NEW ERA: Mexico's lower house of Congress gave general approval to historic legislation that would open the state-run oil industry to private investment, but final passage was delayed by a debate on its provisions that continued throughout the night and past dawn.
NATIONALIZATION ROLLBACK: Operations by private companies that would be allowed by the bill have been prohibited since 1938, when President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the oil industry, a step written into the constitution to protect the country from possible profiteering by foreign companies.
GREAT IN CONCEPT: Those who favor the legislation say it's needed to revamp Mexico's moribund, state-run oil industry. Production is on the decline and state-run Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, hasn't had the finances or expertise needed to tap the country's vast reserves. Opponents say it would be a return to the days of foreign oil companies profiteering from Mexico's patrimony and a betrayal of the Mexican people.