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Producers want beef border reopened

Cattle imported from the United States five years ago could be where Canada's single case of mad cow disease originated, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

The finding adds weight to the argument for reopening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle, politicians and producers said.

The agency refers to an unusually large 1998 shipment of 25,000 pregnant U.S. cows born before it became illegal to feed them material derived from dead cattle.

Julie Quick of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said officials are reviewing the agency report.

It underlines the integration of the Canadian and American cattle industries, showing the disease is a problem for North America _ not just Canada, said Ron Axelson of the Cattle Feeders Association of Alberta.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Clay Serby said it might be time to ban beef imports from the United States since the border is closed despite mounting evidence against the need for that.

Since the case was discovered May 20, the borders of almost all Canada's major trading partners have been closed to Canadian beef. Producers estimate it's costing them $11-million a day.

SARS claims first Toronto health-care victim

Toronto recorded the first death of a health-care worker from SARS, which has claimed 39 lives in the city.

Ontario Premier Ernie Eves was among hundreds who attended the funeral for Nelia Laroza, 51.

Originally from the Philippines, Laroza contracted SARS at North York General Hospital, where she had worked as a nurse for 13 years. The hospital was the epicenter of the city's second outbreak discovered in late May.

In the past three weeks, there have been no new cases of the disease that had put more than 27,000 people into quarantine to contain the outbreak.

Laroza's death has led to renewed calls for stricter SARS safety measures in hospitals.

In brief

+ They're celebrating in Vancouver after the International Olympic Committee announced the city's three-vote victory to host the 2010 Winter Games. Canadians jammed into a sweltering hot lobby at the Hilton Hotel in Prague to sing O Canada and wave Maple Leaf flags. At GM Place in Vancouver, the verdict was greeted with a roar from a crowd of about 10,000 who celebrated as streamers fell from the ceiling.

+ Air Canada is making a major move to restructure under bankruptcy protection. It has secured $1.8-billion in loan and aircraft financing in a deal with General Electric's Capital Aviation Services. The national airline is flying while the restructuring continues.

+ A North America Free Trade Agreement ruling in Canada's multibillion-dollar softwood lumber dispute with the United States has been delayed until July 17. The decision had been expected last Thursday into Canada's challenge of antidumping duties imposed by the United States on softwood exports. A second decision is expected in two weeks on the much larger countervailing duties that have been applied to softwood exports.

+ British Columbia is appealing a Supreme Court ruling that quashed its plans to sue tobacco companies for millions of dollars in health care costs. It was the second time the government lost its bid to sue.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar resumed its upward climb to 74.58 cents U.S. on Friday. The U.S. dollar is worth $1.3408 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The key Bank of Canada interest rate remains at 3.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 5 percent.

Canadian stock exchanges are lower, with the Toronto index at 6,996 points and the Canadian Venture Exchange 1,105 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 5, 8, 12, 14, 25 and 37; bonus 6. (June 25) 10, 14, 15, 27, 41 and 47; bonus 36.

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