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Monday national & world headlines

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News & AP) - U.S. Senators agree on immigration rules, a survey shows economists are more optimistic and a nightclub fire in Brazil is blamed on pyrotechnics.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A bipartisan group of leading senators has reached an agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation's immigration laws. The deal covers border security, guest workers and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.

NEW YORK (AP) - Economists are increasingly optimistic about growth in the year ahead, but they're still a little cautious. Half the economists polled in a quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists expect the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, or real gross domestic product, to grown between 2 and 4 percent this year. That's up from just 36 percent of those polled who felt that way in October.

SANTA MARIA, Brazil (AP) - Inspectors in southern Brazil believe a fast-moving nightclub fire started when a band's pyrotechnics show ignited foam sound insulating material on the ceiling. Authorities say most of the more than 230 victims who were killed in the blaze in Santa Maria early Sunday died from smoke inhalation rather than burns.

CAIRO (AP) - A curfew will begin Monday in parts of Egypt after the president declared a state of emergency in three Suez Canal provinces. They were hit hardest by a weekend wave of unrest that left more than 50 people dead. Anger has been fueled by President Mohammed Morsi's Islamist policies and the slow pace of change.

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Officials in eastern Australia say three people have died during torrential rains that flooded several towns over the weekend. Downtown businesses in Brisbane were inundated while helicopters rescued 18 people from the roofs of their homes in Bundaberg, some 240 miles to the north.

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