June 20th, 2007

Can Vancouver Fend off Olympics Sweatshops?
China's abuses 'a warning bell' for 2010.

Imagine being a 13-year-old girl in a factory. You're forced to work 12 or more hours a day, sometimes seven days a week in a clamorous space full of dangerous equipment and dirty air. You could lose three days' pay for too much time in the bathroom, you are paid less than half the legal minimum wage in your country. The work can leave your hands bleeding, your throat and lungs full of fibre, filth and lint. You must find a way to buy your own gloves and mask from the pittance you earn. Try and quit without management's permission, and you'll be deprived of a month's pay. Now you have some idea what it's like to work in a Chinese factory producing goods for the upcoming Beijing Olympics, according to a report issued June 10.

Oil spill drill prepares crews for real deal
When living in Alberta, one of the world’s top oil producers, it’s comforting to know steps are taken to ensure backup plans are kept up-to-date in the case of hazardous spills.
The Western Canadian Spill Service, WCSS, hosted its 35th annual spill exercise on Weds, June 13, at Lake McGregor’s Country Estates boat launch.
“Our goal is to help prepare co-op members to prepare for safe, effective spill response,” said Alan McFadyen, managing director of WCSS.
Co-op members are oil companies with licensed wells or pipelines who register and pay membership to the WCSS, which in turn provides training and equipment, he said.

OTF grant for pet food bakery
Thunder Bay is getting in on an an innovative trend that is slowly sweeping across North America and at the same time providing meaningful work for some citizens. Community Living Thunder Bay has announced a new pet bakery will be built at the Monty Parks Centre and official James Dorey said Wednesday that the bakery will be offering a premium product at an economical price.Funding for the new bakery has come from both the province through the Ontario Trillium Foundation with a $69,000 grant over two years and $13,000 for a commercial dishwasher and convection oven from the John Andrews Foundation. Alexander Paterson, president of the John Andrews Foundation said ''we wish them every success in undertaking this initiative.''

The business venture allows individuals with intellectual disabilities a place to develop employment skills. A preliminary market research study conducted by Lakehead University students found a ready market for pet bakery items in the city. The bakery will be more of a 'social enterprise' motivated by social and public good rather than profit and revenue allowing workers to reach their full potential with transferable work skills.

Oikocredit Issues Shares in Local Currencies
Just around the time of Oikocredit's Annual General Meeting in South Africa, we passed the mark of financing 600 project partners worldwide with over EUR300 million. To be able to continue the upward trend in project financing, Oikocredit is constantly looking for new strategies to attract investors With the growing demand for credit for development, Oikocredit needs to attract new investors to be able to reach as many project partners as possible. This increase in demand is calling for a change in the initial policy of offering shares only in EUR and US dollars. In the last few years, investors have encouraged the board and management to study the possibilities for issuing shares in currencies other than EUR and US dollars.

Restaurant sludge reborn as biofuel:
Company to tap 10 million gallons of useless trap grease
Of all the raw sources of experimental "green" energy, the stuff that comes into a tiny Kensington plant is perhaps the nastiest: a brown sludge clotted with food and other goo you really don't want to know about, laced with grease. A few treatment tanks and chemical processes later, out comes a strange brew, indeed. It is clear and smells slightly herbal.

The latest biodiesel innovation -- processed restaurant "trap grease" -- keeps Cory Suter's white Volkswagen pickup running. Likewise, the Krapf buses for the Great Valley school district, all normal diesel vehicles.

UVic to link research, community needs
Budd Hall thinks of himself as a matchmaker.The director of the University of Victoria's new community-based research office said he's trying to make a match between community interests and about 800 researchers at the university. "If you think about directing the intellectual resources UVic has to the problems in the community, how much it would help the community," Hall said.