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5 things you absolutely must know today

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TIME apologizes for including ‘feminist’ among words to ban

TIME magazine has apologized for including the word ‘feminist’ as a possible word to ban in the year 2015. It’s their fourth annual word banishment poll. They supply the shortlist of possible castoffs, along with a brief write-up, and readers vote. Simple. Their apology, however, is less that and more a passive-aggressive jab at our inability to understand what’s really going on behind the word’s inclusion. Here’s their apology: “TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban. While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.” And their reason: “feminist: You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.” [Source: Death and Taxes, TIME Magazine]

Attack at Jerusalem synagogue kills four, injures eight

Three U.S. citizens and one Israeli were killed Tuesday in what BBC is calling “a frenzied assault” on Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Eight others were wounded in the attack carried out during morning prayer by two Palestinian men, who reportedly used meat cleavers and a gun. The Palestinian men were killed by police in a gunfight. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the attackers belonged to their group, but did not say whether they instructed the men to carry out the attack.  Hamas has praised the attack. Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said his country will “respond harshly” to the attack. And Israel has already received condolences from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Fears have been intensifying since violence erupted at the contested holy site Muslims call the noble sanctuary and the Jewish people call the temple mount. The site is said to be a flashpoint for the Israel-Palestine conflict. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also condemned the attacks. [Source: The Guardian]

Mass murderer Charles Manson to marry 26-year-old

Charles Manson, 80, mass murderer, has been granted permission by way of a license to marry 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, in prison. Burton has been at Manson’s side for the past nine years, trying to exonerate him, having left her home to do so. The prison has assigned a wedding coordinator to the “case”, and the couple has until February to wed before the license expires. “Y’all can know that it’s true,” said Burton, who goes by the name Star. “It’s going to happen. I love him. I’m with him.” The married couple, once minted as such, will not be able to consummate their union, as Manson does not have such privileges. Star told news sources her motivation to marry Manson is partly due to the increased access she’ll receive to his case files, as his wife. Manson was convicted of murdering seven people.  [Source: National Post]

Mafia police arrest 40 in connection with crime syndicate

Mafia police have arrested 40 people in northern Italy linked to the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate. Police were able to film a secret, initiation meeting where those involved in the syndicate organized their hierarchy within the group and gave each other roles. Such meetings the ‘Ndrangheta call “Santa.” According to police, this is the first time they were able to record a Santa ceremony. These things are not cool, because they are real. Remember that. But words like mafia, syndicate, secret, initiation, do distract a little from the potential severity of the crimes under investigation. [Source: BBC]

Polar bear population decreased by half due to starvation: study

Polar bear populations are dwindling, according to a new U.S.-Canada study, in which scientists saw an increase in the amount of young cubs starving and dying largely due to shrinking sea ice. From 2004 to 2010, the polar bears that were tagged by the U.S. Geological Survey and Environment Canada shrank in population from 1,600 to about 900. The bears in this study were released in the southern Beaufort Sea after being tagged. “These estimates suggest to me that the habitat is getting less stable for polar bears,” said Jeff Bromaghin, the study’s lead author. “We suspect that they are dying of starvation.” The summer sea ice is where seals live, and seals are what polar bears eat. [Source: AP, Study]



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