Metro Snapshot: February 27, 2009 - Metro US

Metro Snapshot: February 27, 2009

MEA CULPA: The RCMP admitted that they should have acted more quickly upon learning that an SOS symbol was marked on a mountainside where two skiers — one of whom died — spent days desperately trying to alert rescuers. Cpl. Dan Moskaluk told a news conference that Mounties contacted the Kicking Horse resort to determine if anybody had been reported missing, to which resort officials indicated they didn’t know.

CRACKDOWN: As expected, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his government would push for tough new legislation to fight escalating gang violence. Harper made the announcement in Vancouver, which his public safety minister recently described as the country’s gang capital, where he held discussions with gang war victims’ families, many of whom have become reluctant lobbyists for government action.

CTV reported that a federal employee may have leaked confidential information about one of the West Coast’s most powerful criminal organizations to a rival gang. The allegations described a Canada Revenue Agency employee leaking information about the United Nations gang to its enemies in late 2007 — the United Nations have been under siege throughout much of the year.

A MOTHER’S GRIEF: A Quebec mother whose children were allegedly killed by their father wrote a moving eulogy about her kids, writing that she felt truly lucky to have been a mom to “exceptional” children. The father, who is recovering in hospital from unspecified injuries, faces two counts of first-degree murder.

GOING VIRAL: A cheeky hockey-themed public service announcement about mumps has gone viral on the Internet after being featured on the popular American website, The Huffington Post.

DON’T BRAND US: Mexican President Felipe Calderon rejected reports that lumped his country in with Pakistan as potential “failed states” unless they managed to rein in the violence wreaking havoc within their borders. Mexico has struggled with turf wars between rival drug cartels that has often placed top law enforcement officials squarely in the crosshairs.

HEY BIG SPENDER: U.S. President Barack Obama charted a new course for his country with a bold and contentious budget that packed a whopping US$1.75 trillion deficit meant to help the United States dig itself out of a crippling recession. The budget makes attempts at trimming fat in several areas, however, including military spending and rolling back the Bush Administration tax cuts that predominately favour the wealthy.

The president also told legislators that he intended to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by August 2010, leaving behind tens of thousands to advise Iraqi officials and protect U.S. interests in the country. However, some Republican lawmakers indicated that Obama had left the door open to modify the plan if the situation on the ground worsens.

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