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Greece gunning for weekend deal with EU-IMF creditors

Greece was gunning for a weekend deal with its EU-IMF creditors on a lingering reform audit that has held up billions of euros in loans since last year, an official said on Friday. "The goal is to reach an accord by Sunday," the finance ministry official told AFP. "We have begun looking at a revised text of agreement with the aim of wrapping this up as soon as possible," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told reporters late on Thursday.

Greek extremist killer's biography sparks row

An autobiography written by the main hitman of the far-left Greek extremist organisation November 17 has sparked a row over freedom of speech. The book by Dimitris Koufodinas, written whilst serving multiple life sentences in Korydallos prison near Athens and titled 'Born November 17', tracks his evolution from starry-eyed teenager to hardened killer. It has sold 15,000 copies since its publication last week -- a lot for Greece, which rarely records high book sales -- but critics have accused the publishers of shamelessly exploiting the blood of those slain by the group.

Greek PM sees 'strong indications' fuel deposits could raise half national debt in revenues

ATHENS, Greece - Greece's prime minister says the cash-strapped country could earn up to 150 billion euros ($206 billion) in three decades from offshore oil and gas deposits. Antonis Samaras said Wednesday the rough estimate, which is worth nearly half of Greece's 320 billion-euro debt mountain, was "neither optimistic nor pessimistic," and could increase depending on further exploration results. He said surveys have provided "very strong indications of significant" reserves off Greece's western coast, and work is ongoing in waters off the island of Crete in the south.

Greece back in the black for first time since 1948

Greece was back in the black for the first time since 1948, the EU's economics commissioner Olli Rehn said on Tuesday as figures showed the economically-hobbled nation returning to growth. "Greece has for the first time since 1948 reached a current account surplus," Rehn told a news conference on presenting better-than-expected growth forecasts for the European Union for this year and next. The EU's winter forecasts showed Greece returning to growth of 0.6 percent this year, with a significant leap of 2.9 percent expected for 2015, after a long and damaging recession.

Greek farmers march to Parliament to protest planned reforms in their taxation

ATHENS, Greece - About 4,000 Greek farmers and civil servants have marched through central Athens to protest planned increases in taxation on farming revenues. Brandishing banners and Greek flags, the protesters from various parts of mainland Greece and the island of Crete marched peacefully to Parliament Wednesday. Farmers' unions object to the conservative-led government's plans to expand the tax base by including many categories of farmers who previously paid little or no tax.

Former blue-collar workers in Greek town turn to soup kitchens, trash as unemployment rises

PERAMA, Greece - For Perama, the ships have sailed. This working class town at Athens' western tip once hosted some of the busiest shipyards in Greece, a maritime country with one of the world's biggest shipping industries. Wages were good and jobs plentiful. Apartment blocks were built quickly along a steep, sea-facing hill from whose heights 2,500 years ago a Persian king watched the destruction of his invading fleet off Salamis island, in one of history's most famous naval battles.

Greece's publishers, writers gather to protest against lifting of price controls on books

ATHENS, Greece - Austerity policies in Greece have a new enemy — but it's one which prefers intellectual debate to angry street demonstrations. Leading Greek writers and publishers gathered at a bookstore in central Athens on Tuesday to express their opposition to the proposed lifting of price controls on books sold in the economically depressed country. International rescue creditors are pressing for sweeping market deregulation that includes major changes to the sale of everything from bread to baby formula.

New quake inflicts fresh damage on Greek island

A strong earthquake hit the Greek island of Cephalonia early Monday, causing further damage to homes and public buildings a week after another major tremor, officials said. "I regret to say that Lixouri has sustained extensive damage," said Citizen's Protection Minister Nikos Dendias, referring to the island town that bore the brunt of the shocks. "This directly affects the residents' ability to lead a normal life," he told reporters.

'Strong' 5.8-magnitude quake rattles Greek island of Cephalonia

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Greek island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea on Sunday, the Athens Observatory said, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. The quake took place at 15:55 pm (1355 GMT) and was described as "very strong" by the Observatory. Its epicentre was 6 kilometres (3 miles) from the island's main town of Argostoli, some 280 km west of Athens. "For the moment no casualties have been reported," a local police official told AFP. Early indications suggested there had been some damage to roads, he added.

Electoral bickering could hurt Greek recovery: central banker

Electoral bickering ahead of Greek local elections in May could hurt the country's fragile economic recovery, the central bank governor warned on Thursday. "The future course of the economy is subject to strong uncertainty," Bank of Greece chief George Provopoulos told a parliament committee, adding that political infighting constituted a "major problem".
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