News Briefs

Nursing home resident goes on hunger strike over staffing • Suspended over letter to editor • N.S. to disclose bureaucrat bonuses • Teen literacy improving in Ont. • Preparation for pandemic lacking

Nursing home resident goes on hunger strike over staffing

Camrose, Alta.
— An 86-year-old diabetic woman went on a 96-hour hunger strike to protest staffing shortages at the Bethany Long Term Care Centre in Camrose, Alta. Fatigue forced Marie Geddes to abandon her protest, but the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has vowed to take up her cause and highlight inadequate staffing levels at long-term care facilities across the province.

Suspended over letter to editor

Quesnel, B.C.
— Chris Kempling, a teacher and guidance counsellor with the Quesnel School Board in the British Columbia interior, has been suspended for writing a letter to the local paper against homosexuality and gay marriage. It’s not the first time Kempling’s views have gotten him in trouble at work. The B.C. College of Teachers suspended him earlier for a series of anti-gay articles he wrote for local papers. Kempling plans to take his case to the B.C. Human Right Tribunal.

N.S. to disclose bureaucrat bonuses

— Nova Scotia will make bonuses paid to senior provincial bureaucrats and Crown corporation executives public, says Justice Minister Michael Baker. The move comes after a request under the Freedom of Information Act discovered the deputy minister of education received a $4,000 bonus in 2002-03, but did not appear on a government list of deputy ministers eligible for bonuses.

Teen literacy improving in Ont.

— Ontario is making inroads in improving the literacy of students. Results from provincewide tests of Grade 10 students show an 82 per cent pass rate in 2004, compared to 77 per cent in 2003.

Preparation for pandemic lacking

— Governments are failing to prepare for a worldwide flu pandemic that will surely come, says an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. Vaccine production and containment strategies need to be re-examined because a pandemic could kill millions of people and shut down the interdependent global economy within days.

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