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• The Buffalo News reports that three convicted sex offenders who were hired by Wal-Mart are now complaining to the New York State Division of Human Rights that they were unfairly fired because of their criminal records.

The men – including one who played Santa Claus at a Wal-Mart store during the Christmas season – say that they disclosed their convictions on their job applications.

Wal-Mart has asked that the complaints be dismissed, saying that the state’s Human Rights laws do not prevent it from discriminating against people who have criminal records.

• The Miami Herald reports that while Wal-Mart may be a magnet for controversy in the US, the company’s Mexican subsidiary, often referred to as Walmex, “is growing at lightning speed, outpacing its Mexican competitors and outperforming its parent company” becoming Mexico’s largest private employer.

Analyst Burt Flickinger III, managing director of the Strategic Resource Group, tells the Herald that ''Mexico and Latin America are going to be critical to Wal-Mart's international and total corporate results because Wal-Mart is literally hitting the proverbial wall in the United States -- with the possible exception of Florida and the Gulf Coast states.”

And Neil Stern, a partner with McMillan Doolittle, tells that paper that Wal-Mart’s Mexican ventures have been “spectacularly successful.”

One professor tells the Herald that Wal-Mart’s expansion and low prices have done more than just give consumers a new option. “The company's genuine commitment to lower prices . . . gave Mexico a shot of `consumer democracy,’” says Julio E. Moreno, a professor at the University of San Francisco.
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