USA

President Bush marked Veterans Day by laying a wreath at Arlington National cemetery. He was also due to reflect on the sacrifices being made by US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in a speech as the Monitor went to press. Facing a complicated, increasingly unpopular mission in Iraq, where the US death toll has grown to nearly 400, Bush also planned to sign the Fallen Patriots Tax Relief Act, which doubles the tax-free death gratuity payment given to families of fallen soldiers, from $6,000 to $12,000.

The US Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeals of Guantanamo Bay detainees from Kuwait, Australia, and Britain who say they are entitled to contest their imprisonment in US courts. The Bush administration has maintained that since the 650 detainees in Cuba were arrested overseas on suspicion of terrorism and are being held on foreign territory, they may be imprisoned indefinitely without charges or trial. The detentions, part of the global campaign against terrorism, have outraged civil-liberties groups since the men, mostly Muslims, have no access to lawyers or other outsiders. The High Court had passed up earlier opportunities to hear such terrorism cases before Monday's decision.

New federal rules will allow consumers to switch their home phones to cellular ones later this month, without the hassle of getting a new number. The Federal Communications Commission's rules, released Monday, will also allow a limited number of wireless customers to keep their numbers if they later switch to land lines. The FCC had already told cellphone users they would be able to keep their phone numbers when switching wireless carriers. The new rules take effect Nov. 24 in the largest metropolitan areas.

California union representatives and three supermarket chains held their first negotiations in nearly a month to break a stalemate that has idled 70,000 grocery clerks throughout southern California. At issue is health coverage for employees, as well as pensions and other benefits. A federal mediator joined Monday's talks, said John Arnold, a spokesman for the Federal

Mediation and Conciliation Service. Nearly 850 stores have been affected. Discussions were to resume Tuesday.

Authorities began rounding up 24 Bengal tigers from a private New Jersey sanctuary, culminating a battle that began after a 430-pound tiger was found roaming a nearby suburb in 1999. State officials never proved the tiger belonged to the sanctuary's owner, Joan Byron-Marasek, but they refused to renew her permit, claiming she cared poorly for the animals at her compound. Her appeals were exhausted in November 2001, and a judge authorized their transfer to a Texas animal shelter.

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