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Report on how Canada failed its indigenous population expected today

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, expected to be released Tuesday morning, will say that what happened in the church-run residential schools was tantamount to cultural genocide. The report is said to be a 2.3 million-word, comprehensive account of the post-colonization history of Canada’s indigenous people, including survivor interviews and historical data, according the Globe and Mail, which received a copy ahead of the official release. “As a parent, as a family, when you’ve lost somebody, you need to know everything about that loss that you can get your hands on,” Justice Murray Sinclair, the chair of the commission, told the Globe and Mail. “You need to know all that can be disclosed, you need to know why they died, where they died, what they died of and you need to know as well, where they are buried.” The report includes accounts of how the child welfare system in Canada has failed the country’s indigenous population, and it also included the harrowing stats surrounding student deaths. According to the numbers provided to the commission, 3,200 students died in residential schools, but Sinclair believes the actual toll to be much higher. Many of the grave sites were never marked or cared for, as the Canadian government didn’t want to spend the money. [Source: Globe and Mail]

South Koreans taking part in fake funerals to combat stress

Pretend funerals is a growing trend in South Korea. The ritual and attention to detail is bizarre, and macabre. It’s a way for companies to combat rising suicide rates and general stress among workers. It’s supposed to help them appreciate life, again or for the first time. South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, BBC reports. The BBC attended one of these, and observed the weeping when participants dressed in white robes had to write final letters to the ones they love. They are shown inspirational videos of people making the most of life despite adverse conditions. They then stand beside the coffin prepared for them, pause, slowly lie down in it while hugging a picture of themselves. A man, dressed to represent the angel of death, closes the door. The participants at this session were sent by their employer, human resources firm Staffs. “Our company has always encouraged employees to change their old ways of thinking, but it was hard to bring about any real difference,” said Staffs president Park Chun-woong, whose employees took part in the exercise. “I thought going inside a coffin would be such a shocking experience it would completely reset their minds for a completely fresh start in their attitudes.” [Source: BBC]

Swearing is a sign of sizeable vocabulary, according to this f’n study

Studies are a strange beast. I’ll lead with that. Swearing, apparently, is a sign of a large vocabulary, according to study published in Language Sciences. There are so many cheeky things I’d like to write in this brief (the pungence of a well-placed swear, the hilarity of the bleeped-out swear sequence in the Bringing Up Buster episode of Arrested Development), but let’s stick to the reported facts. The study involved men and women between the ages of 18 and 22. They were asked to say as many swear words as they could in 60 seconds then immediately name as many animal names as they could in 60 seconds. Those who knew more swears, knew more animals. The researchers wrote: “Unfortunately, when it comes to taboo language, it is a common assumption that people who swear frequently are lazy, do not have an adequate vocabulary, lack education or simply cannot control themselves. The overall finding of this set of studies, that taboo fluency is positively correlated with other measures of verbal fluency, undermines the [normal] view of swearing.” [Source:]

MSF blasts UN for inaction in war-ravaged South Sudan

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling out the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Unity state, an oil-filled and war-ravaged area of South Sudan, as being a “complete and utter failure,” the Guardian reports. MSF says Unity has been the scene of murder, rape, and abduction and the UN has done very little. Since fighting began in December 2013, reports of forced cannibalism, sexual violence against girls and boys as young as eight, and attacks on those in hospital. In the article: “In May this year, pro-government forces killed as many as 129 children in the state over a three-week period. Survivors said boys were castrated and left to bleed to death, girls as young as eight were gang-raped, and others were thrown alive into burning buildings.” The details are horrible, and they go on. “There has been a complete and utter protection failure on Unmiss’ part in southern Unity,” said MSF’s Pete Buth. “There has not been any protection to speak of until now while the violence has been ongoing and there have been thousands of people coming into the [Protection of Civilians] sites in Bentiu from southern Unity – those who manage to flee – and they have been telling their stories.” A UN spokesperson told the Guardian the organization has “deep concerns” over the situation in southern Unity, but added: “We underscore that the responsibility to protect civilians is primarily the responsibility of the host government, and the warring parties are directly responsible for their actions in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. However, the mission rejects the allegation by MSF of a complete and utter protection failure on the part of Unmiss.” [Source: Guardian]

Coalition of 34 countries formed to fight extremism

A terrorism-fighting coalition of 34 mainly Muslim nations has been formed with a joint military headquarters to be established in Saudi Arabia, according to the country’s state media. The alliance will focus on fighting extremism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, and Afghanistan. The group is made up of countries in Asia, Africa, and the Gulf. Speaking at a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Prince Mohammed said the alliance formed because “the Islamic world’s vigilance in fighting this disease [terrorism] which has damaged the Islamic world. Currently, every Muslim country is fighting terrorism individually… so co-ordinating efforts is very important.” [Source: BBC]


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