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September 22, 2005

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The refugee dilemma
Edmonton Sun, Sept. 14

Traditionally, Canada has accepted refugees at a rate that dwarfs other nations. Many make worthy contributions. But understanding their connection to terrorism is not hard, says SFU economics professor Don Devoretz, who is also one of the nation's foremost immigration authorities. “Refugees tend to come from violent, war-torn countries,” he says. “That seems to be the core of it. And their fanaticism is magnified by their poverty.” The problem was identified 30 years ago in Germany with the influx of refugees from Turkey. The Germans hoped they would slowly integrate themselves into the mainstream through marriage or language, says Devoretz. “Instead they did neither and just stayed. Now, Germany is going to allow them to vote, which maybe will do the job.”

Indo-Canadian diabetes rate soars
Vancouver Sun, Sept. 14

Diets rich in butter and sugar are contributing to higher rates of diabetes in the Indo-Canadian and other South Asian communities than the general population. About 20 per cent of Indo-Canadians and South Asians have diabetes, compared with two to six per cent of Caucasians of European descent. Scott Lear, an SFU professor of kinesiology, says he is exploring the association between abdominal obesity and diabetes. “It is an acknowledged fact that people from India and South Asian countries have a higher incidence of diabetes, especially when they adopt bad western lifestyles when they come here. It is quite possible that lower body mass index targets are necessary for those groups to lower diabetes risk. There is also a hypothesis that such people naturally have less lean body muscle and higher body fat ratios.”

Undecided voters like Clark
Vancouver Sun, Sept. 10

Former B.C. deputy premier Christy Clark has a better chance than four-term councillor Sam Sullivan of beating Jim Green in a race for mayor of Vancouver, according to a recent poll. Decided Vancouver voters were evenly split between Green, a city councillor and well-known poverty advocate, and Clark in a poll of 300 eligible voters. SFU political scientist Kennedy Stewart says you can't dismiss the gap between Clark and Sullivan. “It shows she is a star candidate. I think this would be quite disheartening for the Sullivan camp,” he added.

Forty years of radical lessons
Globe and Mail, Sept. 3

Simon Fraser University, once Canada's best known symbol of 1960s style rebellion, is turning 40, and basking in its radical past. Over the past decades SFU has become decidedly mainstream, so some find it unusual that its radical past is being so publicly celebrated. “We're encouraging people to talk about it,” says SFU President Michael Stevenson. He said that the result of the early battles has been a vibrant university, and suggested that the time has come again for SFU to challenge some conservative trends, such as the dominance of economic concerns in public debate and citizens' disengagement from politics. “Since the sixties there has been very much a counterrevolution. In many ways SFU has resisted these changes. It's retained its birthmark from the sixties.”

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