Headlines

· The Pulse
By Kevin Holowack
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  • Alberta is expanding access to fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccine to people who are 70 or older, or 65 and over for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. All seniors in congregate care are also eligible for a second booster shot, regardless of age. To book a fourth dose, five months must have passed since the third dose.
  • City council voted unanimously to approve a plan based on the calls for action made by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in 2019. City manager Andre Corbould said Edmonton intends to act on all 94 calls detailed in the MMIWG report. The plan includes an Indigenous Peoples' awareness campaign, an Indigenous housing strategy, anti-racism training, and the establishment of an Indigenous ombudsperson, CTV reports.
  • A study using Edmonton hospital data found that people exposed to air pollutants are more likely to visit emergency rooms for substance use disorders. "While few studies in the literature currently report on the impacts of air pollution on substance abuse, there is a growing body of evidence that exposure to air pollution affects the brain and can alter behaviour," wrote Mieczysław Szyszkowicz, the lead author of the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health on March 18. To date, scientists have correlated pollution with behavioural changes among mice. They are now investigating the link between pollution and depression.
  • "(They're) not all sweaty when they get to work, but they can still cover a lot of ground quickly," said Paul Burgess, owner of Mud Sweat and Gears, referring to the growing number of Edmontonians who ride e-bikes. Battery-assisted e-bikes now cost in the range of a couple of thousand dollars, leading some to see them as a viable commuting alternative, reports CBC. A report last year from Triton Market Research predicted the North American e-bike market will grow by more than 10% every year from 2021 to 2028.
  • Konstantin Stoletov, a Russian cancer researcher at the University of Alberta, has raised $20,000 with the help of the local climbing community to help Ukrainians since the Russian invasion. Their efforts focused on helping people escape the northern city of Chernihiv, and he says the funds reached around 3,000 people through evacuation assistance, financial support, and food. "I think I can retire now because my life is complete," Stoletov told CBC, though he plans to continue his fundraising efforts.
  • On the heels of city council's decision to redirect $507,000 from the aerial mosquito program to more eco-friendly alternatives, Coun. Aaron Paquette plans to table a motion aimed at clarifying what eco-friendly mosquito reduction alternatives are and whether the city has the resources to carry them out. Paquette, who voted to redirect the funds, said he wanted to assure Edmontonians that council's intent is not to give mosquitos free rein. The defunded aerial mosquito program dropped ground-up poison-coated corn cobs in standing water to wipe out larvae.
  • David Kilgour, the former cabinet minister known for his "independent streak and dedication to human rights causes," has passed away in Ottawa at the age of 81. Kilgour was first elected as a Progressive Conservative MP for Edmonton-Strathcona in 1979. He joined the Liberals in 1990 and served as Canada's secretary of state to Latin America, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region, then left the party and served as an Independent MP until his retirement in 2006.