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VATICAN

Pope changes papal election rules

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules for electing a new pope, returning to the traditional requirement that two-thirds of the cardinals in the conclave agree on a candidate, the Vatican said yesterday.

Pope John Paul II altered the voting process in 1996, allowing the pope to be chosen by an absolute majority if the cardinals were unable to agree after several days of balloting in which a two-thirds majority was needed.

In a document released yesterday, Benedict said he was returning to the traditional voting norm, essentially reversing John Paul’s reform of the centuries-old process.

SYRIA

Rice warns against violence in Lebanon

PARIS — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a veiled warning to Syria yesterday, saying a Lebanon tribunal must be safe while it handles the murder of a Lebanese leader who was a prominent critic of Syrian influence in his country.

“One thing we’ll be talking about is how to make certain these people can be secure in their work,” Miss Rice told reporters after discussing plans for the tribunal with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

Miss Rice noted that supporters of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri blamed Syria and its affiliates for political killings that followed the 2005 assassination.

From wire dispatches and staff reports