At news conferences in his home state of Mississippi, Sen. Trent Lott, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, was to announce his retirement Monday, congressional and White House sources said. Health was reportedly not a factor in the decision to resign before the end of the year after four terms in office. Lott becomes the sixth Senate Republican this year to say he's bowing out.

The holiday shopping season got off to a strong start over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which monitors total sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets. On Friday and Saturday, combined sales were 7.2 percent higher than for the same two-day period in 2006, with electronics hot sellers.

Michigan health officials have extended a fish consumption advisory to include the entire Saginaw River after the discovery of possibly the highest level of river and lake contamination ever recorded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Dow Chemical said it will remove dioxin concentrations from a six-mile stretch of the Tittabawassee River, a Saginaw tributary.

Residents who had evacuated Malibu, Calif., after wind-driven weekend fires leveled 53 homes began returning after the blaze was mostly contained Monday. Favorable weather conditions and repeated aerial water and retardant drops helped combat the community's second major fire in as many months. Above, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (l.) surveys the damage with a homeowner.

New York City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin is leading the charge to revive efforts to build a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a New York native and the 32nd US president. Plans for a memorial were shelved for various reasons more 30 years ago, but now the project could go forward at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, a two-mile-long sliver of land in the East River renamed for FDR in 1973.

A strike by Broadway stagehands entered its third week Monday despite a resumption of negotiations between union representatives and theater producers.

A group of Sudanese Christians mostly living in the Kansas City suburb of Lenexa, Kan., will spend a month, beginning in January, teaching English to Muslim refugees who've fled the violence in Sudan's Darfur area. Above, Ruben Lual points to photos of the region at the offices of Sudan Sunrise in Lenexa. The group aims to persuade all warring factions to forgive one another and to reconcile their differences.

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