- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Opposition wants to oust government

OTTAWA | Canada’s largest opposition party said Monday that it was prepared to bring down the government later this week unless it received details of planned improvements to the jobless benefits system.

The House of Commons is expected to vote on budget estimates Friday. If all three opposition parties vote against the financial measures, the minority Conservative government will be defeated and Canada will prepare for its fourth election in just more than five years.

Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff - who has been openly mulling for weeks whether to defeat the Conservatives over their handling of the economic crisis - said the government’s performance has not been good enough.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, re-elected in October, said the prime minister would react to Mr. Ignatieff’s demands in Parliament later Monday.


Travel, trade pact reached with U.S.

The United States and Mexico formalized an agreement Monday to work together to secure legal travel and trade across the countries’ shared border.

The agreement is outlined in a letter of intent signed by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens.

It expands a 2007 agreement and formalizes plans announced earlier this year to search vehicles at border crossings for bulk weapons and cash being smuggled from the United States into Mexico, where more than 10,800 people have been killed by drug violence since December 2006.

The agreement is part of the U.S.-Mexico effort to curb drug and weapons trafficking and crack down on smuggling cartels. Mexico has deployed more than 45,000 troops across the country to fight the heavily armed cartels.


Airline replaces speed sensors

PARIS | Air France has replaced the air speed sensors on its entire fleet of Airbus A330 and A340 long-haul aircraft, a pilots’ union official said Monday. The company had been under pressure from pilots who feared the devices could be linked to the crash of Flight 447.

In the deep waters of the Atlantic off the coast of northern Brazil, a Dutch ship began trolling with a high-tech, U.S. Navy listening device Monday in search of the flight data and voice recorders. Investigators say information from those black boxes is key to determining what caused Air France Flight 447 from Brazil to France to crash in the ocean with 228 people aboard.

Experts looking into the May 31 crash of the 4-year-old Airbus A330 jet have so far focused on the possibility that external speed monitors - called Pitot tubes - iced over and gave false readings to the plane’s computers.

The initial search area spans a 2,000-square-mile section of the Atlantic, said U.S. Air Force Col. Willie Berges, commander of the American military forces supporting the search.


President wants unions to lead

GENEVA | Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged unions and workers Monday to take advantage of the global financial crisis to help forge a new world economic order.

“I address myself now to the labor leaders,” Mr. Lula da Sliva told a global jobs summit at the International Labor Organization, a U.N. agency grouping governments, employers and worker representatives to promote good working conditions.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for all of you to think and develop proposals together with the employers and business leaders so that we can change definitely the relations between state and civil society and so that we can build our countries with much more fairness and much more solidarity,” he said.

Mr. Lula da Sliva said destabilizing surges last year in oil and commodity prices had been expected because of speculation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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