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5 things you absolutely must know today

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Obama reads Mean Tweets on Jimmy Kimmel (let’s get Harper to do this, Canada)

U.S. President Barack Obama appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show last night to read mean Tweets directed towards him and his jeans. He also, in earnest, spoke about life in the White House, and the latest Ferguson protests that sent two police officers to hospital in critical condition. “What had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest, but there was no excuse for criminal acts,” said Obama. Kimmel badgered him a little about Clinton’s latest email scandal. But it was badgering-lite. The takeaway was, without a doubt, Obama reading mean Tweets. Let’s get Stephen Harper to do this. What do you say, Rick Mercer? [Source: YouTube and CBC]

North Korea fires missiles as war rehearsal

North Korea fired seven missiles into the sea on Thursday, in a military exercise supervised by Kim Jong-un that is meant as rehearsal for war. The launches were reported by South Korea’s defence ministry. The rehearsal comes a day before the annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises were scheduled to end. The two Koreas are still at war, as the 1950-53 conflict ended with a ceasefire, and not a peace treaty. The recent missile launch has added to already escalating tensions between the two Koreas over wages for workers at the Kaesong industrial zone, a jointly run facility just north of the DMZ. [Source: BBC]

Large Hadron Collider sets sights on dark matter

The world’s largest and most fascinating atom-smasher (this writer doesn’t know of any other atom-smashers, period), the Large Hadron Collider, is set to restart after a two-year shutdown period, during which more power was added to the already powerful machine. It helped scientists discover the Higgs boson particle a couple years ago. The now stronger iteration has been calibrated to locate dark matter, a much more exotic, elusive discovery, apparently. Dark matter is an “invisible, undetectable material that makes up 84 per cent of the mass of the universe and binds galaxies together, yet whose nature is unknown. One theory that could be tested suggests that the Higgs boson can give birth to particles of dark matter. According to a “new physics” model of the universe called supersymmetry, the Higgs might disintegrate into a photon – a packet of light – and a dark matter particle,” reports the Telegraph. [Source: the Telegraph]

Boko Haram and ISIS join forces

ISIS has accepted Boko Haram’s request to join forces, effectively making the terror cell intercontinental. The Nigerian-based Boko Haram has begun operating in a similar fashion to ISIS, using social media to distribute disturbing execution videos and propaganda. The U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces have had a series of victories against ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq. This partnership is being seen by some as an eleventh-hour play to combat both of their dwindling numbers. Nigeria’s neighbours have recently begun pushing back against Boko Haram, successfully seizing two of their key strongholds. [Source: BBC]

Where is Vladimir Putin?

Where it Vladimir Putin? I last saw him, bareback, riding a weasel riding a woodpecker, while being chased down by a storm trooper. Rumours have been flying that the 62-year-old president is ill. March 5 was his last public appearance. All meetings and public engagements since have been cancelled. The Kremlin published old photos of Putin to quell these rumours, and to let those stupid enough to buy the ploy that he’s a-okay and working as usual at running Russia. If you see him, snap a photo. We’re curious. [Source: Guardian]

Honourable mention:

Sir Terry Pratchett dies at 66.

[Source: the Guardian]


Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck.

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