News for the unnewsed

By Morgan Haigler

Generic drugs could offer savings

Within the next few years, the patents on several drugs will expire. These drugs, first patented in the 1990s, will be available for anyone to produce. Competition commissioner Sheridan Scott released a report outlining changes to the payment structure for generic drugs that could produce savings of up to $800 million a year to the public on Tuesday. These changes are intended to alter the system to be more economically competitive as the current system is not designed to pass benefits of competition to the consumer, said Scott.

None injured after aircraft crashes

A medivac plane flying from Gods Lake Narrows to Thompson, Manitoba last Saturday crashed shortly after takeoff. The RCMP said the pilot noticed a fire in the cockpit and attempted to turn back to the runway. The plane made an emergency landing in the brush. The pilot, co-pilot and passengers, including a 10-month-old infant, survived the landing and managed to exit the airplane before it exploded. None of the occupants suffered any significant injuries. The Transport Safety Board of Canada will investigate, although the explosion may have destroyed any evidence of what caused the fire to occur.

Recession forecasted in Canada

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development predicts a recession for much of the world in the near future, according the group’s latest economic outlook report. OECD chief economist Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel noted the downturn is projected to be the worst since the early 1980s. Canada would be affected by the downturn and Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty noted that while Canadians are not in a recession right now, this may not be the case in the future. Unemployment is expected to rise from a 6.2 per cent to 7.5 per cent by 2010, resulting in over 1.3 million jobless Canadians.

More families go to food banks

A report by Food Banks Canada released Tuesday found that 14 per cent of working Canadians are using food banks, an increase from 11 per cent in 2002. Food Banks Canada executive director Katharine Schmidt found this report troubling, noting that food bank use has increased six per cent from 1997. The study also found that 50 per cent of families helped have children. In order to alleviate this strain on families with children, Food Bank Canada’s study calls for an increase in child tax benefits which would increase the amount received by families for each child under 18 from $1,307 to $5,000.

Afghanistan withdrawal not the end of global involvement

Parliament has set a date of 2011 as the end to the current combat mission in Afghanistan, a date which Prime Minister Stephen Harper showed continued support for during the recent Canadian and U.S. elections. The actual effects of ending this combat mission are less than clear however, as Defence Minister Peter MacKay suggested the troops may have another non-military role to play in Afghanistan past 2011. The U.S. government is expected to request Canadian troops remain in Afghanistan past the deadline, but the Conservative government is holding firm.


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