USA

US factory orders increased by a larger-than-expected 1.3 percent in July as demand for commercial aircraft, heavy machinery, and iron and steel all posted solid gains, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Republican John McCain raised more than $47 million in donations for his presidential campaign in August, putting him in striking distance of Democrat Barack Obama's fundraising success. Of that amount, $10 million poured in after McCain announced that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be his running mate.

The Justice Department will not press charges against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, it said Tuesday, in a case of mishandled classified materials. Although Gonzales improperly stored documents in his home and office, he did not risk letting unauthorized people see them, his lawyers said.

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Six years of litigation over efforts to save the largest freshwater fish in North America ended Tuesday as government and environmentalists reached an agreement that needs only to be approved by a federal judge in Missoula, Mont. Both sides are hopeful the deal will help the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon, which can grow to 19 feet long, to spawn in the river for the first time since the 1970s. Under the agreement, conditions for spawning at the Libby Dam will adjusted as needed.

The federal government sued the Boeing Co. Tuesday for allegedly inflating the price of B-1 bomber equipment sold to the Air Force. The lawsuit alleges the military paid more than it should have because Boeing didn't tell the Air Force during contract negotiations that it found a source of cheaper parts to build decoy systems that protect bombers from missiles.

Improperly maintained utility lines were to blame for three wildfires that swept through San Diego County last fall, killing two people and destroying 1,347 homes, state regulators said.

The US Library of Congress named singer Stevie Wonder the second recipient of its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The award, which honors the song-writing brothers whose manuscripts reside in the library, recognizes lifetime musical contributions that help bring diverse listeners together and foster mutual understanding.

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