In the largest jump since July 2003, sales of existing homes rose an unexpected 5.1 percent between January and February, the National Association of Realtors said Monday of a rare bright spot for the slumping housing market. The sales spurt was attributed to buyers taking advantage of deep discounts on foreclosures.

Alaska's Mount Redoubt volcano erupted five times late Sunday and early Monday. It last erupted nearly 20 years ago. The volcano, which has been restless this year, is roughly 100 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Despite US economic struggles, 55 percent of Americans give President Obama positive ratings for his overall job performance, according to a Harris Interactive survey conducted between March 9 and 16. Sixty-eight percent, however, still think the country is going off on the wrong track as the president passes his 50th day in office.

During the past two weeks, the price of gasoline dropped for the first time this year, although only by a penny. The average US price for a gallon of regular is now $1.95, according to the latest Lundberg Survey.

Ball State University's women's basketball team, a newcomer to the NCAA tournament, upset two-time defending national champion Tennessee, 71-55, Sunday in opening-round play in Bowling Green, Ky. The loss snapped Tennessee's 42-game winning streak in games held on the tournament's opening weekend.

As many as 2 million sandbags may be needed to keep the rising Red River from flooding Fargo, N.D., and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., officials said Sunday in calling for volunteer help. They originally said half as many bags would be needed, but revised their estimates as more rain fell. The river, which was three feet above flood stage Sunday, isn't expected to crest until Friday.

With job cuts occurring at many companies, workers are increasingly giving up flex-time and telecommuting arrangements in hopes of staying on the payroll, according to a story in The Washington Post.

Despite a pledge to crack down on tax cheats, the Internal Revenue Service has acknowledged auditing fewer millionaires last year than in 2007 as it shifted focus to getting people economic stimulus checks. People with incomes of $1 million had a 5.6 percent chance of being audited in fiscal year 2008, down from 6.8 percent the previous year.

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