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In Brief… – for Jan. 6, 2011

Road language:Manitoba will be one of the first provinces to begin using standardized terms to describe winter driving conditions, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton has announced.

New standardized definitions and colour schemes are now being used on the province’s road information website along with other improvements. The new colour schemes on maps were chosen based on extensive driver surveys and to assist motorists who are colour blind to identify conditions more easily.

– Staff

Municipal marriage:The

Town of Shoal Lake and the Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake have amalgamated into one municipality as of Jan. 1, becoming the 11th such union the province has seen in recent years. The Province of Manitoba and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities have partnered to provide resources to Manitoba municipalities interested in looking at new approaches to strengthen their long-term sustainability. Information is available on the Association of Manitoba Municipalities website at www.amm.mb.ca/res_tools.html. – Staff Holiday hangover:RCMP say a 35-year-old resident of the R.M. of St. Andrews has been charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle and had his brand new Polaris snowmobile impounded after he fell off his machine in front of police officers while fishtailing in circles and swearing at them in the parking lot of a Petersfield hotel.

– Staff

Charged with arson:Carberry

RCMP have arrested and charged a 36-year-old Brandon man with arson after a series of intentionally set fires threatened the McCain Foods plant between Nov. 10 and Dec. 7. James Shea Stewart has been charged with 25 counts of arson and one count of mischief under $5,000. He was released on a promise to appear in Brandon court Feb. 14, 2011. – Staff Anti-dumping:China’s

Commerce Ministry said Dec. 28 it will launch an investigation into U.S. dumping of distillers dried grains with or without solubles (DDGs). The ministry will investigate how much damage the dumping of DDGs, a byproduct of ethanol production, would cause to China’s own industry, the ministry said in a statement. China imported 2.9 million tonnes of DDGs in Jan.-Nov., 542 per cent more than in the same months of 2009, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

Great grain robberies:Small

and medium-size grain trading houses will have a tougher time getting loans after lenders were caught by the disappearance of grains in Russia said to have cost Swiss banks over $100 million. Several Geneva-based banks are investigating the whereabouts of a large consignment of grains used as collateral for loans granted to Russian trading house Rosinteragro (Rias). Rias is not an isolated incident. A Swiss firm said last week grains worth nearly $30 million and used as collateral in loans had vanished in Ukraine last year.

Crackdown on speculators:

China will maintain its crackdown on price speculation in 2011, focusing on cotton, edible oils, grains and vegetables, the country’s top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission says.

The NDRC said it had prosecuted 38,000 cases in the first 11 months of this year, confiscating 830 million yuan ($125 million) and levying fines of 110 million yuan. The NDRC said it had already made public cases of wrongdoing in power pricing, refined oil products, green beans and garlic.

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