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Jul 11, 2002

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vol. 24, no. 6

Eyeing a new treatment
Southam News, July 8

Chances are clients have never heard of a new and controversial trend in mental health therapy, eye movement desensitization therapy (EMDR) prior to undergoing it. There's no solid scientific explanation for how it really works, or long-term research on the treatment, developed 15 years ago. SFU psychology professor Barry Beyerstein is scathing in his dismissal of EMDR. “What (EMDR founder) Francine Shapiro did was borrow stuff from proven kinds of therapy and add her own ideas, which are totally without scientific underpinning,” he says. “As somebody who studies the brain, it just smacked of nonsense from the first time I saw it because there's just nothing that we know about in brain research that would support such a conclusion.”

Biopiracy or biocure?
Ottawa Citizen, July 4

On the front lines of science, the uneasy pull between altruism and profit is forcing modern geneticists to grapple with issues unheard of even a decade ago. In rich gene-hunting destinations like Newfoundland, the tension has led to controversy. There, little has changed genetically since the first permanent settlers arrived from Britain and Ireland more than 300 years ago, creating pockets of virtually undiluted gene pools. “Newfoundland is a gold mine for the study of human genetics,” says Willie Davidson, SFU's dean of science and a molecular evolution specialist formerly at Newfoundland's Memorial University. Memorial geneticists have carried out research on Islanders for years with spectacular results.

Danger for Hudson's Bay Company
National Post, July 1

Never in the Hudson Bay Company's 330-year history have the retail waters been more dangerous than they are now. In April, both Standard & Poor's and Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd. downgraded HBC's debt to junk status, citing declining profits, increased competition and a seemingly irreversible trend away from department-store shopping. Canadian consumers have become extremely price-sensitive, says SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith. And that's bad news for both the Bay and Zellers as they grapple with competition from low-cost big-box stores, and especially from the retail juggernaut known as Wal-Mart. “Wal-Mart has one hell of a nasty, strong position,” says Meredith. “It reaches down and scalps the discounters with similar prices and higher quality, and it reaches up and attacks the mid-level department stores with similar quality at lower prices.”

Hydro must break up
Vancouver Sun, June 29

Richard Neufeld, B.C.'s energy and mines minister, says B.C. Hydro must be broken up and private sector companies given better access to the Crown corporation's assets, so that the province can participate in a rapidly evolving continental market for electricity. Under the government's scheme, independents would sell directly to buyers as far away as California, because B.C. Hydro will no longer have control over who can or cannot feed into the high voltage transmission lines. SFU energy analyst Mark Jaccard says to suggest the U.S. government is compelling B.C. to remove the transmission system from Hydro's grasp is an overstatement, but that it “makes sense” anyway. “I believe that ultimately we will want to have the transmission system as an open highway and there will be pressure from our trading partners to assure this,” he says.

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