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>Religious leaders object to Wal-Mart practices

Nine local religious leaders Saturday added their names to a nationwide campaign objecting to Wal-Mart's corporate practices on wages, health benefits and other issues they say harm families and communities.

"As people of faith, we see the moral consequences of inadequate wages in our families and neighborhoods," Monsignor David M. Gallivan, pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church, said at a news conference at the church. "This is why we join with other religious leaders nationally to call on Wal-Mart to improve the wages of its workers at this Christmas season."

Wake Up Wal-Mart, a group formed by the United Food and Commercial Workers, recently released a letter signed by 65 religious leaders asking Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott to make the company "a leading example of moral greatness in corporate America."

The group said nearly one of every two children of Wal-Mart workers lives without health care or relies on a public program.

In a reply posted on Wal-Mart's Web site, Scott said the company provides its employees "the dignity of a job" that pays an average of about $10 an hour, plus benefits."

Scott expressed concern about the number of Wal-Mart employees' children who rely on public health programs, and said more than 1 million people will have health care coverage through improved Wal-Mart health coverage next year.
The Coalition for Economic Justice and the Western New York Workers Rights Board, along with clergy members, organized the news conference.

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>Dan Aykroyd invests in Niagara wineries

Comedian Dan Aykroyd has invested $1 million in Niagara Cellars Inc., which owns four wineries in Ontario's Niagara Region.

Aykroyd, who first gained fame on "Saturday Night Live" and is now an actor and entrepreneur, will use his celebrity to raise the company's profile, in addition to making his investment. A native of Ottawa, he also wants to raise the profile of Canadian wine, and will start by serving it in his House of Blues restaurants.

His investment in Niagara Cellars gives him 10 percent of the company, which, in addition to the wineries, includes a beverage distribution subsidiary called Diamond Estates.

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