USA

President Bush announced that Canadian companies will be eligible for Iraq reconstruction contracts during a second round of bids, following his meeting with new Prime Minister Paul Martin. The private fence-mending session took place on the final day of the Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico. Canada opposed the US-led war in Iraq and Martin's predecessor, Jean Chrétien, was a frequent critic of US foreign policy. Before returning to the White House, Bush also was scheduled to meet with the presidents of Argentina and Bolivia.

Under investigation by his former department, ex-Treasury Secretary O'Neill denied giving government secrets to author Ron Suskind. A document labeled "secret" was shown during an interview Sunday on the CBS-TV show "60 Minutes" to promote the new book by Suskind about O'Neill's experiences in the Bush Cabinet. He resigned last year in a dispute over economic policy. O'Neill told NBC's "Today" show Tuesday that the document was among 19,000 the Treasury Department's own general counsel gave him for possible use in the book.

An internal audit of 128 Wal-Mart stores found thousands of labor violations, The New York Times reported. The July 2000 audit showed employees missed 60,000 breaks and 16,000 meals, and there were more than 1,300 violations of child-labor rules such as working too many hours. The review "doesn't reflect actual behavior," Wal-Mart vice president Mona Williams told the Times, saying other company auditors considered it flawed. But critics said it confirms accusations that the world's largest retailer - and private employer - regularly forced workers to skip breaks and lunches. Wal-Mart is based in Bentonville, Ark.

Court-martial proceedings were due to begin for an Air Force translator accused of espionage at the US detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Airman Ahmad al Halabi was not expected to enter a plea during arraignment at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif. Halabi, who has maintained his innocence, is one of four men charged with security violations related to work at the detention facility for suspected terrorists.

Kathleen Blanco was sworn in as Louisiana's first female governor Monday in the capital, Baton Rouge. Blanco (D) pledged to "work tirelessly" for big and small businesses. In a nod to her Cajun ancestry, she took the oath of office in both English and French.

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