$2B for rail projects, speed upgrades announced

Money designated for a now-canceled rail line in Florida was divvied up among nearly two dozen projects around the country Monday, heartening supporters but giving critics fuel to deride it as a diversion from President Barack Obama's high-speed-train ambitions or as a simple waste of money.

The bulk of the $2 billion is to go the congested Washington-New York-Boston corridor, where $795 million in improvements should allow trains to run at 160 mph on a stretch where they are currently limited to 135 mph. Another $404 million will go toward increasing speeds to 110 mph between Chicago and Detroit.

Sada Thompson, 1970s TV mom, dies in Conn. at 81

Sada Thompson, the durable matriarch of stage and screen who won a Tony Award for her portraits of three sisters and their mother in the 1971 comedy "Twigs" and an Emmy Award for playing the eternally understanding mother in the television series "Family," has died at age 81.

Thompson died Wednesday of a lung disease at Danbury Hospital, agent David Shaul said Sunday from Los Angeles.

Thompson won wide acclaim during an illustrious career that spanned more than 60 years, during which she gravitated toward quality work that allowed her to plumb her characters' complexities.

LA police move to stem violence in Venice Beach

Police Sgt. Marc Reina checks the weather on his iPhone every morning to forecast what lies ahead on the job at Venice Beach.

"Eighty-two and sunny - I know it's going to be a long day," he says.

Police are gearing up for especially long days even before summer's unofficial Memorial Day start, as the sun and heat that draw throngs of tourists to one of the city's top destinations also attracts an unsavory element and unusual violence - a shooting and stabbing in recent weeks.

Colo. wildlife commission not OK with Christo plan

SALIDA, Colo. (AP) -- Colorado wildlife commissioners have voted to send a letter opposing the artist Christo's proposal to suspend nearly six miles worth of fabric over parts of a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River.

Colorado wildlife commissioners voted 9-0 Friday in favor of sending a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management expressing concerns over how the project in southern Colorado would affect bighorn sheep.