Friday, July 30, 2010

Condor Born in 1910 Finally Kicks the Bucket

by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil

The planet is short one centenarian this week after Hector, the world's oldest condor, passed away in Algeria at the ripe old age of 100. Experts say Hector's long life was quite a feat considering that the scavenging birds generally don't live past 50. But as impressive as his longevity was, Hector's entire species of condor has a place in the record books, too, for having the longest wingspan of any land bird on the planet. Perhaps those magnificent wings came in handy as Hector slipped the surly bonds of Earth to fly towards that great rotting carcass in the sky.

According to the Algerian new agency APS, Hector died on Monday, but his history goes way back. He was brought from South America to Africa in the early part of the last century by Joseph D'Angelo, a Frenchmen who created a zoo there. Over the decades, Hector grew up to be one big bird, coming in at 33 pounds with a wingspan of over 10.5 feet.

Andean condors, like Hector, are considered the biggest flying birds in the world, as well as one of the longest-living. Typically, these condors have an impressive lifespan of about 50 years -- but Hector's days numbered far more than even more story at

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Men vs. Women: Who's the Better Driver?

The Pulse of the Driving Nation - Globe Drive Reveals Insights from Behind the Wheel

TORONTO, July 29, 2010 Canada NewsWire/ - It is the age-old question that nobody can agree on: who are the better drivers - men or women? According to a new poll conducted by Harris/Decima for Globe Drive, the answer depends largely on who you are. Not surprisingly, half of men believe they are the superior drivers (48%) over female drivers (25%). The opposite is true for women. Women believe they are better behind the wheel (41%) than men (16%). The poll serves as a snapshot of Canadian driving habits and attitudes.

Online at and in today's Globe Drive, columnist Peter Cheney explores the battle between the sexes on the road and examines just what Canadians reveal they are doing when in the driver's seat. From getting dressed, to arguments, and even love making, who is doing what?

"Driving has become part of our daily routine, and Globe Drive understands the passion and spirit of Canadian drivers," said Simon Beck, custom content manager for The Globe and Mail. "Globe Drive moves the age old debate into the driver's seat as Canadians weigh in on the superior driver, habits and behaviours in our cars and confessions from behind the wheel."

The finishing touches:

A home away from home is what the car has become for Canadians. Almost four in 10 Canadians (37%) confess they have gotten dressed or changed their clothes in the car, and it's slightly more men (41%) than women (34%) in need of a drive-in closet. But, women are far more likely to groom behind the wheel - 35 per cent of the women polled said they had applied makeup while driving, while only 5 per cent of all male respondents said they have shaved while at the wheel.

Intimate interactions:

According to the Globe Drive poll, some Canadians reveal what really goes on behind closed doors, closed vehicle doors, that is. One-third of Canadian drivers (34%) reveal they have made love in the car. But the battle of the sexes continues, even when it comes to love making. Almost twice as many men (44%) than women (24%) admit to having sex in the car! One in 10 Canadians has ended a relationship in a car (10%), and only four per cent of drivers have been 'kicked out' of the car during a heated argument.

These results and more from The Globe and Mail's Pulse of the Driving Nation can be found online at or in paper in today's Globe Drive. features an expanded line-up of editorial and lifestyle content and explores topics, including: our relationships with our cars, family driving, car audio and electronics, green options, car tips, road trips and what the cars we drive say about us, to name just a few.

The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, is a division of CTVglobemedia, a dynamic multimedia company, which also owns CTV Inc., Canada's number-one private broadcaster.

About the survey

The data was gathered between March 31st through April 5th, 2010 through Harris/Decima's weekly teleVox, the company's national omnibus survey. A representative sample of 1,002 Canadians were surveyed, of which 889 ever drive. The corresponding margin of error this subgroup is +/-3.3%, 19 times out of 20.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Liquor in Plastic Bottles - The New Consumer Trend

TORONTO, July 15, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - You wouldn't know it unless you looked closely, but between one-quarter and one-third of all liquor is now sold in plastic bottles in Canada.

Go ahead, have a look around the store. You may have to actually touch the bottles to tell whether they're plastic or glass. At first glance, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) appears remarkably similar to glass.

But beyond appearances, plastic bottles are distinctly different - they weigh about 30 per cent less than glass when filled, are shatterproof, and come with a re-sealable cap. The lighter-weight plastic bottles result in transportation fuel savings, meaning reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Industry representatives say consumers have responded well to PET because the bottles are unbreakable and easier to carry, making them great for cottages, parties and outdoor events. And consumers also appreciate the environmental benefits.

"Plastic liquor bottles are a convenient choice that our customers feel good about using," says Howard Kirke, Vice President of External Affairs at Corby Distilleries Limited. Corby now offers some of its more popular brands in PET, including Polar Ice Vodka, Lamb's Rum, and Wiser's Special Blend Canadian Whisky.

Plastic liquor bottles were first introduced in Canada about a decade ago, but only in the last few years have they really started to gain significant shelf space.

According to the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, for example, almost 50 per cent of Smirnoff Vodka in 750 ml bottles now sells in plastic rather than glass. For Captain Morgan White in 750 ml bottles, plastic now accounts for about 40 per cent of sales even though the PET version was only recently introduced.

PET bottles are completely recyclable. In Toronto, for example, residents can recycle them in their blue bins or return them to Beer Stores for a deposit refund. In Halifax, residents take their empty plastic bottles to an ENVIRO-Depot where they receive deposit refunds

As well, plastic bottles require less energy to produce. David Clark, Director of Sustainability for plastic bottle manufacturer Amcor Rigid Plastics, notes that switching from glass to PET reduced the carbon footprint of one line of bottles by 22 per cent.

For retailers, plastic liquor bottles have another advantage - dramatically lower breakage rates. It has been estimated that plastic containers reduce waste by more than 90 per cent.

Dave Birkby, President & CEO of Westbridge PET Containers in Calgary, one of the major manufacturers of plastic liquor bottles, notes that while glass still dominates, plastic is gaining in popularity. "Consumers today are environmentally conscious, and if they can make a difference through their purchase decisions, they will," he says.

So next time you're at the liquor store, see if your favourite brand comes in plastic.

"Here's to yet another example of what plastics innovation can achieve," says Mark Badger, President and CEO of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA). "Today's intelligent plastics enhance our lifestyles and benefit the environment."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Study reveals Canadians living with lung cancer are too often stigmatized

1 in 5 Canadians are less sympathetic because of smoking link

TORONTO, July 7, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian lung cancer patients are likely to suffer significant stigma due to the disease's link to smoking, a connection that may impact the care and treatment patients receive. According to a 16-country survey carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, one in five Canadians admit feeling less sympathetic towards lung cancer sufferers because of its known association with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.

"This research supports what we have known for a long time; that lung cancer continues to carry the very heavy burden of stigma," said Dr. James Gowing, co-chair of the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (CACC), which is a member of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition. "You simply do not see this type of blame culture with any other disease, or patients and families being abandoned. No one deserves lung cancer, and certainly, no one deserves to die from it."

As the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide,(ii) the state of lung cancer in Canada remains bleak compared with other major cancers.(iii) In 2009, the prevalence of lung cancer in Canada at 23,400 was similar to that of breast cancer (22,900), whereas lung cancer claimed the lives of 20,500 Canadians compared with 5,400 from breast cancer.(iii) In the study, when asked which two cancers they think kill the most people in their country, an almost equal number of Canadian respondents chose both lung cancer (60 per cent) and breast cancer (58 per cent).(i) One third of respondents (34 per cent) didn't choose lung cancer at all.(i)

"The mortality rate from lung cancer is horrific in this country and we aren't seeing the improvement we should be seeing, given all we know now about this disease today," said Dr. Gowing. "In fact, the 10-year survival rate in Canada is four times higher for breast cancer than lung cancer. Interestingly, the rate of investment into research for lung cancer is four times lower than that for breast cancer."

Through this study, The Global Lung Cancer Coalition concluded that the stigma highlighted in this research has contributed, at a broader level, to the poor resourcing of research and treatments that are necessary to allow people to live longer and better lives, after a lung cancer diagnosis.(ii)

Although smoking causes most lung cancers, as many as 15 per cent of patients are life-long non-smokers, and 35 per cent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have quit before the time of diagnosis.(iv) Nevertheless, lung cancer patients feel particularly stigmatized because the disease is so strongly associated with smoking, often causing self-blame, guilt and shame, which can contribute to depression or anxiety, affecting quality of life and possibly increased morbidity.(iv)

"Lung cancer can affect smokers, and even people who have successfully quit smoking or who have never smoked," said Dr. Natasha Leighl, President of Lung Cancer Canada. "It is time we recognized the toll this devastating illness is taking on Canadians, so that we can overcome the stigma of lung cancer and work towards better prevention, earlier detection, improved treatments and a cure for all Canadians diagnosed with lung cancer."

The research also found some evidence that sympathy levels were influenced by rates of smoking in each country.(ii) Generally, people in countries with lower rates of smoking had a greater tendency to admit that they felt less sympathetic to people with lung cancer, compared with other types of cancer.(ii) However, the pattern is not perfect, which suggests that other cultural or traditional factors also have an important role to play.(ii)

"The results of this study raise the question of how stigma towards the victims of lung cancer - smokers and non-smokers alike - impacts the support they receive, particularly from the healthcare system," said Heather Borquez, CEO and president of The Canadian Lung Association. "As Canadians, we also need to ask ourselves how we can help the five million smokers in our country to quit and stay quit, so that they might escape the terrible fate of lung cancer."

The research surveyed 16,000 people in 16 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovenia, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the USA. The same questions were asked in each country to allow comparison between countries.(ii) The full report can be downloaded from the Global Lung Cancer Coalition's website at

About the Global Lung Cancer Coalition

Created in 2001, the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) is an international group of patient organizations dedicated to supporting the needs of lung cancer patients. The GLCC is also the first truly international patient alliance to promote global understanding of the burden of lung cancer and the rights of patients to effective early detection, better treatment and supportive care. The Canadian member organizations of the GLCC are the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (, The Canadian Lung Association ( and Lung Cancer Canada (

About the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada

The Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (CACC) is a registered, non-profit cancer group dedicated to citizen advocacy. The CACC operates on unrestricted grants based on guidelines that ensure the organization's autonomy.

About Lung Cancer Canada

Established in 2002, Lung Cancer Canada remains the only organization in the country that is sole dedicated to the support and education of those affected by lung cancer and their families, and to raising awareness about lung cancer nationwide.

Our mission is to increase awareness about lung cancer, support patients living with lung cancer and the individuals who care for them and provide educational resources to lung cancer patients, their family members and health care professionals.

About The Canadian Lung Association

Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs, and advocacy on lung health issues.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PharmaTrust to Use the Ontario Telemedicine Network to Expand Access to Pharmacy Services for Ontarians

OAKVILLE, Ontario, July 6, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - PharmaTrust, makers of the world's leading remote prescription drug dispensing technology, has signed an agreement with the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) that will enable OTN's Members, including hospitals, to integrate PharmaTrust's technology into their telemedicine service offering. This new development will expand access to valuable pharmacy services for Ontarians.

"We are very fortunate to be able to partner with the Ontario Telemedicine Network. The organization has been a true trailblazer in the field of telemedicine and we are excited about the opportunity to combine our cutting-edge technology with their sophisticated network," said Don Waugh, co-founder and CEO of PharmaTrust.

OTN supports a secure, encrypted video service that helps deliver clinical care and professional education among health care providers and patients throughout the province. With more than 1,000 sites, including every hospital and hundreds of other health care locations in Ontario, OTN is one of the largest and most comprehensive telemedicine networks in the world.

"Above all else, OTN is committed to delivering world class healthcare to patients," said Dr. Ed Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Telemedicine Network. "We are confident that this partnership with PharmaTrust will enhance and improve patient care across the province while eliminating barriers to access. We are pleased to be able to support this service for those of our Members that wish to implement it and are very excited about the possibilities."

PharmaTrust has designed and developed the world's leading remote dispensing technology, the PharmaTrust MedCentre. The MedCentre extends the reach of pharmacists by allowing them to provide patients with 24/7, multilingual access to pharmacy services.

The unique MedCentre technology allows patients to interact live with a pharmacist who provides counselling via two-way video conferencing and controls the dispensing of medication to the patient.

PharmaTrust and OTN are working together to simplify the installation of MedCentres in Ontario hospitals. PharmaTrust signed an agreement with the Ontario Hospital Association earlier this year to deploy MedCentres in hospitals across the province.

"This is a golden opportunity to combine two advanced telemedicine technologies in an effort to improve access to care for Ontarians," noted Waugh. "Working together, PharmaTrust and OTN will ensure Ontario remains at the forefront of telemedicine for years to come."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Census Changes Threaten Canadian Communities

OTTAWA, July 5, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Changes to the way Canada collects census data will have undesirable effects on the growth and development of Canadian communities. The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) sent a letter to Minister of Industry, Hon. Tony Clement expressing its concern and requesting that the Conservative government reverse its decision to eliminate the long-form questionnaire in the 2011 Census.

Census data is an essential tool for Canada's professional planners in supporting the provision of transportation, infrastructure, social services and economic development across the country. These changes, and the resulting selection bias, will affect the validity and accessibility of data, which has serious implications for shaping sustainable communities in Canada. Planners are concerned that marginalized communities will be under-represented in the voluntary survey, and this will negatively affect decision-making.

In previous years, the long census questionnaire was sent to 20 per cent of Canadian households, and respondents provided valuable information on socioeconomic status, ethno-cultural background, disability, and education levels. This information will be now be gathered by a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS), which will be sent to one in three households.

Professional planners recognize Canadians' desire for privacy and security of their personal information. However, Statistics Canada already makes great efforts to safeguard citizens' information. While it is important that matters of privacy be addressed, discontinuing the Census long form is not the solution.

"Canada's professional planners depend on accurate, timely and consistent data to help build Canadian communities, said Marni Cappe, President of the Canadian Institute of Planners. "Making the collection of this data voluntary undermines good public policy."

About the Canadian Institute of Planners

CIP is the national voice of Canada's planning profession. Since 1919, CIP has been dedicated to the advancement of responsible planning throughout Canada. In its capacity as the national professional institute and certification body for the planning profession, CIP addresses the issues of professional standards and public policy, both domestically and globally, related to planning and planning related issues.