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By Times Wires
Published November 4, 2007
EN ROUTE TO BEIJING
Robert Gates, making his first visit to China as defense secretary, is expected to press the Chinese to do more to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities. Before he left Saturday for the trip, Gates made it clear that he is pursuing a closer alliance with China and said he doesn't see the communist giant as a military threat. But at the same time, senior defense officials said the Pentagon is still frustrated by China's failure to be more open about its military ambitions. And Gates will probably push China to better explain its antisatellite test early this year. In January, a Chinese missile shattered a defunct Chinese weather satellite. In a series of annual reports, the Pentagon has voiced growing concern about China's increased military might. China raised its military budget by 17.8 percent to about $45-billion this year, the largest annual increase in more than a decade. But U.S. officials believe the spending is even greater.
Mubarak's sonis a rising force
Egypt's ruling party appointed President Hosni Mubarak's son to the Supreme Committee on Saturday in a move seen as further paving the way for the younger Mubarak to succeed his father. Gamal Mubarak has risen dramatically in the National Democratic Party since 2002 and is now No. 2 and head of the powerful policymaking committee. Three years ago, there were angry protests against his succession. Recently, demonstrations have waned, but talk of succession picked up over the summer following rumors that Mubarak was ill.
French president to come calling
He's vacationed in New Hampshire, lunched with the Bush family in Maine and taken a tough line on Iran. In his first six months as French president, Nicolas Sarkozy has lived up to his pledge to heal relations with the United States torn asunder by the Iraq war. The man known as "Sarko the American" makes his first official trip to America this week. He will tour Mount Vernon with President Bush and address a joint session of Congress. "The tide has really turned in this relationship," Undersecretary of State Nicolas Burns said last week.
Italian mood ugly on immigrants
Italy began deporting Romanians with criminal records in response to a streak of violent crime blamed on immigrants, authorities said Saturday. A knife-wielding mob attacked a group of Romanians in Rome. Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu warned of rising xenophobia in Italy. Earlier this week, he backed the crackdown and came under criticism at home for apologizing for violence blamed on Romanian immigrants. "We should fight against the wave of xenophobia that is manifesting itself in Italy," he said Saturday.
[Last modified November 4, 2007, 01:12:01]