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Oil Slips on Greek Worries, Saudi Call for Lower Prices

Oil fell in Asian trade Monday amid mounting worries over Europe's debt crisis and calls by major crude producer Saudi Arabia for prices to fall further, analysts said.

New York's main contract West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in June was down 84 cents to $95.29 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for June shed 41 cents to $111.85 in morning trade.

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Firms Fear Summer Meltdown in Nuclear-Free Japan

Japan's hard-hit manufacturers are facing a long summer with businesses making everything from ice creams to crayons fretting production may be hampered as the now nuclear-free nation faces energy cuts.

A hot summer would usually be good news for Ezaki Glico, a major snacks and ice cream maker, with soaring temperatures increasing appetites for cooling snacks. But looming power shortages could make it difficult.

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China, Japan, S.Korea Agree to Start Free-Trade Talks

The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea agreed Sunday to start talks this year on a free-trade area, saying it would boost the economies of the entire region.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said closer regional economic integration in response to a slow global recovery and an overall rise in trade protectionism would help unlock new growth potential.

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Japan’s PM: Europe Debt Crisis Biggest Risk for Japan Economy

The European debt crisis is the biggest risk for the Japanese economy, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in a weekend interview with Dow Jones Newswires, citing it as a factor behind the yen's strength.

"It is risky to just stand on the sidelines and watch. This is not just about Europe, there is a possibility that it may spread to the global economy," Noda said on Saturday.

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Hammond: Britain's Defense Budget 'Black Hole' Sorted

Britain's defense secretary said he had finally balanced his department's books, in an interview out Sunday, following a week in which he made a U-turn on purchasing jets, to the annoyance of France.

Philip Hammond told The Sunday Times newspaper that he will be able to announce this week that he has fixed the £38 billion ($61 billion, 47 billion euro) so-called "black hole" in the Ministry of Defense (MoD) budget.

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China Cuts Bank Reserves to Revive Slowing Economy

China's central bank is reducing the amount of reserves banks must hold in an effort to spur lending and revive a sharply slowing economy.

The People's Bank of China announced Saturday that the bank reserve ratio requirement is being reduced a half percentage point as of next Friday.

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Spain Braces for More Protests over Economic Woes

Spanish activists angered by grim economic prospects planned nationwide demonstrations Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of their protest movement that inspired similar groups in other countries.

Spain is in deep economic difficulty, prompting fears it may need a bailout like Greece, Ireland and Portugal. It is in recession, and unemployment stands at almost 25 percent — the highest among the 17 countries using the euro. One in two Spaniards under the age of 25 are out of work.

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Bundesbank Boss Tells Hollande to Leave EU Fiscal Pact Alone

Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann warned French president-elect Francois Hollande on Saturday against tampering with the European Central Bank or the EU fiscal pact.

He also reminded Greece that it would have to respect its commitments or risk having its bailout aid suspended, in an interview with the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

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Obama Urges Congress to Act on Economy, Jobs

U.S. President Barack Obama called on members of Congress Saturday to pass several initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and create much-needed jobs.

"There are things we can do - right now - to help create jobs and restore some of the financial security that so many families have lost," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

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JPMorgan in Shock $2 Billion Loss on Derivatives

U.S. banking giant JPMorgan Chase said Thursday it had lost $2 billion on derivatives since March in what chief executive Jamie Dimon called a "flawed" and "poorly executed" hedging operation.

In a unscheduled conference call, Dimon also said the bank could face another $1 billion in losses through the end of June due to market volatility.

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