USA

The tobacco industry won a major victory from the Supreme Court: a ruling that the Bush administration may not pursue $280 billion in penalties on claims that makers of cigarettes misled the public about the dangers of smoking. The Justice Department had sought reinstatement of the penalties even though the government's case against the companies is still pending. A federal judge has yet to decide whether they are guilty of wrongdoing. The Justice Department argued that if the high court did not issue a definitive ruling, the matter could drag on for years. The tobacco industry was sued by the Clinton administration in 1999.

In an unrelated ruling, the Supreme Court said prison inmates who have been sentenced to death do not automatically have the right to a trial by jury on claims that they are mentally retarded. Executions of the retarded are barred as cruel and unusual punishment. The new ruling overturned an appeals court finding that a death-row inmate in Arizona was entitled to a new jury trial on claims that he is retarded.

Senior presidential adviser Karl Rove will resign or take an unpaid leave of absence if he is indicted in the Valerie Plame case, Time magazine reported Monday. Citing "legal and administration sources," the publication said Lewis Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff and another central figure in the case, would follow Rove's lead. Rove has testified four times before a grand jury investigating the Plame case, most recently last week. For his part, Libby gave New York Times reporter Judith Miller written permission to tell the grand jury about his conversation with her on the Plame matter, even though she wrote no story on it. Miller recently was released from jail, where she served 85 days for refusal to disclose her sources. Independent counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has yet to charge anyone in the case.

Wilma, the record-tieing 21st tropical storm of the hurricane season, formed Monday in the northwest Caribbean and could head into the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend, according to a forecast by meteorologists. This is only the second time in the 154 years of record-keeping that so many storms have been reported in a single six-month season. Wilma is expected to dump heavy rain in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, and eventually could pose a threat to Gulf oil platforms.

Capitalizing on a fourth straight complete-game pitching performance, the Chicago White Sox won baseball's American League pennant Sunday night - and a place in the World Series for the first time since 1959. Jose Contreras's 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels capped a 4-games-to-1 playoff triumph that sets the stage for the White Sox to face the National League winner (Houston or St. Louis), beginning Saturday. The White Sox last won the World Series in 1917. Two years later, the franchise was accused of throwing the World Series at the behest of gamblers in the infamous Black Sox scandal.

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