USA

President Bush departed Thursday on a Latin American trip designed to remind people in five countries that the US cares about the region. Before leaving, Bush refused to become entangled in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby case, saying he'd let the appeals process play out before considering a pardon of the convicted former White House aide.

Eighty-five law enforcement agencies, led by the Department of Homeland Security, concluded a massive two-day training exercise Thursday aimed at halting a mass migration from the Caribbean. In the drill, 2,000 people pretended to be Cubans sailing for Florida.

For the first time in its history, NASA publicly fired an astronaut Wednesday when it dismissed Lisa Nowak a month after she was charged with trying to kidnap a romantic rival for the affections of a space-shuttle pilot. NASA said it lacked an administrative procedure to handle the allegations against Nowak, a Navy captain who will return to the military in Texas.

An additional 2,200 US military police will be sent to Baghdad to help deal with an anticipated increase in detainees during a security crackdown, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

Despite reports of a humanitarian crisis in New Bedford, Mass., immigration and customs officials said Wednesday that no children were left stranded after a factory raid by federal agents detained 327 undocumented workers, mostly women. About 60 were released, authorities said, for child-care reasons.

Hassan Abujihadd, a former Navy sailor, made an initial court appearance Wednesday in Phoenix to face charges that he supported terrorist causes by transmitting classified information, including ship locations, to unauthorized individuals.

Officials of the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that they plan to hire 1,400 new air-traffic controllers each year for the next decade.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against Walgreen Co., accusing the nation's largest drugstore chain of racial bias in assigning and promoting black workers. Walgreen said it is committed to fairness.

Working with the impoverished Hualapai Indian tribe, a private developer attached a massive glass-bottomed, steel skywalk to the western edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona in hopes of luring tourists to the region. The structure, which stretches 4,000 feet over the canyon floor, has angered environmentalists and some tribal members who consider the canyon sacred ground. The structure will open later this month.

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