International News Briefs

Life-saving phones

TORONTO: The federal government instructed Canadian cell phone providers to change their systems so 911 operators can locate 911 calls.

The formal decision is expected in February, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will likely give cellular companies until 2010 to implement the technology.

Numerous people have died after placing 911 calls because emergency dispatchers could not place the origins of the call.

CBC reported cellular companies charge 911 fees to their subscribers even where the 911 service is not provided.

The call-location technology has existed for several years, but the CRTC refused to force mobile phone companies to implement it until now.

Saving Taz

SYDNEY, Australia: Australian scientists are hoping a new fence will help save the Tasmanian devil from extinction on the island.

The world’s largest marsupial carnivore is facing extinction from a contagious form of cancer. Two-thirds of the Tasmanian devil population has already been affected.

Should the infection spread, the marsupial could be extinct within 20 years.

The construction of a fence would enable scientists to separate the healthy animals from the sick ones.

According to the BBC, the current practice for containment has been to remove the healthy animals and keep them quarantined.

The cancer appears to be contagious, causing facial tumours on the devils. Recent research has determined the disease is not hereditary.

When size does matter

SAO PAULO, Brazil: Jesus just found himself a match—himself.

The famous Christ the Redeemer statue on Rio de Janeiro’s Corcovado Mountain is facing a rival from Sertaozinho, a small town northwest of Sao Paulo.

The farming town is erecting a Christ statue that will be larger than the iconic 125 foot Jesus overlooking the city. Sertaozinho’s statue will measure 187 feet, including a 28-foot pedestal.

Reuters reported many Brazilians think the small agricultural town is trying to draw tourists away from Rio by offering similar features.

Besides the statue, Sertaozinho constructed a man-made lake with an artificial beach, another rival to Rio’s Ipanema.

Fatness, pimples and acne form grounds for dismissal

DELHI, India: Air India has fired nine female flight attendants, citing they are too overweight to perform their jobs.

The women were relieved of flying duties two to three years ago and placed on ground duty. The women have since been told their ground jobs are also redundant.

A spokesperson for Air India said the women were initially declared medically unfit to fly, stating that safety is imperative on flights and being grossly overweight compromised their functions on planes.

The women have since taken the airline to court for their terminations.

Last year the Delhi high court ruled in favour of Air India and determined that overweight crew presented health and safety issues while flying.

According to the BBC, the court stated female flight attendants physical condition and appearance was an important factor in her personality.

Air India has been tightening its recruitment criteria, citing it would not consider applicants with acne and/or bad teeth.

Published in Volume 63, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 15, 2009)

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