CAIRO, Egypt
Al-Qaida leader mocks Bush’s Iraq plan in new tape

Al-Qaida’s deputy leader mocked President Bush’s plan to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq, challenging him to send “the entire army” and vowing insurgents will defeat them, according to a new videotape released yesterday by a U.S. group that tracks al-Qaida messages.

The Washington-based SITE Institute said it had intercepted the video from Ayman al-Zawahri, which had not yet been posted on Islamic militant Web sites, where his messages are usually posted. SITE did not elaborate on how it received the message.

Al-Zawahri said the U.S. strategy for Iraq, outlined by Bush in a Jan. 9 speech, was doomed to fail.

Flyers now need passports to travel to Mexico, Canada

Americans flying to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean made sure to bring their passports yesterday because of a new rule going into effect Today that requires them to show one to get back into the country.

Only about a quarter of U.S. citizens hold valid passports, and most Americans are accustomed to traveling to neighboring countries with just a driver’s license or birth certificate, which have long been sufficient to get through airport customs on the trip home.

The new regulations requiring passports were adopted by Congress in 2004 to secure the borders against terrorists.

Starting Today, Canadian, Mexican and Bermudan air travelers, as well as U.S. citizens flying home from those countries or the Caribbean, must display their passports to enter the United States.

Oil company creates $50 million college fund

In one of the most generous programs of its kind anywhere in the country, an oil company announced yesterday it is putting up $50 million for college scholarships for nearly all high school graduates in its working-class hometown over the next 20 years.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get everything paid for with all the loans I’d have to get,” said Scott Zimmerebner, an El Dorado High School senior. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, “now that it’s all paid for.”

Murphy Oil Co. said it wants to increase the number of students who attend college and perhaps attract new businesses to El Dorado, with the scholarships a selling point. It said it also hopes the program will help create better jobs here for students to come back to after graduating from college.

VIENNA, Austria
Scientists predict ice-less future for the Alps by 2050

Glaciers will all but disappear from the Alps by 2050, scientists warned yesterday, basing their bleak outlook on mounting evidence of slow but steady melting of the continental ice sheets.

In western Austria’s Alpine province of Tyrol, glaciers have been shrinking by about 3 percent a year, said Roland Psenner of the University of Innsbruck’s Institute for Ecology.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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