International News Desk – At Home: Smog is costing us billions in health care – In Foreign News: Writers Guild of America strikes

International News Desk – At Home: Smog is costing us billions in health care – In Foreign News: Writers Guild of America strikes

At Home: Smog is costing us billions in health care

According to Canadian researchers, rising levels of smog in cities are not only raising concerns about health in children and long-time residents, but are also costing taxpayers $2 billion annually for health care resources. After a study conducted in Toronto, it was determined that car pollution and smog were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people annually, as well as the rising level of asthma in children. Researchers concluded that the primary factor in the failing health and related deaths of Canadians in cities was car exhaust.

According to MediResource, smog is composed of many different substances, including pollution from vehicles and coal-fired power plants, other gas-powered machines, and pesticides. These substances mingle with fog particles and can be carried for miles by the wind, making even rural areas subject to their harmful components. The primary concern with elevated smog levels in cities such as Toronto has been asthma. However, other respiratory diseases have been linked to such pollution and can affect people young and old.

In conjunction with this research, city planners and scientists agree that the best way to deal with rising smog levels is to introduce a more effective public transportation system in Canadian cities. It is estimated that $1 billion in health care costs could be saved each year if the government were to invest more in public transit systems such as the subway and buses. Other suggestions to save money, promote better health, and cut down pollution involve different approaches to energy production, household heating systems, and better-insulated homes.

The problem is not a new one; city planners and all levels of government have, however, remained slow in addressing the issues of smog and the related risk to both the environment and human health.

In Foreign News: Writers Guild of America strikes

If you are a fan of Hollywood-produced shows like The Daily Show, Back to You, Rules of Engagement and many others then you may have noticed repeat episodes being shown in place of the new ones you were expecting. What’s happened? Thanks to ongoing complaints from the Writers Guild of America, Hollywood writers have officially gone on strike and left their respective actors, directors, and late-night talk show hosts without so much as a line to work with. An estimated 12,000 writers are participating in the strike because of a dispute over their share of DVD and Internet revenues.

A correspondent on CBC News Today remarked that currently writers in Hollywood are earning ?pennies? for each DVD sale and Internet download; by striking, the writers are showing the industry’s dependence on them and making it clear that it is not only the actors and TV personalities who should be making good money from their work. A writer from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart commented that if Jon Stewart were to proceed with his live news-satire program without his writers it would be ?funny? if he spent the entire half-hour slot staring at the camera.

The Writers Guild has been negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for some time now. However, MSNBC says that talks finally broke down on Sunday over the key issue of Internet revenues. Members of the Writers Guild have not yet rescheduled their negotiations with the Alliance, but have instead told members of the press that they are expecting a long wait. Picketing is taking place outside various studios until a compromise can be reached between the two parties; until then we are left with reruns.

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