CANADA

Prime minister to visit U.S. in March

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife will come to Washington for a state visit on March 10, the White House announced Monday, a sign of the deepening ties between President Obama and his Canadian counterpart.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that the visit by Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, will include a state dinner as well as working meetings. It will mark the first state visit by a Canadian prime minister since 1997.

"The visit will be an opportunity for the United States and Canada to deepen their bilateral relationship, which is one of the closest and most extensive in the world and is based on a shared history, common values, and a vast and intricate network of cultural, familial, and commercial ties," Earnest said in the statement.

The 43-year-old leader of Canada's Liberal Party, who ousted Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October, has already garnered international attention for his telegenic looks and exuberant approach to governing.

- Washington Post

ISRAEL

Group: More settler homes planned

An Israeli anti-settlement watchdog group on Monday said the government has quietly worked on plans to build more than 8,000 homes in a strategic section of the West Bank near Jerusalem.

Peace Now said the homes are among more than 55,000 housing units at various stages of planning by Israel's Housing Ministry. It said it had obtained the data after a two-year legal battle in response to a freedom of information request.

In a report, the group said the 8,372 units are envisioned for the strategic area known as E1. Palestinians strongly object to settlement of the area, saying it would separate a future Palestinian state in the West Bank from East Jerusalem, their hoped-for capital, and drive a wedge between the northern and southern flanks of the West Bank.

The plans are in the earliest stages, and no actual construction has been approved. In 2013, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze E1 development plans following heavy international criticism.

- AP
CHINA

Lawmakers pass

antiterror measure

China's legislature has approved a wide-ranging antiterrorism law that could force foreign tech firms to hand over sensitive information and paves the way for the military to engage in counterterror operations overseas.

Beijing says the law, passed late Sunday, is necessary to prevent terror attacks at home and abroad. But critics worry it could be used to gain access to proprietary or personal information and places further restrictions on the media.

The law has drawn pointed criticism from both business and rights groups since it was released in draft form. It also comes less than a week after a French journalist was ordered expelled for reporting on terrorism topics.

- Washington Post