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Full-body Scanners To Boost Security At Canadian Airports

Canada's Transport Minister John Baird has said that his country will introduce full-body scanners in 11 airports over the next two months following the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt on an American airliner.

Baird said 44 machines would be purchased, of which 12 would be put in use later this month, and the rest made operational in the spring.

The first scanners will be deployed at Toronto, which has Canada's busiest airport, and Vancouver, host of the Winter Olympics next month.

Canada tested the scanners at a British Columbia airport in 2008 before receiving the green signal from its privacy czar last October.

"Given the recent terrorist incident on December 25, our government is accelerating its actions to protect air travelers," Baird said, adding an airport watch system would also be set up to look for suspicious passengers and tab them for enhanced screening.

Canada's decision came soon after Britain, Nigeria and the Netherlands announced plans for body scanners.

The Nigerian suspect in the failed Northwest Airlines bombing plot had changed planes in The Netherlands and gone through security, but not through a full-body scanner.

Meanwhile, Transport Canada spokesman Patrick Charette said the scanners would be used only on passengers boarding US-bound flights after Washington requested that Ottawa deploy new scanning equipment.

Passengers selected for secondary screening at checkpoints will be given a choice between a full-body scan and a pat-down (physical search), Charette said.

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