Weekend Posted: Some great stories you may have missed

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Welcome to your Weekend Posted. We don’t know what you’ve got planned, but might we suggest not licking soy sauce bottles at restaurants. Turns out in Japan it can get you three years behind bars.

THE LAWS OF WAR 

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The war between Israel and Hamas has raised many questions about the laws of war. In any conflict, there are civilian casualties and allegations that either side is committing war crimes. But what do the actual laws say? The National Post spoke with experts about what is lawful in a conflict. The laws of war come down to three basic principles: distinction, proportionality and discrimination, all meant to guide what a military is allowed to do and to prevent (to the extent possible) civilian casualties. These three principles mean that armies must distinguish between civilian and military targets and make calculations about whether any damage to non-combatants and buildings are justifiably proportional to the value of the military advantage sought. If there are allegations of a violation of international law, the International Criminal Court may investigate — although this is complicated because Israel does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

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WHY YOUR GUT MATTERS  

Researchers are studying babies to find connections between gut bacteria and brain development.
Brice Hall/Postmedia

This is a story about poo. Sort of. It begins with filled diapers and ends with intensive scientific inquiry to find out more about the human gut. What’s called the “gut-brain axis” might just be the hottest area of research. “These babies were early guinea pigs in the investigation of how closely the human mind, with all its wondrous powers of thought and feeling and unconscious control of bodily functions, depends on the human gut, with all its millions of resident bacteria,” writes National Post’s Joseph Brean. The human gut is obviously linked to the brain by nerves and blood vessels, but scientists are looking at the extent to which they may be connected by the behaviour and chemical byproducts of millions of gut bacteria. Perhaps gut bacteria influence mental disorders (and therefore hold the key to treatment) or could be harnessed, guided and influenced to affect human cognition. 

NATIONAL POST NEWS QUIZ

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Brice Hall/Postmedia Photo by Brice Hall /National Post

Another week’s National Post News Quiz is ready for you. Did you pay attention to Quebec at all this week? Hopefully, because it’ll help if you did.

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ET CETERA

  • Refugees seeking a new home in Canada must wait up to three years to have their applications processed by the federal government, according to a new report from Karen Hogan, Canada’s auditor general. On average, the wait time is 20 months. Recent efforts to clear the immigration backlog have helped — but it’s still staggering.
  • Jessica Gilpin was filming a pilates workout in Canmore when a bear rolled up. It’s quite the tale, and National Post’s Sam Riches has the story. We also can’t resist a shout-out to this laugh-out-loud line: “Uninterested in soup, the bear quickly moved on.”
  • A duck-hunting dog named Pepper was killed in Nova Scotia after she leaped overboard to retrieve a duck, only to be attacked by a shark. The attacks aren’t common, but they do happen.
  • Hamas released two hostages on Friday, citing humanitarian reasons. The hostages, a mother and daughter, are among those from at least 203 families that were seized by Hamas fighters during its raid on Israel on Oct. 7.

SNAPSHOT

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A surfer surveys the waves in Sweden. The region is getting hammered by Storm Babet, and meteorologists are forecasting gale force winds and flooding in southern Sweden — but perhaps that makes for good surfing. Johan Nilsson/AFP via Getty Images Photo by JOHAN NILSSON/TT /TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima

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