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UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 11 | Nov. 1, 2007

In the News

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in October 2007

Compiled by Basil Waugh

UBC Student Behind Burma Facebook Group

Alex Bookbinder, a first-year arts student at UBC, has learnt more about international relations, politics and media in the past weeks than many people will learn in a lifetime.

Bookbinder is the Canadian student responsible for creating the Facebook group Support the Monks’ Protest in Burma that has helped focus public support and media attention on the crackdown by the Burmese military regime on peaceful demonstrations.

Bookbinder, 19, has become somewhat of an unofficial figurehead for Canadian support of Burma. He has been flown to Ottawa, interviewed by BBC, CBC, Global TV and the Toronto Star and has been approached by CNN.

“People needed a way to express their support,” Bookbinder said of the 340,000-member Facebook group. “Many people wanted to take action and some were seeking to share information, even people from Rangoon were posting news prior to the Internet shutdown.”

UBC Alum Pitches Colorado Rockies to World Series

Former UBC pitcher Jeff Francis, 26, has helped to lead the Colorado Rockies to the Major League Baseball’s World Series.

Francis, who majored in physics and astronomy at UBC, has featured prominently in international media coverage of the playoffs. According to New York Times’ sports columnist Ben Shpigel, the third-year pro is “the best pitcher on what is right now the best team in baseball.”

Terry McKaig, Francis’ coach at UBC, said in an interview with the Globe and Mail: “Jeff has shown Canadian kids that you can come to UBC, play baseball here, get your Canadian education and if you’re good enough to play pro ball it’s not going to hurt you.”

By UBC Reports’ print deadline, the Rockies had won 21 of their last 22 games, sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks to win their first-ever National League championship. The wild-card club began the best-of-seven-game Fall Classic against the Boston Red Sox on Oct. 24.

Pollution Killing Up To 25,000 Canadians Annually: Study

Pollution could be causing up to 25,000 premature deaths in Canada each year and burdening the health care system with up to $9.1-billion annually in extra costs, according to new research by UBC Trudeau Scholar David Boyd.

News media across Canada, including Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV and CBC, reported Boyd’s study, which is the first to measure the largely preventable health toll caused by the widespread exposure to air pollution, hazardous chemicals and pesticides in Canada.

“In our cultural DNA, we think of Canada as a pristine nation, but this is at odds with our track record on the environment,” said Boyd, a PhD candidate at UBC’s Institute for Resources, the Environment and Sustainability.

Boyd identified more than 50 different chemical ingredients present in pesticides alone that are banned in other counties. He recommends that Canada develop a comprehensive national environmental strategy.

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Last reviewed 31-Oct-2007

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