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5 things you absolutely must know today

Every morning, we scour the Internet and vet what we believe are the five things you absolutely need to know for the day. Join this mailing list to receive 5 things you absolutely must know today every morning, Monday to Friday, by 8 a.m.  

Catholic church slowly emerges from cave

Senior members of the Catholic church have issued an introductory report on the issue of homosexuality during a synod convened by Pope Francis. The report calls for the near universal acceptance of a group that has long been pilloried by the church. “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?” No doctrinal changes have been made as of yet, but such sentiment is being hailed as a huge success by human rights groups. “For the LGBT Catholics in the United States and around the world, this new document is a light in the darkness — a dramatic new tone from a church hierarchy that has long denied the very existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships,” Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, told news sources. Conservative groups within the Catholic church have denounced this new, fresh stance, calling it a “betrayal.” The group of convened clerics will also tackle the issues of abortion, contraception, and divorce. [Source: National Post & BBC]

North Korean bowl-cut model and supreme leader makes public appearance

Kim Jong-un has made his first public appearance since Sept. 3, squelching fun, colourful speculation that he had been deposed, killed, or consumed by his lust for Swiss Emmental cheese. It’s unclear where he emerged from, but the BBC claims he did so to oversee development on a “newly built scientists’ residential district.” He was using a cane. But that’s as juicy as the story gets. He is apparently in fine health and was just taking some time off. Neat. [Source: Death and Taxes]

Airstrikes help take key military point near Kobane

Kurdish forces attempting to recapture the Syrian border town of Kobane were met with success as a strategic barrage of U.S.-led air attacks allowed ground troops to take back the important hilltop of Tall Shair. The hill had been seized by Islamic State militants more than 10 days ago. U.S. President Barack Obama will be meeting with 20 military officials from across the globe today to discuss strategy for defeating IS groups in Syria and Turkey. The battle for Kobane is being touted as a testing ground for the effectiveness of the coalition’s airstrikes against the militants. This victory was slight, says Turkish and other Western leaders, who predict that Kobane will fall in the end. [Source: BBC]

Denmark to make humans having sex with animals illegal

This is unsettling. Menacing, even. Animal sex tourism exists, apparently, and it’s on the rise in Denmark. The act is called bestiality. This writer recalls chuckling at its reference in The Bible on Sunday mornings on those rare occasions the sermon was not able to wrest my 10-year-old mind. Denmark, faced with this blight, is moving to ban the act, according to reports. “I have decided we should ban sex with animals,” Food and Ag Minister Dan Jørgensen told news sources. He intents to amend the Animal Welfare Act to make the heinous act officially a crime, for the sake of the animals and Denmark’s reputation. “The most important is that in the vast majority of cases it is an attack against the animals. And under all circumstances, any doubts about it should go to the animals’ benefit. They naturally cannot say no to going along with it,” he said. A local poll showed that the ban had a 76 per cent approval rating. [Source: NYDailyNews] 

Canadian Ebola vaccine enters human testing

An experimental, Canadian-made Ebola vaccine has entered the human trials phase. If it proves successful, the drug could be distributed to West Africa within months. A 56-year old UN worker from Germany died in hospital Tuesday morning after contracting the Ebola virus during a stint in an affected area. The vaccine has worked in primates, preventing contraction when exposed to the virus, and mitigating effects when administered after getting the virus. The vials have been sent to the Walter Reed Army Institute where it will be used on 40 healthy volunteers. Ebola, according to the World Health Association, has killed more than 4,000 people, the highest concentration of which live in the African countries of Liberia, Sierre Leone, and Guinea. Results of the human tests are expected to arrive in December. [Source: ABC News]

Honourable mention: It has been warm. And NASA agrees.

Last September was the warmest such month since global records have been kept, NASA announced over the weekend. And the last six months, together, ranked as the warmest such block ever recorded. [Source: Slate]



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