The sale of new single-family homes unexpectedly rose 4.9 percent in April, a best-of-2006 uptick that defied climbing mortgage rates, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The median sales price of these homes, however, dropped 7.3 percent to $238,500. In other economic news, orders for big-ticket durable goods fell 4.8 percent, the biggest dip in three months.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday that Israel would be a "willing partner in peace" with the Palestinians, but would draw its own borders in the West Bank should it conclude it has no negotiating partner. "We cannot wait for the Palestinians forever," he said.

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday that requires coal mining companies to stash more emergency air supplies underground and mandates that rescue teams be within an hour of mines.

With a ribbon-cutting ceremony, 7 World Trade Center, the last building to go down on 9/11 reopened Tuesday in New York. The 57-story skyscraper replaces the 47-story building that collapsed when falling debris from the Twin Towers sparked fires that weakened its structure.

One-third of children 6 and younger live in homes where TV is on almost constantly and 20 percent of children under 2 have a TV set in their bedroom, according to a study released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

After 90 years, commercial airplane production ended in southern California Tuesday as employees of Boeing's Long Beach plant marked the delivery of its last 717 airliner.

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