USA

In a 5-to-3 decision Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the subsidiaries of Wachovia, the nation's fourth-largest bank, should not be subject to dual oversight. The decision is a victory for 1,600 national banks, whose growing subsidiaries will now be subject to federal, but not state, regulators.

A federal judge in Gulfport, Miss., said Monday his "door is open" to a mass settlement between State Farm & Casualty Co. and policyholders who've submitted 35,000 disputed claims after hurricane Katrina. Meanwhile, a US District Court jury in New Orleans sided with a Slidell, La., resident in his lawsuit against Allstate Insurance Co., which must pay him $2.8 million for a slow and insufficient settlement of home damages.

A House task force said Monday it would begin reviewing a contested Florida congressional election more than five months after Republican Vern Buchanan was declared the winner by 369 votes over Democrat Christine Jennings. The review will focus on reports that new touch-screen voting machines failed to count 18,000 votes.

A four-year dispute over a joint operating agreement between Seattle's two daily newspapers was resolved Monday, ensuring that the Post-Intelligencer, which was threatened with closure, will continue to publish. Above, P-I associate publisher Ken Bunting greeted employees after the settlement with the Seattle Times.

NASA plans to launch four shuttle flights this year as part of its continuing efforts to rebuild the International Space Station, the agency said Monday.

Citing high unemployment and incarceration rates for black men, the Urban League proposed a strategy for addressing what it calls the nation's most serious social crisis. The plan would create more early-childhood programs, all-male schools, and second-chance programs for dropouts and ex-offenders.

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