Gen. David Petraeus, who has led US troops in Iraq for the past year, was named Wednesday to succeed Navy Adm. William Fallon as the commander of US Central Command. Fallon stepped down in March after reported differences over Iran policy with President Bush.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines reported Wednesday combined first-quarter losses of $10.5 billion, largely because of soaring fuel prices. Delta, which emerged from bankruptcy a year ago, announced plans last week to acquire Northwest.

President Bush met with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the White House Wednesday before a meeting Thursday with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. The Middle East diplomacy is a prelude to Bush's trip next month to the region to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding.

Ben-ami Kadish, a former US Army mechanical engineer, was arrested Tuesday on charges that he slipped as many as 100 classified documents about nuclear weapons to Israeli contacts between 1979 and 1985. Kadish allegedly accepted no money in return.

The government said Tuesday it is scrapping a $20 million prototype "virtual fence" along a 28-mile section of the Mexico-Arizona border. The prototype uses electronic surveillance towers, but there is a problem with transmitting images when movement is detected.

A federal judge in New Orleans ordered the public school system in Tangipahoa Parish to stop a Bible giveaway by Gideons International at a local middle school because it violates the First Amendment separation of church and state.

A Whirlpool Corp. refrigerator plant in Evansville, Ind., said it has suspended and may fire 39 workers who lied about being nonsmokers. The factory charges employees an extra $500 annually for health insurance if they use tobacco, but the offenders were seen smoking or chewing tobacco on company property.

John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves became only the 16th major-league pitcher to reach the 3,000 strikeout plateau when he fanned Washington's Felipe Lopez Tuesday at Atlanta's Turner Field. Smoltz received two standing ovations, but the Nationals won, 6-0.

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