USA

The FBI is searching for several men of Arab descent who allegedly entered the US illegally from Canada last week and may be connected to others being watched in terrorism investigations. While the agency said it has no specific information that the men are plotting an attack, agents want to question them. Among the locations where authorities are focusing their search is New York, where New Year's Eve festivities that traditionally draw thousands of revelers are planned.

Travelers can expect a very different airport experience as of Tuesday. Their checked luggage will be searched for explosives, although the method - machine, human hands, or sniffer dogs - will vary by airport. And at more than 40 airports, travelers with only carry-on bags can no longer go straight to the gate, but will have to make a detour to a ticket counter or kiosk to get boarding passes. The new security is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration, created to protect travelers from terrorist attacks.

Lawyers for teenage sniper suspect John Lee Malvo were expected to ask a judge in Fairfax, Va., on Monday to order prosecutors to turn over a copy of a seven-hour interrogation of their client. Media reports have said Malvo confessed during questioning to some of the 13 shootings that left 10 people dead in the Washington area in October. Malvo and John Allen Muhammad were arrested Oct. 24 and are facing murder trials in Virginia.

The federal government has paid out less than a quarter of the $21 billion it pledged to New York in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The New York Times reported. After examining the spending of the promised aid, The Times reported that the government has delivered between $4.5 billion and $5 billion and has intentionally delayed payments in some cases. Some government agencies have been slow in allocating funds, while other aid has been held up because state and local officials have not decided how it should be spent, the paper said.

In related news, tourism has fallen sharply at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island since the terrorist attacks. In the past year, about 2.5 million visitors rode the ferries from lower Manhattan to Liberty and Ellis islands, according to the National Park Service, which oversees the sites. That is half the number who made the trip in 2000, and well below the more than 4 million who had visited in 2001 before Sept. 11, which prompted a 100-day shutdown of the national monuments.

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