USA

Under orders from Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda's Iraqi operation was directed in 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would plot attacks outside of Iraq, with the US as the prime target, according to newly declassified intelligence. The finding was included in President Bush's commencement address given Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. The White House claims the information underlines the necessity of staying the course in Iraq lest Iraq become a "terrorist sanctuary."

Federal immigration agents descended on a poultry processing plant in southwest Missouri Tuesday and arrested more than 100 workers believed to be illegal immigrants from Central America. The arrests, made at George's, a regional processor based in Butterfield, Mo., were the latest in a series of roundups since April 2006.

Alcoa Inc.'s $27.4 billion hostile takeover bid was rejected Tuesday by Canadian aluminum maker Alcan, which considered the offer too low and has turned to Australia's BHP Billiton as a possible buyer, according to media sources.

Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington said Wednesday that the city's entire narcotics unit is being replaced. The unit came under heavy criticism last year after a 92-year-old woman was fatally shot during a drug raid.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) of Kentucky, whose political career was recently thought to be in ruins, won the GOP nomination Tuesday to run for a second term in November. Fletcher was indicted last year for allegedly rewarding supporters with state jobs, but the charges were eventually dropped. Fletcher avoided a runoff with two GOP challengers and will now vie with former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear.

Two humpback whales spent a second day Tuesday circling near a Sacramento River bridge in inland California 70 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Boat crews have been unsuccessful in coaxing them to swim downriver.

Eighty-three percent of Americans favor making English the official US language, according to a new Zogby International poll released Wednesday.

Saturn's rings may be two to three times denser than previously thought, researchers said Tuesday after studying telescopic images taken from the joint NASA, Italian, and European Space Agency Cassini spacecraft. Instead of a uniform field of particles, Saturn's B ring consists of clumps of particles that are constantly colliding, researchers said.

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