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Wal-Mart announced plans to add more than 300 stores worldwide next year. In the US, that will mean 40 new discount facilities and 170 to 180 new Supercenters, which combine traditional Wal-Marts with grocery operations. The world's largest retailer also indicated it will add 15 to 20 Neighborhood Market grocery stores and 40 to 50 Sam's Clubs. In some cases, the additions actually will be the relocation or expansion of existing facilities.

Microsoft, under a $135 million deal announced Monday, will become one of the largest shareholders in Corel Corp., the Canadian firm that makes WordPerfect and other software for the competing Linux operating system. The companies indicated they'll settle unspecified legal issues and work together to develop applications based on Microsoft's Internet-based .NET initiative.

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Nike, one of several US sporting goods companies under fire for labor practices and working conditions in its Asian assembly plants, canceled its contract with a Cambodian garment factory. A spokesman said June Textiles Co. Ltd. already was on probation for requiring excessive overtime when an underage worker was found on its payroll.

In a deal valued at $1.6 billion, the lengthy battle for control of Edinburgh-based insurer Scottish Life was won by rival Royal London Mutual. At one time, US financial services giant GE Capital Corp. was thought to be the leading bidder, but it dropped out of the running last month.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society