The Justice Department notified US District Court judges in Washington that it will seek dismissal of 187 challenges to the detention of more than 300 Guantánamo Bay detainees. Advocates for those imprisoned at the US base in Cuba decried the effort to use a provision in a new law that the Bush administration says sharply limits existing challenges. Advocates for the detainees argue that the provision should only apply to new challenges.

The Homeland Security Department issued cleanup guidelines for contamination from "dirty bombs," or crude nuclear devices that terrorists could use to expose people to long-term radiation. Some of the guidelines raised questions from watchdog groups concerned that the cleanup standards are less stringent than those for nuclear waste on Superfund sites.

A proposed settlement by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to about 100 people who claim they were sexually abused by priests was rejected. Their lawyers called it "demeaning." The archdiocese has offered an average of $75,000 per person, half as much as 540 individuals received in 2003. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they plan to make a counterproposal within a few weeks.

California educators said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is moving in the "right direction" but needs to go further with his proposal to repay about $1.7 billion borrowed from schools to balance the state budget in recent years.

The government of Mexico called for an investigation into the death of an unarmed Mexican who allegedly was shot in the back by a US Border Patrol agent between San Diego and Tijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported. US officials dispute the account.

Largely because of demand for new commercial aircraft, orders for manufactured goods rose 2.5 percent in November, the biggest gain in several months, the Commerce Department said. Rhode Island became the 11th state to legalize the growing and use of marijuana for medical purposes - and the first to do so since a US Supreme Court ruling in June that prohibits any use of the plant.

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