Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel will depart Wednesday for Mexico City to hold talks with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico aimed at bolstering Washington's security ties to its neighbors. Hagel's three-day trip to Mexico and Guatemala will underline "America's commitment to this region," spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. The visit follows a Pentagon announcement for a planned sale of 18 Apache helicopters to Mexico. Kirby said the helicopters would "improve the security of a strong, strategic partner in Mexico, both in terms of combating organized crime and drug trafficking."
Australia will purchase 58 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of Aus$12.4 billion ($11.6 billion), the government said. The new aircraft will bring Australia's total JSF force to 72 aircraft, with the first due to arrive in Australia in 2018 and enter service in 2020. "The F-35 will provide a major boost to the Australian Defence Force's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement released late Tuesday. The deal is in addition to 14 F-35s Australia already approved in 2009.
By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado lawmakers are moving to tighten laws governing the sale of marijuana-infused edibles, an issue that has gained attention following two deaths possibly linked to the ingestion of cannabis products, the measures' main sponsor said on Tuesday. The state House of Representatives this week unanimously passed a bill limiting the amount of concentrated marijuana that can be sold, and another bill requiring more specific labeling of pot-laced products, such as candies and baked goods. Rep. Frank McNulty, a Republican from suburban Denver, said the measures are needed to protect the public and assure that edibles are not mistakenly consumed by children. "The packages of edibles are labeled that they contain marijuana, but once they're out of the package, they're indistinguishable from a brownie or lollipop bought at a grocery store," he said.
A powerful coalition of the broadcast and cable TV industries asked the panel to rule against the startup Aereo, which allows customers to rent a tiny Internet-linked antenna to watch or record over-the-air broadcasts, raising difficult copyright questions. A similarly strong alliance that includes several technology firms and consumer groups is pressing for a different outcome, saying a ruling for Aereo would send a signal in favor of technological innovation. Justices appeared ambivalent at times, questioning whether Aereo was violating copyright law and mulling a possible impact on the burgeoning cloud computing sector, which stores all kinds of materials online. Justice Stephen Breyer queried what might happen if Aereo were found to be in violation.
The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states can disregard race as a factor in university admissions, in a fresh blow to a legacy of the 1960s civil rights movement. The 6-2 ruling upheld the constitutionality of a measure passed by referendum in Michigan that disallowed so-called affirmative action in college admissions. Effectively favoring voter initiatives over the courts, the decision was expected to have repercussions far beyond Michigan -- governors of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and West Virginia had supported Michigan's appeal. The ruling was the latest to chip away at a practice used to promote racial and ethnic diversity of university student bodies while countering the effects of racial discrimination.
Former US president Jimmy Carter on Tuesday urged his country and China, two of the world's biggest fossil fuel polluters, to take the lead on halting climate change. If the two economic and political giants could agree on a way forward, the rest of the world would likely follow their lead, the statesman told AFP on the sidelines of a climate change discussion with students at the Paris Institute of Political Science. He said he had encouraged Chinese President Xi Jinping along these lines, and has had discussions with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Carter took part in the Paris meeting on Earth Day as a representative of The Elders, a grouping of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to promote peace, justice and human rights.
Former US president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday the West should not impose sanctions that would hurt the Russian people over their leaders' actions in Ukraine. "So far, we have limited the sanctions to the leadership of Russia, and I think that is the proper approach," the Nobel peace laureate told AFP on the sidelines of a discussion in Paris on climate change. US Vice President Joe Biden earlier warned Russia of "more costs" and "greater isolation" if it continued to "pull Ukraine apart". Carter, who is credited with brokering the 1978 Cape David peace accords between Egypt and Israel and establishing US diplomatic relations with China, said Russia's takeover of Crimea had been "inevitable".
The United States said Tuesday it was watching North Korea "very closely" following South Korean warnings that Pyongyang may be preparing a fourth nuclear test ahead of a visit to Seoul by President Barack Obama. "North Korea has a history of taking provocative action and we are always mindful of the possibility that such an action could be taken," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama departed for his week-long trip to Asia. Carney said any action by North Korea would "most likely be in violation of numerous commitments that the DPRK (North Korea) is bound by but of course, that is something that they unfortunately have done many times." He declined to comment on the validity of a South Korean defense ministry briefing which cited increased activity at North Korea's main nuclear test site.