National Newswatch

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Mar 17 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Honey from urban honey bees can help pinpoint the sources of environmental pollutants such as lead, a new study from the University of British Columbia suggests. Scientists from the university's Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research analyzed honey from urban beehives in six Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods where they tested for lead, zinc, copper and other […]

Time on his hands: John Scott changes the time on Toronto’s clock towers

Mar 9 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — Every spring and fall, John Scott climbs up clock towers across Toronto to change time. "The keymaster, the time master — I've been called a lot of titles," says the 61-year-old. "Never the time lord though." Scott began maintaining and servicing clocks 35 years ago as an apprentice for his uncle C. Arthur Scott at Hamilton-based Scotiabell. The first time he turned […]

Scientists view old-growth forests through lichens to understand value

Mar 8 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Two scientists say defining the biodiversity of a forest by the age of the trees is an oversimplification because it does not take into account the richness of the species in a forest, but lichens can provide a deeper understanding of a woodlands' ecosystem.   Troy McMullin, a lichenologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, said lichens "are kind of like […]

Scientists study past volcanoes in B.C. to understand climate in the future

Feb 13 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Scientists are trying to reconstruct what the environment and climate of southwest British Columbia looked like over the past two million years by studying volcanoes that erupted under the glaciers.  Alex Wilson, a University of British Columbia PhD student and part of the research team, said in order to make predictions about the climate in the future, scientists need to understand the […]

Dog from Iran that had acid thrown in face has successful surgery in Vancouver

Feb 12 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A seven-month-old puppy from Iran that had acid thrown on her face underwent a surgery in Vancouver on Tuesday morning. "The vet just called and said Mugsy's doing great," said Sam Taylor, the pup's owner. Once the surgeon began, he saw that the Maltese-Japanese spitz had quite a bit more lip than he originally thought so he was able to use that to […]

Haida Gwaii home to a distinct but vulnerable pocket of northern goshawks

Jan 20 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Haida Gwaii's population of northern goshawks are the last remnant of a highly distinct genetic cluster of the birds, a new study by University of British Columbia researchers has found. Researchers estimate the population of birds may have been evolving separately on Haida Gwaii for 20,000 years — right around the last time the glaciers melted, causing the sea levels […]

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

Jan 13 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather than huge numbers of a single variety in order to be healthy, a new study by Canadian researchers indicates. Lead author Christina Service said if bears have access to a "portfolio of different salmon species" then the animals have access to more food for a greater part of the year.  […]

B.C. housing market shows signs of moderation: assessment agency

Jan 2 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A drop by up to 10 per cent on the estimated value of some homes in Metro Vancouver reflects a broad softening in a once hot market that is being affected by wider economic shifts, say two experts. "It's been a long time since we've had declining assessments," said Tsur Somerville, an associate professor at the University of British […]

B.C. housing market shows signs of moderation: assessment agency

Jan 2 2019 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A drop by up to 10 per cent on the estimated value of some homes in Metro Vancouver reflects a broad softening in a once hot market that is being affected by wider economic shifts, say two experts. "It's been a long time since we've had declining assessments," said Tsur Somerville, an associate professor at the University of British […]

Glaciers in Western Canada retreat because of climate change: experts

Dec 27 2018 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Climate change is prompting glaciers in British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta to retreat faster than at any time in history, threatening to raise water levels and create deserts, scientists say. David Hik, an ecology professor at Simon Fraser University, said the region is one of the hotspots for warming and the magnitude of change in the glaciers is dramatic. […]

B.C. admits to liability in civil claim alleging social worker siphoned funds

Dec 13 2018 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — The B.C. government has admitted to negligence and fraud by a social worker accused of siphoning off thousands of dollars in financial benefits from children in care. The Ministry of Children and Family Development says in its response to a notice of civil claim filed in November by the public guardian and trustee that it admits "vicarious liability for the acts and […]

Climate change, receding glaciers increase landslide risk on B.C.’s Mount Meager

Dec 11 2018 — Hina Alam, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Climate change is causing glaciers atop Mount Meager in British Columbia to shrink, increasing the chances of landslides and even a new eruption, says an expert studying the volcano. Glyn Williams-Jones, a volcanologist from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., has been studying the fumaroles, or gas venting, of water vapour, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide from the […]