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MINSK — President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday he won a mandate from voters to stay in power in a weekend referendum scrapping presidential term limits, but foreign observers said the vote process was marred by violations and thousands of people protested the outcome. The Central Election Commission said 77 percent of voters supported the referendum scrapping a two-term limit on presidents. That allows the authoritarian president of this ex-Soviet republic to run again in 2006. He has led the nation since 1994.


RIO DE JANEIRO — A top Brazilian official said Monday that U.N. nuclear inspectors were no longer insisting on unrestricted access to the country's uranium enrichment facilities. Odair Goncalves Dias, president of Brazil's National Nuclear Energy Commission, said he hoped the International Atomic Energy Agency's new position would help resolve a dispute over the country's plans to enrich uranium.


OTTAWA — Canada may have more than 2 million doses of surplus flu vaccine to help the United States battle a serious shortage, health officials said Monday, although U.S. officials have cautioned that imports were unlikely to be licensed in time for this flu season.


BEIJING — North Korea's No. 2 leader said Monday that his country still wants to settle the dispute over its nuclear program through dialogue, as China tried to cajole the North back into stalled six-nation talks, calling for flexibility by all sides. Kim Yong Nam began a visit to Beijing on Monday amid a flurry of efforts to restart the talks on Washington's demand for the North to give up its nuclear ambitions. Participants missed a September deadline for holding a new round after the North refused to take part.


LONDON — The biggest proposed overhaul of Britain's education system in 60 years was unveiled Monday, including a plan to replace the wave of standardized tests for high-school students with a single diploma system. The goals include improving basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics, and giving students more opportunity to follow vocational training.


MADRAS — India's most wanted bandit, accused of murdering police officers, slaughtering elephants and kidnapping a movie star, was killed Monday in a jungle shootout with police after more than three decades on the run, authorities said. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, 60, was shot to death in a gunbattle with a special police paramilitary task force just before midnight, said K. Senthamaraikannan, police superintendent for the southern state of Tamil Nadu.


TEHRAN — Iran said Monday it is prepared to temporarily suspend some nuclear activities but would not surrender its right to enrich uranium. The remarks by the country's top nuclear negotiator, Hasan Rowhani, came just as the three major European powers were expected to offer Iran a package of economic incentives in hopes of persuading Tehran to abandon uranium enrichment.


JERUSALEM — Supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon argued heatedly Monday over the need for a national referendum on the government's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. In a twist even for serpentine Israeli politics, Sharon is resisting a referendum although he would almost certainly win it, after having lost two internal votes within his Likud Party over the plan.


SLUBICE — Top lawmakers from Poland and Germany failed Monday to bridge differences over World War II reparations claims that are weighing on relations between the two former enemies and new European Union partners. German Parliament President Wolfgang Thierse emphasized after meeting his Polish counterpart Jozef Oleksy that the Berlin government does not back claims by Germans for ancestral property in Poland lost after World War II. But, the German government has said it can't prevent them.

Vatican City

A top Vatican cardinal on Monday assailed what he called attempts to silence the Roman Catholic Church on issues of gender and marriage, blaming "powerful cultural, economic and political lobbies." Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Justice and Peace Council, said "new holy inquisitions full of money and arrogance" were taking aim at church positions.