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5 things you absolutely must know today

Photo credit: National Geographic

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Harper extents ISIL mission in Syria

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada will extend its air-based war against Islamic State in Syria for one year. Canada will be the first NATO country, apart from the U.S., to engage in airstrikes inside Syria’s borders. “The government recognises that ISIL’s power base, indeed the so-called caliphate’s capital, is in Syria,” said Harper. “We will work closely with our American and other allies, who have already been carrying out such operations against ISIL over Syria in recent months.” Harper announced the change and extension and has asked the House of Commons to vote on the new measures. The vote is expected to pass, despite strong opposition from the NDP and Liberals. [Source: BBC]

Indiana to enact “religious freedom” law enabling discrimination

Apparently jealous of Utah’s recent step backwards (reintroducing firing squads), Indiana is set to enact a “religious freedom” law that will allow people to refuse services of any kind to people with different beliefs than their own. If written into law, which Governor Mike Pence is expected to do, businesses will be allowed to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers. Organizers of Gen Con, a large gaming convention taking place in Indiana, Gen Con, told lawmakers that if Pence signs the bill, they will leave the state. The convention is the state’s largest. [Source: BBC]

Ted Cruz thinks – eureka! He thinks – country music responded well to 9/11

U.S. Presidential candidate and current Texas Senator Ted Cruz told CBS Tuesday that after 9/11 he quit listening to rock music because he didn’t like the way it, as an entire genre, responded to the tragedy. Cruz, the ostensible half-wit, told CBS This Morning he thinks country music did a great job of reacting to the events of September 11, 2001. The batch of country musicians performing during that formative time for Cruz probably had no idea they were battling rock ‘n’ roll for top spot on his playlist.   “You know, music is interesting. I grew up listening to classic rock, and I’ll tell you sort of an odd story. My music tastes changed on 9/11. And it’s a very strange — I actually intellectually find this very curious. But on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me. And I have to say, it just as a gut level — I had an emotional reaction that says, ‘These are my people.’ And so ever since 2001, I listen to country music.” [Source: Death and Taxes]

Don’t buy breast milk online: study

So, buying breast milk online is bad thing, according to a recent report, and, arguably, also according to reason. Researchers from the University of London’s school of medicine and dentistry cited a study that found more than 90 per cent of breast milk sold online contained bacteria, and that some of the sellers of milk were drug users. The sites selling the milk are growing exponentially, said the researchers, attracting a large number of buyers from the U.S., who are purchasing the sketchy product to feed their babies, or because of its purported quality as a natural superfood, or because they have a fetish to be fed like a baby. People should get the milk they are buying online for $4 per ounce tested, said lead author Dr. Sarah Steele. [Source: Guardian]

Three new peacock spiders found in Australia

There is a new species of spider called Sparklemuffin. Scientist working in eastern Australia actually found three new kinds of peacock spider: the aforementioned Sparklemuffin, Skeletorus, and the Elephant spider. They are all gorgeous. Sparklemuffin is especially so with a blast of colour on its backend. But what’s kind of terrifying, is that peacock spiders are jumping spiders, meaning they can, yes, jump, but also that their eyesight is as sharp and clear as a cat’s. So, the takeaway: if in eastern Australia, wear tops that close snug around your neck, and jogging pants with elastic bands around your ankles. [Source: National Geographic]


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