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Nation in brief

by Jacqueline Di Bartolomeo April 5, 2011

International students Ontario’s education cash cow

International students studying in Ontario are being taken advantage of by the provincial government, a new report suggests. The report was compiled by the Ontario Undergraduate Students’ Alliance after the government announced their goal of increasing the number of international students in the province by 50 per cent, the Cord reported. The result is OUSA’s Going Global campaign, which advocates for better career opportunities in Canada for those students in order to compensate for the drawbacks of being international, like high tuition and little financial aid. OUSA president Meaghan Coker said international students bring in $5,000 more in revenue than domestic students, which adds up to a contribution of $2 million a year to the Ontario economy.


Conservative staffer rails against Harper media policy… on Facebook

An assistant to a Conservative MP used Facebook to disagree with Stephen Harper’s media strategy, according to the Toronto Star. Tony Phillips, a communication and legislative assistant to British Columbian MP Dona Cadman, called the Prime Minister`s policy of only answering five media questions a day “stupid.” Phillips declined to elaborate on his comments to the Canadian Press, noting that it was a personal Facebook page and that speaking about them in the media would probably not be good for his career. It remains to be seen whether Phillips will be disciplined for his comments.


Text tougher to understand on smartphones

Reading comprehension on a smartphone is half as good as on a desktop monitor, according to a new study. The study, conducted by University of Alberta professor James Miller, focused on comprehension of privacy policies such as Facebook’s, and found it was particularly difficult to comprehend – not in the least because it is written at a grade 13 reading level. Miller said the results indicate the need to create versions of text specifically for use on mobile phones. He noted that as of yet, few online outlets have converted to a different style of writing for online content, a change he said could be useful. He hopes to conduct further research to outline a specific online writing style.


Link discovered between unemployment and longer lifespan

Being unemployed may just be your ticket to a longer lifespan, according a study by two Wilfrid Laurier professors. The Cord reported that economics professors Hideki Ariizumi and Tammy Schirle examined 30 years’ worth of data to discover that mortality rates for middle-aged Canadians drop during recessions. The authors listed a number of changes in behaviour that could explain the drop. They said the unemployed drive less, party less, drink less and eat less fast food. Unemployment also means exercising more and sleeping more, two additional factors in reducing mortality. Ariizumi and Schirle also discovered that while mortality rates in Canada do not drop for seniors in times of recession, in the United States they do. However, Ariizumi cautioned not to take the study as a sign that unemployment is better for your health. So don’t quit your day job in a bid to better your health.


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