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US moves to tighten immigration control

WASHINGTON, Sep 13: The United States is moving to tighten immigration and customs controls, which it says are vital to keep terrorists at bay six years after 9/11.

Under plans that have been announced, foreign travellers will need to provide 10 digital fingerprints on arrival instead of the current two starting from November and their personal data will be transmitted to the US before their plane takes off.

By the end of the year, virtually every container that comes into the country by sea will be screened amid concerns over possible smuggling of nuclear weapons, security officials said.

To supplement these measures, an official said, new rules, effective from February 2008, have been formulated requiring international airlines to provide US authorities their passenger lists before boarding is completed to allow the department to verify the passenger lists and determine whether a passenger on a flight could be a risk.

In another move, the US has reached an agreement with the European Union to share records of passenger names while protecting their privacy.

On the cargo front, officials said the US would scan nearly 100 percent of incoming cargo for radiation at all major seaports by the end of 2007 and virtually all cargo at all ports of entry by the end of 2008. afp
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