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Metro Snapshot: April 9, 2009

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

ATTEMPTED DEFLECTION: Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an attempt to convert the turmoil within his party over the treatment of former prime minister Brian Mulroney into political hay against Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. Emerging from a raucous caucus meeting, the prime minister said his rocky relationship with Mulroney was proof that he valued clean government, and that the Liberals have been inconsistent on the issue.

TIME FOR STIMULATION: Federal Public Works Minister Christian Paradis announced that Ottawa would issue its first contracts under the the budget's $12-billion infrastructure spending program by the end of the month. Totalling $400 million over two years, the first projects will involve upgrading bridges and government buildings in Ontario and Quebec.

BRACE YOURSELVES: Economists were bracing Canadians for dismal job loss statistics that will be released today. Estimates ran from a low of 55,000 jobs lost, to a high of double that. Experts were also split on whether such numbers were a symptom of short-term pain, or indicative of a new economic reality.

UNRULY GUEST: Actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton became indignant during a CBC Radio interview after host Jian Ghomeshi referred to his work in Hollywood. Thornton, who was in Toronto with his band, The Boxmasters, gave curt answers to Ghomeshi's questions before finally bringing the tension to a head by chastising the host for not honouring a request to steer clear of Thornton's other career.

POLICE CONDUCT: A week after a London man's sudden death at a G20 protest rallies he apparently wanted nothing to do with, a new video has raised uncomfortable questions for Scotland Yard. Ian Tomlinson, 47, was walking through the area on his way home from work when the video shows police with batons and dogs approach him from behind. As Tomlinson walked away from police with his hands in his pockets, an officer appears to aggresively push him to the pavement. Minutes later, Tomlinson collapsed and died.

THEY LIKE HIM, THEY REALLY LIKE HIM: U.S. President Barack Obama's outreach to Muslims in the Middle East appeared to be paying dividends. In a startling change for a region where his predecessor had shoes hurled at him and is still burned in effigy, Obama earned praise from Arabs who were cautiously optimistic that the new administration would mean policies they considered friendlier to their interests.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed into one of his city's bubbling controversies, saying that a fried chicken restaurant named after the president could probably find a more appropriate name. The restaurant's manager, Mohammad Jabbar, claimed the name Obama Fried Chicken -- located in the largely black neighbourhood of Brownsville -- was chosen as a tribute to the president.

 
 
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