USA

President Bush visited Colombia Sunday as he reached the midway point of a five-nation Latin American tour that began in Brazil and Uruguay. The tour is aimed at shoring up relations with right and moderate-left governments in the region. The trip has sparked street protests and inspired Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to spew anti-Bush rhetoric during a shadow tour of his own. During his final two stops, Bush visits Guatemala Monday, followed by Mexico.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez will announce at Monday's seafood industry show in Boston a plan by the Bush administration to allow fish farms to operate within 200 miles offshore. Such farms are currently barred from working more than three miles out, but Gutierrez says expanding ocean farming is environmentally sound and is good for the US economy.

About 1,000 supporters of immigration reform marched Saturday in downtown Chicago in what organizers called one of many preliminary rallies before a huge May 1 event. The weeks-long effort marks the anniversary of last year's massive march in Chicago that triggered a national movement seeking rights for undocumented workers. Above, a protester held up a sign referring to deadly attempts to cross the Mexican border.

The Bush administration has sent a letter to the British Columbia government, expressing concerns about an open-pit coal mine in Canada, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Montana officials say the mine, just north of Glacier National Park, could jeopardize water quality and have devastating consequences to fish, wildlife, and the recreation industry in Montana's Flathead Lake area.

The Navy commissioned the $1.3 billion USS New Orleans Saturday, marking the first time since at least World War II that a newly christened Navy ship has been built and commissioned in its namesake city. "We both survived Katrina," said Mayor Ray Nagin of the city and the transport ship that took five years to complete, partly because of a hurricane-related interruption. Below, a sailor salutes during the commissioning ceremony.

South Carolina expects to hold the first full debate of the 2008 presidential campaign when the Democratic candidates take the stage April 26 in Orangeburg. New Hampshire had hoped to host debates for both parties in April, but they will be postponed until June.

Fred Thompson, who once filled Al Gore's unexpired US Senate term in Tennessee, said Sunday he is considering entering the GOP presidential field. Thompson returned to his acting career in 2003 and plays a district attorney on NBC's "Law & Order."

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