Meade to make Asia visit
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Antonio Meade travels to Singapore and China on Saturday on a mission to boost trade with the two Asian nations. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) promised to increase investment when he visited the country in June. Meade will follow up on that agreement in China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Meade will meet his Singaporean counterpart, Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, in the city-state, the nation’s second-largest investor from the Asia-Pacific region after Japan, the ministry said. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement being negotiated by nine countries including Australia, the US and Singapore, will also be on the agenda.
Four attacked by bears
Four people suffered minor injuries in separate grizzly bear attacks in the world-famous Yellowstone Park and nearby forests, authorities said on Friday. The first incident occurred on Thursday when a group of four hikers came face-to-face with a young bear cub on a trail in the Idaho park. The mother of the cub appeared almost immediately and charged the hikers. The confrontation lasted about one minute, with the hikers cheating death by spraying bear repellent. In a separate incident on the same day, two employees of the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho were attacked while performing a forest health assessment, the Los Angeles Times reported. One of the two men needed treatment for bite wounds on his thigh and buttocks, while the second man was bitten on the hand as he attempted to use bear spray.
Group fights child porn
A task force in Indiana is building a national reputation for its aggressive pursuit of child pornographers worldwide. The Internet Crimes Against Children group includes federal, state and local law enforcement officials who track down people who record or collect videos depicting children being sexually abused. They follow the computer trail wherever it leads, resulting in arrests in the UK, Australia and elsewhere. Assistant Attorney Steve DeBrota is credited with leading the charge. He began pursuing child pornographers in 1991 and is now one of a handful of prosecutors advising the attorney general on child porn cases. Department of Justice figures show Indiana had 166 arrests for manufacturing, distributing or possessing child pornography in 2011.
US rail firm to keep running
The Transportation Agency on Friday determined that the US rail company whose runaway oil train crashed into Lac-Megantic on July 6, killing 47 people, has adequate insurance to keep operating for the next month-and-a-half. The agency said that Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway provided evidence it had adequate third-party liability insurance coverage to operate from Tuesday to Oct. 1. The agency’s decision reversed an order given last week that would have halted the company’s operations starting this week. Agency spokeswoman Jacqueline Bannister said the rail company must show it has the funds to pay the self-insured portion of its operations or the regulator will suspend its operations from Friday. The company was granted creditor protection on Aug. 8 after it said it could not afford the cleanup and reconstruction costs of the accident, in which 72 tankers of crude oil crashed into the center of the town, destroying 40 buildings.