REGRETS, I HAVE A FEW: ADQ leader Mario Dumont -- who in headier days was known as Super Mario -- coupled his announcement that he would be stepping down from the helm of his party next week with an admission of a certain sense of failure for not leading the party to power. Dumont, who led the ADQ for 14 years, announced his intention to step down after the party was decimated in last year's provincial election.

NO HANDOUTS FOR US, THANKS: CBC president Hubert Lacroix denied recent media reports that the broadcaster was seeking government aid to cover advertising shortfalls. While Lacroix was frank about the organizations money woes -- namely a $65-million dollar advertising shortfall -- he said reserve funds would alleviate the blow, but there were lingering concerns about the budget for next year.

"TERRIBLE OUTCOME": Testifying at the public inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski -- who died after being shocked by an RCMP Taser at Vancouver International Airport -- Const. Gerry Rundel said that he regretted the man's death, but insisted that he would have done nothing differently.


The Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police held a press conference in Ottawa where they vigorously defended the use of the electronic stun guns, insisting that they save lives and disputing the Taser's capacity to kill. However, at the end of the conference, officers acknowledged that the devices have been used too often, sometimes in cases where the suspect presented no threat.

HANDS ACROSS THE BORDER: The Conservative government's blitz on the United States continued as Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington. While his joint appearance with Clinton was mostly soft -- Clinton reminisced fondly about skating along the Rideau Canal -- Cannon faced tough questions from reporters back at the Canadian embassy on topics ranging from a potential repatriation of Omar Khadr and the extension of the military's combat mission in Afghanistan.

AFGHAN DEATH TOLL RISES: A third child wounded by this week's fatal blast in an Afghan village died in hospital, raising the death toll to three. The tragedy enraged grief-stricken villagers, who blamed the deaths on the Canadian military, claiming that the children were bringing home unexploded munitions left in an area recently used by Canadians for range practice.

NOW THAT'S HOPE: In his first address to a joint sesion of Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama returned to the optimism that was the hallmark of his presidential campaign, acknowledging a "day of reckoning" while also insisting that the country will recover. With the economy looming large, the old bugbears of national defence and the United States' two ongoing wars were little more than a footnote in the speech, although the president did vow a responsible withdrawal from Iraq.

The Republicans, however, weren't buying it. Delivering the official party response, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal -- a rising star often touted as a potential presidential candidate in 2012 -- declared that the president's plan was irresponsible and would "saddle future generations with debt." The Republicans have consistently advocated a platform of tax cuts to stimulate the economy, and were nearly unanimous in voting against the $787-billion stimulus package signed into law last week.

FROM THE NEWS THAT'S NOT NEWS DEPARTMENT: A federal panel released a report called the Canadian Heart Health Strategy and Action Plan that said the surest way to prevent deaths from heart disease and stroke was for Canadians to cut back on fatty foods, shun smoking and lead an active lifestyle.

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