Metro Snapshot: February 11, 2009 - Metro US

Metro Snapshot: February 11, 2009

MISTER POPULARITY: When Prime Minister Stephen Harper was
squaring off against hapless former Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, he
enjoyed a large leadership advantage among Canadian voters. However,
the ascendance of Michael Ignatieff has taken a large bite out of that advantage as the new Liberal leader earned top marks in a recent favourablitity poll, and was the only federal leader to score a net positve rating.

LESS THAN STIMULATING: As announced by President Barack Obama to great fanfare at a town hall meeting, the economic rescue package passed the U.S. Senate and moved on to tense House-Senate negotiations.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also announced a second Wall Street bailout plan, a scheme that could send as much as $2 trillion coursing through the American financial system. However, the announcement landed with a thud as investors fretted that the government had no clear plan about what to do with the funds and was nowhere near untangling the mess that has left the system paralyzed.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney — who staked his reputation on last month’s optimistic projection for the Canadian economy — placed great importance on the actions taken by the U.S. and other world governments when it came to Canada’s own economic fortunes, a diagnosis that was backed up by the punishment the oil prices and the loonie suffered after the American announcement.

RED CHAMBER LIGHTNING ROD: Former head of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Patrick Brazeau, has generated plenty of controversy since being appointed to the Senate just before Christmas. Brazeau used his maiden speech in the Red Chamber by blaming powerful enemies in the “native establishment” for the bruising headlines that began when he tried to keep his former position while serving as a senator. He has also fended off unproven allegations of sexual harassment.

OY VEY: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and hardline rival Benjamin Netanyahu both claimed victory in Israel’s parliamentary elections, which most observers said was too close to call. Since neither Livni’s Kadima party or Netanyahu’s Likud party appeared poised to secure a clear lead, a governing coalition appeared necessary, a development that favoured Likud due to a strong showing by other hardline right-wing parties.

MASTER OF TICKETS: One of the lawyers behind a class action lawsuit being filed against Ticketmaster said he has fielded hundreds of calls from people seeking more information. The lawsuit alleges that Ticketmaster had broken Ontario’s anti-scalping laws by “wrongfully, unlawfully (and) maliciously” conspiring to sell tickets at inflated prices.

Ticketmaster also found itself the target of antitrust concerns when it confirmed its intent to merge with event promoter Live Nation, which would establish a near monopoly on event ticketing. Company chairman Barry Diller sought to dispel the notion that the merger would lead to higher prices by asserting that artists are the ones who set prices, without mention the costly surcharges the company relies on for most of its revenue.

DEADLY DENTISTRY: Three weeks after an operation that removed all of her baby teeth in 2005, eight-year-old Sophie Waller died of starvation. This week a coroner’s inquest learned the chain of events that began with a cracked tooth and ended with the girl’s death.

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