Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

Left-wing presidential candidate makes second round in Chile

Michelle Bachelet is one vote away from becoming Chile’s next president. She got 46 per cent of the vote Sunday, winning the first of two rounds of voting and beating former labour minster Evelyn Matthei. Matthei got 25 per cent.

Bachelet, considered a left-wing candidate, was the country’s first female president, serving from 2006-201. She was constitutionally disallowed to serve two successive terms. She left on a positive note three years ago. And things are looking good for her now.

If elected, Bachelet intends to narrow the widening rich/poor gap in Chile, one of the richest countries in Latin America. And, Bachelet wants to further dismantle some of the political and economic structures from Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.

“The country has mostly voted for the proposal that we have made for Chile, so that Chile will be once and for all the modern and fair country that we want,” she told supporters in Santiago. “We won tonight and we will work to win by an ample margin in December.”

The next round of voting will take place on Dec. 15. [Source: BBC]

Doris Lessing dies at 94

Doris Lessing, a Nobel prize-winning author praised for her “skepticism, fire, and visionary power,” died peacefully in her home Sunday afternoon, according to her publisher HarperCollins.

She wrote a lot, more than 50 books, and was a vocal critic of idiocy and hype. Media are calling her polarizing. She had opinions, and could express them well.

The exact cause of her death remains undisclosed, as her family has requested privacy. [Source: CBC]

 Serpent pastor of Tennessee

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Andrew Hamblin, a pastor from Tennessee, believes in a literal interpretation of the above excerpt: Mark 16:17-18. It’s a whacky world, confirmed in this instance by Hamblin’s belief that the 53 poisonous snakes kept in his church’s basement will not harm him, if he has enough faith.

Hamblin pleaded not guilty Friday to 53 charges of possession of poisonous snakes. He, like a few other Pentecostal pastors, preach while in the presence of poisonous snakes, sometimes holding them.

Soon after his snakes were seized from the church’s storage closet, he was able to get 3,000 signatures from supporters calling for their release.

“This is my God-given right in the United States,” the 22-year-old said on the courthouse steps before the hearing. “If God moves on me to take up a serpent, I take up a serpent.”

Do the Darwin awards still exist? [Source: QMI]

Hutterite colony tales too much for some Manitoba communities

The details of how life is lived on Hutterite colonies are too controversial for the Christian conservative strongholds of Altona and Winkler, apparently, according to CTV News. Friesen’s Bookstore in Altona, and Winkler’s Bible Book Store carried then removed the book Hutterites: The Nine – Our Story to Freedom.

The book was released in September and chronicles the lives of nine people who lived in and later left Hutterite colonies.

The Bible Book Store received many calls from people complaining about the book. The store owner said the controversy has to do with what was claimed of life in the colonies.

Reeve of Morris Ralph Groening tweeted: “So I understand the book Hutterites will not be sold in Southern Manitoba because of community pressure. Censorship prevails.”

Indeed it does, Groening. Indeed, it does.

CTV interviewed I am Hutterite author Maryann Kirkby, who also confirmed the move is a form of censorship. [Source: CTV]

Storms kill five, affect millions in Midwest U.S.

Five confirmed dead after tornadoes, strong winds, and hail swept across Illinois, Indiana and other Midwestern states Sunday, levelling at least 70 homes, damaging about 100, and affecting at least 53 million people.

The National Weather Service said 65 tornadoes touched down, the majority reported in Illinois. And where tornadoes did not strike, winds were strong enough to fell trees, power lines, and otherwise cause people to seek shelter or flee.

The full extent of the damage has yet to reported. [Source: Globe and Mail and CBC]

Honourable mention: This:

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Toban Dyck put up his Christmas tree yesterday, and mentioned Festivus at least once in the process.

For more, follow @tobandyck or @spectatortrib.