Wal-Mart's more than 11,000 retail locations across 27 countries provides the company's U.S. division a testing lab stretching across five continents, according to Wal-Mart International CEO David Cheesewright. Joking to the crowd gathered during an Oct. 15 investor conference, Cheesewright noted that he was the third speaker of the day who has English as a foreign language. To that point, the world has become smaller and more connected via technology. Retail is at the center of that change. Changes seen in the global markets often make their way back to the Bentonville mothership, he said.

Wal-Mart workers and union organizers say they'll hold strikes in more than 20 cities Wednesday in their campaign to raise wages. The job actions are timed in conjunction with Wal-Mart's annual shareholder meeting, which takes place Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., near the company's Bentonville headquarters. OUR Wal-mart, a group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, helped orchestrate a candlelight vigil Monday night outside the Phoenix home of Rob Walton, Wal-Mart's board chairman. 

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