USA

In a 7-to-0 vote by the justices participating in the case, the US Supreme Court Monday refused to limit the number of years the government can reach back to collect unpaid royalties from oil and gas companies leasing federal lands. BP America Production Co. and ARCO argued that a federal law imposed a six-year limit.

American International Group Inc., the New York-based insurance giant, agreed Monday to purchase the US ports-management division owned by DP World, an operator based in the United Arab Emirates. Details of the deal, which grew out of a compromise over national security concerns with Congress, were not announced.

The lightning-related methane gas explosion that led to the deaths of 12 West Virginians inside the Sago Mine last January was nearly five times more powerful than the mine's underground seals could withstand, a state report said Monday.

With three games left in the regular season, running back LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers broke the National Football League record for touchdowns, scoring his 29th Sunday to cap a three-TD performance in a 48-20 defeat of the Denver Broncos.

NASA said Sunday that there was "nothing of concern" in its initial photo review of the space shuttle Discovery's weekend launch, the first at night in four years. Inspectors found no signs that foam debris or ice had caused damage during liftoff.

Holiday shopping over the past weekend was "moderately heavy," according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a research firm that conducted a survey of Chicago-area stores reflective of national trends. In a sampling of malls owned by Taubman Centers Inc. in 11 states, sales are running slightly ahead of last year, with jewelry, consumer electronics, and cashmere clothing among the popular items. Many people are expected to shop right before Christmas, since it falls on a Monday.

University of Illinois-Chicago biologist Joel Brown and a team of students will spend the winter studying the behavior of squirrels in the city. The researchers will track the squirrels using special collars and conduct experiments using acorns and hazelnuts.

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