Tag Archives | Canada

Wikileaks Cables Show Race To Carve Up Arctic

ArcticBBC News reports:

Secret US embassy cables released by Wikileaks show nations are racing to “carve up” Arctic resources — oil, gas and even rubies — as the ice retreats.

They suggest that Arctic states, including the US and Russia, are all pushing to stake a claim.

The opportunity to exploit resources has come because of a dramatic fall in the amount of ice in the Arctic.

The US Geological Survey estimates oil reserves off Greenland are as big as those in the North Sea.

The cables were released by the Wikileaks whistleblower website as foreign ministers from the eight Arctic Council member states – Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland – met in Nuuk, Greenland on Thursday to sign a treaty on international search-and-rescue in the Arctic and discuss the region’s future challenges.

The cables claim the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller joked with the Americans saying “if you stay out, then the rest of us will have more to carve up in the Arctic”.

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Ruling Opens the Door to Legalize Marijuana in Canada

Pot Friendly CanadaSandro Contenta writes on GlobalPost:

TORONTO— Pot lovers are dreaming of July 10, the day Canada’s dope laws go up in smoke.

An Ontario judge has struck down key aspects of Canada’s marijuana laws, triggering a 90-day countdown when growing, possessing or smoking pot will become legal.

The April 11 court ruling gives the federal government three months to either reform the laws or appeal the ruling to a higher court.

At issue is a 2001 law that allows seriously ill Canadians to access marijuana for medicinal purposes. But Justice Donald Taliano found that the vast majority of doctors refuse to prescribe the drug. Patients are therefore forced to break the law, either by growing their own or buying it on the black market.

“Seriously ill persons who need marihuana to treat their symptoms are forced to choose between their health and their liberty,” Taliano, of the Ontario Superior Court, wrote in his ruling.

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Endangered Sea Turtles To Be Killed After Experiment

Green sea turtle. Photo: Wilfried Wittkowsky (CC)

Green sea turtle. Photo: Wilfried Wittkowsky (CC)

Controversial news that’s causing an uproar. The Vancouver Sun reports:

Endangered green sea turtles that have been part of a University of B.C. research project for more than 10 years will be killed sometime this spring.

Bill Milsom, head of UBC’s zoology department, said seven turtles will be killed in order to complete a study into turtle diving depths. The turtles are at least 10 years old and can live to be 30.

The study was designed to measure the impacts of climate change on the animals and to help countries develop policies around fishing.

More than 85,000 green sea turtles died as “bycatch in the fishing industry” between 1990 and 2008, Milsom said. By studying diving depths, researchers could recommend how deep fish nets should be placed to avoid catching the turtles.

Asked why kill an endangered species, Milsom said “they were brought in for these experiments [at UBC] and as part of those experiments, it requires harvesting the tissues.”

As the research progressed, he said, the studies became more invasive.

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Canada’s Goldstream River Turned Fluorescent Green

Via Utica Daily News:
The river, which runs through the city of Langford, British Columbia, turned a fluorescent green on Dec. 30, when a passer-by captured stunning video of the verdant waterway. At first it wasn't clear what caused the river -- and the water in a nearby fountain -- to change color. But investigators now believe that the green hue was caused by the addition of fluorescein, a synthetic organic compound that is often used as a dye, or a "fluorescent tracer," in the testing of water systems.
[Continues at Utica Daily News]
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10 Year-Old Girl Becomes The Youngest To Discover Supernova

Photo: Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Press Release

Photo: Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Press Release

This fifth grader is going to be getting a lot of extra credit in science this year. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada announced the little girl’s discovery of supernova in galaxy UGC 3378 on New Years Eve. Canada’s National Post reports:

Kathryn Aurora Gray is taking her new celebrity in stride after becoming the youngest person to discover a supernova.

The 10-year-old Fredericton girl’s phone has been ringing off the hook since the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada announced her find Monday.

But the amateur astronomer knows — better than anybody, perhaps — that her discovery is fleeting.

“It’s just a blowing-up of stars so eventually it will fade away,” she said of the supernova in an interview.

[Continues at National Post]

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Meet My Pet Buffalo: Rides in Car, Chugs Beer (Video)

Pet BuffaloNaeema Siddiqua writes in the Toronto Sun:
SPRUCE GROVE, ALTA.— A buffalo arriving at a bar in a convertible may seem like a figment of the imagination, but it actually happened. Bailey Jr. is a 1,600-pound male bison that last Saturday arrived at a Spruce Grove bar, about 30 kilometres west of Edmonton, in a convertible for a pint of ale, while a British camera crew from Animal Planet captured the barley lover chugging down a root beer and a bottle of beer. Not to worry, he had designated drivers with him — owners, Jim and Linda Sautner. The film crew from London, England's Oxford Scientific Films is part of a team that produces Fatal Attraction for Animal Planet. The documentary series looks at the psychological profile of people who have close relationships with big, dangerous and exotic animals.
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Young Man Disguised As Elderly Man On International Flight Seeks Refugee Protection

genthumb

Who would suspect an elderly white man? Nobody. At least, that’s what the young man from Hong Kong thought. While the facial disguise was quite impressive, he forgot to make his hands appear aged as well, which was what raised suspicion as he boarded the plane. CNN reports:

Canadian authorities are investigating an “unbelievable” incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.

The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an “unbelievable case of concealment.”

“Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong,” the alert says. “The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands.

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Canada Declares BPA Toxic. Is the U.S. Next?

3D chemical structure of bisphenol A. Author: Edgar181

3D chemical structure of bisphenol A. Author: Edgar181

Bryan Walsh writing for the Ecocentric Blog at Time Magazine:

It’s used almost everywhere. It’s in almost all of us. It does weird things to rodents and it may be doing weird things to us—but it’s tough to be certain. Bisphenol-A (BPA) has become a litmus test for how people view environmental health and the risks of common household chemicals—as I wrote in a long story for TIME earlier this year. The chemical has countless industrial uses, most often in the epoxy liner of cans and in plastic bottles. But BPA is also an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it has the capacity to mess with our hormones and potentially impact health—especially in developing fetuses—even at relatively low doses. (Because they can mimic hormones—which cause enormous changes in our bodies even at relatively low amounts—the dose-response relationship used to evaluate traditional toxins like lead may not work with BPA.)

Green advocates like the Environmental Working Group have pushed hard to restrict and even ban BPA, citing the potential risk to human health, while industry groups like American Chemistry Council have fought tooth and nail to keep the chemical in use, casting doubt on the animal studies that have shown harm from BPA.

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James Cameron To Fund Legal Action Over Canadian Oil Sands

The Vancouver Sun reports that Hollywood luminary-cum-Earth savior James Cameron has committed financial support to aboriginals for legal action against the Canadian federal and regional governments for oil sands pollution in Alberta:
Canadian-born director James Cameron agreed Tuesday to help aboriginal communities with legal action against the Alberta and federal governments to stop water-borne pollution from the oilsands. The director, famous for movies such as Avatar and Titanic, met with community leaders and residents in Fort Chipewyan. The small town of 1,200 has been complaining for years about unusual rates of cancer and other illnesses among residents. The majority believe the disease is caused by air and water pollution from oilsands development, which they say also contaminates the wild foods they eat...
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