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by Sylvia Nasar

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Thursday, 22 August, 2002

Over the past two months, I have written a couple of times about a young Orca that scientists captured, rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Here is an update on "Springer", the orphaned whale:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A groundbreaking bid to reunite a young killer whale with her family pod in Canada, after she was orphaned near Seattle, appears to have been a success, an official said on Tuesday.

The orca, known officially as A-73 but nicknamed Springer, has gained the stamina needed to remained with her relatives, which allowed her to break a potentially dangerous habit of befriending boats when other whales were not around.

Experts who monitor whales in the Johnstone Strait area say A-73 has since been spotted repeatedly swimming and feeding with members of her pod, just as she naturally would in the wild. Pods normally remain together for life.

The effort has taught biologists lessons on how to reunite whales and what happens to orcas that become separated from their family units -- including that they develop an "extreme fascination" with boats.

Spent some time today checking my Frequent Flyer accounts. There are some pretty amazing deals out there if you look for them. Discovered today a Dining program called iDine that partners with several airlines at restaurants around the country. All you have to do is sign up your credit card and when you pay for a meal at one of the participating restaurants, it automatically credits your Frequent Flyer account with ten miles per dollar spent. Think about it: for a $100 meal that you pay for with your credit card, you get 1,000 miles. And given how much entertaining I do for my job . . .

Unfortunately, my company already signed up my Corporate card for a money back program, so it only works with my personal card. Darn it.

[I could have been a contender.]

And now, from the la-la land of left-wing activists:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The movie industry should compensate prostitutes, drug addicts and homeless people for forcing them from their neighborhoods during filming, activist groups say.

In a letter sent to 30 production companies working in Vancouver this year, the Housing Action Committee and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users argue that workers in other trades get compensated for lost wages if film production disrupts their work sites.

"Sex trade workers must be compensated for displacement they experience at your hands in the same manner you would compensate a business if you were to use their locale during operating hours," the letter said. "The same must hold true for homeless people you push from beneath a bridge or doorway and drug users you move from a park."

Housing committee member Chris Livingstone said Wednesday that he lives on the streets, so "film companies are invading my life when they take over these streets."

"We are demanding the compensation for displacement and inconvenience that the industry recognizes are due to us," he said in a news release.

[Uh huh.]

Saw a story about a village in France where I stayed several years ago: Le Lavandou. It seems that the local cemetery is FULL, so the mayor of Le Lavandou has banned local residents from dying until he can find someplace to put them. A recent proposal to build a cemetery by the sea was rejected by a court, so the ban was instituted by the mayor, Gil Bernardi.

Bernardi said most locals had obeyed the edict so far, but he was desperately trying to find a resting place for a homeless man who had recently passed away in the town.

"Initially, the decree has been remarkably well followed," the mayor said.

[Vive la France.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating."

-- Alfred Hitchcock (1899 - 1980) English director

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