USA

President Bush said the Cuban people "ought to make the decision for the future," whenever Fidel Castro, who is in failing health, is permanently replaced. The Cuban leader has temporarily handed control of the communist country to his younger brother, Raul, but Bush said Tuesday that true transition should not be based on kinship.

The Senate voted Tuesday to let airport baggage and passenger screeners enter into collective bargaining over working conditions just as other Homeland Security employees do, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Senate may be too closely divided, however, to override the president's threatened veto.

NASA is capable of finding at least 90 percent of potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020, but the agency says it doesn't have the money (an estimated $1 billion) to do the job, according to a forthcoming report previewed earlier this week in Washington.

Acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu said Tuesday that alcohol remains the most heavily abused substance by America's youths and that "a change in the culture and attitudes toward drinking" are needed in America. According to the latest national drug survey, there are 11 million underage drinkers and 7.2 million binge drinkers.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the leading GOP presidential candidate in several national polls, said Tuesday that he will make his first campaign trip to Iowa next month. The visit could help him assess how much support his liberal views on abortion, gun control, and gay rights would have among the social conservatives who traditionally dominate the state's GOP caucuses.

The state of Utah agreed Tuesday to accept $330,000 instead of the $600,000 it sought in a lawsuit against a local Boy Scout chapter for a fire the scouts started and thought they'd put out, but which burned 14,200 acres in 2002. Besides paying the fine, the scouts must conduct fire-prevention programs and plant 9,000 tree seedlings.

Federal officials detained 350 suspected illegal immigrants at a New Bedford, Mass., plant that makes supplies for the US military in one of the biggest such raids in New England, authorities said Wednesday. Latino immigrants had been making leather goods at the Michael Bianco Inc. factory.

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