USA

The Supreme Court Monday left in place an appeals court ruling that allows Arizona to issue "choose life" license plates, while in another case the justices rejected for a third time an appeal by antiabortion activists to undo a $16 million verdict against them. The activists were penalized for using "wanted" posters to identify abortion clinic doctors.

Tens of thousands of people struggling to pay Countrywide Financial Mortgages will have their loan terms modified in 11 states as part of a settlement in a deceptive-practices lawsuit against the Bank of America Corp. subsidiary. The Illinois attorney general's office and California officials negotiated the settlement, which will allow some borrowers to pay nothing but interest for a decade and others to receive help in moving to new homes.

As the result of hurricane Ike, at least a half million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, according to data compiled by the Associated Press. The Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, and state agencies have responded to 3,000 pollution reports, with nearly 1,500 sites still awaiting cleanup.

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The average prepaid phone calling card delivers only 60 percent of the minutes promised, according to the Hispanic Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group cited in an Associated Press analysis on fraud in the $4 billion phone-card industry. Latino immigrants are often targets for card fraud by companies that advertise in Spanish but disclose terms only in English, government officials say.

US researchers have made a solar technology breakthrough by devising a way to make efficient thin-film solar cells flexible enough to wrap around a pencil, the journal Nature Materials reports. The film can be applied to glass to convert solar energy into electricity.

American Airlines, a pioneer in charging to check bags, will extend the concept of itemized charges by adopting an a la carte pricing structure starting next year, company officials said. The "unbundling" will imitate an Air Canada strategy in which customers are charged a base fare, then pick additional services for a price.

Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies advanced to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1993 Sunday, with a 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of their best-of-five playoff series. The Phillies now meet the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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