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Hundreds of acres of farmland and a mobile home park were flooded Tuesday when the swollen Mississippi River breached a levee near St. Charles, Mo., Army Corps of Engineers officials said worry now shifts to a levee near Winfield, Mo., described as so saturated that "it's like walking on a water bed." If it gives way, houses, several businesses, a ballpark, and 3,000 acres of cropland are at risk, they said.

Led by Miami and Las Vegas, housing prices in cities across the US fell by 15.3 percent in April over the same month a year ago, Standard & Poor's reported Tuesday. The rate was the steepest decline in the eight-year history of the index.

Saying, "The economy remains stuck in low gear," the Conference Board reported its fifth-lowest measurement of consumer confidence Tuesday. It said the closely watched index has slid to 50.4 this month from 58.1 in May, blaming the spiraling cost of food and gasoline. But "it may be nearing a bottom," a spokesman said.

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Citing the upward spiral in fuel costs, United Airlines said it will eliminate 950 pilot jobs. The move will take effect in September. Earlier, United grounded dozens of planes and announced plans to cut 1,600 jobs. The pilot losses will come on top of those layoffs, a spokeswoman said. The carrier currently employs 6,600 pilots.

The state of Florida will pay $1.7 billion for 187,000 acres of Everglades swampland, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper of Fort Lauderdale reported Tuesday. The seller: U.S. Sugar, one of a number of agribusiness companies accused of polluting the environmentally fragile wetlands.

Joseph Bruno, the top Republican office-holder in New York State, announced he will not seek reelection to the legislature, where he has been Senate majority leader for more than a decade. His retirement appears to endanger GOP hopes of maintaining control of the Senate, where it holds only a one-seat majority. Democrats already control the lower house and governorship.

Nationally famous radio personality Don Imus was defending his remarks about race again Tuesday after asking the ethnicity of a troubled pro football player on the air. Told that suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones is black, Imus said: "There you go; now we know." Imus, who was fired in April 2007 over a racially charged remark, returned to the air six months ago with a pledge to foster open dialogue on the subject. He said of the latest flap: "I was trying to make a sarcastic point."

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