AND THE WINNER IS…: Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at the 81st Annual Academy Awards, taking home eight Oscars including best picture. Other big winners were Kate Winslet, who took home the prize for best actress for The Reader, and Sean Penn scored the best actor trophy for Milk. The late Heath Ledger was honoured with best supporting actor for his menacing turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight, becoming only the second person to win a posthumous Oscar.
SEPARATE INTERESTS: The Parti Quebecois wrapped up its national council by putting sovereignty back at the top of the party’s agenda, although few details about how they would accomplish it were given. Leader Pauline Marois used her opening speech to claim Quebec would be better able to handle the economic crisis is if were free of influence from Ottawa.
There was also some internal party rancour at the council, prompted by the Parti Quebecois’ decision to pull advertising from a sovereigntist newspaper after its controversial editor called for civil disobedience to protest the cancellation of a planned re-enactment of the Plains of Abraham battle. A PQ staffer said the decision was made because the editor’s message carried “violent undertones,” but a member from a left-wing faction of the party said that Marois wouldn’t prevent the paper from publishing.
TRAGEDY IN QUEBEC: A small Quebec municipality was reeling after two young children were killed in what police were calling a double-murder-attempted-suicide. The bodies of the children were found in their home along with their father, who had overdosed on medication and is now recuperating at a hospital. The kids’ mother was skiing in the Saguenay area when the tragedy occurred.
TRIUMPH OUT OF TRAGEDY: A crowd of several hundred erupted in jubilation when the Bathurst High School boys’ basketball team claimed the New Brunswick provincial title a little more than a year after a horrifying van crash claimed the lives of seven players and the wife of their former coach. Bradd Arseneau, who survived the crash, scored 25 points during the game while wearing the number 7 in tribute to a friend who was killed in the crash.
THE LAST ACTION HEROES: For the second time, two convicted robbers escaped a high-security Greek prison by scaling a rope ladder to a hovering helicopter amid a gun battle with guards. The harrowing escape kicked off a firestorm in the Greek government, which has faced a trying few months of fallout following widespread rioting in Athens last year.
UNITED FRONT: German chancellor Angela Merkel hosted heads of state and finance ministers from Europe’s largest economies in an effort to forge a common European position on economic reform in advance of an April G20 meeting. Among the points of agreement were a call for blanket global regulation of the financial industry, an idea sure to meet resistance from other G20 nations.