Biden arrives for visit
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden has arrived in Panama for an economic mission that will include touring the Panama Canal expansion project. Biden has said the $5.2 billion project scheduled to be completed by 2015 presents a challenge to U.S. ports that need to expand to receive the new, larger container ships that will pass through the waterway. The expansion aims to double the cargo going through the canal. Panamanian Foreign Minister Fernando Nunez Fabrega greeted Biden at the airport Monday night. Biden will have a day of events today with President Ricardo Martinelli, who says the agenda will also include bilateral trade and security issues.
Toilet Day rolled out
The lack of access to a decent toilet is no joke for a third of the world’s people, but a matter of life and death. Some 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation, the United Nations said, and more than 1 billion practice open defecation — a problem that contributes to countess deaths from preventable diseases. “We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in declaring today to be the inaugural World Toilet Day. Each year, more than 800,000 children under 5 die from diarrhea, the U.N. said, many due to poor sanitation. Singapore is one of the nations fed up with the problem, and last July it sponsored the U.N. General Assembly resolution declaring Nov. 19 as World Toilet Day.
Abuse searches blocked
Google and Microsoft have introduced software that makes it harder for users to search for child abuse material online, the companies said in a joint announcement Monday. Writing ahead of a British summit on Internet safety, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said his company has fine-tuned Google Search to clean up results for over 100,000 search terms. When users type in queries that may be related to child sexual abuse, they will find no results that link to illegal content. The restrictions are being launched in Britain and other English-speaking countries first. Similar changes are being brought out on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Compiled from wire reports.