Metro Snapshot: February 17, 2009

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


ECONOMY, ECONOMY, ECONOMY: Prime Minister Stephen Harper had no shortage of advice from experts as he prepared to receive U.S. President Barack Obama in Ottawa this week. Unsurprisingly, the dominant theme was the economy, namely that the prime minister must work hard to sell the president on the importance of the Canadian economy to his own country's fortunes in an effort to tamp down a rising tide of protectionist rhetoric


SMOKING MAD: A quirk in Ontario's new legislation that bans smoking in vehicles while minors are present was revealed during a recent traffic stop, and at least one police officer said it was only a matter of time before somebody "snaps." This weekend, a man was given a ticket for breaking the ban, and while being written up, one of the minors in the vehicle at the time stepped outside for a cigarette.


YOUNG BYSTANDER: Police in Metro Vancouver expressed shock after a four-year-old boy emerged unscathed from a gang-style shooting that left a woman dead. The region has been gripped by a recent uptick in deadly gang shootings, sometimes in broad daylight and often in public areas.


NOT SO SCARY AFTER ALL: A Memorial University of
Newfoundland associate professor said Canadians had nothing to fear
from the triple helping of Friday the 13th we are getting this year -- aside from this past Friday, the date will occur next month as well as in November.
Philip Hiscock said that although many people regard the unlucky date
as an old superstition, the origins of the day's sinister reputation are actually fairly recent.

CUTTING BACK CUTBACKS: A 'shockingly well-hidden' government program could go a long way to alleviating the layoffs that many companies have announced since the economy began to tank. Under the program, a company can partner with the federal government to allow employees to cut back to a four-day work week and collect employment insurance benefits for the fifth day, a measure that could save jobs while affected employees receive a minimal pay cut.

A 'NEW ERA' IN ASIA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her first overseas trip to hail the start of a new era in U.S.-Asia relations, promising increased co-operation in areas such as climate change and nuclear proliferation. However, her proclamations were overshadowed by the ominous threat of a sabre-rattling North Korea that has been strongly hinting at an upcoming missile test.

WHO'S YOUR DADDY?: The parents of a 15-year-old who gave birth to a baby girl allegedly fathered by a 13-year-old boy said they would be seeking a paternity test after a tabloid reported that other teenage boys came forward to claim they were the child's father.

JUSTICE FOR THE KILLING FIELDS: An accused torture centre boss went before Cambodia's genocide tribunal for its first trial in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people during the Khmer Rouge regime more than three decades ago. Kaing Guek Eav, 66, faces a litany of charges such as rape, torture and murder. Many victims feared all the Khmer Rouge leaders would die before facing
justice and bringing even one of them to trial is seen as a
breakthrough, but many also think that trials could be derailed by political manipulation.

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