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Briefs (left)

EU Gives Qualified
Endorsement on Expansion

By Dan Bilefsky

Romania and Bulgaria will receive qualified endorsement on Tuesday to join the European Union on Jan. 1, but the bloc will warn that expansion must then halt until the organization makes needed structural changes, the European Commission president said on Monday.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the commission president, said that the admission of the two countries marked the last phase of integration in a European Union that has been stretched beyond capacity for now.

“The upcoming enlargement with Bulgaria and Romania will be the last stage of enlargement allowing the reunification of Europe,” Barroso said. “We are not in a position to further integrate Europe without further institutional reform. There are limits to our absorption capacity.”

He added that the European Union’s moribund constitution, which proposed a streamlined voting system to accommodate an expanded membership, would have made further enlargement more manageable. But after its emphatic rejection last year in France and the Netherlands, Barroso said the group either had to revive the charter or make the needed changes another way.

Shanghai Leader’s Fall Shows
Split in China’s Power Structure

By Joseph Kahn

As the storm clouds of a national anti-corruption campaign loomed on the horizon last spring, Chen Liangyu, the Communist Party boss of Shanghai and one of China’s most powerful officials, summoned reporters from the main state news agency to his office for a rare interview.

Chen told the reporters that, as chief of China’s wealthy East Coast commercial center, he felt obliged above all “to carry out the orders of the party center,” a public pledge of obeisance to President Hu Jintao.

That vow of fidelity came too late to rescue Chen. As an heir of the influential Shanghai-centered political machine built by Jiang Zemin, China’s former top leader, Chen never won the trust of Hu, whose own power has grown steadily more formidable, party officials said.

On Sunday, security forces put Chen, 59, under a form of house arrest known as “double designation.” The state news media reported Monday that he had lost his political posts, including his membership in the ruling Politburo, and that he might face criminal charges.

Inquiry Tries to Identify
Prime Minister’s Killers

By Warren Hoge

The director of the U.N. commission investigating the killing of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon, reported Monday that it had confirmed its preliminary conclusion that the attack was the work of a suicide bomber but was still pursuing the identities of the participants in the highly organized plot.

In a largely technical 22-page report, Serge Brammertz, the prosecutor leading the inquiry, said he had developed evidence from the crime scene about the bombing to a level suitable for presentation to a court and was intent on doing the same thing with evidence pointing to the conspirators.

Hariri, who opposed Syrian domination of his country, was killed along with 22 others when a huge truck bomb exploded as his convoy was moving along a downtown Beirut street on Feb. 14, 2005. The public outrage and mass street demonstrations that followed led Syria to comply with international demands and a Security Council resolution calling on it to withdraw its troops from Lebanon after a 29-year presence.