The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear a controversial Texas case involving congressional redistricting that has favored Republicans. The current districts, which were changed in 2003 outside the normal redistricting cycle every 10 years, resulted in the loss of five Democratic seats in the House of Representatives. The court will begin hearing the case on an expedited basis March 1. A decision is expected before congressional terms end in June.

A federal judge in Louisiana ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay hotel bills for hurricane evacuees until Feb. 7. Prior to the decision, thousands of evacuees from Katrina and Rita would have been forced to pay for their rooms starting Thursday or face eviction. In his decision Monday, Judge Stanwood Duval characterized FEMA as "numbingly insensitive" and "unduly callous."

Los Angeles streets were quiet Tuesday in the wake of former gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams's execution at San Quentin State Prison. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger (R) denied clemency Monday afternoon, citing Williams's lack of remorse for the murders of four people in 1979.

The Commerce Department reported weaker than expected retail figures for November, saying sales rose by a modest 0.3 percent. Economists had forecast a 0.5 percent increase. Retailers, however, remained optimistic that job growth and moderating gas prices will boost consumer confidence in time for Christmas. Against that backdrop, the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee was meeting to consider a 13th straight increase in short-term interest rates.

The cowboy romance "Brokeback Mountain" became this year's strongest contender for the Golden Globe Awards, with seven nominations. The Globes, which will be presented Jan. 16, historically have been an accurate predictor of the coveted Academy Awards. Below, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger appear in a scene from the film.

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