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Nation in brief, Oct. 11

by The Concordian October 11, 2011
An old German space telescope that’s set to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere around the end of October might land somewhere in Canada. The Canadian Press reported there is a one in 2,000 chance that the ROentgen SATellite (ROSAT) will cause injuries on Earth. The X-ray observatory, which shut down in February, 1999, is the size of a mobile home and weighs 2.4 tons. Up to thirty pieces of the telescope may reach Earth and there is no way to predict where they might fall. Between 10 and 30 uncontrolled satellite re-entries occur annually but few are really big, according to Holger Krag, an expert at the European Space Agency’s space debris centre. There are currently more than 8,000 orbiting objects being tracked in space, seven per cent being operational satellites and the rest debris.

Tighter regulations for sperm donors
The lack of regulation for sperm donors in the United States and Canada is cause for worry according to some experts. While the international norm is that 20 children can be born from a single donor, there are no laws in the United States or Canada that limit that number. According to the Gazette, specialists are warning that relying on one donor increases the risk of transmitting genetic malformations and involuntary incest between half-siblings. Most sperm banks self-regulate, but rules are not always respected. Juliet Guichon, a professor of bioethics at the University of Calgary, suggested that donor anonymity be abolished, and pointed out that Canada does not have accurate data on the number of donor children in the country.

Suspicious packages left unchecked
Customs workers are saying they are short staffed, the consequence of which being that international mail containing drugs, child porn or parts for weapons are potentially getting into Canada without checks by border officers. QMI Agency reported that mail arriving in Mississauga, Ont. is not being examined, according to a complaint filed by the officers. Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson Antonella Di Girolamo said that allegations made by CBSA officers were not consistent with their information. Recent checks have found cocaine, heroin, hate propaganda, and weapons parts in different parcels.

Reverse Movember
National rugby star Adam Kleeberger, the Canadian equivalent of Sébastien Chabal in facial hair, plans to shave off his massive beard on Oct. 17 in Victoria, B.C. According to the Vancouver Sun, Kleeberger will go under the razor to benefit both Movember, a month-long event dedicated to raising funds for cancers affecting men, and the Christchurch earthquake relief fund, which will go towards rebuilding the New Zealand city that suffered damage from an earthquake last February. CBC comedian Rick Mercer will do the honours on Oct. 17 for an episode of the Mercer Report.

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