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5 things you absolutely must know today

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Protests in Burkina Faso likened to Arab Spring, parliament and city hall set ablaze

Protesters have set fire to Burkina Faso’s parliament, city hall, and party headquarters over a ruling that could allow President Blaise Compaore to stay in power longer than his current 27-year reign. Activists stormed the buildings after hearing word that government was to consider a constitutional amendment that would make the extension possible. BBC reporters in the area are not able to confirm yet whether the proposal has been withdrawn, as the dust has yet to settle on the fires and protests. More than 1,000 people were able to penetrate security and enter parliament, ransacking it and, as mention, setting it ablaze. “October 30 is Burkina Faso’s Black Spring, like the Arab Spring,” Emile Pargui Pare, opposition activist, told news sources. Compaore seized the presidency in a 1987 coup. He’s a friend of the U.S. and France, allowing these friends to stage military attacks on Islamist extremist groups in the Sahel region. These friends, though, are also calling for his government to scrap the amendment, saying it could jeopardize stability. [Source: BBC]

Jian Ghomeshi: because it’s unavoidable

Read Melissa Martin’s article Do you know about Jian? Because her creative, meandering sentences expose the raw bits of the issue. Because the piece is meaningful. And because Martin is a fantastic writer. Eight women from across Canada are accusing former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of a spectrum of abusive acts: choking, beating, sexual harassment. Trailer Park Boys actor Lucy DeCoutere told the Star that in 2003 Ghomeshi slapped her three times in the head while choking her. Ghomeshi, who, by the way, is 47 years old, was fired from his gig as head guy on the radio show Q. Ghomeshi claims in a lawsuit filed against the CBC the next day, that the mother corp sacked him because they found his private life unsavory or unbecoming of his celebrity. Ghomeshi is into bondage & discipline (or dominance) sadomasochism (or submission & masochism). Wikipedia cited a few possibilities for BDSM. Ghomeshi’s into that. He said as much in a slippery tell-all on Facebook. The Star’s report claims women have come forward saying Ghomeshi has used teddy bears in his abuse-sex fantasies. And the list goes on. He is suing the CBC for $55-million for defamation and breach of trust.  A petition to showing support for the women affected by Jian Ghomeshi is being circulated. The “Gesture Of Love And Support” petition has been signed by more than 1,800 musicians, authors, activists, and concerned citizens. [Source: Toronto Star]

Sweden to recognize state of Palestine

Sweden is set to officially recognize the state of Palestine, said the centre-left government’s Foreign Ministier Margo Wallstrom. “Today’s recognition is a contribution to a better future for a region that has for too long been characterized by frozen negotiations, destruction and frustration,” wrote Wallstrom in the daily Dagens Nyheter. “Some will state this decision comes too soon. I am afraid, rather, that it is too late.” The announcement will make Sweden the first major European country to recognize the state of Palestine. It’s a move drawing criticism from the U.S. and Israel. The U.N. officially recognized the state of Palestine in 2012, but most EU countries have yet to follow. Wallstrom hopes the move will help the peace process, as Palestinians fight for statehood in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. [Source: Reuters]

God’s okay with big bang and evolution, is not a wizard, says Pope

The Big Bang and evolution, two theories that, like abortion, have long plagued and polarized the religious community, are now okay to believe, says Pope Francis.  “Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.” Evolution happened, is happening. And the Big Bang is what we have for an acceptable origin theory. Great. Both are compatible with the Catholic Church, and both were made possible by God’s impetus, he said, adding that evolution requires existence to begin. The book of Genesis gives readers the impression of God as a wizard. “But it is not so,” said the Pope. “He created life and let each creature develop according to the natural laws which he had given each one.” This is an interesting turn, but it may fall on largely deaf ears. For the non-Catholic religious community, this will only confirm and harden their stance against the Papacy. And for right-wing Catholics, the same, though with a bit more to reconcile. [Source: RT]

Palestinian leader says holy site closure is “declaration of war”

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the closure of Jerusalem holy site Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif is a “declaration of war”. Yehuda Glick, a U.S.-born activist for the rights of the Jewish people to pray at the disputed site, was wounded at the Temple, forcing its closure. The Jewish people are currently not allowed to use the holy area. Israeli police have since killed the Palestinian man suspected in the shooting.”This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” an Abbas spokesperson told AFP news. “The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks.” This incident is the latest in a string of attacks in the area. [Source: BBC]

Honourable mention goes to the U.S. Forest Service advising people visiting Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe to not take selfies with bears. It’s a popular thing to do in the area, apparently. [Source: Sacramento Bee] Here are a few of those selfies:

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Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck 

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