Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

Ford’s latest challenge

Rob Ford, the oft-pilloried mayor of Toronto, is in hospital battling a tumour in his abdomen. He was admitted Wednesday. The diagnosis will place in jeopardy not only his health but also his election hopes. The official diagnosis has yet to come, but doctors at the west-end hospital near Ford’s home community of Etobicoke said a tumour was likely, based on the CT scan. Toronto’s mayoralty race is down to John Tory, Olivia Chow, and Ford. The last-placed David Soknacki withdrew, the deadline for which is fast approaching. Officials working on Ford’s campaign will have to decide whether or not Ford will stay the course. Ford, no stranger to challenge, spent two months in rehab dealing with alcohol and drug addiction. That, and a whole host of other controversies. [Source: Globe and Mail]

 Amnesty calls abuse on Thai junta

Amnesty International is pointing a finger at Thailand’s military government for allegedly engaging in pervasive human rights violations. They are charging the government, formed after the military deposed elected leader Yingluck Shinawatra in May, of arbitrary detentions, stifling free speech, unprovoked beatings, and unfair criminal trials. In a report issued by Amnesty, over 600 Thais had been detained on “Vague and flimsy grounds,” citing “attitude adjustment” as one of them. They were also credible reports of torture among the detainees. Political activistKritsuda Khunasen claimed she was beaten and suffocated with a bag during an interrogation. “The cumulative effect of these broad restrictions… are engendering a climate of fear and a culture of enforced silence,” the rights group said. The junta is refusing to acknowledge the report, and is planning to draft a new constitution by July 2015. [Source: BBC]

Pistorius cleared of murder charges

Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of murder charges, but awaits possible homicide verdict. Judge Thokozile Masipa said the trial lacked the evidence needed to charge Pistorius with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last Valentine’s Day. But, she added, “Culpable homicide is a competent verdict.” Pistorius, a man who has cried at these proceedings more than once, cried again after Masipa adjourned the court. If culpable homicide is the verdict, the Blade Runner could serve up to 15 years in prison. Masipa called Pistorius a “very poor witness,” backing that up by highlighting his differing accounts of why he fired as many rounds as he did through the bathroom door that his girlfriend was behind. No word on when the verdict is expected. [Source: National Post]

Tuition fees predicted to rise

Tuition fees across Canada will rise by nearly 13 per cent by 2017, according to a study published by the Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The think tank based their predictions off tuition and other university fee trends since 1993. “Fees continue to increase faster than the rate of inflation and they likely will for the next four years,” said report author David Macdonald, speaking to Global News.  The rise will affect all Canadian students, but the report also predicts, and hopefully with the right inputs to do so, that Saskatchewan will be the least affordable province to attend university. I blame pot ash and the Bakken oil field. [Source: Global News]

It’s not all edamame and tofu

Soybean farmers in western Manitoba are hoping for a few more weeks without frost. The forecast is not in their favour. Much of the soybean crop grown in the rest of the province is mature enough to come through a killing frost without damage. But Dennis Lange, a farm production adviser with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, told news sources that an early frost on a soybean plant not mature enough to handle one could mean a yield loss of 20 to 70 per cent, depending on the plant’s stage. Soybeans are fast becoming Manitoba’s go-to crop. This year, 5.6M acres of soybeans were seeded nationally, 1.3M of which were grown in Manitoba. This is up from the 1.1M the province planted last year. It’s on course to supplant canola as the province’s main crop. But it still has a ways to go for that. Roughly 85 per cent of all world’s soybean crop is processed into soybean meal or soybean oil. No, it doesn’t all become tofu and edamame. [Source: Manitoba Cooperator]


Toban Dyck wishes he would have cultivated later into the evening yesterday. It’s raining now. And it’s not wise to cultivate in the rain. He’s on Twitter @tobandyck

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