Monday, June 26, 2006

Headlines June 26/06

New Leadership in U.S.-Canada Relations: Leveraging Federalism to Manage North American Integration
In the wake of the recent arrests in Toronto, Canadian ambassador Michael Wilson brought a delegation of anti-terror experts to Washington in a bid to alleviate U.S. fears that Canada is a safe haven for terrorists. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new anti-terrorism measures aimed at bolstering the safety and security at Canada's airports, railways and ports. The Canada Project will be discussing these issues as well as other developments on Tuesday, June 27...

Hillier too savvy to commit career suicide
...Our chief of defence staff also understands that even if the government announces this week its intention to buy 12 Chinooks for a total cost of $4.2 billion — it will be at least 30 months before our troops will take delivery (let alone begin to operate them.) This timeline of course comes well after our current commitment to Afghanistan is set to expire.
No, Hillier is not behind their PR ploy to use our front-line casualties to generate political pressure in order to acquire military hardware. Let’s hope he is able to identify the real culprit before he destroys the good general’s reputation as a straight shooter.

Foreign investments raise red flag in Ottawa
Federal bureaucrats raised concerns with the Conservative government in February over Canada's inability to protect itself against foreign investments that pose a national security threat, internal documents reveal.
A briefing book prepared for Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, obtained by CanWest News Service under the Access to Information Act, notes several other countries can block investments deemed dangerous.

Canadian lobbying concerns
The Federal Accountability Act, which was passed last week by the House of Commons, has been the focal point of the Conservatives' legislative agenda in 2006. If the Senate grants its approval in the fall, the Act will establish new limitations on lobbying activities and campaign financing. While few would object to placing limits on powerful lobby groups, recent information obtained under the Access to Information Act suggests that another form of lobbying exists that requires closer scrutiny - lobbying that is financed by the government itself.

Iran, Terror, Drugs to Top G8 Foreign Ministers’ Agenda June 29
Foreign ministers from the world’s wealthiest nations will gather in St. Petersburg Thursday to discuss the Iranian nuclear program, terrorism and narcotics, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday.
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the United States will meet ahead of the Group of Eight summit to consider Iran’s controversial nuclear research program, which Western nations suspect is being used as a cover for a weapons program. Iran has dismissed allegations, saying it needs nuclear research for energy.
Sergei Lavrov said the ministers would also consider the situation in other Middle East countries, including Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, Kosovo, and the Korean peninsula.

Get real, feds tell provinces
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has a blunt message for Canada’s premiers: Fixing the country’s fiscal imbalance will not include giving the provinces billions in extra cash.
Premiers have been squabbling over who will get what share of federal booty ever since a provincially commissioned report on the so-called imbalance recommended that Ottawa transfer almost $10 billion more each year to the provinces.

Michael Harris: War on Terror a Losing Game
What will it take to persuade this government that our military deployment in Afghanistan is a disaster for Canada? Stephen Harper bristles at the very notion of seriously debating this doomed mission. But the president of the country we are supposed to be "securing" sees it differently. Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, says that the recent deaths of 600 Afghans in the so-called war on terror is "unacceptable."

Town approves funding agreement for eco-park
Hinton is another step closer to seeing the dream of an eco-industrial park become a reality.At the June 21 regular meeting, town council approved entering into the grant and loan agreements with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). As well, council gave first reading to the borrowing bylaw needed to get the loan.The FCM administers the federal government Green Funds for municipal environment projects.The park hit a snag earlier this year after the FCM changed its funding formula for the project.The FCM awarded Hinton $3.3 million grant and a $2.2 million low-interest loan in 2005, but after the formula changed there was a question as to whether the grant or the loan money would come first.

Teen's defense looks to doctor for help
In what would be a first, attorneys are asking the Pentagon to let a retired Army psychiatrist carry out an independent, civilian mental health examination of a teenage Canadian captive held for four years inside the razor-wire prison compound.

Native peoples accuse Canada of betrayal in U.N
A coalition of indigenous peoples from around the globe on Monday accused Canada of betrayal by campaigning to bloc a
United Nations' declaration asserting their rights after backing it for years.
The declaration, in negotiation for the past 24 years and backed by many European, Latin American and Asian states, is up for approval in the next few days by the U.N.'s new Human Rights Council.
But Canada announced last week it wanted a delay for at least two years, saying the document could violate its constitution and wreck talks with its native Indians over control of land and resources.

Botswana: Did Selling Shares in De Beers Lose Us a Stake in Canada?
I seem to recall criticising our Government, a while ago, for selling shares we had in a 15 per cent stake in De Beers when we could not balance an annual budget. I called it selling the family jewels. Today, I read in The Globe and Mail of Canada, while here in Ottawa, that De Beers is opening a new diamond mine in Canada.
The Globe and Mail report by Angela Pacienza quotes Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, kicking off what he hopes will be "a homegrown diamond rush" yesterday as construction began on a billion dollar mine on the western coast of James Bay. It is the product of more than 40 years of exploration and patience, he said.

Phelps Dodge to buy Canadian rivals
Phelps Dodge, the US mining group, on Monday said it would acquire Canadian rivals Inco and Falconbridge in a C$40bn (US$35.6bn) two-part deal that will fan the battle for dominance in global mining.

So, Bob, what did you really achieve?
So what did it all achieve? A year ago 250,000 people marched in Edinburgh as the leaders of the rich world met in Gleneagles. Millions of others had campaigned through 504 organisations under the banner Make Poverty History. Across the world, 150 million more had joined the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. The 10 simultaneous Live8 concerts had been seen by 3.4 billion people. It constituted the biggest political lobby in human history.
But was it all a waste of time?
You could be forgiven for thinking so from the response of many in the immediate aftermath of Gleneagles. “The people roared and in response the G8 has whispered,” said the chair of the Global Call, Kumi Naidoo, immediately after the G8 deal was announced. Many aid agencies offered similar verdicts.

Boot camp for city officials teaches 'a culture of ethics'
Wearing lanyards and camp T-shirts, the 23 "campers" sat in a circle in the dark around a flickering TV screen. They watched horror videos of real-life public officials who went astray, tempted by bribes, nepotism, and other shady opportunities to benefit themselves over the public they were elected to serve.
The viewers' "counselors" were ethics specialists wearing "moral compasses" around their necks and putting their "campers" - city officials and ethics commissioners from Florida, Texas, and Arizona - in simulated ethical dilemmas.

U.S. and Canadian Leaders to Hold Media Availability on Energy Security
U.S. and Canadian Leaders to Hold Media Availability on Energy Security
-- Officials and executives to report on bilateral effort on key strategic issue
As the world continues to grapple with rising energy demands and growing instability, The Canadian American Business Council (CABC), will be hosting an invitation-only Public/Private sector Dialogue on North American Energy Security with an open press event immediately following the discussion.

Poll on U.S. Voter Attitudes Toward Canada And Energy Security to be Released June 27 at 10 a.m.
With oil dependence receiving interest and attention among U.S. policy makers, The Canadian American Business Council (CABC) conducted a brief poll examining the attitudes of 1,000 U.S. likely general election voters concerning Canada, generally, and the challenge of U.S. energy security.
The survey will be released on the eve of "Alberta Week in Washington", which will focus in part on the potential role Canada might play in helping America meet its energy needs in a global context of rising demand, tight supply, and instability.
"Alberta Week in Washington" is taking place in coordination with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The Province of Alberta is a feature program at the Festival, which begins on June 30th.

Pentagon budget split between rearmament and overseas wars
The Pentagon's budget equals half of the world's defense spending. Why is the United States spending so much on its military?

Scientists play out climate change debate for reluctant Rona
John Stone has an offer for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose: He'd like to brief her on climate change. With a PhD in chemical physics and 15 years experience in climate change, Dr. Stone has already given briefings on the topic to large corporations such as British Petroleum.
''I think (the Conservative government) ought to bring in two or three or four scientists, Canadian scientists, who've got no axe to grind, whose credibility is well-established, and give a neutral, balanced presentation on what the science is telling you,'' Stone said.

Ridley Canada set to appeal stay of BSE lawsuit
Ridley Canada Ltd. said on Monday it has applied for leave to appeal after the Quebec Superior Court refused to stay a proposed action lawsuit earlier this month.
Ridley wants a stay of a proposed Quebec action, pending legal determination by the Ontario Court of Appeals in a parallel lawsuit in that Canadian province. The Quebec court's decision on June 2 means the proceedings in Quebec should continue independent from the Ontario proceedings, Ridley said in a statement.

Japan has ambitious plan to fight global warming
Japan hopes to slash greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming with a plan to pump carbon dioxide into underground storage reservoirs instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, an official said Monday.
The proposal aims to bury 200 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2020, cutting the country's emissions by one-sixth, said Masahiro Nishio, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Introduced last month, the plan is still under study.

PlanetHospital, Inc. Selects CPR Strategic Marketing Communications for Patient Origination Initiatives and Public Relations Strategies
PlanetHospital, Inc., the global leader in delivering world-class healthcare quality around the globe at a fraction of the cost in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand, has chosen CPR Strategic Marketing Communications (CPR) to develop and implement a patient origination campaign, as well as international business-to-business public relations and marketing communications outreach.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Headlines June 25/06

Alberta invades U.S. capital in major push to showcase black gold
WASHINGTON (CP) - There'll be lots of cowboy hats and buffalo burgers. Fly fishing demonstrations and dinosaur digs.
Most telling, though, is the giant dump truck like the ones used at the oil sands parked on the National Mall for Alberta's 10-day stint at the renowned Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The province is invading the U.S. capital next week in the latest sign of its growing profile in an increasingly energy-hungry country.
Barely a week goes by without mention of Alberta's vast oil sands potential on Capitol Hill from legislators worried about U.S. dependence on unstable countries and high prices at the pumps.
Major U.S. media organizations are frequently taking stock of Canada's resource and debating the environmental costs of mining all that black gold.

Canada's Inuits struggle with issues of self-rule
The Inuit of the Canadian Arctic have forsaken their sod houses and dogsleds for satellite television and snowmobiles in less than two generations. Assembling a smoothly functioning government and a solid educational system has been another matter entirely.
The initiative to grant Nunavut, a land of frozen fjords, desolate tundra and roaming herds of caribou, self-rule seven years ago was heralded worldwide as an enlightened attempt to right past wrongs against a suffering aboriginal people.

Canadian warships in Hawaiian waters for multinational battle exercises
Three Canadian warships arrived at Hawaii's famed Pearl Harbor on Sunday to take part in multinational battle exercises due to start Monday.
HMCS Algonquin, HMCS Vancouver and HMCS Regina, along with two embarked Sea King helicopters, are now preparing for the month-long Rim of the Pacific Exercise(RIMPAC).

MIDDLE EAST: Region still lacks support for torture victims, say observers
Beatings, burnings, solitary confinement and the misuse of anti-terrorism laws were some of the abuses cited in the Middle East by human rights activists as the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Monday.Below are a series of articles on incidents of torture and human rights abuse in some countries of the region.

Canada bites ballot bullet, reviews policy on dual citizens running abroad
The federal government will review the practice of allowing Canadian residents to run in foreign elections, just months after sanctioning participation in Italy's national ballot.
The move signals a desire in federal circles to set clear policy and ground rules for Canadian involvement in the political affairs of other countries, especially given Canada's varied ethnic makeup.

Researchers look underwater for energy
As a wave of wind power proposals sweeps across New England, researchers from the electric utility industry have concluded that it makes economic sense to look underwater for affordable electricity.

(He will then travel to Alberta, Canada where he will discuss with Canadian officials the feasibility of jointly developing oil sand reserve, before returning next Sunday.)

>Copps 'spending' column lacks substance
Just when I thought former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps was about to impart some wise words in her review of the Fraser Institute's annual "tax freedom day," she reminded me of why I used to think of her as a politician of the worst kind when she was in office.
Copps, who now writes a column for Sun Media, was always a staunch defender of the right to grow government, giving me the impression as a politician that it was her divine calling to spend my money -- and to confiscate more of it at her pleasure.

He thinks he can stop a hurricane
In a field brimming with optimistic and untested ideas, entrepreneur Peter Cordani has one of the boldest: airdrop 400 tons of super-absorbent powder into an approaching hurricane.The powder would sap water from the hurricane, in theory slowing it, and saving lives and millions of dollars. The project is in its infancy, facing skeptical scientists and daunting challenges. Its creator has spent $1million already and must raise much more.

Do forests have a UN future?
Forests have had a rocky road in the UN since the Environment Summit at Rio in 1992. While there was considerable concern about deforestation and forest degradation and the need to promote sustainable forest management, particularly in the tropics, an international convention like that for Climate Change or Biodiversity could not be achieved. Instead a set of non-binding ‘basic principles’ emerged to guide the implementation of sustainable forest management.The February 2006 meeting of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) in New York represented a significant turning point for international discussion on forests.

Experts say European virus behind Lake Erie fish deaths
A virus from Europe caused fish to die off in Lake Erie this spring, but it poses no threat to public health, officials said.
Viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, was discovered after the deaths of freshwater drum in the lake's western basin in early spring and perch in its central basin in May, said Roger Kenyon, a Great Lakes fishery biologist for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Looking to soak up lake's potential
Tap water drawn from Lake Michigan and specially filtered at a Coca-Cola plant in Milwaukee sells for $1.59 a bottle. Brand name: Dasani.
Fertilizer pellets made from the city's sewage bring in $7 million a year. Brand name: Milorganite.
A Brookfield company founded in 2002 makes sensors that measure the chemicals in water. Sales already have hit $1 million a year, with significant growth in Asia, particularly China. Name: AquaSensors LLC.
All are examples of how the Milwaukee region has commercialized a resource that local leaders say is critical to the area's future: the fresh water of the Great Lakes.

Summit to Discuss Transient Air Pollution That Kills Thousands a Year in Ontario
The United States exports more than $150 billion in goods to Ontario every year - along with enough pollution to kill 2,700 people and sicken 14,000.
Those casualties, along with the annual $5.2 billion pricetag for related health care and environmental damage, are reasons for the Shared Air Summit 2006, a meeting of the minds on Monday to discuss the trade in transboundary air, which sees pollution produced in one place before being carried in the air across borders.

Senate panel to hold public meetings on gas deal
The Senate Special Committee on Natural Gas Development will hold a series of public meetings in the coming weeks on Gov. Frank Murkowski's proposed natural gas contract with the state's three big oil producers.
Committee chairman Sen. Ralph Seekins, R-Fairbanks, said he will go ahead with meetings in Fairbanks and Anchorage even though the governor on Thursday announced a second special legislative session to begin July 12.
(The article aslo states: John Manly, the governor's spokesman, said the next round of meetings will likely be held in Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Matanuska Valley, and Kenai during the week of July 17-21. Many lawmakers have already requested that week off to attend an energy summit in Canada.)

Workers risking lives in Asia
When the big ships come to Asia to die, they often take lives with them. Upendra Shethi knows.
He was one of an army of laborers hired by an Indian ship-breaking yard to strip the 50-year-old China Sea Discovery for scrap four months ago. The ship suddenly caught fire, burning at least five men alive and injuring 15 more.
"In a matter of five minutes, the entire ship was in flames and there was complete chaos in the yard," the 29-year-old Indian said.
The conditions that so quickly turned the Chinese- and Canadian-owned luxury liner into a death trap have long been familiar along India's grimy west coast beaches. Now they are stirring a worldwide controversy that has stung the Indian government into taking action and led to the drafting of an international agreement to police the industry.

Polar bear deaths have scientists concerned
Two polar bears have starved to death and two others were found dead this year in the region where scientists previously discovered unprecedented cannibalism within the population.
Scientists were stunned to discover that two mother polar bears had been stalked, killed and eaten near their Beaufort Sea dens, and that much larger male bears cannibalized a young male during the spring of 2004.

This Will Be 'a Make-or-Break Mission'
More than three years after the shuttle Columbia disaster, NASA's troubled space shuttle program is stalled at a crossroads.
The closely watched attempt to rebound from the tragedy produced a setback last year when a chunk of fuel-tank insulating foam ripped away as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.
The foam tumbled alarmingly close to the right wing, where it could have caused the same kind of damage that led to the disintegration of Columbia and its crew. The rest of the mission succeeded but left doubts about the safety of the fleet, during launch or otherwise.
A second comeback attempt aboard Discovery, scheduled for launch this Saturday, will bring the $1.3 billion roller-coaster recovery to a satisfying crest if the 12- to 13-day mission unfolds without a replay of the foam-debris scare.

'Regionalisation to replace globalisation in geoeconomic realignment'
New Delhi: If the 20th century was hijacked by ideology: communism, Nazism, World War II and the cold war, the 21st century will be characterised by much higher degree of pragmatism and more uniform distribution of power as emergence of a tripolar system promises a more stable world economy than one where there is one or two superpowers in irreconcilable conflict with each other, says a new book.

GMP buyout plan presents risks, benefits
Chris Dutton admits that the first reaction most people have to the planned sale of the state's second-largest electric utility to a Canadian power company is emotional. The Green Mountain Power Corp. chief executive officer is right. It is unsettling to think about a Vermont company, which provides power for about 90,000 homes, falling under ownership of the much larger Montreal-based Gaz Metro Limited Partnership. That is the proposal before GMP shareholders and government regulators

Security clearance a must for coal gas exploration licence
The federal government has made security clearance mandatory for the companies intending to start reconnaissance survey for exploration and production of Coal Bed Methane (CBM), hydrocarbon gas contained in coal seams, official sources told Business Recorder."The CBM exploration and production companies should only be given specific timeline for the proposed work programme, subject to security clearance by the government organisations concerned for carrying out reconnaissance survey," the sources quoted the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet as directing the petroleum ministry.The ministry had submitted a summary to the ECC in the case of the Cathay Oil and Gas Limited (COGL), a Canadian incorporated company, which intend to conduct aerial reconnaissance survey covering an area of 40,000 square kilometers of the entire Indus Basin by applying USA's BellGeospace technology using USGS aircraft with the US government's approval.

High Profile Transboundary Air Pollution Committees to Tackle Ontario's Shared Air Issues
The Ontario government has formed two new committees to help combat transboundary air pollution in Ontario, eastern Canada and the Northeast United States, Environment Minister Laurel Broten announced today.
The Executive Committee on Transboundary Air Pollution, chaired by Dr. Ted Boadway and the Advisory Committee on Transboundary Science, chaired by Dr. David Balsillie will give critical advice to the province on how to manage transboundary air pollution

Indian origin scientist gets premier Canadian post
Bhubaneswar: An Indo-Canadian scientist from Orissa has been appointed to a coveted post in Canada's premier aerospace research institute - the first Indian origin person to bag such a job.Prakash Patnaik, who hails from Berhampur in Ganjam district, has been appointed director Structures and Materials Performance Laboratory, at The National Research Council of Canada Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC), a premier science and technology research organisation in Canada.

'Hams' Show Off Vital Communications Capabilities
Groups of people who provide a communications lifeline in the worst of emergencies tested their capabilities at various locations over the weekend.
Local amateur radio operators took part in a nationwide event called "Field Day." It's a 24-hour disaster drill that showcases the desire and ability of ham radio operators to serve the public.

African, Canadian local authority organs sign pact
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) Friday signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise an ongoing joint project, which started four years ago.The memorandum, according to FCM`s regional manager for Africa and Asia, Carol Kardish, is the first between the two organizations.It aims at strengthening continental, regional and national associations of local authorities, with emphasis on gender mainstreaming and eradication of endemic diseases - two of Africa`s most challenging Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Adobe, Alienware, Appro, world+dog, Wal*Mart get Intel, AMD subpoenas
WHILE WE were away covering Computex, the legal wheels continued to grind in AMD's antitrust case against Intel.
Unlike millers, the lawyers are probably threshing a fair old profit out of these legal shenanigans.
A group of publishers, concerned about the implications of documents being held in camera, decided to file a letter to the special judge attempting to arbitrate the comings and goings related to "confidential" matters, non disclosure agreements, and the like. The world+vendor dog in this case do not wish all the documents to be made available to the plebs

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Headlines June 24/06

Will Canada be the first cashless society?
Will Canada be the first cashless society?Canadians have long been one of the most wired nations in the world, and as a nation we’ve always been among the first to adopt new technologies and adapt our lifestyles to them.Thanks to our massive, sprawling country with several thousand miles separating some of our provinces, innovations in communication have always been one of Canada’s strong suits. But another area Canadians seem to be slightly ahead of the pack on is the realm of cashless payments.
(What Canadians are they talking about? I'm not ready to trust my money with anyone but me, thank you. A_R)

Meeting with Islamic community cancelled
A planned round-table to bring members of the Islamic community closer to the rest of Edmontonians has been cancelled over competing agendas, says the local MP planning it.
Edmonton MP Peter Goldring had been planning the discussion and had scheduled it for Saturday. He even planned to have representatives from the RCMP, city police CSIS and several members of Parliament.
But he said a leading member of the Islamic community tried to change the agenda, saying he wanted to discuss Canada’s foreign policy, civil liberties and citizenship instead of ways to include Muslims more closely with the rest of society.
(We wouldn't want Edmontonians to find out how thier own liberties are being stripped from them too. A_R)

Winnipeg to host Conservative Convention
Winnipeg will host the Conservative Party of Canada’s National Policy Convention in 2007.
The Convention, to be held during the first weekend of November 2007, is expected to bring over 2,000 delegates to Winnipeg with associated direct spending estimated at $2 million.

African, Canadian local authority organs sign pact
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) Friday signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise an ongoing joint project, which started four years ago.The memorandum, according to FCM`s regional manager for Africa and Asia, Carol Kardish, is the first between the two organizations.

Canada's Leading Call Center Company Brings Jobs to Kansas; NuComm International Set to Recruit 375 Call Center Representatives for its New U.S. Facility in Wichita
NuComm International, Canada's leading contact center management company is immediately recruiting 375 full time call center employees for its newly acquired contact center in Wichita Kansas. The Wichita facility, which will be NuComm's 13th worldwide location when its doors open this July, will serve to meet the inbound customer service and technical support needs of its growing customer base.

Canadian restaurant sees sustainability as a way of life
Vancouver Island, British Columbia - "So much is disappearing - the producers, the knowledge, the flavor. Nowadays so much tastes the same." So speaks Sinclair Philip, the leading spokesman for sustainable agriculture in Canada and an international voice.
Many would agree with him, but few have done so much about it.

Draft dodgers hold convention
American draft dodgers are planning a get-together to talk over old times. And they're going to hear from one of their icons.A four-day draft dodger's reunion starts July sixth in Castlegar, British Columbia.
In the late 1960's and 70's, thousands of Americans crossed the border to Canada to avoid being drafted in the U-S military for the Vietnam War. Many stayed and became Canadian citizens after the war ended in 1975.

Algeria continues debt repayment with Canada
Algeria Saturday agreed with Canada for early repayment of its debt totalling some 255 million dollars, the eighth such accord with creditor countries since mid-May, the state news agency reported.The APS agency said the accord to pay off the debt by June 30 was signed in Algiers by Finance Minister Mourad Medelci and Ottawa's Ambassador Robert Peck.

Government addresses coalbed methane concerns
Residents concerned with the safety of their water supply in the face of coalbed methane drilling will get a chance to hear what the government is doing at upcoming meetings.Alberta Environment has been hosting public information meetings in June throughout the province, letting landowners know what the government is doing to keep groundwater safe. “These public information sessions help ensure landowners have access to all the facts about their groundwater is protected during coalbed methane development,” said Alberta Environment Minister Guy Boutilier in a written statement.

Leadership candidates make ptich to Halton Liberals
Competing visions for the future of Canada were on display Wednesday night, as eight candidates vying for the leadership of the federal Liberal party visited Halton.
The $125 a ticket event at Milton's RattleSnake Point Golf Club, attracted about 100 people, along with candidates Joe Volpe, Carolyn Bennett, Hedy Fry, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Bob Rae, Gerard Kennedy, Stephane Dion, and Martha Hall Findlay.
Only candidates Scott Brison, Michael Ignatieff and Ken Dryden were missing.

Ontario gives international firms $18 million in loans to secure 600 new jobs
Three foreign-based companies with operations in Ontario are getting $18 million in loans from a $500-million dollar provincial fund aimed at boosting manufacturing jobs in the province, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Friday.

Canadian scheme model for Pacific labour mobility
A conference next week on labour issues in the Pacific is to consider the Canadian government’s experience in bringing in workers from the Caribbean.
New Zealand’s Pacific Co-operation Foundation is organising the event, The Future of the Pacific Labour Market in Wellington.
Its chairman, Neil Plimmer, says the PCF is bringing in speakers from the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Forum and academics.
He says a Canadian official has been invited because that country’s methods are seen as best practice in areas such horticulture where Caribbean workers are brought in for stints of three to four months.

'Living With War' reminiscient of '60s folk
Last year, in the midst of suffering and being treated for a brain aneurysm, Neil Young managed to record "Prairie Wind," a lovely and personal album.Illness, I suspect, can affect a person's relation to time; mostly it injects a sense of urgency into one's to-do list. The aneurysm - or maybe it's just the prickly energy that has animated old Neil from the beginning - has now spurred another album, of a thoroughly different breed. "Living With War" is a protest against 21st century America, with a special venom reserved for President Bush and his War on Iraq.
(How about coming home and doing one for us Neil, we could use you. A_R)

Birla group buys Canada's largest BPO
MUMBAI: A V Birla Group has acquired Canada's largest BPO company Minacs in a deal valued at 125 million dollars (nearly Rs 562 crore). Minacs is a publicly traded company and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of August, Group Chairman Kumaramangalam Birla told reporters here.

Foot traffic ban imposed in Baghdad
Adding a new layer of confusion to the security crackdown gripping Baghdad, the Iraqi government yesterday imposed a last-minute ban on pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic throughout the city.
The government gave no explanation for the additional restrictive measures, but they followed violent clashes in several Baghdad neighborhoods. Iraqi forces battled insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, and rifles near the heavily fortified Green Zone.

World gets smaller with message from Kabul Because stuff happens and a promising column on another subject fell apart at the twelfth hour, and because follow-up in the newspaper business is always considered good form, I give you Afghanistanism: Part II.
Readers with functioning memories may recall that last weekend's bill of fare concerned "Afghanistanism," which is time-honored newspaper jargon describing the tendency for some editorial writers to write about controversies in faraway places while avoiding controversy in their own back yards.The theory is that it is a lot safer to complain about corruption in Kabul than to take on the hometown power establishment; that the writer is unlikely to ever come face to face with his Kabul target of opportunity, but is guaranteed to bump into the local ward heeler he has just maligned in print, and probably before the day is out.

Government-Lockheed Martin Team Is Notified by U.S. Army of Intent to Award U.S. Army Corps of Engineers IM/IT Contract
A team led by U.S. Government employees and supported by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:
LMT - News) has been notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to award the team the contract to manage Information Management and Information Technology (IM/IT) services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throughout the Continental United States and the Pacific Ocean Division Office, including the Alaska and Honolulu Districts.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Headlines June 23/06

B.C. deputy health minister resigns
VICTORIA -- British Columbia's deputy health minister offered no reasons for her sudden resignation Thursday in a letter she sent to her staff.

BSE could incubate in people 50 years or more before symptoms show: study
It could take half a century or more for someone infected with prions - the cause of mad cow-like diseases - to start showing symptoms, say researchers, who drew that conclusion after studying a similar illness among Papua New Guinean people who once feasted on their dead.

Business leader issues warning to Canada's large corporations
Large Canadian-owned corporations are becoming an endangered species, threatened by globalization and predation from bigger, stronger multinational competitors, says the head of Canada's last independent bond rating agency.

Youth delegates dragged from convention centre
Three youth delegates to the World Urban Forum complain they were dragged out of the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre on Wednesday night by security officers.

Bylaw planned to slow CPR
In yet another attempt to slow down or halt Canadian Pacific Raulway’s construction of a railway siding, Council passed first reading of the Rail Yards Bylaw at Tuesday's meeting.

Canada, Russia moving in right direction in ties development - PM
Canada and Russia are moving in the right direction in the development of their bilateral ties, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an interview with Itar-Tass and Russian television.

State helps Canadian aerospace firm set up shop in Plattsburgh
A Canadian company will invest $64 million to construct a 262,000-square-foot hangar at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, creating upward of 1,500 new jobs over the next six years. Gov. George E. Pataki announced last Monday the Quebec-based Laurentian Aerospace, a wide-body aircraft maintenance and repair company, is expecting to begin construction this fall, creating 760 new jobs within the first five years of operation.

MINING NEWS: Charges filed against Miramar Mining
Canada hasn’t forgiven the 19,000 liter fuel spill in Nunavut two years ago; company pressing on with gold mine development

New Sector Chief for Vt./Canadian Border
A new sector chief for Vermont's border with Canada was sworn in Friday.
In a change of command ceremony, Swanton Sector Chief Ronald Vitiello was given the reigns of the Border Patrol.
Vitiello had been the Assistant Chief for Headquarters Border Patrol in Washington DC.

No-fault crime laws undermine justice system
Those citizens who believe police and their agents are not above Canadian law should add the Criminal Code to their bedtime reading.
In bold print are law-enforcement justification provisions that give police and people under their direction -- mainly criminals and low-life informants -- the go-ahead to commit heinous crimes such as kidnapping, forcible confinement, extortion, even dangerous driving causing injury or death.

Canfor closing three sawmills for two weeks.
Canfor Corp. announced Thursday it is temporarily shutting down three of its sawmills in B.C. in order to cut costs in the face of sliding lumber prices and the increasing value of the Canadian dollar.The company said the closures will last two weeks at each mill.

Harper inaccurately maligns First Nations accountability - Fontaine
Prime Minister Harper's comments on yesterday's Mike Duffy Live, in which he inaccurately conflated First Nations accountability and First Nation women's rights, are disingenuous at best and malicious at worst.
It appears that Conservative strategists are deliberately attempting to undermine the legitimacy of First Nation governments by falsely claiming that we are not true governments and that we are unaccountable to our citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether Conservatives want to admit it or not, First Nations are the true and real founding Nations of this country, and we still possess our own governments and legal rights which are enshrined and protected by international law, our Treaties and the Constitution of Canada, whether they will admit it or not.

Tories know more about you than you think
The Conservatives have a pretty good idea about how much money you make, what bugs you about politics, and even what kind of cereal you eat -- and they're hoping to use that information to win you over.
The federal Tories have identified tens of thousands of individual voters for a pre-election charm offensive designed to help them gain a majority government.

CEC leaves for Canada
Chief Election Commission Justice Qazi Muhammad Farooq , on the invitation of Canadian government, Friday left for Canada in order to study Canadian Electoral System during the period from June 23 to July 1.

Canada reassures U.S. on asylum policies
Canadian authorities are struggling to convince U.S. officials and lawmakers that Canadian immigration and asylum policies are not establishing a breeding ground for terrorists on their side of the longest undefended border in the world.

17 postal union members arrested in Ottawa
Seventeen members of the union representing Canada Post workers - including its president - have been arrested after trying to cross police lines Monday at the Crown corporation's headquarters in Ottawa.

SC affirms CA ruling on NAPOCOR's P7.1-M tax
The Supreme Court upheld on Thursday an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeals that the state-owned National Power Corp. must pay the franchise tax amounting to P7.1 million to the government.

With the implementation of Afghanistan's new toll tax system, government annual income might increase from US$3 million to US$44 million, the deputy minister for finance said on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference here, Deputy Finance Minister Abdul Razaq Samadi said the new toll tax system on vehicles using highways would be implemented on Thursday.
He said finance ministry would distribute special tickets.
The tickets would be valid for a specific period depending upon their prices and drivers could use the tickets until the expiry date, he added.
In the past, drivers were paying taxes by different names, but under the new system the process would be refined, he added.

Army Improves Tourniquet After 2000+ Years
We all know how tourniquets work. You take off your tie and make a big fat knot just about where your friend’s bloody stump is squirting buckets of blood, thereby saving him long enough so he can tell you “who did this to [him]! Who did this to [him]!”
Well, since the military doesn’t wear ties, they’ve created the CAT, an improved tourniquet with a shorter learning curve and a cooler design.

Secretive TopOff 4 exercise tests multiagency preparedness for WMD attacks
Federal agencies staged joint exercises this week designed to test their preparations for responding to terrorism.
The Homeland Security Department's Top Officials 4 Command Post Exercise (TopOff 4 CPX) involved more than 4,000 people from more than 85 federal, state, local and private partners, said George Foresman, DHS’ undersecretary for preparedness.

WTO draft agreements show big gaps
Senior WTO officials unveiled drafts on Thursday for liberalizing trade in farm and manufactured goods underscoring just how much work needs to be done to salvage a global commerce pact by the end of the year.

Government study group to be announced today
Officials with Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry this morning are expected to announce the creation of Lancaster County Citizens for Government Study.Jim Smucker, a member of the Chamber's executive committee, said the group is a "broad-based" assortment of representatives from local organizations who will lead the petition drive to bring government study to the county's voters.Last week, the county commissioners refused to place on the November ballot a question asking voters if they want a committee to study alternative forms of government in the county.

NHS should be removed from direct government control
Only an NHS free of direct government control, managed by an all-party body with clinical and health service experts, will save the NHS from being used as a political football, says a leading public health consultant in this week's BMJ.
Dr Layla Jader, a member of the British Medical Association's Public Health Committee Wales, argues that the NHS has seen valuable resources wasted in "constant structural changes." She proposes that an independent body, made up of those working in the sector and patients - rather than government advisors - is the best hope to sustain an NHS fit for the 21st century.

People help themselves to housing
South African women living in squatter settlements build new homes, about 18,000 of them. Tens of thousands of new homes and many new police stations are coming up in Bombay slums. Neither is the result of a government programme, or of some kindly NGO. At both places local people have combined with government agencies in bold new ways to improve their homes and their lives. And this is the way David Satterthwaite, a leading expert on city environment at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) says cities need to develop.

U.S. missile defense system gains little confidence: paper
U.S. government officials and defense experts showed little confidence in the missile defense system which has cost the Bush administration 43 billion U.S. dollars so far, a newspaper report said on Thursday.
The system would either be hit or miss incoming missiles in case of an emergency, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The system has not undergone a successful test in nearly four years and have been beset by glitches that investigators blame, at least in part, on President
George W. Bush's order in 2002 to make the program operational even before it had been fully tested, said the report.

Israeli letter of support for CUPE
Dear Friends,
On May 27, 2006 CUPE Ontario (Ontario’s largest Canadian labor union) decided to “Support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
This followed in the wake of other CUPE Ontario actions in recent years, as, for instance, calling for the end of Israeli military action and withdrawal from the occupied territories. The executive of the Canadian Labour Congress, in a 2002 resolution, compared Palestinians in the occupied territories to blacks living under apartheid rule in South Africa.
Sid Ryan, the Canadian Union of Public Employees' Ontario president, said 896 members voted unanimously at its convention in Ottawa on Saturday, to support the campaign, and declared that the boycott ''is not an attack on Jewish people. It's (an objection to) the State of Israel's policies on Palestinians.”

Secret government or a free press?
France, Germany and courts in Japan could teach America a thing or two about one essential aspect of democracy: Their governments are more willing to make sure that journalists have the means to act as watchdogs on the people in power.

U.N. gives rights body dignified burial
Much criticised in later life, the 60-year-old U.N. Human Rights Commission received a dignified funeral on Monday to make way for a protector of the persecuted that it is hoped will be more dynamic.
The Commission, which gave birth to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, will be replaced in June by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which advocates say should have more authority to speak out on rights abuses.

Snow: Program Vital to War on Terrorism
The Bush administration said Friday an anti-terrorism program that taps into an immense international database of confidential financial records has adequate safeguards to protect Americans' privacy. Democrats and civil liberties groups said the effort had disturbing similarities to another controversial anti-terrorism program of warrantless spying on telephone calls and e-mails.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Sun Controversy

The sun. Is it good or bad? We all know the dangers of too much exposure. Just ask any of the thousands of people who have been diagnosed with skin cancer. Yet, there are benefits such as Vitamin D. Which, oddly enough, helps fight cancer. Can it get more confusing? Yes.
Just seach it on the web. You'll get people saying the use of sunblocks promote cancer. Others saying this is because people tend to stay out longer and do not use it properly. Somewhere in between lies the answer? A moderate (10 minute) dose of sun is supposedly enough to get the needed vitamin D, anything beyond that could be risky.
How do you cope with over-exposure? Wear a wide-brimmed hat, clothes that cover your skin? Stay inside or use sunblock lotions? Me? I don't use sunblock. I try to steer away from chemicals whenever possible. If I know I will be out for a long period of time, I'll cover up.

I'll leave you with a few links to shed a little light on the situation :)
Sunlight is Food!

Vitamin D pills cut MS risk

Sun Scare


Sun Protection Doesn’t Cause Vitamin D Deficiency

Ingredients in Popular Sun Tan Lotions and Sun Blockers Contribute to Rising Death Rate From Melanoma

Vitamin D studies: sun can fill void

Headlines Jun 22/06

Canada Urged to Scrutinize Media Mergers
Mergers of Canadian news organizations should be given closer scrutiny under competition laws, a report by a committee of
Canada's Senate urged on Wednesday.
The report, which came after three years of hearings, also recommended that the government-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation end commercials on its TV networks and stop sports programming.

Canadian Public Companies turn to CIRI for Disclosure Solutions
The Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) is pleased to announce the publication of the Third Edition of Standards and Guidance for Disclosure, a handbook for public companies.
This book is a practical investor relations tool that describes practices that should be used by public companies to avoid selective disclosure, and includes a Model Disclosure Policy template that companies can use as a draft for their own disclosure policies.

Canadian reactor builder calls Candu sale report pure speculation
A published report that Ottawa is entertaining bids on Atomic Energy Canada's commercial nuclear reactor business is "pure speculation," a spokesman for the Crown corporation said Wednesday.
"It's our policy not to comment on any speculation or rumours that may be out there," Dale Coffin, director of communications for AECL, said of the report which he called "pure speculation."
In a story published Wednesday, an unnamed source said France's state-owned nuclear company Areva Group was in talks with Ottawa to purchase AECL's Candu reactor business.

Guardian Angels to patrol Edmonton streets
The Guardian Angels, a New York-based street patrol group known by their trademark red berets and matching jackets, will be setting up a chapter in Edmonton in October.
The group's national director, Lou Hoffer, made the announcement Wednesday in Toronto.

Fancy furniture goes for a song
More than $50,000 worth of designer office furniture, purchased by the federal government, shipped to Turin for the Winter Olympics and shipped back to Toronto at a premium, was sold off for just over $4,000 last week.

Canada must nurture conditions for P3s, say TD economists
Private sector partnerships could deliver infrastructure more cost effectively at equal, or even enhanced, levels of serviceCanadian governments have been joining countries around the world looking to public-private partnerships (P3s) as a partial solution to financing and managing public infrastructure. In a comprehensive report released today, TD economists are calling on Canadian policymakers to create the winning conditions for the P3 market to flourish.

Minister Lunn announces $2.4 million for satellite imaging: New project sharpens focus on canada
The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a five-year, $2.4-million project to provide access to new, high-quality satellite images of Canada. Speaking at the 2006 Geomatics Leaders Forum in Ottawa, Minister Lunn also announced that the improved and standardized satellite images will be available to all Canadians for free over the Internet.
The newer and higher-quality images will be used for mapping, monitoring Canadian wetland areas and managing natural resources, and will support government decision and policy makers in the fields of public safety, health and the environment, as well as our northern and Aboriginal communities.

USW official tells industry chiefs universal health care’s time has come
The steel industry must stop listening to free-market gurus and advocate universal health care, a United Steelworkers official said Wednesday.
Arguments against a single-payer system, such as the Canadian universal program, ignore the competitive advantage that such a benefit gives to competitors of the United States, said Ron A. Bloom, special assistant to the president of the USW. Speaking to a roomful of steel executives at a national conference, Bloom said free-market arguments against national health care ignore real problems.

Youths Addressing Critical Global Issues
The Pole to Pole Leadership Institute, founded by a Canadian Adventure Leader and Inspirational speaker Martyn Williams, was set up to inspire the youth of today to stand up and be leaders within their communities whilst addressing the critical issues of our time, such as poverty, AIDS, Fair Trade, critical wildlife management. The Institute is currently calling for applicants aged 18-28 to apply for a South to North Pole human-powered journey.

UN Urban Forum Examines Terrorism, City Governance
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says terrorism is among the biggest challenges facing the world's cities. Policy makers, activists and scientists are meeting in Canada for the United Nations sponsored World Urban Forum.
Over 8,000 people from over 150 countries have gathered in Vancouver for the five-day forum and trade show. The focus for the discussions and symposiums is to turn ideas into solutions for the world's growing population centers.

Will We Ruin The Canadian Tar Sands?
The Washington Post is wailing about the environmental ruination of that great ecological wonder, the Canadian tar sands.Canada's Athabasca Basin holds more hydrocarbons (oil) than anyplace else in the world. It has a huge patch of tarry goo — the remains of a once-vast inland lake — spotted amongst 40,000 square miles of jack pine and black spruce growing amid mosquito-rich swamps. The same evergreen-and-swamp vista extends in a broad band for more than 2,000 miles, from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the shores of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast.

Bill Moyers set for 'Faith & Reason'
Monologues in silos. That's how Bill Moyers sizes up the fractured state of discourse in the culture today. And there is no greater communication gap than between absolutists taking their isolated refuge in the silos of spiritualism and secularism.
With an eye toward charting some common ground, and exploring the richness of that terrain, "Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason" presents seven weekly hourlong sessions with writers of wildly varying positions on belief and disbelief — and who collectively disavow any simple either-or polarity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


GSA Leads U.S. Collaboration With Other Countries on IT and Other Services
WASHINGTON, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced its participation in bilateral discussions with its Canadian counterpart agency Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to be held on June 23 in Ottawa, Canada. Topics to be discussed during the 2006 meeting include public buildings operations, acquisition management, e-government and e-infrastructure, human capital and customer service, among others. This meeting marks the third time officials from these two government agencies have met.

Cases of government land grabs on upswing
In the year since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government's right to take property for private redevelopment, the number of properties eyed for government grabs has nearly tripled nationally, according to a group of reports released Tuesday.
New Jersey, one of 20 states that had legislative sessions but no eminent domain reform, ranked fourth on the list with 611 properties threatened by condemnation since the June 2005 Supreme Court ruling, known as the Kelo decision.
Nationally, 5,783 properties have been targeted for private redevelopment this year, reports the Institute for Justice, which found there had been an average of 2,056 per year from 1998 to 2002.

World Urban Forum Opens in Vancouver
THE third World Urban Forum (WUF3) has opened in the Canadian city of Vancouver with a call on government leaders mostly from developing countries to make their cities sustainable for both the poor and rich.
While opening the five-day event on Monday, the Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN-Habitat, Ms Anna Tibaijuka, said cities in both developed and developing countries are becoming less sustainable because of lack of political will.

Secrecy Mustn't Crush Rule of Law
Are there any legal limits to what the executive branch can do in the name of national security, or is it anything goes?
In separate federal lawsuits challenging the warrantless surveillance of American citizens, the Bush administration argues that courts must dismiss cases claiming that the National Security Agency has broken the law because those claims implicate "state secrets."

Crashing the Wiretapper's Ball
CRYSTAL CITY, Virginia -- The dingy hotel corridor was populated with suits, milling about and radiating airs of defensive hostility. They moved in close-knit groups, rounding a stranger or a rival group conspicuously, the way cats do. They spoke in whispers. They glanced nervously over their shoulders as they took calls on their cell phones, then darted swiftly into alcoves.
They were government officials, telephone company honchos, military officers, three-letter-agency spooks and cops, all brought together by salesmen dealing in the modern equipment of surveillance. It was my job to learn what they were up to.

Publisher's death was an apparent suicide
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Publisher and former diplomat Philip Merrill, whose body was recovered from Chesapeake Bay after he disappeared while sailing alone, apparently committed suicide, his family said Tuesday.

The golden revolving door
It has been just over four years since the Department of Homeland Security was created, and it has hardly covered itself with glory. Hurricane Katrina was a disaster of a disaster; ports are still far from secure, and chemical plants remain a huge target of opportunity for terrorists. But there's one area in which Homeland Security has excelled beyond anyone's wildest expectations: creating a giant, expensive crop of government-trained consultants and lobbyists. As The New York Times and the IHT reported this week, at least 90 top Homeland Security officials have gone through that famous revolving door between the government and the lobbying industry. That's more than two-thirds of the most senior executives from the department's infancy. It is hard to believe that the people running an agency that performs so badly could be so much in demand.

Sweden Defends Crackdown on File-Sharing
The Swedish government on Wednesday came under pressure from media and opposition parties to explain reports that a crackdown on Internet file-sharing was prompted by U.S. demands.

Human Genome Gets U.S. Contract: Government to Purchase 20,000 Anthrax-Drug Doses
Human Genome Sciences announced yesterday its first major contract with the U.S. government for an experimental anthrax drug, more than four years after the bacterial infection terrorized the country. But Wall Street's initial reaction was tepid.
The federal government plans to purchase 20,000 doses of the Rockville biotech's treatment for $165.2 million, with delivery and 90 percent of the payment expected in 2008. When complete, the deal will give the 14-year-old company its first-ever product sales revenue.

Ontario opens up regulation to debate, but refuses to change
After being rebuked by the province's environmental watchdog, the Ontario Liberals have agreed to allow the public to comment on a controversial regulation exempting the government's nuclear plan from environmental review.
Provincial Environment Minister Laurel Broten made the partial about-face Tuesday when she agreed to 30-day review period for the regulation.
But Broten said the government will not rescind the regulation.

No bidding war for U.S. spy agency
The Canadian government has awarded more than $42 million worth of untendered contracts over the past three years to the National Security Agency, a U.S. spy organization that specializes in secure communications and eavesdropping on foreign powers, the CanWest News Service has learned.
Moreover, the value of the government's purchases from the NSA has been steadily growing. The Canadian government made only $3.5 million worth of purchases in 2003, but that amount increased to $9.6 million in 2004 and $9.9 million in 2005.
In the first six months of this year alone, that amount has more than doubled, to $19 million, and several departments that had not done business with the NSA during the three years studied made purchases from the U.S. government agency.

Group offers net regulation compromise
Despite the divisiveness in Congress and the tech world over whether the government should regulate the Internet, a compromise that satisfies everyone is possible, according to a report released Tuesday by a non-profit public policy group.
The Center for Democracy and Technology says laws should be enacted that maintain the Internet's inherent openness while allowing phone and cable companies, which essentially own the Internet's traffic lanes, to charge extra for private, super-fast lanes for data traffic. The government shouldn't interfere with those private services, the CDT argues, unless they interfere with regular Internet traffic.

McKenna says state workers can opt out of union dues on religious basis
State government workers can opt out of union membership because of their personal religious beliefs, even if they don't belong to an organized faith, Attorney General Rob McKenna has ruled.
In a ruling released Tuesday, McKenna also said workers who pay union dues and other fees can send in the money instead of using an automatic paycheck deduction.

Gov't gets $1M for power sector reform, Napocor sale
THE government and the World Bank signed Wednesday a $1-million grant to support power sector reform and the privatization of National Power Corp. (Napocor).

Gates Allowed to Skip NJ Casino Probe
New Jersey casino regulators exempted Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and Chief Executive Steve Ballmer from filing disclosure forms because they already have top-secret clearance from the U.S. Defense Department.

Atikokan coal-fired plant gets reprieve
The provincial government has reversed its decision to close all coal-fired electricity plants in Ontario, meaning the Atikokan generating station will continue operating for now. “It’s great news. It’s very uplifting for the community,” said Mayor Dennis Brown. “The future is looking much better for Atikokan.”

The Organization of Labor-intensive Exporting Countries
A four part series from the Asia Times.