International News Desk – At Home: Bilingual – Around the World: Adapting Seeds

At Home: Bilingual

Want a raise? Consider learning a second language; a recent study from the University of Guelph found that bilingual Canadians do better on the salary scale than those who speak only English or only French.

As The Globe and Mail reports, a second language means a higher income, and ?you don’t necessarily have to use a second language on the job to reap the financial rewards.?

Researchers discovered that bilingual men living in areas of Canada other than Quebec make on average 3.8 per cent more than those who only speak one language; women who speak both French and English do even better, earning 6.6 per cent more than unilingual women. The figures are slightly higher for residents of Quebec.

But although working a bilingual job can mean a further salary increase in Quebec, for the rest of Canada, ?it makes no significant difference.? Regardless of whether French is actually used in the workplace, the salary still remains higher for those who speak it than for those fluent in English only.

Why? According to Dr. Christofides, who co-authored the study, knowledge of a second language is often seen as indicative of certain positive personality traits. As he told reporters, employers ?would see a [bilingual] person who is ?able? or ?sensitive? or ?has good social skills?.?

Around the World: Adapting Seeds

It’s no surprise that farmers need to be protected from weather extremes. After all, droughts, hurricanes, and other severe weather wreak havoc on crops?and by extension, affect both world economy and global poverty. The solution, however, may be found close to the source: the seeds.

As The Washington Post reports, scientists are discovering that ancient strains of wheat and corn are more adaptable to extreme temperatures and weather phenomena. Research near Mexico City has revealed that ?ancient wheat varieties have particular drought- and heat-resistant traits, including longer roots that suck up water and a capacity to store more nutrients in their stalks.?

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in El Batan, Mexico, plans to use the strains to help develop varieties of wheat that will be more adaptable to future droughts or temperature increases. It maintains a seed bank to store possibilities.

It’s not a foolproof solution. Farmers are cautioned that even the hardiest varieties ?will fail unless [they] adopt methods of conserving water and recovering depleted soil.?

However, the outlook is good. As the seed bank’s Thomas Payne told reporters, ?Many of these land races have been around for tens of thousands, if not millions, of years and have lived through wide variations in the climate.?

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