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The murder of quiet Chinese student Amanda Zhao, the failure of police in both Canada and China to bring her alleged killer to justice and the emotional devastation the tragedy has wrought on Ms. Zhao's family back in Beijing are enough to break the stoniest of hearts.

Let's refresh. Ms. Zhao was slain in the small apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Ang Li. Burnaby RCMP initially believed Mr. Li's story that she had gone out by herself at 8 o'clock at night to walk 10 blocks to the supermarket to buy cooking oil.

Two days after her body was found in the Fraser Valley, stuffed into an equipment bag, Mr. Li lit out for China. A police officer escorted him through security to make sure he caught his flight.

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Some months later, the long-gone Mr. Li was charged with murder, after his cousin told police that he helped him dispose of Ms. Zhao's body.

But RCMP botched its handling of the confession, and the cousin was acquitted of being an accessory to the crime. Mr. Li remains free as well, the beneficiary of an unseemly jurisdictional spat between Canadian and Chinese bureaucrats.

Now, steps are being taken to bring Ms. Zhao's emotionally spent parents to Canada to ask their own questions of authorities here. The Tzu Chi Foundation will provide funds, and MLAs Jenny Kwan and Mike Farnworth are extending them an official invitation, for visa purposes.

"All they are asking is for Ang Li to have his day in court," Ms. Kwan said yesterday. "Both sides need to sort this out and let the family have peace of mind."

She added that local police have said they are willing to share evidence with Chinese investigators so that Mr. Li can be tried in China, but so far, Ottawa has said no.

It really is to weep.

Law enforcement delivers

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All is not gloom and doom out there.

How about the good-news story of the rookie Mountie in Surrey who answered a call last week and found himself delivering a baby?

His police call is priceless.

Officer: Can I please get EHS codes to my location. There's a woman who's having a baby here.

Dispatch: Ten-four.

Officer: Can you tell them the baby is coming out right now?

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Dispatch to other officers: Um, is there anybody that can give instructions on how to deliver a baby?

Officer: The baby is coming out now. Umbilical cord needs to be cut.

Dispatch: Copy that.

6-Alpha-53 (surely a woman officer): Just leave the baby on the mom's tummy until the ambulance gets there. ... And for the record, make sure the umbilical cord's not wrapped around the neck. Cover up the baby and the mom, until the medics get there.

He did. Everything was over in a lickety-split 3½ minutes. Not bad for a guy who "didn't know nothing 'bout birthing no babies."

Mom, pop, cop and kid are all doing fine.

Sobering news

Old habits die hard.

As reporters left Molson brewery this week after the company's pint-raising to winning the exclusive right of suds pouring at the 2010 Olympics, they were offered free cases of beer, discreetly hidden under a table.

This being 2008, and a new age of journalism, however, the grizzled scribes reluctantly declined.

Everybody loves Raymond

Congratulations to mayoral aspirant Raymond Louie. His list of endorsers contains many names of people I've actually heard of.

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