THE RESCUERS: A five-day standoff between a band of Somalia's now-notorious pirates and the world's most powerful military ended when American snipers picked off three pirates to kick off a daring nighttime rescue of kidnapped U.S. captain Richard Phillips. The operation, personally approved by U.S. President Barack Obama, capped off a drama that began when Phillips surrendered himself as a hostage to ensure the safety of his crew.

A trio of Saskatchewan teenagers were being hailed as heroes after jumping into icy water to save a mother and three young children from a sinking car.

CHINA ADVENTURE: International Trade Minister Stockwell Day shrugged off allegations that the Conservative government was changing its tune when it came to China as he started a seven-day trip to the world's third-largest economy. The relationship between the Chinese and Conservative governments have been strained by the Conservatives' frequent criticisms of China's human rights government, differences that Day blamed on media distortion.


CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER: The Tyee, a British Columbia web magazine, has been soliciting financial contributions from its readers in an attempt to bulk up its coffers ahead of the province's spring election. David Beers, The Tyee's founder and editor-in-chief, said readers who were concerned about a certain issue could earmark their contribution to pay for its coverage.

BRIEF RESPITE: The Sri Lankan government halted its controversial offensive against Tamil rebels for two days to allow trapped civlians to escape the 20 square kilometre war zone. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the period, which coincides with the Sri Lankan New Year, was an opportunity for the Tamil rebel group to lay down their arms and "acknowledge its military defeat."

THAI CRISIS: Thailand's long-simmering political crisis suffered a major escalation when government troops sprayed a crowd of protesters with automatic weapons fire to push them away from a major Bangkok intersection, injuring at least 70. The skirmish came a day after ouster prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra called for a revolution.

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