World Briefs / N. American leaders to meet

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MEXICO CITY -- Twenty years after their countries signed a landmark regional trade agreement, the presidents of the United States, Mexico and Canada will meet today to attempt to strengthen the economic ties envisioned in that pact, correct the omissions and find ways to expand.

Trade and commerce are expected to dominate the agenda when President Barack Obama meets with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts -- President Enrique Pena Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- in Toluca just west of Mexico City.

U.S. and Mexican officials see the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potentially massive trade agreement being negotiated among 12 nations, as the logical extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994.

2 in punk band detained

SOCHI, Russia -- Two members of the controversial Russian punk band Pussy Riot were detained for three hours Tuesday and questioned by Russian police about an alleged theft near the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Band members Nadezha Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, and at least seven activists and journalists, were picked up at a McDonald's in the Sochi suburb of Adler by plainclothes officers, according to Amnesty International's Moscow office. The group collectively was accused of a theft that allegedly occurred in a nearby hotel.

Report on Kim criticized

HONG KONG -- Chinese officials on Tuesday criticized a United Nations report that served notice to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, that he may be personally held liable in court for crimes against humanity committed by state institutions and officials under his direct control.

Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, called the report "unreasonable criticism," raising questions as to whether Beijing will use its U.N. Security Council veto to block action on the matter.

Kerry holds Tunisia talks

TUNIS, Tunisia -- Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Tunisia on Tuesday in a gesture of support for its struggle to establish a democratic system.

While Mr. Kerry, who met with Tunisia's caretaker prime minister, Mehdi Jomaa, and its president, Moncef Marzouki, came to Tunisia to support its democratic transition, security appears to have been an important item on the agenda.

Fighting in South Sudan

JOHANNESBURG -- In a major setback to peace efforts in South Sudan, fighting erupted Tuesday in the key town of Malakal in Upper Nile state, the only region still producing the oil that the government relies on for more than 98 percent of its revenue.

South Sudan's government and rebels led by dismissed Deputy President Riek Machar agreed to a cease-fire last month. But sporadic firefights have continued in the north of the country, and each side accuses the other of violating the deal.

U.S. citizen sues Ethiopia

WASHINGTON -- An unnamed Silver Spring, Md., man with ties to Ethiopia's political opposition sued that country's government in federal court Tuesday, alleging that agents had used powerful spyware to hack into his computer and snoop on his private communications for more than four months.

The case is the latest sign that the government of Ethiopia, an American ally with a history of repressing political opponents, journalists and human rights activists, has used sophisticated Internet technology to monitor its perceived enemies, even when they are in other countries.


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