Greeks embrace potato as symbol of struggle to survive austerity

picture of a giant "Y"

The potato, introduced to Greeks after independence in the 19th century to bolster the diets of the poor, is turning into a symbol of their latest struggle, reported Bloomberg news service March 28.  Nowhere in Europe is experiencing the impact of measures to reshape national finances more than Greece, the epicentre of the region’s debt crisis. “The potato movement has received some momentum, reflecting the needs of people not just to circumvent oligopolies and mark-ups from middlemen and large supermarkets, but also to save money in these difficult times,” said Sakis Gekas, professor of modern Greek history at York. Read full story. 

Study pans early-stage cancer research
Many studies pointing to potential cancer treatments are poorly done at best, or even performed by ambitious scientists who “massage” data, says the science journal Nature, reported the Ottawa Citizen March 29. “None of this is surprising,” said Dr. Joel Lexchin, a physician and York University professor who studies health policy, especially related to pharmaceuticals. Science journals like to publish results that create a buzz, and scientists “like to see their names in lights,” he said. As well, it’s emotionally difficult to give up on a theory after sweating through two or three years of lab work to prove it is valid. Read full story. 

Public-sector unions prepared to battle McGuinty on pensions and wages
Sweeping changes to Ontario’s public-sector pensions and wages outlined in Tuesday’s provincial budget are expected to face strong resistance from workers, say union leaders, reported March 28. Labour relations experts say reining in pension costs is needed to reduce the deficit, but the approach needs to be defined. “Pensions are complicated because people pay into them for a long number of years and enter the plan under certain terms and conditions,” said Sara Slinn, labour relations professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Read full story.

Student nurses offer health findings
Innisfil needs to do a better job communicating to its residents what local resources are already in place when it comes to health services, concluded third-year nursing students from York University commissioned to perform a health needs assessment for the town, reported the Innisfil Journal March 28. Read full story.

Doctor lied about degree from York, FBI alleges
A former Toronto resident who lied about having a York University science degree has been charged with health-care fraud in the US after he allegedly botched a series of patient cases, reported the Toronto Star March 28. The FBI arrested Fitzgerald Anthony Hudson, 51, in Michigan on charges of lying to get a New York State medical licence, misrepresenting his work history to land jobs and defrauding Medicare of $200,000 as a result of a fraudulently obtained licence. Hudson studied behavioural science and psychology at York, but did not graduate, said University spokeswoman Joanne Rider. Read full story.

Need for transit improvement not restricted to infrastructure
Improving Toronto’s transportation system will take a combination of initiatives, including increased capacity, prudent route planning and improved customer service, wrote March 29. The TTC’s new chief executive officer, Andy Byford, has vowed there will be greater accountability and is looking for some “quick wins” to demonstrate that. Thursday at York University, the TTC will hold a town hall to garner feedback. Read full story.

Artist invites viewers on journey of diaspora
The Cartographer’s Mistake: Hockey Fields and Marigold Maps traces Sarindar Dhaliwal‘s (MFA ’03) journey from her birthplace in India to Britain and finally to Canada, reported the Waterloo Region Record March 29.  The multimedia exhibition at the Robert Langen Art Gallery through April 14 invites viewers to accompany Dhaliwal on a personal journey that is emblematic of the journeys made by peoples throughout the world during the 20th-century diaspora. Read full story.