Richard Vogel, Associated Press
A 9-month-old Asian sun bear reaches through its cage in Bangkok, Thailand. The world's smallest bear species faces extinction because of deforestation and poaching in Southeast Asia, the World Conservation Union warned on Monday.

Britain: U.S. ties stressed

LONDON — Prime Minister Gordon Brown stressed the importance of ties with the United States and outlined foreign policy priorities Monday, pledging to press for tough new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

Brown, who succeeded the staunchly pro-American Tony Blair as prime minister in June, has been closely scrutinized for any sign he wants to reorder the so-called "special relationship" between the two allies. Last month, he said Britain will halve its remaining force of 5,000 troops in Iraq by next spring.

In a speech before the annual Lord Mayor's banquet, however, the prime minister said the world was a better place when the U.S. and Britain acted together.

Georgia: U.S. calls for reform

TBILISI — A U.S. diplomat urged the government of this former Soviet republic Monday to "restore the momentum of democratic reform" by immediately lifting a state of emergency and freeing all television stations to broadcast the news.

The tough message from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew J. Bryza reflected concern in Washington over the steps taken by Georgia's U.S.-friendly president to crush anti-government demonstrations last week.

Iran: President blasts 'traitors'

TEHRAN — Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted critics of his nuclear policies on Monday, calling them "traitors" who spied for Iran's enemies. His strongest rhetoric yet against domestic opponents raised concerns about a crackdown on dissent.

The tough comments appeared aimed at silencing calls for Ahmadinejad to compromise with the West over Iran's nuclear program at a time of increasingly high-level criticism of his policies within the country's ruling establishment.

Iraq: Taxi driver shot dead

BAGHDAD — A private security guard fatally shot an Iraqi taxi driver, Iraqi officials said Monday, in the latest incident involving what Iraqis believe are unprovoked killings by contractors hired to protect Americans.

A spokesman for DynCorps International, a Falls Church, Va.-based company, said one of its security teams opened fire Saturday to disable a vehicle in Baghdad after it approached a convoy in a threatening manner.

"Our team had reported that they believed no one was injured. So although there were conflicting reports, we are trying to determine if the incidents are one and the same," said Gregory Lagana, DynCorp's senior vice president for communications.

Mexico: Leftist wins election

MEXICO CITY — A leftist candidate for governor triumphed over an ally of conservative President Felipe Calderon, maintaining his party's dominance in the president's home state of Michoacan, according to returns Monday.

Leonel Godoy of the left-leaning Democratic Revolutionary Party had 38 percent to 33 percent for National Action Party candidate Salvador Lopez with nearly all votes counted from Sunday's election. Other candidates split the rest.