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5 things you absolutely must know today

Every morning, we scour the Internet and vet what we believe are the five things you absolutely need to know for the day. Join this mailing list to receive 5 things you absolutely must know today every morning, Monday to Friday, by 8 a.m.  


Brandon professor gets half a million to study masculinity

Brandon University professor, Jonathan A. Allan, has been given $500,000 to continue his work on the concept of masculinity and its shortcomings. Dr. Allan, of the university’s Gender and Women’s Studies Department, was named Tier II Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council last week. “In his role as Canada Research Chair in Queer Theory, Dr. Jonathan A. Allan will ask timely questions about the ways in which masculinity informs homophobia, and how homophobia negotiates misogyny and masculinity,” said Heather Duncan, vice-president of BU. During his five-year research appointment, Allan will also explore the effects of bullying, social anxiety, and phobias on the individual and on society, presumably relating his findings back to his work on masculinity. But that connection was not made clear in the press release. [Source: Brandon University]

WHO declares Nigeria Ebola-free, is praised for swift response

The World Health Organization has officially declared Nigeria Ebola-free, garnering international praise for its swift, effective response to the outbreak. Nigeria’s last reported case was over six weeks ago, a time frame the WHO considers long enough to confidently make the declaration. “The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated,” Said WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz on Monday. Nigeria was able to identify and locate each person who came in contact with infected, visiting diplomat Patrick Sawyer in July. Senegal has also been declared Ebola-free. The virus has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, with the highest concentration in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. [Source: BBC]

Album sales in 2014 the lowest recorded, not one goes platinum

2014 will be the first year in RIAA Platinum history that no album will receive the prestigious designation of selling over 1-million copies. The award began in 1976. The year is not over, granted, but according to Death and Taxes, no album is within reach of that number. Beyonce’s and Lorde’s latest attempts at music are the closest, but they were both released in 2013. And folks, 2014 also boast the fewest album sales since industry-standard Nielsen SoundScan began tracking such things in 1991. If Beyonce and Lorde suffer no platinums so musicians with raw, honest talent can get enough of the pie to survive, then this year has been a huge success for the music industry.  Anyway, this news, the platinum news, seems more a barometer of success against the putrid stench of homogeneity than anything else. [Source: Death and Taxes]

China’s Communist Party to tighten rule of law governance for all but itself

The annual meeting of China’s 205 Communist Party Central Committee leaders has begun, and will focus on such broad things as the rule of law and combating corruption. This plenum, says BBC’s China correspondent Carrie Grace, is perceived to yield large-scale political reforms. But, she said, the role of what pictures show as a tiered bank of black-suited dots is to nod in agreement to what Communist Party leader Xi Jinping proposes. The meeting will emphasize the importance of the rule of law to “build a prosperous society in all-rounded way,” according to a party statement. Critics are firing back, saying Xi is not planning to make the Community Part itself subject to the law it’s enforcing. [Source: BBC]

Chris Hadfield’s memoir to be made into ABC sitcom

Chris Hadfield’s 2013 memoir An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is reportedly being made into a sitcom by Warner Bros. The series will chronicle Hadfield’s life as he returns from space and re-assimilates to life on Earth. The show’s pilot is rumoured to air on the ABC network, and will be written by Jusitn Halpern (S**t My Dad Says) and Patrick Schumacker (Surviving Jack). Casting has not yet been announced, and neither Hadfield nor ABC has commented on the project. [Source: National Post]


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