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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces fired tear-gas and dispersed university students who had defied a law passed on Sunday that restricts demonstrations, the state news agency reported, Students of Al-Azhar University and Assiut University in Assiut province, south of Cairo, staged a protest in defiance of the new law, chanting against the army and police. (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Toby Chopra)
Ukrainian police fired tear gas Monday at pro-European demonstrators staging a second day of protests outside the government seat in Kiev over a decision to scrap a key pact with the EU. Scuffles broke out outside the government headquarters shortly before the European Union said the offer of a broad political and economic deal this week was "still on the table". A day earlier, tens of thousands swarmed central Kiev chanting 'revolution' and waving flags, in the biggest rally since the 2004 Orange Revolution overturned a rigged presidential poll and forced a new ballot. Despite rain up to 1,000 protesters returned Monday to force President Viktor Yanukovych to sign the agreement at a summit in Vilnius, demanding the government's resignation.
By Giuseppe Fonte ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta's coalition government said on Monday it would call a confidence vote on its 2014 budget, a move that will give the first clear proof of its strength since Silvio Berlusconi's party split this month. Confidence votes, which limit the scope for time-consuming amendments, are regularly called to speed legislation in Italy and Letta is almost certain to win with the backing of rebels who split off from Berlusconi's center-right party, now rebranded under its original name Forza Italia. But the motion in the Senate heightens tension ahead of a vote to expel Berlusconi from parliament this week and is likely to cement the split between Forza Italia and Letta's coalition of left and right formed after February's deadlocked elections. "The confidence vote is necessary not only to guarantee a quick approval (of the budget law) but also to verify ... the trust between the government and its parliamentary majority," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dario Franceschini.
China and Japan raised the temperature in a territorial dispute Monday with each summoning the other's ambassador over Beijing's declaration of an air defence zone, a move which Tokyo called "profoundly dangerous". The diplomatic scuffle came after Washington said it would stand by Japan in any military clash over the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, and as Seoul and Taipei voiced their disquiet at China's weekend announcement.
U.S. private sector activity rebounded in November after slowing the month prior, while new orders grew at their fastest pace since April 2012, according to an industry report released on Monday. Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) - a weighted average of its manufacturing and services indexes - rose to 57.1 in November from 49.6 last month. This is the first month that Markit is publishing its composite and service sector data, which it has been compiling since October 2009. The PMI for the services sector, also reported by Markit on Monday, rose to 57.1 in November from 49.3 in October.
Brent crude prices fell by more than two percent on Monday following a key deal between world powers and Iran on its controversial nuclear programme. Brent North Sea crude, the European benchmark, for January delivery fell $2.48, or 2.23 percent, to $108.57, while New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January, was down 82 cents, or about one percent, at $94.02. Iran on Sunday agreed to curb its nuclear programme for the next six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief, in a preliminary accord with world powers meant to lay the foundations for a comprehensive agreement later this year. "Brent had rallied last week in response to market talk that the negotiations weren't going so well, and what we see right now is a downward correction of prices after the deal," Victor Shum, managing director at IHS Purvin and Gertz in Singapore, told AFP.