**Obama Calls for Debt Ceiling Increase, Supports 'Sensible' Gun Control **
U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to quickly approve an increase in the country's borrowing limit and says he supports "sensible" new gun controls to try to prevent more mass shootings in the country.
Less than a week before he starts his second term, Mr. Obama said at a White House news conference Monday that it would be "irresponsible" for his political opponents in Congress to even consider not raising the country's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit in the coming weeks.
The U.S. has already reached the debt ceiling, but has enough money to continue paying its bills for several weeks. The president said the borrowing limit needs to be increased, not so that government spending can be boosted, but so the U.S. can meet financial obligations it has already incurred.
On gun control, the president said he expects to receive a list of "sensible and common sense steps" from his special task force on preventing gun violence. He said he would meet later in the day with Vice President Joe Biden, who chaired the task force, to discuss the proposals.
While he declined to provide specifics, Mr. Obama repeated his stance that he believes that stronger background checks, tighter control of high-capacity ammunition clips and an assault weapons ban are all proposals that make sense.
Mr. Obama's news conference came a month after a man shocked the nation by going on a shooting rampage at an elementary school in the northeastern state of Connecticut, leaving 20 children and six adults dead.
** Pakistani Forces Use Tear Gas on Anti-Government Demonstrators **
Pakistani security forces have fired into the air and lobbed tear gas in Islamabad, where protesters are holding an early morning march and calling on the country's political leaders to resign and dissolve the government.
The demonstrators gathered on one of the city's main thoroughfares for an anti-corruption protest. They were acting at the urging of populist Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul Qadri. He told the tens of thousands of people at the protest to march on parliament.
Qadri's supporters pushed aside barriers of barbed wire and shipping containers that police had erected to contain the crowd.
Qadri said he would speak to his supporters around mid-day outside parliament to press his demand for the government's abdication.
Pakistan is due to hold parliamentary elections in mid-May, and parliament would be dissolved about two months beforehand. But Qadri said the government should step down immediately, to clear the way for an interim Cabinet to root out graft and mismanagement, which he blames for chronic energy shortages, slow economic growth and a rise in crime and Taliban insurgency.