Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today (weekend edition)

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two children’s activists

Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi are the winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. The pair, both children’s activists, took the prize for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Friday in Oslo. This year’s award pairs Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl known across the globe as an outspoken advocate for girls’ education, with Satyarthi, a veteran advocate known for her campaigns to end child labour and put a stop to the trafficking of children. Yousafzai, the youngest person in the prize’s history to win the award, was shot in the head on Oct. 2, 2012 by a Taliban militant. She recovered and now lives with her family in England, unable to return home as death threats continue. “They wanted to silence one Malala, but instead now thousands and millions of Malalas are speaking,” she told CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti in 2013. [Source: CBC]

North and South Korea exchange fire over balloon activism

The Koreas exchanged fire across their border Friday, according to reports from South Korean officials. The tenuous peace between the two countries briefly fell apart after South Korean activists let loose a bunch of balloons containing pamphlets rebuking North Korean leader – currently missing North Korean leader – Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang had reportedly warned Seoul of the consequence if the activists were allowed to proceed. North Korea fired at the balloons and the South responded with a few shots of their own. No casualties or injuries have been reported. North and South Korea are separated by the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a heavily-fortified border erected as part of the Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953, which marked the end of the Korean war. [Source: BBC]

Harper Government has knee-jerk reaction to legalization call: Stiffer pot penalties

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest mental health and research facility, wants the Harper government to legalize marijuana. “Legalization means that we remove all penalties for cannabis possession and use by adults,” said a CAMH director Jurgen Rehm. “Canada’s current system of cannabis control is failing to prevent or reduce the harms associated with cannabis use. Based on a thorough review of the evidence, we believe that legalization combined with strict regulation of cannabis is the most effective means of reducing the harms associated with its use.” Justice Minister Peter MacKay responded, saying Harper has no interest in legalizing marijuana. Surprise. In fact – and, again, a surprise to no one – Harper intends to stiffen enforcement of marijuana laws, possibly making it much more legally problematic to possess even small quantities. Trudeau and Davies agree with the Centre’s recommendation, and have been vocal about legalization. [Source: Winnipeg Free Press]

Rene Descartes had a tumour, apparently 

French medical anthropologist Philippe Charlier, a forensic sleuth, revealed that the founder of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes, had a massive tumour in his right sinus. The philosopher was believed to have died as a result of pneumonia, but this new evidence suggests the growth Charlier discovered may have played a role, as well. The discovery came after Charlier, who has done forensic research on Joan of Arc, Richard the Lionheart, and Napoleon Bonaparte, analyzed high-tech scans of the rationalist’s skull.  Charlier is hoping more revelations will come as a result of his analysis. “Our investigations should open the way to a functional and physiological analysis of the individual who lived in this skull,” he said. Descartes is known for a few things: “I think, therefore I am,” the wax argument, his work Discourse on the Method, and the fact that he lived with his parents. [Source: Japan Times]

China bans artists and entertainers with questionable backgrounds

China has ordered media outlets to ban works of entertainers and artists known to be involved in things like the use of drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and other vice crimes. The decree reportedly came from the country’s regulating body State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, though this has yet to be confirmed by them. But it has been confirmed and disseminated by the Communist Party-run People’s Daily. The Sept. 28 order claims people involved in such questionable activity have wounded the entertainment industry and are the cause, in part, of society’s moral decay. [Source: CTV]


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