USA

The median price for a previously owned single-family house fell to $219,800 in September, a drop of 2.5 percent from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. That represents the largest year-to-year decline since records were first kept nearly four decades ago and is the sixth straight monthly decline.

During a drug-related arrest in a Los Alamos, N.M., trailer park, police discovered what appeared to be classified documents taken from the city's nuclear weapons laboratory, authorities said Tuesday. The FBI was contacted and said it has begun an investigation. The suspected drug dealer in the case is linked to a female contractor who is employed at the lab.

General Motors beat Wall Street expectations and shrank its losses, to $115 million for the third quarter, while increasing sales by nearly 4 percent, the automaker said Wednesday. Analysts believe GM, which reported a loss of $1.7 billion a year ago, has begun to reap the benefits of its turnaround plan.

A federal judge in Miami declared Tuesday that a Florida law prohibiting exit polling within 100 feet of voting places is unconstitutional and ordered state officials not to enforce it in the Nov. 7 election. Exit polls are commonly used to project winners in key races.

Speaker Dennis Hastert, who testified Tuesday before the House ethics committee about the congressional page scandal, said the committee "needed to move quickly to get to the bottom of this issue, including who knew about the sexually explicit messages [from ex-Rep. Mark Foley] and when they knew about it." Most of the key players in the case have now been questioned.

Workers searching out newly discovered deposits of 9/11 human remains in New York began wearing protective suits and masks Tuesday, officials said. The precaution, said critics concerned with air-quality issues at the former World Trade Center site, came only after several days of digging beneath manholes and a belated environmental test.

Although consumer bankruptcy filings remain at historically low levels a year after a tough new law took effect, they continued to rise in the third quarter of this year, according to data released Tuesday by research firm Lundquist Consulting Inc. Filings have gone from 102,949 to 142,815 to 160,198 during the first three quarters.

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