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MEXICO PASSES CONTROVERSIAL LAND REFORM BILL

Mexico's Congress Saturday approved a controversial bill to modernize the country's system of land tenure.The bill was approved 343 to 24 after a marathon debate in which opponents accused the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of betraying the revolution. The bill, proposed last month by President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, is expected to pass easily in the PRI-controlled Senate. Supporters say it will help create economies of scale and bring prosperity to the depressed and land-poor Mexican countryside. Critics say the sale of small farms will trigger a mass exodus of peasants.