USA

Factory orders for durable goods – products expected to last at least three years – rose just 0.1 percent last month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Although economists had hoped for a larger rebound, it was the first increase in four months.

Nevada regained the title of fastest-growing state, having increased in population by 2.9 percent to 2.6 million, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the US Census Bureau. Nevada had held the title for 19 years in a row before being bumped by Arizona last year. Arizona is the second-fastest-growing state. Utah and Idaho are next.

San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong said Wednesday that her department has opened a criminal investigation to "determine if there was human involvement" in the deadly escape of a Siberian tiger from the city's zoo. The tiger mysteriously got out of its enclosure and killed one zoo visitor and badly mauled two others. Police are looking into whether one of the latter young men taunted the animal.

The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to locate hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by police in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. The NRA may want some of them to testify in a lawsuit it has filed against city officials for alleged violations of the gun owners' constitutional rights. Police said they only took guns that were stolen or found in abandoned homes.

New York City is approaching its lowest yearly murder rate in its recorded history, with the final tally on track to fall below 500, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday. Crime statistics have been kept since 1963.

Hotel magnate Barron Hilton will give $2.3 billion, or the bulk of his fortune, to "alleviate human suffering around the globe," officials of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation said Wednesday. The money from the sale of Hilton hotels and Harrah's Entertainment will go into a trust but eventually find its way to the charity.

The National Football League said that Saturday's potentially historic game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants will be simulcast on CBS and NBC instead of strictly to the NFL Network's limited audience. The Patriots are seeking to become the first team to ever complete a regular season 16-0.

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