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Why Calgary is losing its young adults –



Leaving Calgary was a way for Nicole Newhouse to carve out some independence, at least at first.

“I kind of wanted to get away from my parents,” she said. “And also, the thought of moving somewhere new — as a temporary thing — was pretty exciting for me.”

It was 2014 and she had just graduated high school. She left to study chemical engineering at Western University in London, Ont. That led to a master’s program at the University of Toronto. She then shifted her focus toward coding and data, which led to a job in Toronto’s burgeoning tech industry.

Part of her would still like to return to Calgary, but she now struggles to see a future in her hometown.

“Every time I talk with family back in Calgary, it seems like it’s a little depressing right now,” she said.

“Calgary, I feel, is just very old and stagnant.”

That’s a common sentiment among young adults, whose ranks have declined in Calgary even as the city has grown.

Calgary’s population increased by more than 20 per cent over the past decade, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada.

Nearly a quarter-million more people called the city home in 2019 than in 2009, with growth across every age range — except one: during that period, the number of 20- to 24-year-olds shrunk by 4,400, according to municipal census data, a decline of 5.5 per cent.

Calgary has historically been a young city, with a median age well below the national average and a youthful dynamic to match. But the census data shows the city is aging — and quickly — with so much of the recent population growth weighted to the 55-plus crowd.

In demographic terms, at least, Calgary is becoming a more typical Canadian city. More like, say, Winnipeg.

This may come as a revelation to some Calgarians, but young people who have left Calgary say they’re not surprised by the trend. They see little opportunity in the city they grew up in. Jobs are hard to come by, careers even harder.

And some are finding more to life elsewhere.

‘The need to move away’

Chloe Loblaw, 20, left Calgary after high school to study health sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, and she doubts she’ll come back.

She says many of her peers feel the same way.

“It’s a lot of people who don’t really see a future for themselves there,” she said.

“They don’t want to work in oil and gas — either because of the environmental implications of it or they just don’t really see a future in that field — and feel like if they live in Calgary, that’s kind of a written-in-stone future for them. So they felt the need to move away.”

It’s a refrain Dr. Laura Hambley, president of Calgary Career Counselling, has heard time and time again.

She says many young people who come to her organization in search of career advice say they would like to stay in Calgary but aren’t sure it’s realistic.

“We’re hearing concern and worry and fear,” she said.

“They want to choose careers that are viable and where there will be employment … and we’re seeing lots of stories about young people who are bright and who have worked hard at post-secondary and yet cannot get a position.”

This presents an immediate problem for young Calgarians, but Hambley worries it could also lead to bigger problems down the road for Calgary as a whole.

‘War for talent’

While employers in other North American cities have been engaged in a “war for talent,” Hambley says many Calgary companies have been complacent in their recruiting, especially of young people.

That makes sense, to a degree, as the local job market has been depressed, meaning employers don’t have to hunt for staff as aggressively, and existing workers are holding onto jobs longer.

But in the long term, Hambley says failing to recruit and develop the next generation of talent “is a real risk for organizations” and, more broadly, the city.

If the talent pool isn’t replenished, it will be hard for existing companies to fill positions once older workers start retiring in larger numbers. It also presents a problem for attracting new employers to Calgary as, increasingly, a healthy pool of skilled labour is seen as a deciding factor when companies are choosing where to locate.

“Organizations need to be aware of this and be thinking five years ahead rather than just in the present moment,” Hambley said.

But a good job is not the only factor affecting young people’s decisions about where to live.

Leisure, culture and politics

It was the educational opportunity that drew Loblaw to McMaster, but she says moving to Hamilton has also opened her eyes to other aspects of life.

“The art scene here, I find, is more vibrant than it was in Calgary,” she said. “That’s something that’s really important to me and important to a lot of young people — the feeling that you can go out and do fun things.”

Newhouse, 24, is finding more and more things she likes about Toronto.

“The office life is a lot younger, and everyone I work with has a master’s or a PhD, which is very different from anything I’ve done in Calgary,” she said.

“In all my jobs there, we used software platforms from, like, 1995 or something like that, which is when I was born, and it just doesn’t seem like anything is really moving. I feel like Toronto is just way more lively right now.”

She also found what she described as a greater diversity of people, thought and opinion in Toronto — something she’s discussed with other former Calgarians.

“I have lots of friends who don’t like how conservative Calgary is and, I don’t know, how ‘cookie cutter’ every kind of person is,” Newhouse said.

Still, not every young person who leaves Calgary leaves for good.

What brings some back

Logan Armstrong grew up in Calgary and Okotoks and went to university at St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia.

Away from home, he said he found a different culture, and he liked it. He described the “East Coast lifestyle” as a lot more “down to earth.”

“It was just, like, the people — to be brutally honest,” he said.

“Everyone wants to know everybody. You’d strike up a conversation with anyone, just kind of walking around. It’s just a lot more of a social environment.”

Yet he says he always felt drawn back to Calgary, where he could be closer to family — and the mountains.

“I’m a big skier.”

Armstrong looked for work in Calgary, which he said was hard, as a finance major straight out of school. But after four months of hunting, he landed a job.

Now, at age 23, he plans to stay in the city, but he sees why others his age might choose to go elsewhere. While it may have diversified to some extent, he says Calgary is still seen by many young people as an oil-and-gas town.

“They don’t see any longevity in it, so they’re kind of looking to other places,” he said.

“There’s now a lot of people moving out to Toronto; it’s kind of a land of opportunity, so to speak, for Canadians. I feel like the culture is just a lot more diverse out there, so people are looking at a lot more opportunities. Whereas in Calgary, I feel like you’re pigeonholed into staying in one industry — or people feel like they’re going to be pigeonholed.”

Whether because of work, culture, family or other considerations, the reasons for each young adult’s decision to leave, stay or come back will vary.

But the trends are clear.

A national shift in young cities

In the latest population estimates from Statistics Canada, Calgary ranked 29th out of 35 metropolitan areas when it comes to the percentage of residents aged 20 to 24.

A decade ago, it ranked fifth.

In Toronto, meanwhile, it’s been the opposite. The city rose to ninth in 2018, up from 20th in 2008, as young people flocked to the city.

Newhouse says she loves Toronto, but she isn’t ready to give up on the city she grew up in.

“I still think I’ll come back to Calgary — eventually,” she said.

“It depends if Calgary starts to adopt the tech industry or not, because I like where I’m working and I like what I do. So if we see more of those kinds of jobs maybe spill over from Toronto and Vancouver, then that would be a good opportunity.

“But for the time being, I think it’s better being out here.”

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Zimbabwean lecturer develops low-cost sun cream set to help people with Albinism



Harare, Zimbabwe- Dr. Joey Chifamba, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) chartered industrial chemist and pharmaceutical nanotechnology expert has developed a low-cost sun cream which is set to help people with Albinism.

According to Dr. Chifamba, the sun cream harnesses zinc and titanium from natural sources as well as indigenous trees and was made using 5th generation emerging technologies including nanotechnology and biotechnology.

Speaking to a local publication, The Herald, Dr. Chifamba said his ground-breaking sun cream will help people living with Albinism who suffer from actinic (solar-induced) skin damage, freckles, sunburn as well as other various skin cancers.

“No product has ever been developed to protect Albinistic persons from actinic damage. The sunscreens that are given to them are designed for white-skinned people and do not take into consideration specific conditions and differences found on Albinistic skins.

This makes them not very effective and not very suitable especially for all-day everyday wear since Albinism is a lifelong condition.

We employ nanosized metallic oxides sunblocks conjugated together with nano-optimized indigenous herbs with antibacterial, antifungal and wound healing effects to create aesthetically pleasing cosmeceutical products for every day all day use by Albinistic persons.

In our innovation we have developed ground-breaking cosmeceuticals which are not only sunscreens but complete actinic damage retarding treatments that consider Albinistic skin differences and deal with various symptoms of actinic damage including wrinkles, premature aging, inflammation, bacterial and fungal infections,” said Dr. Chifamba.

Furthermore, Dr. Chifamba said the products which were developed in consultation with the Albino charity organization of Zimbabwe and other Albino welfare groups, are already available to people living with Albinism who are registered with the charity organization.

People with Albinism have skin that is very sensitive to light and sun exposure. Sunburn is one of the most serious complications associated with Albinism because it can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and sun damage-related thickening of the skin.

Albinism is a rare genetic condition caused by mutations of certain genes that affect the amount of melanin your body produces. Albinism can affect people of all races and all ethnic groups

For most types of Albinism, both parents must carry the gene in order for their child to develop the condition. Most people with Albinism have parents who are only carriers of the gene and don’t have symptoms of the condition.

Other types of Albinism, including one that only affects the eyes, mostly occur when a birthing parent passes the gene for albinism on to a child assigned male at birth.

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Donald Trump loyalist, Alex Jones ordered to pay US$49 million in punitive damages



Donald Trump loyalist, Alex Jones ordered to pay US$49 million in punitive damages

Austin, United States of America (USA)- A jury in Texas on Friday ordered Alex Jones, a loyalist to former US President Donald Trump, to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

The jury announced its decision a day after awarding the parents more than U$4.1 million in compensatory damages and after testimony on Friday that Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his media outlet, Infowars, were worth US$135 million to US$270 million.

Prior to Friday’s Court proceedings, Jones told his audience that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax and that the grieving parents of those who died were actors.

The total of US$49.3 million is less than the US$150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the deadliest classroom shooting in US history.

“He stood up to the bully Adam Lanza and saved nine of his classmates’ lives. I hope that I did that incredible courage justice when I was able to confront Alex Jones, who is also a bully. I hope that inspires other people to do the same. This is an important day for truth, for justice, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Lewis.

Before the jurors began deliberating about the punitive damages, Wesley Todd Ball, a lawyer for the family, told the jury that it had the ability to send a message for everyone in the country and perhaps this world to hear.

“We ask that you send a very, very simple message, and that is, Stop Alex Jones. Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies. Please,” said Ball.

Jones, who has portrayed the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights, conceded during the trial that the attack was 100 percent real and that he was wrong to have lied about it, but Heslin and Lewis told jurors that an apology wouldn’t suffice and called on them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he has put them and other Sandy Hook families through.

The parents told jurors about how they have endured a decade of trauma, inflicted first by the murder of their son and what followed, gunshots fired at the home, online and phone threats, and harassment on the street by strangers. They said the threats and harassment were all fueled by Jones and his conspiracy theory spread to his followers via Infowars.

Jones who was in the courtroom briefly on Friday but not there for the verdict still faces two other defamation lawsuits from Sandy Hook families in Texas and Connecticut.

Nevertheless, Jones has also claimed, among things, that the Pentagon was using chemical warfare to turn people Gay, that COVID-19 is not real and that September 11 was an inside job perpetrated by the government.


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FBI still worried of another attack from Afghan rebel groups



Washington D.C, United States of America (USA)- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), head, Christopher Wray has expressed grave concerns over another attack from Afghanistan rebel groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

His comments come just days after the US killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan via drone strike.

“I am worried about the possibility that we will see al Qaeda reconstitute, ISIS-K potentially taking advantage of the deteriorating security environment, and I am worried about terrorists, including here in the United States, being inspired by what they see over there,” said the FBI director during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike, ending a years-long manhunt which placed al-Zawahiri near the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list. The 71-year-old Egyptian national headed up the group after the death of terrorist kingpin Osama Bin Laden in an American raid in 2011 and is thought to have helped plan the 9/11 attacks.

The Department of State also cited it believes there is a higher potential for anti-American violence given the death of al-Zawahiri.

Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating a possible assassination plot against Iranian-American journalist, Masih Alinejad.

According to US news sources, a man was arrested carrying a loaded AK-47 rifle in a possible plot to assassinate her.

Alinejad herself shared security camera footage of the suspect at her front door on Twitter on Sunday, saying, “My crime is giving voice to voiceless people. The US administration must be tough on terror.”

The arrested man was taken in by Police after a traffic stop. They said he ran a stop sign and when they checked his vehicle, they found a gun in the backseat, according to the complaint filed by the FBI.

He was charged with possessing a firearm without a proper serial number. At his Friday (last week) hearing, the Judge ordered him to be held without bail.

The suspect initially claimed that he knew nothing about the weapon and said he was just in the area looking for an apartment, but later he told the investigators that he owned the gun and that he was looking for someone in Brooklyn.

In July last year, US prosecutors charged four Iranian spies with trying to kidnap Alinejad from her home in Brooklyn and taking her to Venezuela. Investigators said that they had also tried to lure her to the Middle East before that.

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