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VENEZUELAN LEADER SAYS PRICE OF OIL WON'T FALL ANY FURTHER

Oil prices won't fall further, visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in Tehran on Sunday.

Chavez, who arrived in Tehran from Riyadh, said that Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, the three-largest producers inside OPEC, had agreed to a strategy to bolster sagging prices, currently averaging $21.50 a barrel.

"After my talks in Saudi Arabia and with President (Mohammad) Khatami in Iran, I would like to tell the international community that oil prices will not fall further," Chavez told a news conference.

Iran was Chavez's fourth stop on a 21-day foreign tour to promote cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC nations. His next destination, Russia, is an important non-OPEC producer.

Schroeder's party posts
gains in German elections

BERLIN (AP) -- Exit poll results showed gains for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's party Sunday in a municipal election that was likely to confirm Berlin's first openly gay mayor in the job.

The poll results also suggested the former East German communists could enter Berlin's government for the first time since the country was reunified in 1990.

The voting Sunday was for the city's legislature, which in turn elects the mayor.

Citing exit polls, ZDF television said Schroeder's Social Democrats won 30.5 percent of Sunday's vote -- up from 22.4 percent in the last election two years ago. If those results are confirmed, the Social Democrats would be the top force in Berlin for the first time since 1971.

Social Democrat Klaus Wowereit became Berlin's first openly homosexual mayor in June. The Greens Party, allied with the interim mayor in a coalition city government, remained stable at 10 percent, the exit polls showed.

That made it likely Wowereit will need to bring a third party into his government -- possibly the ex-communist Party of Democratic Socialism, which hasn't held power in Berlin since 1990.

Doomed submarine enters
dry dock in Russian port

MOSCOW (AP) -- The wreck of the Kursk nuclear submarine entered a dry dock in the northern Russian port of Roslyakovo on Sunday despite high winds that could hinder the operation, officials said.

The Russian Northern Fleet headquarters said it would take another day to complete the docking operation. Divers are to inspect the attachments that hold the submarine to a barge, and then those grips will be removed, leaving the Kursk resting on blocks.

It took the Giant-4 barge about two hours to cover the 990 feet that separated it from the dock.

The Kursk sank in August 2000, killing all 118 men on board. It was raised from the Barents Sea floor earlier this month and towed beneath the barge to Roslyakovo.

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