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March 6, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Factory orders fell again in January, but the rate of decline lessened after a steeper-than-initially-estimated drop the previous month, the Commerce Department said Thursday. New orders for manufactured goods, a key indicator of future factory output, were down 0.7% in January to $483 billion. Analysts projected orders would decline 0.5%. It was the second straight monthly decline and the harsh winter weather in much of the country probably was a factor. PHOTOS: Federal Reserve chairs through the years December's decline was revised down to 2% from an initial estimate of 1.5%, the Commerce Department said.
March 6, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Peering deep into the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, scientists have spotted the first disintegrating space rock ever observed. The rock is crumbing slowly -- its disparate pieces gliding gently away from each other at the sluggish rate of one mile an hour, slower than human walking speed. The strange space rock first caught scientists' attention in September when the Catalina and Pan STARRS sky survey telescopes detected what looked like an unusually fuzzy object on the far side of the asteroid belt.
March 6, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
The cost of a home loan dropped early this week on less than robust news about the economy and housing, with Freddie Mac reporting that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.28%, down from 4.37% a week earlier.  The average for a 15-year fixed mortgage was 3.32%, down from 3.39%, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly survey of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers. The average start rate for a popular type of adjustable mortgage with a fixed rate for the first five years edged down from 3.05% to 3.03%.
March 6, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
Fox won Wednesday night in total viewership and among key 18-to-49-year-olds, though its "American Idol" was flat with last week's numbers, according to preliminary data from Nielsen.  The aged singing contest drew 10.5 million viewers overall and a rating of 2.7 in the 18-to-49 demographic, on par with last week's episode. In the 18-49 demo, a ratings point equals about 1.3 million people watching.  CBS came in second place with an average of 10.1 million viewers and a rating of 2.2. The veteran reality program "Survivor" was flat with last week at a 2.4 rating, but its total audience increased to 9.6 million, bringing it within 1 million viewers of "Idol" for the first time ever.  PHOTOS: Behind the scenes of movies and TV "Criminal Minds" was strong at 9 p.m. with an audience of 11.4 million, making it Wednesday's most-watched show.
March 5, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
With a strong lead-in from "The Voice," NBC's new comedies earned solid Tuesday ratings, according to early numbers from Nielsen.  The 9 p.m. freshman series "About a Boy" averaged 8.7 million viewers and scored a rating of 2.6 among advertiser-desired age 18-49 viewers, marking a 13% improvement on its post-Olympics premiere.  Fellow newcomer "Growing Up Fisher" was flat with its Sochi Games debut at a 2.0, while "Chicago Fire" rose a...
March 4, 2014 | Alan Zarembo
Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. soldiers had a common mental illness, such as depression, panic disorder or ADHD, before enlisting in the Army, according to a new study that raises questions about the military's assessment and screening of recruits. More than 8% of soldiers had thought about killing themselves and 1.1% had a past suicide attempt, researchers found from confidential surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers at Army installations across the country. The findings, published online Monday in two papers in JAMA Psychiatry, point to a weakness in the recruiting process, experts said.
March 4, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
NBC won Monday night with blind auditions on "The Voice" and James Spader's "The Blacklist," though the latter's ratings in a key demographic were was down from last week. The singing contest, now in its sixth season, drew an average of 15.7 million viewers overall, according to early numbers from Nielsen, making it the night's most-watched show. Among key 18-to-49-year-olds, "The Voice" scored a rating of 4.5, down just 4% from its premiere last week. "The Blacklist" earned a 2.7 in the advertiser-desired demographic, down 13% from a week ago, but was virtually flat in total viewership (11.1 million)
March 4, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to roll back flood insurance rate increases that have devastated many homeowners in coastal communities and dogged lawmakers on the campaign trail. The deal, brokered by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) with a bipartisan coalition of coastal state lawmakers, sailed through the House, 306 to 91, despite protests from conservative Republicans that the changes would add to the national debt. "It is said by the media and others that we cannot work together," Waters said before the vote.
March 3, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
Ellen DeGeneres may have a reason for another pizza party, if early Oscars ratings are any indication.  According to early numbers from Nielsen, which are not reliable for live events, the Sunday telecast on ABC drew an average of about 40.2 million viewers during prime time. That's 9% higher than the preliminary numbers from last year's Oscars.  Accurate numbers won't be released until later Monday, but the early figures indicate that the show could top last year's telecast, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, which ended up with 40.4 million viewers in the final tally.
March 2, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
U.S. hospitals are making major strides at clamping down on early deliveries of babies and instead letting Mother Nature take its course in response to growing pressure from employers, government officials and patient-safety advocates. The Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed organization that tracks hospital safety and quality, published data Monday showing a sharp decrease in early-elective deliveries since 2010 nationwide and in California. The rate of deliveries before 39 weeks without a medical reason fell to 4.6% last year compared with 17% in 2010 among nearly 1,000 U.S. hospitals that reported results.
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