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News for the unnewsed: elections and employment

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Four years is plenty

First-year students in the faculties of Communications and Culture, Humanities, Science and Social Sciences may now qualify for the 2012 graduation guarantee. The guarantee, the first of its kind in Canada, enables students to enter into an agreement with the U of C where students are guaranteed to graduate within four years of starting their program.

For participating students, the university guarantees increased sections of high-demand courses. If students are unable to complete their degree on time, the university will pay for any extra courses required to graduate. Application forms are online at ucalgary.ca/gradguarantee/ and are due Sept. 12.

Time to vote, again

Election frenzy has infiltrated Canadian media in the weeks prior to and since Parliament was dissolved by the Governor General on Sept. 7. It was announced that Canadians will vote Oct. 14. Elections Canada estimates that four in ten Canadians aged 18 to 24 voted in the 2006 federal election and the national overall voter turnout was 65 per cent. Many groups are trying to inspire youth voters in Canada and the United States to turn out, including Rock the Vote, Calgary-based Y-Vote and media outlets providing comprehensive online resources to aid voters in everything from ridings and candidates, to issues and analysis.

Listeria outbreak

As of Sept. 6, 38 cases of listeriosis have been confirmed in Canada, two in Alberta. There are 19 deaths linked to the 38 cases. Fourteen confirmed listeriosis as the underlying or contributing cause of death and five are still under investigation. The outbreak is linked to recalled meat and cheese products. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, most people exposed to listeria are rarely affected by the bacteria. However, certain groups-- infants, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with a weakened immune system-- are at greater risk of contracting listeriosis.

For a list of recalled products, food safety tips and more information on the outbreak, refer to publichealth.gc.ca.

Low unemployment in Calgary

According to a recent Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, Calgary and Edmonton are behind Victoria for the lowest unemployment rates in Canada for August. Victoria, with a 3.2 per cent unemployment rate in August and July, continues to lead the country. Edmonton's rate was 3.4 per cent, down from 3.7 in July. Calgary's unemployment rate rose to 3.6 per cent from 3.3 in July. Alberta's unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent remains the lowest in the country compared to the national rate of 6.1 per cent.

Statistics Canada data also suggests that the summer 2008 student job market was the best since the early 1990s. From May until August, the average employment rate for students was 54.6 per cent, while the unemployment for the same period averaged around 13.6 per cent.

Australia swears in first female Governor General

Australia's first female Governor General was sworn in Sept. 5. Quentin Bryce, 65, is a former women's rights activist and was also one of the first women admitted to the bar in Queensland in 1965.

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