LET'S GET TOGETHER: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had a "cordial and business-like"
meeting in the prime minister's office to discuss next week's federal
budget. Ignatieff earlier indicated that the Liberals would support a
"modest" deficit, but warned Harper that his party would not accept a budget packed with broad-based tax cuts
that could lead to a structural deficit. The prime minister appeared to
largely agree with the Liberal leader, telling a Halifax audience that
he was "on the same page" as the opposition when it came to long-term deficit plans.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said he found the pace of discussions between struggling automakers and the federal and Ontario governments disappointing. Clement claimed that both levels of government have been prepared to hand over $4 billion to the automakers since December, but the talks have run into obstacles.

KHADR ID'S ARAR: An FBI agent testifying at Omar Khadr's war crimes trial said that Khadr immediately identified Maher Arar by name as somebody he had seen at al-Qaida safehouses
and possibly a terrorist training camp. Arar became a symbol of
post-9/11 hysteria when he was detained at New York's JFK airport
before being deported to Syria where he was tortured. Arar, who has
steadfastly maintained his innocence, was publicly cleared by the
Canadian government and paid a settlement of more than $10 million.


OBAMA NATION: President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and as many as four million people from all walks of life have descended upon Washington, D.C. -- where they will join a wheelchair-bound Vice-President Dick Cheney -- to watch Obama place his hand on Abraham Lincoln's bible. A massive security net has been cast over the city and street vendors were peddling a wide range of Obama-themed souvenirs, hoping to make big bucks from the massive influx of tourists.

Former vice-president Al Gore
and other environmentalists who chafed under eight years of Bush
Administration environmental policies praised the incoming president,
who one activist said "totally gets it" on environmental issues. Vice-president elect Joe Biden shushed his wife, Jill, when she let it slip that Biden was given a choice between serving as Obama's vice-president or as his secretary of state.

President George W. Bush was given a rude sendoff by hundreds of protesters who hurled shoes at a Bush effigy, as well as the White House gates.

PICKING UP THE PIECES: Uniformed Hamas security forces emerged onto Gaza City's streets as leaders of the group vowed to clean up the destruction left in the wake of nearly three weeks of pumelling by the Israeli military, and United Nations
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive to inspect the damage
inflicted on UN buildings shelled during the assault. Another UN
official said that hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid would be required immediately to help Gaza's 1.4 million people.

THERE SHE IS: A German woman who was missing for 12 years was found living in a Swiss forest
using only an umbrella and tarpaulin for shelter. The woman told police
that she did not want to be contacted by her family and that she had a
mission to accomplish.

'GUNS AND BAYONETS': Warning that it does not engage in "empty talk," North Korea said it had guns and bayonets pointed at it southern neighbour,
heightening tensions surrounding its threat to take military action
against what it calls South Korea's plan to invade, an accusation that
the south denies.

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