USA

Four of almost 600 terrorist suspects held at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were to make their first appearance before a special five-member military commission charged with determining whether they conspired with Al Qaeda or the Taliban to attack the US. Three of the men are alleged former bodyguards of Osama bin Laden and one, David Hicks, is an Australian accused of aiding the enemy and attempting to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Allies of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called President Bush's criticism of controversial TV ads by so-called 527 groups too little, too late. Kerry's campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission Monday, alleging that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which ran some of the controversial ads, was illegally coordinating its activities with the White House, which the latter denies. Bush described Kerry's military service in Vietnam as admirable and called on independent groups to stop "all the stuff." But the swift boat group planned to introduce a second ad Tuesday, accusing Kerry of tarring the service of other Vietnam veterans through his antiwar protests in the early 1970s. The group also said it would not bow to a request by Bush to end its campaign.

A federal court upheld New York City's refusal to allow a large protest rally on the Great Lawn of Central Park Saturday, two days before the start of the Republican National Convention. District Judge William Pauley III concurred with the city's concerns about security at the rally, organized by the National Council of Arab Americans and the Answer Coalition. It is expected to draw 75,000 civil-rights demonstrators. Judge Pauley urged the city and protestors, including as many as 250,000 who seek to hold an antiwar rally Sunday, to work toward a compromise.

Several hundred union members marched in Washington Monday, protesting new national overtime rules, which took effect this week. Critics say they are concerned about reductions in overtime eligibility. But the Labor Department says the regulations clarify and update overtime rules and should affect only white-collar workers.

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