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In Brief… – for Sep. 17, 2009

Petunia facelift: Three eastern research institutions are joining forces to give the popular petunia a genetic overhaul. Researchers from the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture will soon begin work on developing new traits for the ornamental. “Taking a genomics approach we will search for value-added traits such as drought tolerance and reduced dormancy to improve the quality and production of ornamental species,” said Daryl Somers of Vineland. Move over: The Canadian Automobile Association is calling on drivers to move over when they see a tow truck operator just as they are now required to do for emergency workers. “As first responders, tow truck drivers face the same daily risks as other emergency workers and need the same protection,” says Mike Mager, president, CAA Manitoba.

Legislation requires motorists travelling on the same side as a stopped emergency vehicle are required to slow down or wait until it’s safe to pass. On twinned roads, drivers must move into the passing lane. Hunger drive: Farm Credit Canada (FCC) has launched the sixth annual Drive Away Hunger program to reduce hunger. FCC Drive Away Hunger tours will take place the week of Oct. 12 in Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Regina. FCC is also collecting food and cash donations in every field office across Canada from September 14 to October 16. One hundred per cent of donations go to Canadian food banks. For more information about the tours or to make a cash donation, the public can visit www.fccdriveawayhunger.ca.Scrapping the tax: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said Sept. 10 the government would scrap export taxes on corn and wheat for small-scale growers, but the measure is unlikely to satisfy farmers’ demands. Farmers in the country, a leading global grains exporter, have been locked in dispute with Fernandez’s government for more than a year over export levies on grains. The measure would cost the state 50 per cent of expected $7 billion in revenue from export levies.

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