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Brazil President Proposes Reforms to Quell Protests

After more than a week of nationwide protests, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said Monday her government will hold a referendum to embark on sweeping political reform.

She also laid out a plan to spend $23 billion on public transportation, accelerate investment in education and health care, and crack down on political corruption.

The wave of protests originally was triggered by an increase in bus and subway fares, but protesters have since focused on what they say is the government's neglect of public services, high taxes and rampant corruption.

The protests also are targeting the billions of dollars being spent to host the 2016 Summer Games, next year's World Cup and this month's Confederations Cup.

Ms. Rousseff met Monday in Brasilia with state governors, city mayors and protest leaders, including representatives of the free transit activist group, which successfully forced authorities in several cities to cancel mass transit fare increases.

The mostly peaceful demonstrations peaked on Thursday, when about 1 million people took to the streets in cities across Brazil with occasional instances of violence and vandalism.