Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Duffy scandal deepens with discovery of more illicit expenses

Independent auditors said Conservative Sen. Mike Duffy submitted expense claims while Parliament was dissolved, a report that comes just a day after it was revealed Duffy received a cash gift of $90,000 from Chief of Staff Nigel Wright to help him pay off illegitimate housing expense claims. Though the auditors say the records for most of Duffy’s activities haven’t yet been disclosed to the public, they have already uncovered five instances of Duffy claiming Senate expenses while he was actually campaigning. [National Post]

2. BBC reveals footage of possible chemical attacks in Syria

The use of chemical warfare by the Syrian government has become even more difficult to deny after the BBC released a video showing helicopters dropping shells on the town of Saraqeb. Shortly after the shells were dropped, people began to flood into hospitals with injuries characteristic of chemical weapons. Though it seems the evidence has become difficult to argue against, BBC reports that “President Barack Obama has said the current intelligence on possible chemical weapon usage did not constitute sufficient proof.” Click the following link to watch the BBC’s compilation of footage. [BBC]

3. Venezuela imports 50 million rolls of toilet paper

Venezuelans can put up with a lot of shortages, but a lack of toilet paper was the last straw. After consumers were forced to struggle for weeks to find a single roll of toilet paper, the Venezuelan government has decided to import 50 million rolls to deal with the paper shortage. In classic Hugo Chávez style, President Nicolás Maduro has claimed that anti-government forces are responsible for the shortages, because, as we all know, the best way to overthrow a government is with a bunch of people tired of skid-marks. [Guardian]

4. David Beckham to retire from soccer

David Beckham, the first Englishman to win soccer titles in four different countries and one of the highest paid soccer players of all time, has announced his retirement after turning down a deal with the Paris Saint-German Football Club.

“I’m thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level,” said Beckham.

Beckham plans to tough it out back in London with his wife Victoria and his personal fortune of an estimated $165 million. [Guardian]

5. New app can help consumers shop more ethically

Many people want to be more conscious shoppers, but it can often be really difficult to figure out which sometimes seemingly small-time products are made by corporate giants. That’s why Darcy Burner created Buycott, an app for both Apple and Google phones that allows users to run “barcode background checks” on products, telling users not only which companies made the product, but also their stances on societal issues like gay marriage. You can download Buycott for free from the Apple Store. [Forbes]

Mark Schram grew up on a ranch in southwestern Manitoba and now writes out of Winnipeg. If you would like to offer him a job or ask him about how to pull a calf, you can contact him at