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Court Fines Brazilian President for Early Campaigning

Brazil's electoral court has ruled President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva must pay a $420,000 fine for campaigning before the official start of the 2006 presidential race.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared late Thursday that one million brochures titled "Brazil, a land for all," that the president commissioned were campaign leaflets instead of educational materials. Brazilian law prohibits campaign advertising for the October election before July 6.

The fine is the equivalent of the estimated cost of printing the leaflets. It also exceeds President Lula's declared personal wealth.

The president's lawyer said he will appeal the ruling.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.