Investigators of the worst US rail crash in 15 years said recordings between engineer and conductor were absent a call-and-response for the last two signal lights the Los Angeles commuter train passed before a head-on collision with a freight train. Experts will review cellphone records of two teenagers who said they received a text message from the engineer moments before the crash. The engineer was among 25 people killed.

The number of violent crimes in the US dropped 0.7 percent last year, ending a two-year rise in murders, robberies, and other serious offenses, the FBI reported Monday.

A tentative budget deal appeared to break California's 76-day budgeting impasse, the longest in state history, top legislative leaders said Sunday. There was no immediate response from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who has vowed not to sign a budget that doesn't include long-term reform. The compromise closes a $15.2 billion deficit without borrowing or new taxes, but largely through spending cuts and eliminating tax loopholes.

The remnants of hurricane Ike dumped as much as eight inches of rain in parts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, knocked out power to more than a million Midwestern homes Sunday, and caused at least 13 deaths across the region.

One-third of American college students have to enroll in remedial classes to bring them up to speed with material supposedly learned in high school, according to a report released Monday by the group Strong American Schools. The study estimates that 43 percent of community college students and 29 percent of students at public, four-year schools require help.

General Motors celebrates its 100th anniversary Tuesday with events focused on the future of the company, which began with the Buick nameplate. GM has been restructuring since at least 2002 and lost $57.5 billion in the past 18 months.

Carlos Zambrano of the first-place Chicago Cubs hurled the team's first no-hitter in 36 years Sunday night and baseball's first ever at a neutral site by shutting down the Houston Astros, 5-0, in a game relocated from Houston to Milwaukee because of hurricane Ike.

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