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5 things you absolutely must know today (weekend edition)

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.


Selinger’s throne speech good for beer drinkers and brewers

Greg Selinger opened a new legislative session yesterday with a speech from the throne that included promises that will probably not keep the provincial NDP from ruin. Manitoba will be investing in childcare, education, the craft beer industry, and it will work toward raising the speed limit between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan from 100 to 110 kilometres per hour. The NDP is fighting to lead western Canada by making post-secondary student loans interest-free. It also intends to shed 100,000 square feet of government office space, meant as a sign for its efficiency and cost-saving purchasing model. The NDP, and here’s the kicker, will also be unveiling a new craft-beer strategy, making it easier for new breweries to start up, and hopefully putting an end to the province’s archaic and paralyzing liquor laws. Read CBC’s full story for a comprehensive account of yesterday’s throne speech. [Source: CBC]

2014 is hottest year on record: NOAA

2014 is the warmest year on record for our world, according to data from U.S. meteorologists. October was the hottest such month on record, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, citing a global average of 14.7C. And in 2104, the last five of six months have also set heat records. If the trajectory keeps or if it doesn’t, 2014 has already surpassed previous record holders, 2010 and 1998. Our current average for the year is the same as our October average: 14.7C. What does this mean? Guess. [Source: The Guardian]

Barrack Obama bypasses Congress on landmark immigration reforms

U.S. President Barack Obama gave about four million illegal immigrants a pardon, in what is being considered a landmark policy move that bypassed a Republican-controlled Congress flexing a strategic muscle called executive orders. The reforms will allow immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for at least five years and have children living legally in the country to apply for work permits. And it includes and extension of a program that gives special consideration to people who entered the U.S. as children.  The Republicans are calling the move, “an illegal power grab.” To use the executive order is to exacerbate the childish pissing contest between the Democrats and the Republicans. Obama told news sources he bypassed Congress after growing tired of dealing with its stubbornness. It’s time for these people to, “come out of the shadows and get right with the law,” he said. [Sources: BBC]

Japan heads to polls in snap election

Japan’s parliament has been dissolved. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the move, creating space for a snap election surrounding a delay in a planned increase to sales tax and other economic reforms. This as the county has entered a technical recession over its high public debt, cheap Yen, and a relaxed consumer base. Japan will head to polls in December, two years ahead of schedule. Abe said on Thursday he hopes the election campaign will give his government the chance to explain the economic reforms to voters. He is expected to win, and has promised to resign if he is unable to secure a majority government. [Source: BBC]

Winnie the Pooh’s lack of pants takes over Polish council meeting

Winnie the Pooh, or, Winnipeg the Bear, doesn’t wear pants. We’re not sure he ever has. This revelation and unusual focus came up at a city council meeting in the Polish town of Tuszyn, where officials discussed possible mascots for a community playground. “The problem with that bear is it doesn’t have a complete wardrobe,” said councilor Ryszard Cichy. “It is half naked which is wholly inappropriate for children.” The meeting’s minutes were released to local media by an anonymous source, who couldn’t resist sharing its silly contents, much of which dealt with the bear’s lack of pants. One councilor said the bear must be a hermaphrodite. It’s unclear how he or she reached this conclusion. But the most colourful comment no doubt belongs to councilor Hanna Jachimska for accusing Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne of cutting the bear’s genitals off with razor blade:  “This is very disturbing but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut his [Pooh’s] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity.” [Source: Death and Taxes]


Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck.

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