In the latest sign of the rising international political stakes in the Arctic, the top U.S. Coast Guard official has revealed a planned shift in American foreign policy from scientific research to "sovereignty" and "security presence" in Alaskan waters bordering Canadian and Russian territory.
More than 90% of guns seized at the border or after raids and shootings in Mexico have been traced to the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Last year, 2,455 weapons traces requested by Mexico showed that guns had been purchased in the United States, according to the ATF. Texas, Arizona and California accounted for 1,805 of those traced weapons.
Pakistan's embattled President Pervez Musharraf was under mounting pressure to quit, with his allies joining ruling coalition calls for him to go before impeachment proceedings begin on Monday.
TVNL Comment: There's a moral here somewhere for Nancy Pelosi..
China rejected President Bush's criticism Thursday of its human rights record and restrictions on religion, diplomatically telling him to stay out of its affairs only hours before he arrived in Beijing to attend the Olympics.
In a speech in Bangkok outlining America's achievements and challenges in Asia, Bush pushed for a free press, free assembly and labor rights in China, and against its detentions of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists. He said he wasn't trying to antagonize China, but called such reform the only path the potent U.S. rival can take to reach its full potential.
The Government is drawing up plans to use unmanned "drone" aircraft currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to counter terrorism and aid police operations in Britain.
The plans have been backed by the House of Commons Defence Committee but have attracted criticism from civil liberties campaigners concerned about the implications of covert surveillance of civilians.
Gareth Crossman, director of policy at the civil rights watchdog Liberty, said: "The question is not so much about the technology but what one does with it. We have quite definite laws about where CCTV can be used but of course with UAVs you have much greater ability to gather material in private spaces and this would lead to concern."
He added: "If they are used to simply hover to gain random information then that would obviously be a matter of worry and a civil liberty issue."
A coup appears to be underway in the north-west African republic of Mauritania, where the army has seized the President and the Prime Minister after the President sacked several top army officers.
A presidency source says soldiers have seized President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf and the interior minister, and taken them to an unknown destination.
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