Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 11 for his convictions on charges of defrauding investors and employees, died Wednesday at his Colorado vacation home. Lay had built the once-staid Houston natural gas pipeline company into an energy colossus that reached No. 7 on the Fortune 500 rankings in 2000 before the firm plummeted into bankruptcy in 2001.

For the first time since 1978, when New Jersey ushered in casino gambling to Atlantic City, the state shut down operations at all 12 casinos in the city Wednesday due to a budget crisis. Gov. Jon Corzine (D) said he had no authority to exempt the government's casino regulators in a statewide shutdown of nonessential services.

Orders to US factories for manufactured goods rose 0.7 percent in May, a better-than-anticipated rebound from a 2 percent plunge in April, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Although analysts expected only a 0.1 percent rebound, stronger demand for petroleum and chemicals offset flagging orders for commercial aircraft and autos.

US military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that former Army private Steven Green, who has been charged with raping an Iraqi woman and killing her and three relatives, was discharged because of an "antisocial" personality disorder. Investigators in the case previously had indicated that Green received an honorable discharge for an unspecified "personality disorder."

Carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles, power plants, and other industrial sources pose an increasing threat to ocean ecosystems, according to government and independent scientists cited in a Washington Post story. The report echoes the findings in one released Wednesday by a coalition of federal and university scientists. The latter states that escalating levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are dramatically altering ocean chemistry and threatening coral reefs and marine life.

Plans to build the nation's most extensive Revolutionary War museum are set to move forward now that the National Park Service has dropped its opposition, Pennsylvania officials announced. The park service, which is stretched thin, had battled for years over the size of the 90,000-square-foot American Revolution Center, which will be built at Valley Forge, Pa., pending congressional approval. The $150 million facility will hold 460,000 artifacts and be financed by state and local tax monies and private donations.

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