A true blue brawl and blue jeans in the deep blue; In The News for June 18 - InfoNews

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A true blue brawl and blue jeans in the deep blue; In The News for June 18

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidates Erin O’Toole, left to right, Peter MacKay, Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis wait for the start of the French Leadership Debate in Toronto on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
June 18, 2020 - 5:41 AM

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 18 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The stakes are high tonight for the four contenders for leadership of the Conservative party as they face off in what's likely the final debate of the race.

All four will be fresh off last night's French-language debate, a nearly two hour event that largely saw Erin O'Toole and Peter MacKay dominate in heated exchanges on everything from carbon taxes to abortion.

But tonight, the other two candidates are aiming to score some points of their own.

Both Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan acknowledged that with only basic French skills they could only go so far in the first event.

But Lewis says the English language debate will put the four on more equal footing and potentially help her continue building the momentum she's had behind her campaign in recent days.

Sloan says his goal is to show he is "ready to rumble" and suggested he will aim to bolster his support in the West.

Conservative party members will elect a new leader at some point after Aug. 21, the deadline to return their ballots by mail.


In health news ...

A study by British Columbia researchers says childhood asthma rates have fallen because fewer unnecessary antibiotics are being prescribed to babies within the first year of life.

It says infants who were given antibiotics face nearly double the risk of asthma by age five. Earlier research shows the drugs affect so-called good bacteria in the gut.

Researchers from B.C. Children's Hospital, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia found that every 10 per cent increase in prescribing of antibiotics was linked with a 24 per cent jump in asthma rates.

The study on the most common chronic childhood disease was published recently in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Dr. David Patrick, first author of the study and director of research and medical lead of the antimicrobial resistance program at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, says antibiotics should be prescribed only for serious infections.


On this day in 2002 ...

A joint U.S.-Canadian military inquiry found that American pilot Maj. Harry Schmidt mistakenly dropped a bomb on Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, killing four and wounding eight because he did not take time to properly assess the threat.


Blue jeans in the deep blue ...

Chelsea Rochman wasn't surprised when her research cruise through Canada's Eastern Arctic showed tiny plastic shards and other human debris in nearly every bucket she hauled aboard.

What puzzled her was the colour. The answer changed the way she looks at her wardrobe.

"Some of the particles that we sampled weren't microplastics," says Rochman, a University of Toronto scientist who has just published her research in the journal Facets. "(They were) cotton textiles that have been dyed and used in clothing."

Rochman sailed on the research icebreaker the CCGS Amundsen in the summer of 2017 to sample water, snow, sediment and plankton at 36 sites from south Hudson Bay all the way to Alert on the tip of Ellesmere Island.

Finding microplastics and other tiny pieces of human-generated debris wasn't a shock. But the study presents important clues on where the fragments originate.

Most of the fragments were in the form of tiny fibres. Most of those were cotton, not plastic, and most of them were blue, probably from somebody's jeans.

The concentrations weren't large, but they are everywhere. And there's little understanding of "how microplastics will impact the Arctic ecosystem."

"More research needs to be done," she says. "The question we get from the local communities is, they really want to know how it affects the ecosystem and how it affects their country food."


Rodeos can't buck COVID-19 ...

The Calgary Stampede rodeo in July is among almost 50 Canadian rodeos, along with multiple Professional Bull Riders Canada events, cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic.

That leaves a lot of bucking stock with nothing to do.

Rodeo announcers constantly refer to bucking stock as athletes and point out their performance accounts for half a rodeo rider's total score.

But with rodeos across Canada cancelled this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, broncs and bulls can't use home gyms and treadmills like their human counterparts do to stay in shape.

"It's just like a human athlete. If you sit around and do nothing, you're going to get fat," says Ross Lewis, who owns a dozen bulls in the Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls company.

"That's what these guys are doing. They don't have a job right now. A big part of their day is walking from where they're laying down 20 feet to the feeder, eating and then walking back 20 feet and laying down again."

Blackstone After Party — Rodeo Canada's bull of the year in 2019 — got a job requiring some physical exertion.

"We just sent him out on Saturday to breed cows," says Curtis Sawyer of Outlaw Buckers Rodeo. "All our heavy-hitters are going out this year to breed cows. Normally they wouldn't.

"They'd be rodeoing."


ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

When Hal Johnson decided he'd share his story of how the "Body Break" segment was started to combat racism, he kept the preparation to a minimum.

A 10-minute shoot was all it took to get Johnson's thoughts on video. No edits, no fancy production, no script.

The result got people's attention.

Johnson, who co-hosted the popular health and fitness segment with his wife, Joanne McLeod, described in specific detail some of the incidents that occurred before the popular program was launched.

The 4 1/2-minute video, titled "How We Battled Racism," had Johnson trending on Twitter. It was up to 108,000 views on YouTube on Wednesday afternoon, some 48 hours after it was posted.

Johnson talked about being "hired and fired in the same day" by TSN in 1988 and told that network executives wouldn't be bringing him on because they already had a Black reporter.

TSN, a division of Bell Media, issued an apology this week. In a statement, the network called it "a shameful part of our past," and thanked Johnson "for sharing his story as a reminder of the impact of racism in Canadian media that continues today."

"It's quite overwhelming," Johnson says. "TSN offering an apology, which I didn't need or really didn't want. I'm certainly not a victim and I'm certainly not bitter at all to them for the things that happened."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2020

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
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