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'Here comes the mayor!' - Greek far right fires up Athens campaign

By Renee Maltezou and Deepa Babington ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek far-right Golden Dawn lawmaker Ilias Kasidiaris strode into a packed hotel room in central Athens last month to the sound of a marching song and supporters' cries of "Here comes the mayor!" "In less than 100 years, Greeks will become a minority in their country. The only way to strike at the root of evil is through the municipal elections," Kasidiaris said, pledging to rid the Greek capital of "thieves and immigrants".

Greek 2013 budget data in line with estimates, stats agency figures show

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's 2013 budget outcome data are in line with previous government estimates, according to preliminary official figures released on Monday by the country's statistics agency ELSTAT. The country's general government budget deficit, as calculated under European ESA 95 accounting rules, stood at 23.109 billion euros ($32.1 billion), or 12.7 percent of gross domestic product, ELSTAT said. This is broadly in line with a previous government estimate for a 12.6 percent gap.

Greece is back, market return in sight-PM

By Renee Maltezou and Deepa Babington ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has put the worst of a debt crisis behind it and is considering issuing new debt within three months, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Reuters on Wednesday. Greece has enjoyed a sharp revival of fortunes since its debt burden nearly sent it crashing out of the euro zone two years ago. Its economy is set to emerge from a six-year recession this year while bond market yields imply its borrowing costs have dropped to four-year lows.

Greeks evoke past injustices to overcome bailout shame

By Harry Papachristou ATHENS (Reuters) - Germany is footing much of the bill for Greece's 237 billion euro bailout but Athens-trained dentist Aristomenis Syngelakis feels no gratitude; Berlin owes his country billions in reparations for Nazi crimes during World War Two, he says. "They're wagging the finger at us while they are themselves the biggest cheats," says Syngelakis, stung by headlines in popular German newspapers calling Greeks lazy swindlers.

Greek police ban protests during EU meetings in Athens

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have banned protests in Athens when the Greek capital hosts a meeting of European Union finance ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday, citing security reasons. Demonstrators will be banned from rallying or marching in the center of the capital, including around parliament in Syntagma Square, the focus of often violent protests against austerity measures imposed under the country's bailout plans.

Greek Parliament passes omnibus reform bill, but government majority erodes further

ATHENS, Greece - The Greek Parliament passed an omnibus reform bill early Monday containing the latest measures agreed upon between Greece and international lenders, with the slim government majority holding despite suffering new defections.

Greece secures votes to pass reform bill demanded by EU/IMF lenders

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's government secured enough votes in parliament early on Monday to pass a key reform bill demanded by its international lenders, in exchange for further bailout loans to avoid default. A majority of deputies voted in favor of the reform measures Athens agreed earlier this month with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, after more than six months of tough negotiations.

Greek MPs adopt controversial bill tied to EU-IMF loans

Greece's parliament late on Sunday narrowly approved an omnibus bill of reforms tied to the country's next tranche of EU-IMF loans, the parliament speaker said. Despite 11th hour attempts by the opposition to delay the vote, parties backing the government carried the tough articles that had caused dissent within the coalition partners by a slim majority. The first article including controversial reforms for milk passed with 152 votes against 135 in the 300-member parliament.

Greece reaches long-delayed deal with international lenders on next bailout loans

ATHENS, Greece - Greece concluded seven months of tortuous negotiations with its international debt inspectors Tuesday, reaching a deal that will allow it to access a long-delayed rescue loan installment. The deal does not require Greece to impose any new austerity policies, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras insisted, as he outlined a series of relief measures for the most needy. "Today a long period of tribulations has ended, and a new beginning is being made," Samaras said.

Beleaguered Greek sports surviving on 'crumbs'

By Graham Wood ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's beleaguered Olympic sports federations are struggling for their very existence following a new round of cuts in state funding despite several new emergency measures announced on Friday. Funding received by most disciplines has been halved in the government's proposals for the 2014 budget compared with last year, causing uproar among the federations who are already only able to afford basic operating costs just 10 years on from the 2004 Athens Olympics.
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