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The price for a gallon of self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline plunged by an unprecedented 53 cents during the past two weeks, to $2.7785 on Oct. 24, according to the latest nationwide Lundberg survey. The global economic crisis, reflected in lower crude oil prices and less driving, are viewed as key factors in reversing prices at the pump.

Better moral leadership is needed in the federal government, 80 percent of Americans believe, according to a new Harris Interactive survey. Only about one-third of those polled said they are extremely or very confident that the upcoming election in their state will be fair.

Jury deliberations in the corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska were restarted Monday after the US district judge ordered an alternate juror to replace a regular juror who left after her father died. Stevens hopes to clear his name before the Nov. 4 election. He is charged with not disclosing $250,000 in work done to his home free of charge.

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Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is back to wearing her "old clothes" from a favorite consignment shop, Alaska's governor said Sunday in an effort to defuse criticism that the GOP has bought her and her family $150,000 in clothes and accessories.

Author Tony Hillerman, who is best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels, died Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M.

"High School Musical 3," the big-screen sequel to Disney's hit TV movies, enjoyed a record opening for a song-and-dance feature, with $42 million in weekend box-office receipts. That bested the previous high of $27.8 million set by last summer's hit "Mamma Mia!"

At its annual Freedom Awards presentation Tuesday in Memphis, Tenn., the National Civil Rights Museum will honor Diane Nash, cofounder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, along with blues musician B.B. King and former Vice President Al Gore. King performed with Bono Sunday at "The Blues & Jazz" Gala in Los Angeles.

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