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Bolivian Energy Bill Becomes Law

A Bolivian official says a bill that increases taxes on foreign oil companies in the country has become law, after President Carlos Mesa let a deadline pass to veto or modify the measure.

Presidency Minister Jose Galindo says President Mesa, who opposes provisions in the bill, allowed it to be automatically passed by Congress.

Senate president, Hormando Vaca Diez, signed it into law Tuesday, as mandated by the constitution.

The law calls for a 32 percent tax on foreign oil companies, in addition to an existing 18 percent royalty they already pay.

Opponents of the controversial measure have demanded higher taxes on the companies. Monday, thousands of protesters clashed with police in the capital, La Paz, during a demonstration against foreign oil firms.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.