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Metro Snapshot: February 6, 2009

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


WHERE HAVE ALL THE DOLLARS GONE?: In one of her regular reports to Parliament, Auditor General Sheila Fraser said the federal government has no control over billions of dollars worth of funds
earmarked for specific projects once it is distributed to the
provinces. The report also carried a damning audit from Canada's
environment commissioner, who found little evidence that billions spent
on environmental programs had accomplished anything.

BABY MAMA: Calgary's health authority confirmed that 60-year-old Ranjit Hayer became a first time mother
when she gave birth to twins at a city hospital. Hayer recieved words
of encouragement from Frieda Birnbaum, who also gave birth to twins at
age 60 two years ago. Hayer's twins were conceived via in-vitro fertilization in India
-- Canada does not support reproductive treatment for women over 50 --
where there is a booming "reproductive tourism" industry, something
which medical ethicists said was very troubling.

The
veil of secrecy is about to be lifted from another recent
headline-grabbing multiple birth. Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to
healthy octuplets in California last week, had kept a low profile since
her delivery, but that's all about to change.
Managing to duck reporters camped outside her hospital, she recorded
her first interview with NBC's Today show and has also assembled a
public relations team to manage her media debut.

NORTH AMERICAN DREAM TEAM: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon reached an agreement to work together to fight emergent American protectionism
in the form of "Buy American" provisions inserted into President Barack
Obama's stimulus package. The two leaders have grown close since the
beginning of their terms, and their nations arguably have the most at
stake if the provisions stay in the package.

However, U.S. senators maintained their hardline stance
about keeping the provisions in the bill. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois
said he was unconcerned about jobs in European countries and is busy
occupying himself with creating jobs in his home state.

IN OUR OWN BACKYARD: Canada also found itself the target of international derision when a United Nations panel adopted a report that contained 68 points based on concerns raised by other member countries regarding Canada's treatment of minorities,
particularly Aboriginals. A Native leader said that the nation was
being "called to the rug by other states," and a Foreign Affairs
official agreed that the government had much work to do regarding human
rights.

THAT SINKING FEELING: Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, pilot of the doomed jetliner that crash landed in New York City's Hudson River last month told "60 Minutes" that the moments after both engines lost power following a bird strike were the worst of his life.

PIRATE BOOTY: The four-month standoff between Western military might and Somalian pirates
who had hijacked an arms-laden Ukranian freighter, an act that focused
world attention on the area's huge piracy problem, ended when a $3.2-million ransom was parachuted
onto the freighter. The pirates counted the loot -- the largest ransom
ever paid to pirates in the area -- within sight of U.S. warships that
didn't launch an attack for fear of harming the hostages on board.

GREECE ON EDGE: In
a message left on the grave of a teenager whose shooting by police
sparked Greece's worst rioting in decades, a previously unknown group
took credit for a grenade attack on a police station and vowed further violence against police and other prominent Greeks.

 
 
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