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EUROPEAN UNION VOTES TO LIFT EXPORT BAN ON BRITISH BEEF

The European Union agreed today to lift a worldwide export ban on the vast majority of British beef, an official said, a milestone in the "mad cow" crisis that has pitted Britain against its EU allies.

Eight of the 15 EU farm ministers voted to scrap the ban on deboned beef despite continued opposition from Germany, which joined four other countries in voting against it. Two abstained.

British farmers were badly hit by the ban, imposed in March 1996 after Britain announced a possible link between mad cow disease in British beef and a fatal brain ailment in humans.

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