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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.

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