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5 things you absolutely must know today (weekend edition)

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Islamic State to start producing its own currency Islamic State is rich, apparently. It’s sitting on a sizable portfolio earned via what The Guardian calls “the tools of modern finance.” And now the extremist group is looking to produce its own currency, an initiative reportedly started by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been active in the design process. The currency has yet to enter production, as the terrorist group needs to locate enough precious metals – gold, silver, and copper – and a mint willing to take such a damning project on. The currency IS claims will free Muslims from a system that has “enslaved and impoverished” them will be recognized as legitimate nowhere outside of Islamic State-seized areas of Syria and Iraq. IS is believed to have brought in $25-million in ransom money, $38-million from antiques smuggling, and, until recently, between one and two million dollars per day in oil sales. [Source: The Guardian]

Kirk Cameron weighs in on Christmas Kirk Cameron, the Christian fundamentalist doing all he can to ensure humanity remains free from the shackles of intelligence, got some airtime on Fox News. He weighed in on Christmas, and how the largely consumer-driven holiday veiled as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ should be celebrated in schools. Because “education is inherently religious,” he says. His feathers were ruffled when a Maryland school board removed all religious holidays from its calendar. There may be a point buried somewhere in the collections of words frothing out his mouth, but I don’t see it. Christians should want a better spokesperson. Watch the interview here:

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Bank of Canada entertains entering digital currency market

The Bank of Canada may enter the digital currency market made popular by bitcoin, according to the company’s deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins, who made the comment at Wilfrid Laurier University yesterday. The bank’s interest is solely exploratory, she cautioned, adding that digital currency transactions would have to happen more often in order for the bank to enter that market. Credit cards and debit are still the clear favourite among Canadians. [Source:]

Canadian triathlete to run for world record at beer mile championships

The beer mile is a Canadian tradition. It involves its namesake activities of beer drinking and running for one mile. Ian Fallas is one of a group of athletes who, in the ‘80s, thought it would be great to pair drinking beer with running. Alas, a tradition was born; a tradition that thirty-some years later has morphed into the world beer mile championships held in Austin, Texas next month. Canadian triathlete Kristy Smith will be competing. “I’ve been practising chugging beers, as ridiculous as it sounds,” Smith told Sportsnet. “My guy friends like it, they think it’s hilarious. They’re like ‘We’ll race you chugging beer.’ Even my mom’s boyfriend wants to race me in drinking.” The competition is this: Consume four 355ml cans of beer over a mile, chugging one before each 400-metre lap. Smith, who has competed in the event before, has her eyes set on the women’s world record of six minutes and twenty-eight point six seconds. If a contestant vomits, they have to run a penalty lap. [Source: Sportsnet]

Obama pledges billions to help poor countries implement green energy alternatives

Barack Obama has earmarked billions of dollars to help poor countries invest in clean energy alternatives and deal with the effects of extreme weather. The announcement comes soon after the U.S.’s landmark emissions-reduction agreement with China, and as a Republican-controlled Congress aims to fast track approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. The U.S. will make the official announcement at the G20 summit in Brisbane, committing up to $3-billion for the cause. The money will go to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, a collection with a $10-billion goal for helping countries act on green energy initiatives. The pledges from the U.S. and other countries sit in contrast to Canada’s hardline position against the GCF. [Source: The Guardian]


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