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Metro Snapshot: April 14, 2009

<strong>For all that you need to know today, read the Metro Snapshot.</strong>

ANY GOOD NEWS: Although Canadian businesses remained pessimistic about the country's economic fortunes, many were not quite as negative as they were three months ago, according to Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney. The bank's quarterly survey of 100 companies found most of the negativity lurking in areas such as sales volumes, product pricing and credit conditions.

EXERCISE CAUTION: Canada was among the countries that issued travel advisories to Thailand as the country's long-simmering political unrest turned deadly. Thousands of government troops pushed anti-government protesters, pushing for the ouster of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, back into their stronghold after days of chaos in the Thai capital. However, they were met by enraged nearby residents, resulting in a clash that left two protesters dead on top of the more than 100 who have been injured in more than 12 hours of running street battles.

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?: British Columbia voters could be forgiven for being a little confused when the governing Liberals and opposition NDP staked out their platforms a day before the official start of the 28-day election campaign. Gordon Campbell's business-friendly Liberals will enter the campaign as environmentally friendly champions of aboriginal rights, while Carole James will lead the NDP -- traditional allies of big government -- through a campaign that pledges to cut the carbon tax and wasteful government spending.

RETURNING THE FAVOUR: More than 65 years ago, villagers in central Italy provided shelter to Italian Jews fleeing the Nazis. This week, a group of those survivors and their descendants made their way to the camps surrounding earthquake-ravaged L'Aquila to seek out their saviours and provide villagers with everything from gym shoes to summer camps.

TIT FOR TAT: Fears about the safety of more than 230 foreign sailors currently being held hostage by Somali pirates were raised when the bandits vowed retaliation after three were killed during a U.S. rescue operation that freed an American captain. Identifying U.S. forces as their "number one enemy," one 30-year-old pirate said they would kill the hostages from any countries that tried to retake captured vessels.

However, U.S. President Barack Obama showed little sign of backing down against piracy in the notorious Gulf of Aden. Obama appeared to move the piracy issue far up his agenda, vowing to halt the rise of piracy while other U.S. officials mused about options such as launching a campaign to disable pirate "mother ships."

IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR DEFINITION OF "IS" IS: The Obamas new puppy, a six-month-old Portugese water dog named Bo, arrived with much fanfare over the weekend. However, a trail of intrigue that political junkies delight in has evolved over whether or not Bo is truly a "shelter" dog. The pooch was said to be given up by his first owners before being matched with the Obamas through his breeder, but some questioned whether or not Bo's initial adoption was an elaborate ruse to allow the first family to live up to its stated desire for a rescue dog.

WALL OF BARS: A second jury found legendary music producer Phil Spector guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. Spector, who a former hitmaker who pioneered the "wall of sound" technique and was said to be known for threatening women with guns, faces at least 18 years in prison.

 
 
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