France Chosen to Host

Nuclear Fusion Project

PARIS -- France was chosen Tuesday as the home for a $13 billion nuclear fusion project that scientists say could produce a boundless source of clean and cheap energy.

A consortium of the United States, the European Union, China, Russia and Japan had been divided over whether to put the test reactor in France or Japan. The project is expected to create 10,000 jobs and take about eight years to build.

Cadarache, in the southern region of Provence, was chosen during talks in Moscow. Participants will now negotiate the construction details and sign a final agreement, possibly by the end of 2005.

If all goes well with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, officials hope to set up a demonstration power plant in Cadarache around 2040.

THE AMERICAS

* UNITED NATIONS -- Condoleezza Rice, on her first trip to the United Nations since becoming secretary of state, made clear that enlarging the Security Council should not override other U.N. reforms, U.S. officials said. Rice spent about 35 minutes with Secretary General Kofi Annan and 40 minutes with General Assembly President Jean Ping.

* MEXICO CITY -- Lawmakers overwhelming approved a law allowing millions of Mexicans living abroad to vote by mail in next year's presidential election. President Vicente Fox has promised to sign the bill.

ASIA

* MANILA -- Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo moved dramatically on Wednesday to reduce pressure on her government from graft allegations, saying her husband had agreed to leave the country.

She did not say how long her husband, Jose Miguel, known as Mike, would remain abroad. Opposition lawmakers have said he, the couple's son and other family members were involved in payoffs from gambling syndicates, but nothing has been proved.

* SHANGHAI -- Hundreds of Catholics packed Shanghai's cathedral Tuesday for the consecration of a bishop who church leaders hope will help ease a rift with Rome. Joseph Xing Wenzhi, 42, was made auxiliary bishop in a ceremony led by Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai, the representative of the government-backed church, who is relinquishing many of his administrative duties.

EUROPE

* ROME -- Pope John Paul II, who died in April, was formally launched on the road toward sainthood as a six-man tribunal was sworn in at an emotional ceremony at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome.

* PORTSMOUTH, England -- Seventeen tall ships from five countries held a mock battle off England's coast to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, Adm. Horatio Nelson's stunning victory at sea that gave naval supremacy to Britain for over a century.

THE MIDDLE EAST

* BEIRUT -- Lebanon's parliament reelected pro-Syrian politician Nabih Berri, head of the Shiite group Amal, as speaker for a fourth consecutive term. The 128-seat assembly, dominated by opponents of Syria for the first time since the 1975-90 civil war, gave Berri 90 votes.

-- From News Services