USA

New orders to US factories remained sluggish in August at $403.6 billion, basically the same as in July, when they fell 1 percent, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Analysts believe the slowdown continues and is a sign that the manufacturing sector has shifted into a lower gear.

Rep. Ray LaHood (R) of Illinois, a close ally of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, called Wednesday for shutting down the congressional page program until problems can be resolved that caused a congressional sex scandal. Former Rep. Mark Foley (R) of Florida, who is at the center of the controversy, resigned after revelations that he'd e-mailed sexually explicit messages to pages. Hastert has rejected calls that he step down over alleged lax oversight.

Investigators continued to piece together a profile of Charles Roberts IV, the milk truck driver who shot and killed at least five girls at an Amish schoolhouse in Bart Township, Pa., earlier this week before killing himself. According to a series of suicide notes and information provided by family members, Roberts was troubled by the death of a prematurely born daughter in 1997 and recurring dreams about molesting young girls as a youth 20 years before.

Stanford University's Roger Kornberg followed in his father's footsteps Wednesday and won the 2006 Nobel prize for chemistry for describing gene copying in cells. Arthur Kornberg, a biochemist, shared the 1959 prize for medicine for his genetic work.

In a New York appellate court Tuesday, former Tyco International executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Schwartz filed papers, seeking to have their 2005 convictions overturned. The pair are serving sentences of 8-1/3 to 25 years for securities fraud and falsifying records. The thrust of the appeal is that their cases should have been treated as a civil dispute with Tyco's board.

Bus company owner James Maples was convicted of two lesser counts Tuesday stemming from the explosion that killed 23 people near Dallas after a Global Limo Inc. bus caught fire during the 2005 hurricane Rita evacuation. He was acquitted of conspiring to falsify driver logs but convicted of poorly maintaining his fleet.

Spc. Darrell Anderson, an Iraq war veteran who fled to Canada last year rather than return for a second tour, surrendered to US military officials in Radcliff, Ky., Tuesday. He could face a charge of desertion. Anderson, who received a Purple Heart in 2004, said he deserted because he could no longer fight in what he believes is an illegal war.

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