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Contrary to economists' expectations, manufacturing activity in the US rose in June for the first time in five months, the private Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday. It attributed the increase to robust exports, especially to Europe.

Reconstruction of the World Trade Center is already over budget and years behind schedule, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported Monday. Critics call the situation "an international embarrassment," but authority chief Christopher Ward pledged that "clear and achievable" new timetables for the planned five office towers, transit hub, a performing arts center, and Sept. 11, 2001, memorial would be set by September.

Both sides in the contract dispute between the Screen Actors Guild and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said they'd continue to honor their old pact even though it expired at midnight Monday. The producers planned to detail their final offer to guild negotiators Wednesday but said they would not listen to counterproposals.

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A new report claims California's system of handling convicted murderers is "close to collapse" and says the state would save hundreds of millions of dollars if the death penalty were eliminated. The Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice blamed inadequate legal representation for convicts and a law that makes capital punishment applicable to almost all first-degree murder cases. No convict has been executed in the state since 2005, although 673 currently are on death row.

Brewing giant InBev of Belgium appealed directly to stockholders of Anheuser-Busch Tuesday after the latter rejected its massive $46 billion takeover offer. InBev said its bid represents a 35 percent premium over the current value of Anheuser-Busch stock. It also has begun legal action to oust the St. Louis company's board.

Effective immediately, drivers caught speeding in Holly Springs, Ga., will have to pay a $12 surcharge on top of their fines to cover the cost of extra fuel used in police chases, the town council voted Monday night. Other communities around the US are expected to consider similar policies due to rising prices for gasoline.

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