New Bin Laden Audiotape Is Genuine, Says the CIA; World at a Glance

Article excerpt

. THE CIA has confirmed as authentic an audio tape of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatening new strikes on the US - but also offering a truce if troops are withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tape, broadcase by the Arab network al-Jazeera, is the first public communication from the terror group's leader since December 2004. On it he says: "Based on the substance of the polls, which indicate Americans do not want to fight Muslims on Muslim land, nor do they want Muslims to fight them on their land, we do not mind offering a long-term truce based on just conditions that we will stand by." A spokesman said: "The CIA assesses that it was the voice of Osama bin Laden." He is thought to be hiding in mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Lottery win claimed after 14 years

. AN AUSTRALIAN woman has collected [pounds sterling]42,000 after cashing in a winning lottery ticket 14 years after it was bought.

The woman, from New South Wales, who asked not to be identified, collected her winnings this week after discovering the ticket lodged in a greetings card she found at her home.

The winner was doubly lucky because lottery officials are in the process of introducing a six-year limit on claims.

Focus is on Alaska as US tests for bird flu

. EXTENSIVE tests will be carried out in Alaska to determine whether bird flu has reached North America.

Alaska is considered the most likely point of entry into the US for the deadly H5N1 virus because it stands at a crossroads of wild waterfowl and shorebird migration to and from Asia.Field officers will test at least 6,000 wild migrating birds across the state in spring and autumn, said Rick Kearney, who is helping run the Department of Interior's flu-testing program. …