USA

A coalition of veterans' groups filed a class-action lawsuit against the government Tuesday on behalf of millions of service personnel whose privacy could be violated by the theft of Veterans Affairs records. The groups claim the VA failed to make "the most rudimentary effort" to safeguard sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, and should have to pay up to $1,000 in damages per person, or as much as $26.5 billion.

IBM Corp., which employs 43,000 people in India, said it will triple the company's investment there, from $2 billion to $6 billion, over the next three years. India is already IBM's largest overseas base of operations, and now IBM plans to build service delivery centers and a telecommunications research facility there.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) of New York continued the city's crackdown on illegal guns by announcing a series of proposed measures to stem their sale and use, the New York Daily News reported. One bans "coloration kits "used to paint real guns to look like toys. Bloomberg said the kits put police officers in "impossible positions."

By a 44-to-1 vote, North Carolina's Senate approved a House plan to ban video poker machines by next summer. Gov. Mike Easley (D) is expected to sign the bill stalled for years over concerns about lost jobs.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R) has decided to drop out of New York's gubernatorial race Tuesday after failing to receive his party's endorsement last week, according to Associated Press sources. Weld was seeking to become the first man since Sam Houston in the mid-19th century to be governor in two states.

US drug czar John Walters said that agents, working in cooperation with the Mexican government, have closed down a lab in Mexico that's possibly the main source of fentanyl, a powerful painkiller cited in the deaths of at least 100 heroin users who've used a heroin-fentanyl mixture.

New Orleans took another step in its long recovery by holding its first criminal jury trial since hurricane Katrina flooded the Orleans Parish courthouse. About 5,000 cases are pending.

Golfer Michelle Wie fell short in her effort to become the first woman to qualify for the US Open, which begins June 15. The teenager shot a 3-over-par 75 at Summit, N.J., Monday, leaving her five shots shy in a second qualification round of grabbing a spot in the 153-player field.

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