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Imminent hurricane prompts precautions

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) -- Mexican authorities set up emergency shelters, and cruise ships shifted course Tuesday as Hurricane Rina strengthened off the Caribbean coast on a projected track that would carry it whirling through Cancun and the resort-filled Mayan Riviera, Mexico's most popular tourist destination.

Rina's maximum sustained winds have increased to 105 mph, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, making it a Category 2 storm. Forecasters predict that it will strengthen as it nears the Mexican coast tonight before rolling over the island of Cozumel, a popular diving spot and cruise ship port, then along the coast to Cancun.

The area, dotted with Mayan ruins, also includes Playa del Carmen, another popular spot for international tourists.

Maximo Garcia, tourism director for Cancun, said the city alone now has about 22,000 tourists, even in this low season before the holidays.



Conservatives targeting long-gun registration

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's Conservative government introduced legislation Tuesday to scrap a controversial law that requires the registration of rifles and shotguns.

Canada has long required registration of handguns, but the long-gun registry law passed in 1995 faced bitter opposition from rural Canada, the Conservative party's base, which considered it an overreaction to the problem of urban crime.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said they don't want laws targeting law-abiding citizens such as hunters.

Police and victims groups are voicing opposition, but the Conservatives have a new majority in Parliament after national elections in May and can now scrap the law.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper previously tried to kill it, but his bill was narrowly defeated in the last Parliament.

The former Liberal government passed the tougher gun-control law after Marc Lepine fatally shot 14 students with a semiautomatic rifle at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.



U.S. aid worker, others abducted from convoy

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Gunmen abducted a 32-year-old female American aid worker in northern Somalia on Tuesday along with a Danish and a Somali colleague as their convoy headed to the airport. The kidnappings come only weeks after four Europeans were seized by suspected Somali gunmen in neighboring Kenya.

A self-proclaimed Somali pirate said that pirates had captured the three. The captors would not harm the three but will want a ransom for their release, he said. The claim could not be independently verified.

The three employees work for the Danish Demining Group, whose experts have been clearing mines and unexploded ordnance in Africa and the Middle East.

Bile Hussein, the self-proclaimed pirate, said the three were abducted with the help of "insiders." Hussein has given reliable information about pirate activities in Somalia to the Associated Press in the past.

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