Metro Snapshot: March 9, 2009 - Metro US

Metro Snapshot: March 9, 2009

SPRING OFFENSIVE: In the second such incident in a week, Trooper Marc Diab was killed and four other Canadian soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb planted by Taliban militants rocked their vehicle just north of Kandahar. The explosion occurred near a Canadian base protecting the Dahla dam, one of Canada’s signature reconstruction projects, and pushed the death toll in Afghanistan to 113.

PR OFFENSIVE: Washington, D.C. was crawling with Conservative cabinet minsters who were in town not just to discuss policy, but perhaps more importantly, attempting to create the impression that they were being heard by the immensely popular President Barack Obama. The charm offensive comes on the heels of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s largely successful trip to New York, which generated favourable American media coverage that was quickly passed along to the Ottawa press corps.

POLISH PASSIONS: Poles in Canada and abroad who were following the details emerging from the Braidwood Inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski reacted with a mixture of anger and confusion at the revelations. One Polish reporter who is covering the case said a that if a man was killed in a similar altercation with his country’s police, those involved would be criminally charged.

A LONG WAY TO GO: When Nova Scotia NDP MP Megan Leslie recieved a fax from Conservative Helena Guergis, Canada’s minister responsible for the status of women, marking International Women’s Day, she was furious. Meant to be celebratory in tone, Leslie said the fact that there are only 69 female MPs made her “blood boil,” in part blaming the unique challenges faced by women in high-pressure occupations.

WHO NEEDS A HUG?: Mata Amritanandamayi — better known as Amma — attracts millions of devotees to India, where they will endure marathon waiting sessions for an audience with the guru. What do they come for? Just a hug.

DRAWING THE DISTINCTION: President Obama continued to distance the policies of his administration from those of his predecessor both at home and abroad. In an announcement set to be made today, the president will reverse Bush-era policy regarding stem-cell research while also including a broad declaration that science — and not political ideology — will guide his administration.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was supportive of the president’s intention to pursue talks with more moderate elements of the Taliban, saying that it was good news because it has long been the stand of the Afghan government.

CHANGING COURSE: On a continent that has struggled with a devastating AIDS epidemic nurtured by taboo and misinformation, a Nigerian state has introduced a novel program aimed at halting the spread of HIV in the non-infected population. The initiative encourages HIV-infected individuals to marry each other by providing them with counselling and cash to go toward paying for their big day.

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