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Brazilian President Pledges to Improve Economy, Deems Gang Violence 'Terrorism'

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said he will use his second term to promote economic growth and curb gang violence.

Mr. Lula da Silva made the remarks in his inaugural speech after Monday's swearing-in ceremony. The president told thousands of onlookers at an outdoor ceremony that he will improve access to education and push for tax incentives to bolster the economy. He also applied the term "terrorism" to a spate of gang violence that killed 19 people in Rio de Janeiro last week. He said the violence must be dealt with by "the strong hand of the Brazilian state."

In his first term, Mr. Lula da Silva brought inflation under control and stabilized the country's boom-and-bust economic cycles. But Brazil's 2.6 percent growth has lagged behind other countries in the region. President Lula da Silva has pledged to increase growth to five percent.

Thousands of people gathered in the rain outside the presidential palace to celebrate Mr. Lula da Silva's inauguration. He won a landslide run-off election in October despite a series of corruption scandals that have plagued his Workers' Party.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.