CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Hagel orders U.S. military

to transport relief force

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the U.S. military to transport troops from Burundi into the Central African Republic to help quell the latest upsurge in violence there.

Hagel approved the order after speaking Monday night with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian from Afghanistan, where he was visiting troops. Le Drian asked the United States to help get African troops quickly into the country to prevent the violence there from spreading, said Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog.

There are more than 1,000 French troops in the Central African Republic, where Christian armed fighters launched an attack on the capital last week that killed about 400 people. The fighters oppose the Muslim ex-rebels now in charge of the former French colony.

Woog said Hagel directed the U.S. Africa Command to begin transporting forces in coordination with France because the United States believed immediate action was needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

- AP

CANADA

Claiming the North Pole?

Canada plans to make a claim to the North Pole in an effort to assert its sovereignty in the resource-rich Arctic, the country's foreign affairs minister said Monday. John Baird said the government has asked scientists to work on a future submission to the United Nations claiming that the outer limits of the country's continental shelf include the pole, which so far has been claimed by no one. Canada last week applied to extend its seabed claims in the Atlantic Ocean.

- AP

UNITED NATIONS

City dwellers to surge

The number of city dwellers is at an all-time high of about 3.5 billion and will nearly double in the next 30 to 40 years, with almost all the growth in developing countries, the head of the U.N. agency focusing on cities said Monday. Joan Clos said that, even though the rate of population growth has been decreasing, the United Nations projected that in the next 30 years, the global population would increase from 7 billion to 9 billion - and the urban population would grow about 2.5 billion to 3 billion people. - AP