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In Brief… – for Jan. 14, 2010

New year’s DWIs drop

RCMP in Manitoba report 16 impaired-driving violations in the final week (Dec. 28 to Jan. 4) of their Christmas Checkstop program, down from 50 in the year-earlier period. The average blood-alcohol reading of those charged during the week was 0.183; the highest, 0.23. Such “consistently high” averages remain a concern, RCMP said, as drivers lose “a great deal” of motor skills at those levels. Their four-week total, out of 18,918 vehicles checked at 448 checkstops, included 105 impaired-driving charges, 54 24-hour suspensions, 257 seatbelt charges and 2,489 other charges.

Monsanto hailed

Monsanto is Forbes’ company of the year. “In economic terms, the company is a winner,” the prestigious U. S. business magazine said in its Jan. 18 issue. It sold $7.3 billion of seeds and seed genes in fiscal 2009, versus $4 billion for second-place DuPont and its Pioneer Hi-Bred unit. Monsanto netted $2.1 billion and its annualized return on capital was 12 per cent over the last five years. Its seeds are so popular, Forbes says, it’s alleged to have a near monopoly in some markets. Monsanto’s technology is in 90 and 80 per cent of U. S. soybean and corn crops, respectively.

FCC director stuck with fine

A director of Farm Credit Canada and his employee have been fined in provincial court in Owen Sound, Ont. for issues related to marketing maple syrup. Carl Spencer was fined $350 for marketing maple syrup in a 1.14-litre used whiskey bottle at his stand at Keady Market at Tara, Ont. on June 2. Laura Schultz, who was in charge of the booth that day, was fined $195 for obstructing an inspector trying to collect maple syrup samples. Spencer, a prominent cattleman from Tara, was appointed in November by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to FCC’s board. – Jim Romahn

Greyhound dropping Ontario routes

In a second round of cuts to Ontario services, Greyhound Canada said it plans to end several inter-city passenger bus services in eastern, central and southern Ontario. In all, 60 communities will lose passenger service effective April 11. “The average number of passengers per trip on those routes targeted for closure is less than seven,” senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick said in a release Friday. Greyhound last fall pledged to maintain passenger service in Manitoba after threatening to end passenger operations in the province entirely.

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