Home sales plunge in November to lowest level since 1995

Sales of new homes plunged last month to their lowest level in more than 12 years, a grim testament to the problems plaguing the housing sector.

The Commerce Department reported yesterday that new-home sales tumbled by 9 percent in November from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000. That was the worst showing since April 1995, when the pace of sales was 621,000. The sales pace for November was much weaker than economists were expecting. They were predicting sales in the weakest sector of the economy to drop by around 1.8 percent, to a pace of 715,000.

Bush vetoes $696B defense bill because of one provision

President Bush yesterday used a "pocket veto" to reject a sweeping defense bill because he dislikes a provision that would expose the Iraqi government to expensive lawsuits seeking damages from the Saddam Hussein era.

The president's objections were focused on a provision deep within legislation that sets defense policy for the coming year and approves $696 billion in spending, including $189 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also in the legislation were improved veterans benefits and tighter oversight of contractors and weapons programs.

Netscape, 1st Web browser,

is scheduled for deletion

Netscape Navigator, the world's first commercial Web browser and the launch pad of the Internet boom, will be pulled off life support Feb. 1 after a 13-year run.

Its current caretakers, Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, decided to kill further development and technical support to focus on growing the company as an advertising business. Netscape's usage dwindled with Microsoft Corp.'s entry into the browser business, and Netscape all but faded away following the birth of its open-source cousin, Firefox.

Supplements for male potency may contain risky ingredients

Dietary supplements marketed to provide male sexual enhancement contain undeclared erectile dysfunction drugs putting users at risk, the Food and Drug Administration warned yesterday.

The agency advised consumers to stay away from Shangai Chaojimengnan supplements sold under the names Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, Lady Shangai and Shangai Regular. The Chinese-made supplements are packaged and distributed by Shangai Distributor Inc. of Puerto Rico. Product testing indicates that some of these so-called supplements contain Viagra's active ingredient, sildenafil, or a compound with a chemical structure that mimics sildenafil.

In other headline news:

_ A New York City police officer has been charged with raping a teen student at his martial arts school and leading her to believe it was part of the program, police said yesterday.

_ New York City reported 488 slayings as of yesterday, versus 596 for all of 2006. The city is on track to have the lowest number of killings since reliable record-keeping started in 1963. Chicago is on track to have the lowest homicide toll since 1965.

- Daily News wire services