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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".

Greece: Battered Greek Socialist party head to polls under new name

ATHENS, Greece - Greece's once-dominant Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, or Pasok, will participate in May's European Parliament elections as part of a new centre-left alliance and not independently, after popular support for the party collapsed during the country's painful economic bailout. Pasok officials said Monday that its candidates would seek election in the May 22-25 polls under a newly formed Progressive Democrats' Party, created by centre-left politicians and academics. A similar alliance is also planned for local government elections, also planned for May.

Insight: Gold mine stirs hope and anger in shattered Greece

By Deepa Babington and Lefteris Papadimas OURANOUPOLI, Greece (Reuters) - A Canadian quest to mine for gold in the lush forests of northern Greece is testing the government's resolve to prove Europe's most ravaged economy is open again for business. The Skouries mine on Halkidiki peninsula - a landscape of pristine beaches and rolling hills dotted with olive groves - is among the biggest investments in Greece since it sank into a debt crisis four years ago.

Greek defence probe brings belated gains

A corruption probe into long-forgotten defence contracts has given authorities in Greece a small financial victory, along with the promise of revelations into decade-old graft. The sum of over 9.0 million euros ($12.3 million dollars) has been handed over to the state by Antonis Kantas, a former defence ministry official turned state witness. Kantas, 72, was a deputy procurement director at the defence ministry from 1997 to 2002.

Greek former transport minister sentenced for driving uninsured car

A wealthy Greek former transport minister was given a suspended four-year prison sentence on Monday after being caught driving an unlicensed luxury jeep, court officials said. Prominent conservative Michalis Liapis, 63, was also sentenced to a fine of 3,000 euros ($4,100) for flouting traffic laws he once vowed to uphold as the government's transport minister. The case has embarrassed the conservative-led coalition government which is struggling in the polls ahead of local elections in May.

Europe won't turn its back on Greece

Europe will not turn its back on Greece and the assumption of the rotating EU presidency offers Athens a great opportunity, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday. In a pre-release of an interview to be published in the mass-circulation daily Bild on Tuesday, Schaeuble said: "The presidency will show the Greek people that Europe is its future." The responsibility of taking over the EU presidency "generates identity, self-confidence, pride. The Greek EU presidency is a huge opportunity for the country and for Europe," Schaeuble said.

Greek jockeys lament privatization delays, bring race horses into central Athens

ATHENS, Greece - Greece hasn't seen many demonstrations in favour of privatization during its acute four-year financial crisis, but jockeys are keen to be rid of a state-run agency that controls racetrack betting, and they rode their horses into central Athens on Thursday to make their point. Jockeys, as well as racecourse officials, are angry at the lack of progress in Greece's privatization program, and warn that the industry could suffer a major setback if a late January deadline expires without the sale of the Horse Race Betting Organization, ODIE.

Greek former transport minister caught driving uninsured luxury car with fake license plates

ATHENS, Greece - A former transport minister was arrested in debt-crippled Greece on Tuesday accused of driving his — uninsured — luxury car with fake license plates in an apparent effort to dodge paying road tax. Greek police said Michalis Liapis, who belongs to one of Greece's most prominent political families, was stopped in his jeep after allegedly ignoring a road stop sign east of Athens.

Left-wing opposition takes lead in poll as 94 per cent of Greeks feel pessimistic

ATHENS, Greece - A political party that opposes the harsh austerity measures imposed during Greece's financial crisis has taken a narrow lead in a closely monitored opinion poll. The MRB tracking survey published by the news website Monday also found that more than 90 per cent of Greeks feel pessimistic about the nation's economy. The opposition left-wing Syriza party led with 21.9 per cent, and the centre-right New Democracy which heads the coalition government, had 21 per cent, the poll said.

European Commission approves $4.1 billion in aid for building Greek highways

AMSTERDAM - The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, approved Monday 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in financial aid to help build four major highways in Greece. Construction on the highways has been halted over the past few years as the country has grappled with a severe debt crisis that's required big budget cutbacks.
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