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MONDAY, JULY 9, 2007
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Boeing gets orders for Dreamliners

SEATTLE — The Boeing Co. landed orders Saturday for 35 of its new 787 Dreamliners, with Air Berlin ordering 25 and ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company of Kuwait taking 10.

Together, the orders are valued at $5.62 billion at list prices, although customers typically negotiate discounts.

The deals came one day before Sunday’s public premiere of Boeing’s first 787 Dreamliner in Everett, where the planes are assembled about 30 miles north of Seattle.

The 10 787-8s ordered by ALAFCO are in addition to 12 787s ALAFCO ordered in March. Those planes will be placed with Kuwait Airways.

Arab League sends delegation to Israel

JERUSALEM — The 22-country Arab League will send envoys on a historic first mission to Israel this week to discuss a sweeping Arab peace initiative and how it might prop up embattled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli and Arab diplomats said Sunday.

The announcement came the same day Israel’s Cabinet approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners, hoping to bolster Abbas in his power struggle with the Islamic militant Hamas.

An official League visit would be a diplomatic coup for Israel. The League historically has been hostile toward the Jewish state, but has grown increasingly conciliatory in response to the expanding influence of Islamic extremists in the region — a concern underscored by Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month.

NYC pastor objects to new billboards

NEW YORK — A bidet company’s advertising plans in Times Square are too cheeky for the pastor of a nearby church.

Rev. Neil Rhodes, pastor of the interdenominational Times Square Church, is asking a state court to block a billboard company from posting huge ads that feature naked buttocks with smiley faces on them. The display is to go up on two sides of the Broadway building that houses Rhodes’ church, its Bible school and day-care center.

“You walk into a church building, you have naked bodies before your eyes, how are you going to close your eyes and seek God?” Rhodes told the New York Post in an article published Sunday.

The ads were to go up for 30 days beginning July 1, but the church asked the state Supreme Court to block the displays, saying they would interfere with the church’s religious mission.

Man in tree outfit accused of robbery

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Leaf it to New Hampshire, where a bank branch was held up by a man disguised as a tree.

Just as the Citizen Bank branch opened Saturday morning, a man walked in with leafy boughs duct-taped to his head and torso, and robbed the place.

“He really went out on a limb,” police Sgt. Ernie Goodno said Sunday.

Police said the leafy man didn’t saying anything about having a weapon, just demanded cash, and was given an undisclosed amount.

Although the branches and leaves obscured much of the man’s face, someone who saw images from the bank’s security camera recognized the robber and called police.

Wisconsin newborn racks up the 7s

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — Jack Allen Falkner is one lucky baby.

The son of Dan and Leslie Falkner was born July 7, 2007, considered by many the luckiest day of the century.

But Jack’s luck didn’t stop there. The infant weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls.

The number seven is considered lucky by gamblers, numerologists and the slew of couples who chose Saturday as their wedding date. If the string of sevens in that date makes for auspicious associations, the extra digits in his weight could bode that much better for the infant.

“He’s doing very well,’’ said his father, a diesel technician at Eau Claire Machine and Volvo.

Historically black, white schools unite

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four historically black North Carolina colleges and universities will partner with four majority white counterparts in Virginia to double the average number of minorities completing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

The VA-NC-Alliance for Minority Participation will combine university exchange programs with intensified, personal instruction to bring the number of black, Latino and American Indian tech graduates to 1,050 over the next five years.

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville will lead the program, supported by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

“We must receive the talent from whatever source, whatever part of our country that is available. You never know where the next Nobel prize laureate will come from,” said A. James Hicks, who has helped organize similar alliances involving 37 states.

Pennsylvania sees partial shutdown

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Ed Rendell late Sunday ordered a range of state government services shut down and placed about a third of the state work force on indefinite unpaid furlough after frantic last-minute negotiations failed to break a budget stalemate.

Rendell, appearing outside his Capitol office, said the shutdown would go forward but he and legislators will continue to work toward a deal.

“Let me say to our hardworking and dedicated state employees, we worked as hard as we could today,” Rendell said. But, he said, negotiations and serious consideration of his priorities, which he maintains must be passed along with a state spending plan, began too late.

“We didn’t start early enough,” Rendell said. “I think everybody was at fault.”

compiled from wire reports

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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