President Bush will be at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington this afternoon to personally welcome Pope Benedict XVI on his papal visit to the United States—the first time Bush has greeted a foreign leader there. En route, the pope said he was "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church and will work to make sure pedophiles don't become priests. He was answering questions submitted in advance by reporters aboard a special Alitalia airliner as he flew from Rome to Washington. "It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen," Benedict said. "It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission...to these children."
Owing to rising fuel prices and economic pressures, Delta and Northwest airlines have decided to combine forces, a merger that would create the world's biggest airline. The boards of both carriers gave a green light Monday to a stock-swap deal that would fuse the companies together under the surviving Delta name. This move may encourage other airline combinations, the most likely one being between Continental and United. And in Iraq today, lunchtime car bombs in Sunni insurgent strongholds killed more than 50 people. One bomb went off outside a restaurant and near government offices in Baqubah, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad; the other went off in Ramadi near a kebab restaurant. While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts, they bore the hallmarks of the terrorist group Al Qaeda in Iraq.