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5 things you absolutely must know today

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Today is Election Day across Manitoba, not just Winnipeg. VOTE!

If you read CBC this morning, you’d know two things: Winnipeg’s municipal elections are being held today, and that “municipal and school division elections are also being held in Brandon and in numerous rural municipalities across Manitoba.” This is true, and it was the last line of their piece and the only one referencing elections beyond Winnipeg’s borders. Municipal elections are being held today in all of the province’s 79 urban municipalities and 116 R.M.’s. Many municipalities may have small ballots due to their size or non-existent ballots due to acclamation, but today is election Day for them, as well. Winnipeggers, you know who your candidates are, and if you don’t, there’s no shortage of resources at your disposal to do so. And to do so promptly – get on it. But, do you know Peter Klassen and Morris Olafson? These two men are running for the position of reeve (think: rural mayor) in the R.M. of Stanley, a municipality in southern Manitoba that is about 322 square miles in size with a 2011 census population of 8,355 people. After today, either Peter or Morris will sit at Stanley’s helm, managing an area prosperous and influential enough that you, a Winnipegger, should be aware of it. It’s agriculture. And it helps keep Manitoba ticking. And there are many more municipalities like it. Good luck today. Vote! And be mindful of the province around you. For information on where to vote, visit this brief’s source links [Source: CBC, Pembina Valley Online, Elections Manitoba]

Terror threat in Canada raised to medium (better than a colour, I guess)

Canada’s terror threat has been raised from low to medium. But officials say there’s no looming attack or specific threat to fear. I guess they’re just putting that out there, thinking people don’t act hysterically to such nonsensical terror threat rubrics such as the colours used in the U.S., and, apparently, our size chart. The raise was made after an increase in online chatter from radical groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda. In this case, medium threat level “means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism,” said ministry spokesmanJean-Christophe de Le Rue. Sensitivity to such attacks is heightened in Canada after a deadly hit-and-run carried out by a man many are saying was “radicalized” by “terrorist ideology”. The man deliberately drove into two soldiers in Quebec Tuesday, killing one and injuring the other. [Source: BBC]

Red Cross says Ebola could be contained within six months

Ebola could be contained within four to six months, according to Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Speaking at a conference in Beijing, Sy said he’s confident in the optimistic prediction, if there continues to be proper quarantine protocols, efficient treatment of those infected, and safe burials of those who have succumbed. The Ebola outbreak has taken more than 4,500 lives, the highest concentration of which have been from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. [Source: Associated Press]

Gridlock predicted for North American rail network

The North American rail network is heading for gridlock, according to Canadian Pacific Railway CEO Hunter Harrison. It came close to this last year, and is often the result of rail-space competition between oil and agriculture-based commodities. They get more money hauling oil, and less for hauling wheat. But wheat needs to move from Manitoba to the various ports located across North America, and crop yields over the past couple of years have been high. This conundrum, expressed simply here, is a significant issue for the transportation industry, writ large. And an important one for Manitoba’s economy. “There’s a desire to put more tonnage on the rail. At the same time, governments are saying that we want to slow you down because of [hazardous materials] and crude. There’s no more infrastructure [being built]. No one wants the railroad to run through their backyard, or their city. I’ve been doing this 50 years and I don’t know how you do that,” Harrison told the Globe and Mail, adding that the amount of commodities needing to get moved across North America is too large for current capacity. CP is considering mergers with other rail companies to combat the looming gridlock but no deals have yet been struck. [Source: Globe and Mail]

Russian performance artist cuts of earlobe in public protest piece ‘Segregation’

Russian activist and performance artist, Pyotr Pavlensky, best known for stapling his testitcles to the ground in protest of the Russian government, has cut off part of his ear in a work he’s calling “Segregation.”  This performance art instalation, segregation, involved Pavlenksy sitting naked atop the Serbsky Center for forensic psychiatry in Moscow where he cut off part of his right earlobe to protest what he referred to as the forced psychiatric treatment of political dissidents. “Armed with psychiatric diagnoses, the bureaucrat in a white lab coat cuts off from society those pieces that prevent him from establishing a monolithic dictate of a single, mandatory norm for everyone,” he wrote on his wife’s Facebook page. Police escorted him away from the building, and, quite possibly, to jail. In 2012, he sewed his lips together outside the Kazan Cathedral to exhibit support for the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot. [Source: NY Daily News]


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