USA

Iraq's American administrator Paul Bremer was in Washington for unscheduled talks with administration officials on speeding up the transfer of political power to Iraqis. Bremer brought ideas on how to structure the Iraqi government before a Dec. 15 deadline for scheduling the drafting of a new constitution and subsequent elections. One option reportedly under consideration is naming a new interim Iraqi leader with authority to govern the country until a constitution can be written and ballots held.

John Kerry's presidential campaign suffered another blow with the departure of two top aides Tuesday. Press secretary Robert Gibbs and deputy finance director Carl Chidlow both quit in response to the earlier firing of Kerry's campaign chief, Jim Jordan. Kerry's campaign is reportedly torn by internal rancor and competing strategists as Kerry has slipped behind fellow New Englander, Howard Dean. Looking for a publicity boost, Kerry donned a black leather jacket and rode a motorcycle onto the stage of NBC-TV's "The Tonight Show" Tuesday night.

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the federal government does not owe financial subsidies to people whose physical or mental disabilities allow them to do only jobs that no longer exist. The court ruled in the case of a disabled former elevator operator who applied for federal Social Security disability payments after her employer installed new elevators and eliminated her job in 1995.

A jury in Galveston, Texas, acquitted real-estate heir Robert Durst of murder charges Tuesday. Durst was accused of shooting a neighbor to death in 2001 but claimed the gun went off accidentally. The six-week trial featured grisly testimony about how he dismembered the corpse and threw the remains into Galveston Bay. Prosecutors continue to investigate Durst's role in the disappearance of his first wife in New York and in the killing of a friend in California.

Nine former Wal-Mart workers recently arrested in federal immigration raids have filed suit against the global retail giant. The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart violated federal racketeering laws by conspiring with contractors to deprive the illegal immigrants of overtime pay, and to withhold taxes and required workers-compensation contributions. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., said the claims have no merit and it will seek to have the lawsuit dismissed. The plaintiffs, who now face deportation proceedings, were among 250 people arrested on Oct. 23 during raids by federal agents at 60 Wal-Mart stores around the country.

Actor Art Carney, who died Sunday in Chester, Conn., was best known as Ed Norton, TV sidekick to Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden on "The Honeymooners." With his trademark T-shirt, unbuttoned vest, and turned-up hat, Carney became the best-known sewer worker in television history. The role earned him several Emmys. He also received a best-actor Oscar for the 1974 film, "Harry and Tonto."

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