JUNIOR ACHIEVERS: Team Canada continued to raise the bar at the World Junior Championships, defeating the Swedes 5-1 to tie Canada's own record of five consecutive gold medals at the tournament.

YOU CAN BANK ON IT: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty emerged from a 'productive' meeting with Canada's senior bankers convened to discuss ways to revive the ailing economy. In the only public statement released, the president of the Canadian Bankers Association said that "many of the economic challenges facing the country were discussed." Flaherty would not discuss the meeting until today, but there has been continuing speculation that he has been butting heads with the major banks over the availability of loans to individuals and businesses.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said that the proposed $4-billion bailout of the auto sector will not go toward dramatically overhauling the industry, but will instead be used for paying off mounting bills and "to keep the lights on." Prime Minister Stephen Harper had previously said that aid wasn't a blank cheque, and that Canadians expected the money to "restructure and renew" the industry.


STRESSED OUT: As the economic meltdown deepens, Canadian debt counsellers are not only seeing a spike in business, but also a spike in the deterioration of marriages and other relationships as mounting debts take their toll on individuals. Financial difficulties are believed to be behind a failed suicide pact in Quebec, in which a woman allegedly helped her husband kill their three children and himself before unsuccessfully attempting to take her own life.

PRAIRIE DEEP FREEZE: Although winter is officially only two weeks old, many on the Prairies were already considering it a long test of endurance. With almost daily wind chill temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius -- sometimes as low as -50 -- many outdoor enthusiasts have opted to stay indoors, while the homeless population dealt with an already hard life that has gotten much, much tougher.

LET'S DISCUSS THIS: A steady stream of diplomats and world leaders headed to the Middle East to push for a truce in the Israeli offensive in Gaza as casualties continued to mount, and Canada's Foreign Affairs department was working at extracting 36 Canadians trapped in the warzone. A planned Monday extraction was cancelled by the Israeli Defence Force, which controls the movement of people in and out of the territory. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and candidate for prime minister, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that her country was taking great risks to prevent civilian casualties, but would keep up the offensive until the security of southern Israel was assured.

Threats of an oil embargo against Israel's friend in the West from officials in places such as Iran and Bahrain fell flat as key Persian Gulf oil producers were determined to stay on the path of economic growth amid falling oil prices. "An oil embargo is just bad for business," said Serene Gardiner, oil
products analyst at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai. "In truth, it is
cheaper to move prices with rhetoric."

THERE'S A NEW MAN IN TOWN: President-elect Barack Obama and his family became full-fledged residents of Washington, D.C. -- moving into a grand hotel until his inauguration so that his daughters can begin classes at an elite private school once attended by Chelsea Clinton. Also due to arrive in Washington is home-shopping network QVC, and they will be toting a wide selection of coins, stamps, jewellery and handbags to hawk during the inauguration. The network has already sold more than 100,000 Obama-related items.

A FIERY RELATIONSHIP: An Australian woman has been charged with murder after her husband died from injuries inflicted when she allegedly lit his genitals on fire because she thought he was having an affair.