International News Desk – At Home: Homophobia still rampant in Canada’s high schools – In Foreign News: US tax would target sugary drinks

International News Desk – At Home: Homophobia still rampant in Canada’s high schools – In Foreign News: US tax would target sugary drinks

At Home: Homophobia still rampant in Canada’s high schools

Gay and lesbian rights may be gaining ground in the mainstream, but Canada’s high schools are still rampant with homophobic attacks.

That’s the word from Catherine Taylor, a professor of education and communications at the University of Winnipeg. Professor Taylor is part of a team conducting a ?national survey of homophobia in schools.?

As the National Post reports, the initial results of the two-phase survey are not surprising. According to Taylor, homophobic attacks (both verbal and physical) were reported by ?the vast majority of gay and lesbian students who responded to the survey.?

Students reported being frightened, and pinpointed specific areas of their schools where they’re most vulnerable, including hallways and washrooms. Insults such as ?queer? and ?fag? are common in many school environments, and are even aimed at heterosexual students. Few students reported feeling safe enough to report the harassment.

Similar surveys have been conducted in the UK and US. The results of the survey’s second phase are expected to be made public in December, and Taylor’s research group hopes to conduct a third phase focused on interviewing Canadian teachers.

In Foreign News: US tax would target sugary drinks

High taxes have long been seen as a way to offset the health costs of alcohol and cigarettes. Now there’s a new target on the tax horizon: soft drinks. The US debate on a soft-drink tax is heating up, and policy makers, doctors, and scientists say it could be ?a powerful weapon in efforts to reduce obesity.?

The New York Times reports that the proposed tax would apply to sports beverages, energy drinks, and soft drinks, but ?sugar-free diet drinks? would be excluded.

President Obama is said to be considering the idea, but the beverage industry is already voicing strong opposition, with one executive calling it ?outrageous.? The industry has created a group called Americans Against Food Taxes; as well as having a website, the organization is opposing the tax through a campaign of newspaper and television ads.

Some in favour of the bill have estimated that a tax of one cent per ounce on sugary drinks would raise as much $14.9 billion in the first year. The money would be used for education on obesity and diabetes, and could also offset the related Medicaid and Medicare costs.

The tax is also expected to act as a deterrent at the consumer level. One recent study cited research that shows consumer consumption on soft drinks declines 8 to 10 percent ?for every 10 percent rise in price.?

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