Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Good news, and about time.

The Financial Times reports:

The US on Tuesday launched a drive to encourage foreign visitors, announcing measures aimed at further reducing the delays that plagued many travellers after the September 11 2001 attacks.

In a presentation to business, university and travel groups on Tuesday, Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said the goal was “to achieve a faster, more secure and more respectful process of welcoming foreign visitors to the US”.

The US has already moved significantly to cut waiting times for visa processing, which ballooned for students and business travellers when new security screening requirements were set up after September 11. The administration continues to face strong pressure from Congress to strengthen border security.

But the administration of President George W. Bush has become increasingly concerned that talented students and entrepreneurs are going to other countries because of the difficulty in coming to live and work temporarily in the US.

In other State Department news, the FT reports that the U.S. will shift 100 diplomats from Europe to Asia and Africa, including China, India, Nigeria and Lebanon.

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