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Italy Moves to Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment

Italy saw its borrowing rates skyrocket in a big auction of bonds Tuesday as Premier Mario Monti put the finishing touches on his new lean government of technocrats, tasked with getting the country's enormous debt under control to avoid a catastrophic default.

Though Italy easily raised €7.49 billion ($10 billion), it had to pay more to investors to get them to open their wallets.

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Europe Crisis Hit with 'Deep Depression' Warning

Europe is reeling from warnings it faces a "deep depression" if the eurozone collapses and that every EU nation's credit rating could be hit without firm action to resolve the debt crisis.

An updated growth report from the OECD on Monday said the crisis was now just one step away from plunging advanced economies into an abyss of recession and could trigger waves of bankruptcies.

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Egypt Bourse Suspends Trading as Stocks Spike 5%

Egypt's bourse on Tuesday spiked more than 5.0 percent in a buying spree sparked by the orderly start to voting in the country's first post-revolution election, leading to the suspension of trading.

The main EGX-30 index rose 5.08 percent or 191.93 points to touch 3,972.06, after weeks of political upheaval and deadly clashes between police and protesters that caused huge falls in the value of the local stock market.

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Minister Says Arab Sanctions 'Unlikely to Cripple Syria'

The Arab League's unprecedented move to slap sanctions on member state Syria will further damage the economy but without bringing the country to its knees, officials said on Monday.

"It will be a severe impact on the Syrian economy, that's for sure," Economy and Trade Minister Mohammed Nidal al-Shaar acknowledged, although it was difficult to determine the precise effects.

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EU to Tighten Financial, Oil sanctions on Syria

The European Union will tighten sanctions against Syria's oil and financial sectors this week to punish the regime over its crackdown on protesters, a European diplomat said Monday.

EU foreign ministers meeting Thursday will adopt a raft of sanctions including bans on exporting gas and oil industry equipment to Syria, trading Syrian government bonds and selling software that could be used to monitor Internet and telephone communications, the diplomat said.

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Syria Says Has Pulled Most Assets from Arab States

Syria has withdrawn almost all of its assets from Arab countries, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Monday, a day after the Arab League slapped sanctions on Damascus for its refusal to halt a protest crackdown.

"I reassure you that we have withdrawn 95 or 96 percent of Syrian assets (from Arab countries)," Muallem told a news conference. "We must protect the interests of our people."

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Amazon Says Kindle Sales Quadrupled on Black Friday

Online retailing giant Amazon said Monday that sales of its Kindle e-readers and tablets quadrupled on Black Friday over the previous year's annual pre-Christmas national shopping orgy.

The company gave no specific data on Kindle sales last Friday, but said its new tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, was also the bestselling product on

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Euro Chief Juncker Rejects 'Artificial' EU Divisions

Euro finance ministers' head Jean-Claude Juncker rejected Monday any debt crisis solutions that would divide the EU, reacting to German-French ideas for an inner Eurozone club.

"It is not good to artificially divide the EU into two groups, it is important not to create differences between the 27 (EU member states) and the 17" members of the euro currency area, he told reporters.

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Khartoum Blocks South Sudan Oil Exports

The Khartoum government has blocked South Sudanese oil exports due to a dispute over transit fees, Oil Minister Ali Ahmed Osman said on Monday.

"Sudan stopped South Sudan's exports of oil on November 17," in the second such incident since August, a month after the south declared its independence, the minister told reporters.

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Euro, Stocks Hit as Italy Debt Problems Mount

Mounting concerns over Italy's debt problems pushed the euro and stock markets down Friday only for a technical bounce to take them off their lows after sustained recent losses.

Dealers said investors appeared to have lost confidence that European leaders can deliver a solution to the Eurozone debt crisis snapping at their heels, with the euro slumping to seven-week dollar lows.

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