World briefs: Knox trial is delayed

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ROME -- Italy's highest court delayed until today a decision on whether American student Amanda Knox will face a new trial in the murder of her British roommate -- an unusual but not unprecedented move.

The court heard six hours of arguments Monday before announcing it would issue a decision at 10 a.m. today on whether the 2011 acquittals of Ms. Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito will stand.

Italian prosecutors have asked the high court to throw out the acquittals of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito in the 2007 murder of 21-year-old student Meredith Kercher and order a new trial.

U.S. links with S. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea -- Throwing its weight behind an ally, the U.S. military said Monday that it had signed an agreement 2 1/2 years in the making to support South Korea in countering North Korean provocations.

Washington's mutual defense treaty with South Korea obligates the U.S. military to fight to defend its ally if a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula.

Warrants issued in Egypt

CAIRO -- Egypt's top prosecutor issued arrest warrants on Monday for five rights activists on suspicion of inciting violence against members of the president's Muslim Brotherhood.

A statement posted on the attorney general's official Facebook page said all five have also been banned from traveling abroad.

Israeli tax transfers OK'd

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized a resumption of the monthly transfer of taxes and customs duties collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority, his spokesman said Monday, providing badly needed relief for the cash-strapped Palestinian government in the West Bank.

The move, coming days after a visit by President Barack Obama, reverses an Israeli decision to suspend the regular tax transfers as punishment for the successful Palestinian bid in November to become a nonmember observer state at the United Nations.

Cyprus banks stay closed

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Cyprus has extended the closure of its banks for two more days -- until Thursday -- a sudden postponement that comes after the country's leaders spent days struggling to come up with a plan to raise the money needed to secure an international bailout.

Banks in the country have already been closed for more than a week to prevent a run on deposits.

Rights group raided

MOSCOW -- Russian authorities Monday raided the local headquarters of the human rights group Amnesty International, the latest in a continuing series of office searches aimed at putting pressure on nongovernmental groups.

Officials from the general prosecutor's offices and from the tax police arrived Monday morning unannounced to conduct what they described as an "audit" and demanded a list of documents.

Benefits access tightening

LONDON -- Prime Minister David Cameron promised more stringent rules Monday to reduce outsiders' access to social, health and housing benefits, reflecting a fraught debate in Britain over the potential effect of increased immigration from southeast Europe that could fuel a rightist threat to his Conservative Party.

The prospect of citizens from Bulgaria and Romania gaining unfettered access to the British labor market under European Union rules has raised alarms among some Britons.

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