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NATION: Oil drops below $98; gas falls

Oil drops below $98; gas falls

Oil prices dropped Monday, a good sign for drivers who are finally seeing a little relief at the gas pump.

The average price for a gallon of regular fell 3 cents over the week to $3.955 nationally. That's still nearly 14 cents more than it was a month ago, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.

Oil futures settled down 2.3 percent and gasoline futures dropped 4.7 percent Monday as investors returned their attention to weakening demand for gasoline in the U.S. Both contracts had gained slightly last week amid concerns that Mississippi River flooding could disrupt refineries and supplies in the Gulf region.

Oil is now down about 15 percent in May, while gasoline futures are about 14 percent lower. Those declines haven't yet reached the nation's gas stations, though analysts say prices could fall as much as a quarter or more by Memorial Day.

Building collapse kills young girl

MORRILTON, Ark. -- Authorities said a building in a central Arkansas city collapsed, killing a young girl and injuring at least six other people.

Investigators have not determined what caused the building in downtown Morrilton to collapse Monday.

Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith said rescue teams are searching the wreckage for possible survivors but that he thinks most people escaped. The building housed a beauty parlor.

Crime boss found guilty in slaying

NEW YORK -- A flashy New York City mobster has been convicted of federal charges he ordered a gangland hit in 2004.

A Brooklyn jury reached the verdict against former acting boss Vincent ''Vinny Gorgeous'' Basciano on Monday, its fourth day of deliberations.

Basciano already was serving a life sentence for an attempted murder conviction in 2007. This time, prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for the killing of a mob associate who ran afoul of the Bonanno organized crime family.

The trial featured testimony by former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, the highest-ranking member of a New York City Mafia family ever to testify against his own.

Jurors heard secret recordings by Massino that prosecutors said captured the 51-year-old Basciano admitting to the killing.

Geithner halts pension payments

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday that he will immediately halt investments in two big government pension plans so the government can continue to borrow money.

Geithner informed Congress of his decision in a letter stating that the government had officially reached its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit. He repeated a warning that if lawmakers do not increase the borrowing limit by Aug. 2, the government is at risk of an unprecedented default on its debt.

The debt limit is the amount of money the government can borrow to help finance its operations. The nation has reached its debt limit because the federal government has grown accustomed to borrowing massive amounts of money. The latest estimate is that it borrows 40 cents for every dollar it spends.

Headless body found in Houston with chainsaw

HOUSTON -- The dismembered body of a Houston man has been found outside a vacant house, with the head and an arm stuffed into a trash bag, police said Monday.

Officers found the body Sunday after receiving a call. Detectives said in a news release that the bag was behind cinderblocks that supported the home. A chainsaw was next to the bag containing some of the remains. The remainder of the body, with a partially severed arm, was found in the backyard of a property nearby.

Police said they were questioning a man but he has not been charged. They did not identify the victim or the man being questioned.

Ohio home burns down during bedbug treatment

CINCINNATI -- Fire officials in Cincinnati say a two-family home was destroyed when a heater being used to kill bedbugs set a carpet on fire.

The house was being treated Sunday by an exterminator who said he gets rid of the pests by raising a home's temperature to 135 degrees using propane heaters. Residents are told to leave and remove anything flammable.

Cincinnati Fire District Chief Glenn Coleman said the carpet was ignited by one of six heaters.