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USA

July 3, 2003



Bringing democracy to Iraq is "a massive and long-term undertaking," President Bush said, while expressing confidence in Americans' resolve to see the process completed. At a White House ceremony Tuesday marking 30 years since the end of the draft, Bush blamed daily attacks against coalition forces on "terrorists" and loyalists to the former regime of Saddam Hussein, leading a chorus of similar assertions by US and British defense officials.

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The US is suspending $48 million in military aid to 35 countries, the State Department announced, in a dispute over the new UN international war crimes tribunal. The countries, among them Colombia, failed to approve agreements exempting Americans by the July 1 deadline set by Congress. The Bush administration opposes the court, arguing that it could be used for politically motivated prosecutions, such as against US peacekeeping troops.

A monument to the Ten Commandments was ordered removed from Alabama's state judicial building in Montgomery. A federal appeals court in Atlanta Tuesday upheld a lower-court ruling that the 5,300-pound grantite monument, placed there by Chief Justice Roy Moore, is an unconstitutional religious display. A spokesman said Moore will appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its antidiscrimination policy to cover gay employees, the company announced. "We want all of our associates to feel treated with respect," a spokes-man said. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., is the largest private employer in the US. Nine of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies now officially prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

Three workers died in a shooting spree by a fellow employee at a plant owned by Modine Manufacturing Co. near Jefferson City, Mo., late Tuesday. Four others were wounded. The gunman reportedly took his own life after trading fire with a police officer.

A fireworks show that's being billed as the biggest in the world will light up the sky over New York Friday night in honor of Independence Day.

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