Officials vow stiffer laws on terrorism

Canada vowed Friday to toughen laws against terrorism as an opinion poll showed that a majority of Canadians lack confidence in their security services’ ability to deter homegrown radicals like two who struck this week.

Investigators said there was no apparent link between the two attackers, who killed a soldier each in Quebec and the capital, Ottawa, but Canadians are worried about the parallels.

Police said both men had been through a radicalization, a term the government uses to refer to Canadians who become supporters of militant Islamist groups. Both attackers were fatally shot.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the government would act swiftly and go beyond the terms of a bill already planned that would strengthen the powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

“We’re looking ... to see if there is a way in fact to improve or build on those elements of the criminal code that allow for pre-emptive action, specifically in the area of terrorism,” MacKay said.

— Reuters

Navy ends its search for underwater craft

Sweden called off a week-long hunt for a suspected underwater intruder Friday, saying the presumed craft had likely slipped past the country’s largest naval mobilization since the Cold War.

The sweeps along Sweden’s rocky coast ended with many questions unanswered, although the presence of a “conventional submarine” was ruled out. But the mission stirred memories of Cold War-era tensions with Moscow at a time of deepening disputes between Russia and the West.

Sweden was careful not to point the finger at any country during the search by naval and amphibious forces in the archipelago that hugs the coast and stretches into the Baltic Sea.

At a news conference in Stockholm, Rear Adm. Anders Grenstad said naval experts determined that a “large, conventional submarine” probably could not have negotiated the shallow waters. Instead, he described the possible intruder as only a “unit or units” linked to “probable foreign underwater activity,” without giving further details.

“We assess that the [craft] that violated our waters has now left,” Grenstad said. He said authorities had “never singled out any nation’’ during the hunt..

— Brian Murphy

North may be able to build ‘mini-nuke’

North Korea probably can develop a miniaturized nuclear weapon that can be launched from a mobile launcher, said the top U.S. general in South Korea — a capability that weapons experts have previously said they doubt is within the reach of the government of Kim Jong Un.

Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that North Korea has claimed to have already developed such a weapon and has had the right connections and technology to make it happen.

“I think given their technological capabilities, the time that they have been working on this, that they probably have the capabilities to put this together,” he said. “I don’t believe that they have. I don’t know that they have at this point.”

Any “mini-nuke” would probably be launched from a system mounted on a truck and carried by an intermediate or long-range missile. U.S. officials have mixed views on how far North Korea has come in developing one, but most say any missile launched would have very low reliability.

— Dan Lamothe

Cholera sickens nearly 1,000 people in Niger: Doctors Without Borders says a cholera outbreak in the West African country of Niger killed 20 people and has sickened nearly 1,000. The nonprofit group began working with Niger’s Health Ministry to stamp out the cholera outbreak when the first cases were identified last month. In addition to treating the sick, teams from the group are handing out chlorine to treat water, disinfecting homes and teaching people how to avoid becoming infected.

Rwanda suspends BBC radio over documentary: Rwanda has suspended the BBC’s local radio service after the broadcaster aired a documentary that questioned official accounts of the 1994 genocide, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority said Friday. “Rwanda: The Untold Story,” which aired Oct. 1, includes interviews with former aides to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the former rebel leader, in which they accuse him of plotting to shoot down a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose assassination marked the start of the 100-day genocide. The documentary also suggests that Tutsi rebels, led by Kagame, committed war crimes. Kagame called the BBC documentary “cynicism of the highest order,” and this week Rwanda’s parliament voted to ban the BBC from its airwaves.

— From news services