Construction of single-family homes fell 5.3 percent in June to the slowest pace in 17 years, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The Internal Revenue Service urged Congress Thursday to give authorities more time to audit taxpayers suspected of using foreign entities and bank accounts to avoid or evade federal taxes.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Wednesday a new safety requirement calling for the installation of a device to prevent fuel tanks of passenger jets and cargo planes fuel from exploding. The change grew out of an investigation of the explosion of a TWA flight leaving New York in 1996 that killed all 230 people aboard. The change in equipment will be made over the next nine years.

Companies collected millions of dollars in government contracts by falsely claiming to have main offices in poor neighborhoods, congressional investigators with the Government Accountability Office reported Wednesday.

Birmingham, Ala., renamed its airport Wednesday in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose civil rights efforts in the once strictly segregated city had been met with strong resistance in the 1960s.

Officials in Newark, N.J., reported this week that the city's notoriously high homicide rate is within reach of a 10-year low, thanks to a number of strategies, possibly chief among them a wireless network of more than 100 surveillance cameras in high-crime areas.

Boeing Co. machinists voted overwhelmingly in Seattle, as well as in Portland, Ore., and Wichita, Kan., for a preliminary strike authorization in a show of support for union negotiators Wednesday. The current contract expires Sept. 3, but the vote does not actually approve a walkout.

House lawmakers defied a veto threat Wednesday and voted to bar CIA contractors from interrogating suspected terrorists. Critics say the use of outside contractors could allow the CIA to dodge accountability for using severe techniques.

At the ESPY Awards, the ESPN-sponsored sports-awards show in Los Angeles Wednesday, golfer Tiger Woods was named the best male athlete for a fifth time. Basketball player Candace Parker, who has gone from college standout at the University of Tennessee to a rookie sensation with the Los Angeles Sparks, was named female athlete of the year.

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