Israel’s defense minister noted that their military is prepared to stop the shipments Syria, fearing the weapons could slip into the hands of hostile groups, including the Lebanese militant Hezbollah, a Syrian ally and enemy of Israel. [BBC]

4. Baby in China rescued out of sewer pipe

Firefighters in Zhejiang province in China rescued a newborn boy from a sewer pipe below a squat toilet of a residential building. A tenant of the building heard cries from the baby in the building’s public restroom on Saturday and notified authorities, who then staged a two-hour rescue of the newborn. The boy is now recovering in hospital while strangers have come forward with diapers, baby clothes, powdered milk and offers to adopt the child; however, he will be passed over to social services if his parents do not claim him. In China, reports of abandoned babies are common and are fodder for public anger against the country’s strict one-child policy. [Guardian] 

5. Re-animated arctic plants could be used for colonizing Mars

A team of biologists from the University of Alberta have re-grown plants buried for centuries under glaciers in the Canadian Arctic, research that may be useful for people exploring life on other planets. The results of their study were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and suggest that land plants are surprisingly resilient and could be relevant for people attempting to set up a colony on Mars. [Globe and Mail]

Palmer does the social media for Spectator Tribune and has his own Twitter account, too!