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WHO LEFT THE SEAT UP?: Yorkshire terrier Louis sniffs at an ice-covered fire hydrant in Hamilton, Ont. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
WHO LEFT THE SEAT UP?: Yorkshire terrier Louis sniffs at an ice-covered fire hydrant in Hamilton, Ont. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Talking Points: Ice-covered hydrant, benefits of walking, Christmas on loan Add to ...


The journey toward better heart health begins with a single step – followed by 1,999 more. CTV News reports on a new study that suggests people with impaired glucose tolerance can lessen the risk of heart attack or stroke by simply walking an additional 2,000 steps each day. More than 9,000 adults with IGT took part in the University of Leicester study. They were issued pedometers to measure how many paces they took each week. Those who took the extra 2,000 steps, equal to 20 minutes of moderate walking, reduced their cardiovascular risk by 8 per cent by the time the six-year study wrapped up. “This is the first study to specifically quantify the extent to which change in walking behaviour can modify the risk,” said study leader Thomas Yates.


Christmas comes but once a year for British working-class families, and they’ll still be paying for it next summer. The Independent reports on research revealing that one in six middle-income British families borrowed money to pay for food, drink and presents last holiday season and intended to do so again this year. According to research by the Trade Union Congress, the average amount borrowed was £654 ($1,130) and the typical family took 24 weeks to pay back the loan. Meanwhile, close to half the families who borrowed money to celebrate last year still haven’t finished paying that debt. “Britain’s real-wage squeeze is forcing more and more families to put Christmas on credit,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.


The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is still taking a toll on nature. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, a new study shows that dolphins in one area affected by the 2010 spill are now afflicted with lung diseases and other ailments. With financial backing from the U.S. government, the study caught, examined and released 30 bottlenose dolphins from Barataria Bay in Lousiana. Several of the dolphins showed severe lung disease associated with oil contamination and almost half had a “guarded or worse prognosis and 17 per cent were considered poor or grave, indicating they weren’t expected to live.” A parallel study on dolphins in Florida found no signs of elevated lung diseases. “Finally we get the truth,” said environmentalist Casi Callaway. “Having this information gets us started on the path toward a solution.”


Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent and debate.

Hubert Humphrey, American politician (1911-1978)

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