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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / February 28, 2007



Sales of existing homes rose 3 percent last month, the largest jump in two years, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, the median sales price fell for a sixth consecutive month to $210,600. Some analysts said they believe this should help reignite the slumping housing market.

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A forensic psychologist who assessed José Padilla's mental state at a federal detention facility in Miami said Monday that the alleged Al Qaeda operative is mentally fit to stand trial. The diagnosis contradicted those of two defense experts who've said that Padilla, a US citizen who's been held for 3-1/2 years in military confinement as an enemy combatant, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The trial could begin in April.

The governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington signed a climate action initiative Monday that commits them to work together to reduce greenhouse gases.

Fifty-three percent of Americans favor setting a date for withdrawing US troops from Iraq, and nearly half of those say they'd like to see US forces come home within a year, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll. Only 34 percent of those polled said the war was worth fighting.

In a deal with prosecutors, Saverio Mondelli and Shaun Harrison of Suffolk County, N.Y., pleaded no contest Monday to illegal computer access. But charges that they'd tried to extort $150,000 from MySpace.com were dropped. The defendants allegedly developed a program to collect e-mail addresses from the popular social-networking site, which promises anonymity to visitors.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will build a $1.3 billion assembly plant in Tupelo, Miss., that will hire 2,000 workers and is expected to begin production in 2010.

Spc. Chris Rolan, pleaded guilty Tuesday to unpremeditated murder and other charges in the 2005 fatal shooting of a fellow soldier in Iraq during a night of heavy drinking.

The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, begun in 2004, inducted 13 new honorees Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site near downtown Atlanta. Among those saluted were former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder (D), singer Tony Bennett, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California.

A California appeals court upheld the legality Monday of a voter-approved program to sell $3 billion in bonds to support embryonic stem-cell research.

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