Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Police kill Boston bombing suspect in shootout

After an extensive manhunt and a shootout with police, one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing case has been shot and killed. The man has been identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a competitive boxer who moved to the U.S. from Chechnya to escape warfare. The second suspect in the case is his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is still on the loose. Boston and the surrounding area have been placed on total lockdown as cops close in on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, so you can probably expect a conclusion to the chaos by the end of the day. [Atlantic, New York Times]

2. UN high commissioner calls for aid in Syria

Comparing the Syrian civil war to the refugee crises in Afghanistan and Iraq, UN high commissioner António Guterres said the war was more “brutal and destructive than both and was already the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of the cold war,” according to a recent article in the Guardian. Guterres said he expects “half the population of Syria [will be] in dire need of assistance and this is incomprehensible.” [Guardian]

3. Obama criticizes Senate after gun legislation fails to pass

President Barack Obama has called the failure of the Senate to pass gun legislation “a pretty shameful day for Washington.” Though recent polls have shown the measures were supported by 80 per cent of Americans, the 54-46 vote needed 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster. Some critics are questioning the legitimacy of the vote, with the Atlantic pointing out that those who blocked the bill “only represent 38 per cent of America,” and the Guardian revealing that all but three of the Senators who voted against the bill had received money from firearms lobbyists. [Atlantic, Guardian]

4. Earth-like planets discovered

Using the Kepler space observatory, researchers have discovered two planets that might just be the perfect distance from the star they orbit to have water. But we can’t abandon this planet just yet—scientists are still not sure whether the worlds would be hospitable to life. Also, they’re 1,200 light years away, so it’s impossible to get there. For now… [BBC]

5. Iron & Wine releases new album

Bearded singer-songwriter Sam Beam, who performs under the name Iron & Wine, has just released Ghost on Ghost, his fifth full-length studio album. Partly due to the added use of strings and horns, Ghost on Ghost feels both more live and more jazz-influenced than Beam’s previous albums. In a recent conversation with Interview Magazine, Beam explained his rationale behind the added instrumentation:

“I hadn’t worked with strings before, and I always liked those textures in R&B music and torch songs. I’ve always liked string sections. I’m a sucker for melody, so it’s fun to have strings add more layer of melody in the arrangement.” [Pitchfork, Interview]

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