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MY GRANDFATHER IS THE BEST: Winner Andrew O’ Brien was crowned Ireland’s Grandparent of the Year in Dublin on September 23, 2010. A native of Dublin, the 100-year-old great-grandfather was chosen by a panel of judges from
Friends of the Elderly and Cadbury Roses.

The former bus driver has five children, 22 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren. His wife Jane died in 2002 after 66 years of marriage. O’Brien was nominated by his 12-year-old granddaughter Shauna Johnstone because she believes he is the best in Ireland. "He’s just absolutely amazing for his age," she said. "He’s just brilliant to get on with."



PUBLIC POLICIES SHAPE PERSONAL HEALTH: Want to improve the health of Canadians? Tackle poverty. That’s the finding of a new report Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts by York University health researchers Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael.

The primary factors shaping the health of Canadians are not lifestyle choices or medical treatments but public policies that influence living conditions. These conditions, "the 14 social determinants of health," include:

1. Income and Income Distribution
2. Education
3. Unemployment and Job Security
4. Employment and Working Conditions
5. Early Childhood Development
6. Food Insecurity
7. Housing
8. Social Exclusion
9. Social Safety Network
10. Health Services
11. Aboriginal Status
12. Gender
13. Race
14. Disability

According to the report, these conditions are declining with serious ramifications for the quality of life of Canadians. The authors suggest concrete ways to address the disparities. The report is available at


SPANISH GRANDPARENTS URGED TO STRIKE: On September 29, the worker’s union called on grandparents around Spain to go on strike. The problem: babysitter burnout.

Half of Spanish grandparents look after their grandchildren every day. For example, Madrid’s Manuela Martin, 73, looks after her seven-year-old granddaughter all week. Her parents pick her up for the weekend.

The state does not provide care, and in tough economic times, grandparents are cheaper than babysitters.

One grandmother, who did not want to be named, told the Guardian, "I don’t mind helping, but we have already brought up our own children and now we deserve some space of our own."



A WORLD OF STUNNING BEAUTY: Scientists from 80 countries have discovered a world of stunning beauty in the world’s oceans. In one expedition, researchers were startled to find a school of herring the size of Manhattan. The 10-year project identified 1,200 of new species.

Dr. Paul Snelgrove, a marine biologist at Memorial University in Newfoundland and co-author of the study noted the research provided important insights into how climate change is altering the ecosystem. The first Census of Marine Life was released on October 4, 2010.

Meanwhile, Environment ministers will continue efforts towards international action to tackle climate change when they gather for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, in late November.