ITALIAN EARTHQUAKE: The death toll stood at more than 150 after Italy's deadliest earthquake in nearly three decades rocked the medieval town of L'Aquila. Built in as a mountain stronghold during the Middle Ages, the central Italian town had withstood sieges and battles, but many of its treasures and ancient monuments were reduced to rubble by the disaster.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS: After days of international fury, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the Afghan government had assured him that they would strike "contentious clauses" from its so-called rape law. The proposed legislation, which was roundly denounced by world leaders during last week's NATO summit in France, would reportedly forbid women of the country's Shia minority to refuse their husbands sex.

LICENCE TO PRINT MONEY: In recent days, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has downgraded the optimistic economic outlook he had at the beginning of the year. With economic recovery still looking shaky, speculation has turned toward the central bank printing more money to prevent the recession from tipping towards depression. However, experts remained wary of the risks -- including a devaluation of the dollar and accompanying inflation.


The Conference Board of Canada added its voice to the gloomy economic forecasts, claiming that the Canadian economy "fell off a cliff" in the first three months of the year. Adding to the bleak outlook, the group's director, Pedro Antunes, told a conference that he expected unemployment to steadily rise before peaking at 9.5 per cent in the middle of 2010.

A WALK IN THE PARK: Addressing a group of Calgary high school students, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff suggested Canada should push for the creation of an international park surrounding the North Pole that would protect the area. Ignatieff also said he agreed with military tactics employed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to assert sovereignty in the area.

REMORSELESS: The first man to be convicted in the 2005 Boxing Day shooting death of Toronto teen Jane Creba showed a "cavalier" attitude about his role in the 15-year-old's death, a court was told. Known only as J.S.R. because he was a minor in 2005, was said to be unable to recognize his contribution to the wild shootout that killed Creba on Toronto's busiest street, at one point asking an interviewer: "How do they know she wouldn't have been hit by a car or something?"

MORE MR. NICE GUY: Continuing his international charm offensive, U.S. President Barack Obama used his first presidential visit to a Muslim country to declare that the United States was "not at war with Islam." Addressing the Turkish parliament, Obama devoted much of his speech to urging a greater bond between Americans and Muslims while decrying terrorist groups such as al-Qaida as extremists who have little in common with most Muslims.

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