The number of violent crimes declined 1.4 percent nationally last year, reversing two years of rising violent crime numbers, the FBI reported Monday. Property crimes fell 2.1 percent.

With weather forecasts calling for a new storm to dump as much as three more inches of rain on Indiana Monday, President Bush declared a major disaster in 29 state counties, where up to 10 inches is already straining swollen rivers. Governors in Wisconsin and Iowa also have requested federal aid as the Midwest's rainstorm death toll rose to eight.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended Monday that Gen. Norton Schwartz, a 35-year veteran with a background in Air Force special operations, be the next Air Force chief.

More than 100 uniformed military lawyers will be added to Guantánamo prosecution and defense teams in the next three months in an effort to move along 19 pending cases against suspected Al Qaeda operatives, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Arson is suspected in the fire that badly burned the vacant Texas governor's mansion Sunday, according to state Fire Marshal Paul Maldanado. Investigators are studying surveillance camera images and other clues, he said. Gov. Rick Perry moved out of the 152-year-old historic home last year so that it could undergo a $10 million renovation.

After six years spent developing the world's fastest computer, scientists at the Los Alamos, N.M., government labs, in partnership with IBM, introduced the Roadrunner Monday. It is capable of sustaining 1,000 trillion operations per second.

Author Frances Moore Lappé was named the humanitarian of the year Sunday in New York at the James Beard Foundation Awards, which are known as the Oscars of the food world. She was cited for her work to highlight the need for affordable quality food for all and for supporting small-scale agriculture. Her 40-year-old book "Diet for a Small Planet" is considered the blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint.

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