Regi Varghese, Associated Press
Laura Bush addresses the audience during a breast cancer awareness conference at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Dubai on Monday. The first lady is on a four-day Middle East trip to raise awareness of the disease.

Afghanistan: Feeling insecure

Afghans are increasingly worried about security in their country but are still positive about democracy, according to a poll released Monday by the non-profit Asia Foundation.

Nearly three in four Afghans are satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country, the poll of 6,226 adults found.

As a Taliban insurgency has intensified in the past year, Afghans have become more worried about security: 32 percent feel it is the country's biggest problem. Twelve percent say unemployment is the top problem.

In the 2006 survey by the Asia Foundation, unemployment was first, followed by security.

China: 37 die in factory fire

BEIJING — A fire at an unlicensed shoe factory killed 37 people and injured more than a dozen, Chinese authorities said Monday, in one of the deadliest industrial accidents this year in a country plagued with dangerous workplaces.

The fire started Sunday night in a workshop making shoe uppers, said a woman surnamed Zhou in the information office of the Communist Party committee in Putian, an export manufacturing town in southeastern Fujian province. It was likely caused by an electric wire that caught fire, according to a spokeswoman for the city police.

None of the 56 workers at the factory escaped unhurt.

Mexico: Drug-war funds sought

MEXICO CITY — President Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve a $1.4 billion aid package over the next two years to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers, who have unleashed a bloody underworld war that has left more than 4,000 dead across Mexico in the last two years.

The plan calls for the United States to give Mexico $500 million over the next 12 months to provide training for police and tools to dismantle drug cartels, including helicopters, surveillance planes, drug-sniffing dogs and software to track cases.

An additional $50 million would go to Central American countries for the same purposes.

Myanmar: U.N. visit OK'd

Myanmar's government has agreed to a visit by the U.N.'s human rights investigator, who has been barred from entering the military-ruled country since 2003, the United Nations said Monday.

Myanmar has been strongly criticized for sending troops to quash peaceful protests by students and monks last month. The U.N. Human Rights Council condemned the crackdown at an emergency session on Oct. 2 and urged an immediate investigation of the rights situation in the country.

Nigeria: 7 oil workers freed

ABUJA — Seven oil workers who were kidnapped from an offshore oil field in the Niger Delta were released Monday after two days in captivity, police said.

The workers — three foreigners and four Nigerians — were seized Saturday night after gunmen in more than 30 speedboats attacked a field operated by Royal Dutch Shell. It was the first major attack since the president began a peace process in the region five months ago.