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January 08, 2004

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Flu pandemic could hit in next decade
Canadian Press, Dec. 21

A devastating flu outbreak that would make one in every two British Columbians sick and kill as many as 6,800 people could hit the province within the next five to 10 years. A national pandemic plan is now being prepared. What makes a pandemic more dangerous than an epidemic, according to SFU population health expert David Maclean , is that it involves a new class of virus. “In that case, it's a totally different shift, it changes itself quite radically, so no antibody recognizes it,'” he said. “The problem becomes a new organism is created and the level of immunity in the community is low.” Maclean says when new strains enter the general population, people who may not normally get the infection do, and it can result in deaths.

How can we get moving again?
Vancouver Province, Dec. 21

No matter where you go in the Lower Mainland, everyone has a story about how they got there. Then they usually have solutions to getting around - lots of solutions. For instance, some say there should be more and better transit while others say it doesn't work. Warren Gill , a transportation geographer at SFU, says the basic rapid transit infrastructure needs to be completed, noting the network is “essential to shape the city of tomorrow.” He also suggests improvements to the freight network that would help reduce overall congestion. Altering the bias from cars to transit is the big challenge. “Unless it is less advantageous to use a car than transit or walking or a bike, we will always suffer from congestion,” he concludes.

Survey says we're actually quite happy
Vancouver Sun, Dec. 16

Step out of the rain and take some hectic holiday season comfort in the fact that 96 per cent of Lower Mainland residents say their quality of life is good. An Ipsos-Reid poll of 600 Lower Mainlanders - 400 from Vancouver - questioned in a survey between Nov. 19 and Nov. 26 also found that 70 per cent believe their economic situation will improve over the next 10 years. SFU urban planning and environmental studies teacher Don Alexander says happiness-inducing qualities include climate, the natural environment, a healthy and vibrant downtown core and unique amenities including Stanley Park and the sea wall. Alexander credits citizens, enlightened planners and some visionary politicians for not making potentially disastrous decisions in the past that would have irreparably harmed the region's quality of life.

Next challenge: Saddam Hussein's trial
Vancouver Sun, Dec. 15

The capture of Saddam Hussein is a double-edged sword for the U.S. and its allies, says SFU military expert Andre Gerolymatos . The Americans face the conundrum of whether to set up another international war crimes tribunal, drag Hussein to the U.S., or try him in Iraq. “The U.S. has to display a generosity of spirit and permit the Iraqis to clean their own house. Hussein must be tried in an Iraqi court, by Iraqi law, and ultimately face Iraqi and not American justice,” he argues. U.S. officials may hesitate to do the latter, fearing it will prove the resistance in Iraq is not directly linked to the former dictator. Nevertheless, if the Americans hope to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis they “must prove that the U.S. is prepared to offer a measure of trust.”











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