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Canada pauses on gay marriages

Canada's attempt to legalize gay marriage likely will be delayed until after expected national elections after the government asked the high court Wednesday to decide constitutional issues surrounding traditional marriage.

The government is asking the high court to consider whether the definition of marriage as a union of man and woman is compatible with Canada's Charter of Rights by excluding same-sex marriages.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said Wednesday's move does not mean the government is wavering in its effort to legalize gay marriage.

DEPORTATION TO BE STUDIED: Canada said Wednesday that it will hold a full public inquiry into the deportation of an Ottawa engineer to Syria, where he says he was tortured. Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian, was detained by U.S. authorities in New York in 2002 while on his way home from a visit to Tunisia. Intelligence officials had raised suspicions about links to al-Qaida.

U.S. authorities deported him to Syria, where he says he was tortured. Released Oct. 5 and now back in Canada, Arar has vehemently denied being a terrorist and has not been charged with any crime.

Pakistan inquiry targets top scientist

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan _ Pakistani officials said Wednesday that their investigation into the sale of Pakistan's nuclear technology to Iran had now focused on Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, and that his house was now under surveillance to keep him from leaving the country.

But it was unclear whether the government had the evidence, or the political will, to bring charges against the widely revered scientist. The New York Times, quoting unnamed senior administration officials in Washington, reported that the investigations under way in Pakistan were beginning to tie together a number of different nuclear programs _ an apparent reference to Iran, North Korea and Libya, all of which dealt with Pakistani scientists _ and that soon U.S. officials would be able to draw connections about the black market that fueled all those efforts.

N. Korea to aid Nigeria with missiles

LAGOS, Nigeria _ North Korea has agreed to share missile technology with Nigeria, the Nigerian government said Wednesday.

Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation and West Africa's military giant, would join Libya, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Syria among countries reported to have received North Korea's help with either missiles or missile technology.

Nigeria, which is not at war or under any known threat from other countries, said it was not seeking nuclear technology or weapons of mass destruction.

No consensus reached on bird flu

BANGKOK, Thailand _ The World Health Organization insisted Wednesday the mass slaughter of infected poultry is key to controlling the outbreak of bird flu sweeping Asia, but Indonesia said it doesn't intend to order its farmers to kill their birds.

Two sisters in Vietnam became the latest human fatalities, bringing the death toll to 10.

Health ministers from across Asia held an emergency meeting in Bangkok on Wednesday to consider how to stop the disease, but did not reach a consensus on destroying their livestock.