Winding down its current session, the US Supreme Court denied an appeal Monday by environmental groups that would have kept the Bush administration from fast-tracking construction of a fence along the border with Mexico.

Financial services giant Citigroup Inc. was remaining mum on a published report that it would announce the layoffs of up to 6,500 employees as soon as Monday. The Wall Street Journal said the downsizing would come in the company's investment banking division. Citigroup has posted $15 billion in losses over the past two quarters. In January, it laid off more than 4,200 employees.

Despite reports of an impending recession, Americans contributed to charities at essentially the same rate last year as in 2006, an annual study by Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy found. Its Giving USA Foundation report estimated that contributions from individuals and corporations reached $306.4 billion, or 2.2 percent of gross domestic product.

Republican Party hopes of retaining the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Vito Fossella of New York were dealt a major blow by the death of candidate Frank Powers Sunday, reports said. Powers, a retired Wall Street executive, had never previously sought elective office. Republicans have held that seat for almost 30 years.

An investigation has found no evidence to confirm a report that 17 Gloucester, Mass., high school students made a pact to become pregnant and have their babies together, Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Sunday. The report caused a stir nationally last week when it appeared in Time magazine. All of the girls involved are 16 or younger. The school of 1,200 students had been averaging four pregnancies a year.

It will be the Bulldogs vs. the Bulldogs as Fresno State University of California earned the right to oppose the University of Georgia in the championship round of the College World Series opening Monday night in Omaha, Neb. Fresno State defeated North Carolina Sunday, 6-1, to advance to the finals.

George Carlin, who died Sunday in Los Angeles, was considered the dean of counterculture comedians, frequently testing the boundaries of offensive language in a career that spanned 48 years. He recorded 23 comedy albums, wrote three books, starred in 14 specials on the Home Box Office cable channel, and was the host as "Saturday Night Live" made its debut in 1975.

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