USA

A top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden is in US custody and will be questioned about the Al Qaeda network's plans for terrorist activities, the White House said. Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian thought to be directing the group's operations outside Afghanistan, was captured last Thursday in Pakistan, spokesman Ari Fleischer said. He was injured during the joint raid by Pakistani authorities, the CIA, and FBI, but is expected to survive. "This represents a very serious blow to Al Qaeda," Fleischer said.

The US does not share Israel's view that Yasser Arafat should go into exile, Secretary of State Powell told ABC, saying the Palestinian leader still had a role to play in the Middle East peace process. In another interview on rival NBC, Powell said he had received assurances that Israeli forces who entered Ramallah last week to hunt for Palestinian militants did not intend to harm or kill Arafat or to remain permanently in the city. However, Powell added, "I cannot predict when the Israelis will make their judgment that they can withdraw because they have dealt with the terrorist threat as they have seen it."

President Bush was to unveil a new education initiative for preschoolers during a visit to Philadelphia. The administration said Bush is directing that all 50,000 teachers in the federal government's Head Start program receive training in early literacy techniques. He also was said to want more money for research on the subject. Bush was to attend a fund-raiser for Mike Fisher, the Republican candidate for governor.

Montgomery, Alabama, beat out Kentucky as the site for Hyundai Motor Co.'s first assembly plant in the US. The $1 billion facility is projected to employ 2,000 workers and to produce 300,000 vehicles annually by 2005. The decision gives a further boost to the state's growing ties to the auto industry. In the past decade, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota also have built or announced plans to build plants in Alabama.

Maryland defeated Indiana 64-52 for its first NCAA men's basketball championship Monday night in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Maryland senior star Juan Dixon (posing with his trophy, above) was named the tournament's most valuable player. But rowdy fans set fires and threw bottles at police in both states, resulting in 40 arrests.

New orders for factory-made goods dipped 0.1 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted $323.8 billion, the Commerce Department reported. The latest figure fell short of the 1.0 percent rise many economists anticipated, suggesting the economy isn't recovering as quickly as previously thought.

Some 47 million Americans – about 1 in 4 – do not sleep the seven to eight hours they need each night, the National Sleep Foundation reported. It said people who don't are more likely to describe themselves as stressed, sad, or angry.

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