Foreign Policy

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  Bush Apologizes For Apec Summit ChaosSeptember 05, 2007 22:51 There has been commuter chaos in parts of Australia's biggest city, a result of the tightest security the country has ever seen. The disruption to daily life, caused by this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, has been so massive that President Bush has apologized to the people of Sydney for the inconvenience caused by his visit. Phil Mercer files this report from Sydney.

The visit of President Bush and other world leaders has prompted Australian authorities to mount an unprecedented security operation.

Five thousand police officers and troops are on patrol, along with fighter jets and combat helicopters.

 
  Pakistan Must Withdraw From War On Terror: Nwfp CmSeptember 05, 2007 22:08 NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani has called for Pakistan’s withdrawal from the war on terror for “the good of the people and the country”.

He said segregation of society into extremists and moderates would pave the way for martial law.

Durrani told a delegation of senators who called on him at Frontier House that the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) supported the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution in the larger national interest, adding that some people wanted to bring an eighteenth amendment to secure their “loot” deposited in foreign accounts and get rid of cases pending against them. Acknowledging tribal people as “patriots”, he said their patriotism was evident from their participation in the wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971.

The people in the tribal area were aware that foreigners were behind the chaos that was created in the area because of the country’s “wrong foreign policy”, he said, adding that these foreigners were also against Chinese engineers working in the province.

He also told the senators of the evidence against “foreign agents” who were caught red handed recently.

About minorities’ rights in the province, he said the MMA government was serving them well, adding that he had laid the foundation stone for a church in the Peshawar University.

Minority members of the NWFP Assembly were given Rs 1 million worth of development funds in the past, the CM said, but the MMA government had provided Rs 10 million each to all provincial assembly members, including minority members. On the other hand, he said, no opposition parliamentarians in the National Assembly (NA), including Opposition Leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, were given development funds.

 
  Government Enforcing Rule That Mexican Truckers Speak EnglishSeptember 04, 2007 07:41 Interstate truck and bus drivers across America may find themselves pulled off the highway if state troopers or vehicle inspectors find they can't speak English.

The requirement has been on the books for decades, but enforcement has begun before Mexican trucks are allowed in the U.S. interior as of Sept. 6.

"We have found people in violation of this for a number of years and we're working feverishly to correct it," said John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Since 1971, federal law has said that commercial drivers must read and speak English "sufficiently to understand highway traffic signs and signals and directions given in English and to respond to official inquiries."

Hill said the language deficiency was found mostly in the commercial zone that varies from 25 miles to 75 miles north of the Mexican border, but since inspectors there are bilingual and Mexican truckers are not allowed past that zone, it hasn't been an issue.

But after more than a decade of legal wrangling, U.S. highways are opening up.

The North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 called for Mexican and U.S. trucks to travel freely throughout one another's nations, but the provision was stalled by labor unions and environmental groups' arguments that the trucks are unsafe.

A pilot program allowing a limited number of already approved Mexican trucks to pass the border zone was set to begin as early as Saturday, but Hill said no trucks will pass beyond the border zone pending a final report by the inspector general. The program is now set to take effect Thursday.

On Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request made by the Teamsters union, the Sierra Club and the nonprofit Public Citizen to halt the program. The appeals court ruled the groups have not satisfied the legal requirements to immediately stop what the government is calling a "demonstration project," but can continue to argue their case.

The government contends that further delays in the project will strain the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.

Mexican truckers, meanwhile, said they were prepared to leave merchandise in Mexican warehouses if U.S. authorities insisted on fines for not knowing English in the border zone.

"We have been talking with U.S. authorities," said Luis Moreno Sesma, president of Mexico's national chamber of cargo haulers. "The law says that the operators should know English to cross the border, but we have said they should have special consideration for the border guys."

The language requirement is part of a long checklist — including criminal background and drug and alcohol tests — that carriers must pass to go into the interior. Also required are complete vehicle safety and emissions inspections.

U.S. commercial drivers going into the Mexican interior, part of the reciprocal agreement, will have to speak Spanish.