At the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, President Obama said he is ordering an expansion and refocusing of the office of faith-based initiatives started under former President George W. Bush. Obama said such initiatives will not blur the lines between church and state nor show any favoritism.

Orders placed with US factories dropped 3.9 percent in December while they rose 0.4 percent for all of 2008, the weakest showing since 2002, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

In one of the largest settlements Los Angeles has made for police misconduct, the city council Wednesday approved $12.85 million in payouts to nearly 300 demonstrators and bystanders in a 2007 pro-immigration rally. Police allegedly used unnecessary force to disperse the crowd.

Forty-eight years after his racially motivated attack on a black civil rights leader, Elwin Wilson of Rock Hill, S.C., apologized face-to-face to John Lewis at the Georgia congressman's Capitol Hill office Wednesday. "I was very moved. He was very, very sincere," Lewis said.

Birds did indeed strike both engines of the US Airways jet that ditched into New York's Hudson River last month, federal safety officials confirmed Wednesday. Remains of the birds have been sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington for identification.

Federal agents searched the home of ex-convict James W. Lewis in Cambridge, Mass., Wednesday as they reviewed evidence in seven unsolved 1982 poisoning deaths in Illinois. No criminal charges have been made in the case, which involves cyanide-laced Tylenol, but the FBI cited "advances in forensic technology" as a factor in the investigation. Lewis served more than 12 years in prison for sending an extortion note to Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Tylenol's manufacturer.

Florida's citrus crop was spared Thursday when temperatures did not dip below freezing long enough to do major damage to orange and grapefruit groves.

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