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Factory orders for durable goods, fell 1.7 percent in February, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. disappointing analysts anticipating a small rebound from a 4.7 percent dip in January. Demand for manufacturing equipment plunged 13.3 percent. Meanwhile, sales of new homes fell to a seasonally adjusted 590,000, the lowest level in 13 years.

Investigators continued their probe of what caused part of a construction crane in Miami to plummet 30 floors Tuesday, killing two workers at a high-rise condominium. The crane section fell during efforts to extend the equipment's reach. The incident occurred little more than a week after a construction crane in New York collapsed, killing seven people.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, presidential candidate Barack Obama's controversial former Chicago pastor, canceled plans to speak at three church services in Houston and to appear at a Tampa, Fla., area church because of security concerns. Video clips of past sermons showing the preacher (now retired) making racially charged remarks have made Obama's association with him a campaign issue. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that if Wright had been her pastor, she would have parted company with him.


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