I'VE GOT GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS: It was good times for the loonie again as it continued its ascent against the U.S. dollar, rising 0.56 per cent to 80.8 cents. Analysts quickly moved to temper any enthusiasm, however, cautioning that the loonie rose on the back of a weakening U.S. dollar and a surge in the price of oil and gold, and in spite of weak economic fundamentals.
Canadian inflation jumped more than expected last month, reversing a five-month downward trend and soothing fears of deflation -- a development fraught with fears of plummeting consumer demand and related drops in production.
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GUN SHY: Conservative MP Gerry Breitkruz was dropped from the speakers' list at a suburban Toronto convention for firearm enthusiasts after public fury prompted the government to distance itself from a plan to offer a semi-automatic handgun as a raffle prize. There were more than 60 gun-related deaths in the Toronto area last year, and municipal politicians have called for tougher controls on handguns in particular.
SPEAKING OF PUBLIC OUTRAGE...: The U.S. House of Representatives swiftly passed a bill that imposes punishing taxes on employee bonuses doled out by bailed-out corporations. Democrats led the charge to pass the bill in an attempt to tamp down public fury about $165 million in bonuses given to executives at AIG. However, Republicans kept up the offence by branding the bill a "political circus" designed to distract Americans from why the administration and Congressional Democrats did little to block the payouts.
HAUNTING IMAGE: In a new video that surfaced on the Internet, kidnapped Canadian journalist Beverly Giesbrecht said that her life would soon come to an end unless somebody stepped forward to meet the demands of her captors. Giesbrecht, who was working a freelance assignment for Al Jazeera was abducted in Pakistan last November.
UM...HOPE?: U.S. President Barack Obama fled the hostile terrain of Washington, D.C. to sell his economic agenda directly to the American people. Standing before an adoring and raucous crowd at a California town hall meeting, Obama warned that Americans should not expect something for nothing, a message coupled with a plea for the massive grassroots movement that swept him to the White House to pound the pavement to sell his message.
In a first for a sitting president, Obama also paid a vist to Jay Leno and The Tonight Show during his California adventure. Naturally, the lightning rod AIG bonuses were at the top of the agenda, and Obama dutifully expressed shock at the payouts while staunchly defending his embattled Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner. Of course, there were lighter moments as well, including a Special Olympics gag that may come back to haunt him.
BORROWED BONES: A renowned paleontologist credited with discovering the world's best-preserved dinosaur skeleton intended to plead guilty to stealing bones from U.S. government land. The accusations against Nathan Murphy, a self-taught expert, stem his alleged attempts at cashing on the lucrative fossil market.