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HEADLINES The RCMP closed the case yesterday on allegations that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien intervened improperly to aid an inn owned by his friend. Under pressure to calm recession fears, Finance Minister Paul Martin will likely deliver a spring economic update aimed at restoring confidence. The debate over asbestos has been rekindled after a leading research institute called for an immediate ban on one of Canada's major exports. Saying Nortel is not invincible, the head of Canada's high-technology giant has blamed the weak-kneed U.S. economy for its stock collapse. COURTS Two Canadians at the centre of a cross-border wrangle over the death penalty are likely to be in Seattle to face justice within weeks, lawyers say. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last week that Atif Rafay and Glen Sebastian Burns -- accused of a triple killing in Washington state -- could be extradited provided U.S. authorities waived the death penalty. Page A8 The Rafay-Burns case illustrates mightily that the Supreme Court has taken its imperial arrogance to new heights, argues lawyer Neil Seeman. Rather than abide by what the law plainly says -- and respecting the free will of the citizens of Washington state -- lawyers and judges are divining it from the ether of so-called progressiveness. Page A17 INTERNATIONAL A 17-member International Olympic Committee inspection team will see a Beijing remade, rescrubbed and repainted when its cavalcade rolls through the teeming Chinese capital of 13 million this week. But behind the veneer, everyday life remains rife with the brutality of an authoritarian regime whose disdain for human rights could derail its bid for the 2008 Games. Page A14 Calling it a place of "peace, remembrance and life," U.S. President George W. Bush opened a museum in Oklahoma City yesterday dedicated to the memories of the 168 people who died in the 1995 bombing of a government building. Timothy McVeigh, convicted in the crime, is scheduled to be executed by injection on May 16. Page A10 Iraq's parliament appealed yesterday to Arab people to demonstrate their outrage at U.S. and British air raids near Baghdad when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell starts his first Middle East tour this week. Page A10 DEFENCE Defence experts will gather for a conference in Ottawa today but they'll be discussing chips and bytes, not missiles and fighter jets. The federal government is so concerned about potential cyber-attacks on the country's air-traffic-control, banking, power and telephone systems that it has created a new security agency, the first since CSIS was established in 1984. Page A6 CRIME An unidentified Winnipeg mint worker is being accused of creating fake 25-cent pieces and selling them as rare flaws for as much as $160 each. The copper-coloured coins have created a buzz among some dealers, but officials at the Royal Canadian Mint say they aren't worth a plugged nickel. "It's not currency, it's a counterfeit coin." Page A5 BUSINESS George Weston Ltd. plans to buy Bestfoods Baking Co. in a $1.77-billion (U.S.) deal that will make it the most profitable -- and second-largest -- bakery in North America. The deal, when it closes this summer, will take Weston's breads, buns and Girl Guide cookies into just about every supermarket in North America. Page B1 Future Shop Ltd., the biggest retailer of electronic goods in Canada, will open a flagship store in downtown Toronto, close its five Computer City outlets and grow to 120 stores from its current 96 by 2005, the B.C.-based retailer said yesterday. Page B4 Workers at a Rolls-Royce plant in England fear they are about to lose their jobs -- or be forced to uproot to Canada to keep them -- after the Canadian and Quebec governments showered the company's Montreal division with $78-million in grants and aid. Page B8 Another black cloud has gathered on the telecommunications horizon with the announcement that Corning Inc. of New York has lopped revenue forecasts for its photonics unit, which makes components that manage optical signals. The news plunged Corning shares to a 52-week low. Page B17 PEOPLE The family dog saved actress Drew Barrymore and her fiancé, Canadian comedian Tom Green, from a fire that gutted their Los Angeles home early Sunday. "We're great," Ms. Barrymore, a star of Charlie's Angels, said at the scene. "Other than the fact that the home burned down," Mr. Green added. Page R2 ARTS Unidentifed flying objets d'art, you might call them. The work of eight self-described agnostics from Western Canada has been gathered at the Edmonton Art Gallery for The Alien Project, a quirky take on our fascination with the final frontier. Page R3 MEDIA Breaking up is hard to do, and no one knows that better than the Canadian publishers of Divorce magazine. Diana Shepherd and Dan Couvrette set out five years ago to create a publication that would treat marital breakup with seriousness. Says Ms. Shepherd, "The men are angry and the women are grief-stricken. Divorce is not a bunch of laughs." A fact not lost on their newest star columnist, Ivana Trump.
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SPORTS You can't say Toronto Maple Leafs fans aren't a patient bunch. They've been rolling out in droves for 34 years now, hoping, itching, praying to repeat that Stanley Cup-winning feeling of 1967. They deserve better, writes Stephen Brunt. Page S1 HEALTH Traditional Chinese medicine maintains that chi, the invisible energy that flows through organs and along internal pathways in the human body, is crucial to preventing the onset of illness. An increasing number of Westerners, dissatisfied with traditional health care, are now turning to to skilled practitioners of qigong, a means of releasing that blocked energy. Not everyone is convinced, however, that this invisible force really exists. Page R6 FAREWELL Balthus, who has died in Switzerland aged 92, was one of the 20th century's greatest realist painters, an inspiration and influence on the art world for more than six decades, best known for his erotic -- some have said pornographic -- portrayal of adolescent beauties. As a person, he remained largely a mystery to all but a few intimate friends. "Balthus is a painter of whom nothing is known," was his most often quoted self-analysis. Page R8 QUIRKS A mysterious goo has washed up on parts of the Florida coast. Slipping in from the Gulf of Mexico, the substance is described as foamy and slimy and forming a dark crust on sand. State environmental officials are stumped. Page A24

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