- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

MEXICO

Bush urged to veto border fence bill

MEXICO CITY — Mexico pleaded with President Bush yesterday to veto a Senate proposal to build a new fence to keep people from entering the United States illegally, saying it could backfire by making the border more dangerous.

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly backed a bill on Friday to construct about 700 miles of fence, a project Republicans hope will impress voters calling for tougher immigration control ahead of Nov. 7 congressional elections.

“The Mexican government strongly opposes the building of walls in the border area between Mexico and the United States,” President Vicente Fox’s spokesman Ruben Aguilar told reporters yesterday.

“This decision hurts bilateral relations, goes against the spirit of cooperation needed to guarantee security on the common, creates a climate of tension in border communities,” he said.

Mr. Aguilar said Mexico would send a diplomatic note to Washington later in the day urging Mr. Bush to veto the bill.

CANADA

Iraq war backer leads Liberal race

OTTAWA — An ex-Harvard professor who backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq was ahead yesterday in the race to become leader of Canada’s opposition Liberal Party, but the contest was by no means sewn up.

The Liberals emerged from three days of delegate selection with nobody garnering the 50 percent needed to guarantee victory at the party convention in Montreal on Dec. 1 and 2.

Michael Ignatieff led with 30 percent of declared delegates. He faces a tough battle to win the next 20 percent from a party that opposed the Iraq invasion, but he said yesterday he is in a strong position to grow. “The party is not looking for an administrator. The party is looking for a leader,” he told reporters.

Weekly notes …

Quebec’s provincial government will hold a public inquiry to determine why an overpass collapsed north of Montreal on Sunday, crushing five persons to death. At the site, Quebec Premier Jean Charest offered condolences to the families of the dead and said: “We don’t know how this happened.” One witness told local television he noticed the road had sunk 1 to 2 inches when he drove on the overpass minutes before its collapse. Transport Quebec heard about an hour earlier that pieces of concrete were falling off the overpass. … Some U.S. military aid withheld from Latin American nations that did not agree to exempt American military personnel from the International Criminal Court will start flowing again when President Bush signs waivers, a senior defense official said. The waivers are critical to Pentagon officials who arrived in Nicaragua on Sunday to meet with regional defense ministers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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