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Greek MPs adopt controversial bill tied to EU-IMF loans

Greece's parliament on Monday narrowly approved an omnibus bill of reforms tied to the country's next tranche of EU-IMF loans of at least 8.5 billion euros ($11.7 billion). 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 majority of 152 to 135, the parliament speaker said. kan/od/gk

Cities and counties in Great Plains and Mountain West see growth from energy production

WASHINGTON - America's cities are still growing, with the population boom fueled by people picking up and moving to find jobs in energy production across the oil- and gas-rich areas west of the Mississippi River. New 2013 census information released Thursday shows that cities are the fastest-growing parts of the United States, and a majority of the metro areas showing that growth are located in or near the oil- and gas-rich fields of the Great Plains and Mountain West.

Tourism spending up one per cent in Q4, biggest rise since 2010

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says tourism spending in Canada rose one per cent in the fourth quarter, the largest gain in three and a half years. The agency says the increase was mostly due to higher spending by Canadians travelling within the country. Those Canadian travellers spent 1.2 per cent more in the fourth quarter, marking the largest gain since the first quarter of 2011. Spending on most tourism goods and services was up in the fourth quarter.

S. Korea, EU add provisions for Croatia to FTA

SEJONG, March 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the European Union added a protocol to their free trade agreement (FTA) Tuesday to account for Croatia's recent accession to the political and economic union, the South Korean government said. The revision of the South Korea-EU FTA, enacted in July 2011, was officially signed in Brussels, Belgium, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The same amendment was initialed in November 2011, about three months after Croatia's accession to the EU.

S. Korea, EU add provisions for Croatia to FTA

SEJONG, March 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the European Union added a protocol to their free trade agreement (FTA) Tuesday to account for Croatia's recent accession to the political and economic union, the South Korean government said. The revision of the South Korea-EU FTA, enacted in July 2011, was officially signed in Brussels, Belgium, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The same amendment was initialed in November 2011, about three months after Croatia's accession to the EU.

Disquiet in Baltics over sympathies of Russian speakers

By Aija Krutaine and David Mardiste DAUGAVPILS, Latvia/TALLINN (Reuters) - In the former Soviet republics of Latvia and Estonia, there is unease over events in Crimea, which was formally annexed by Moscow last week on the pretext of safeguarding its Russian minorities.

Eximbank to provide US$85 mln loan to Indonesia

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- The state-run Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) said Sunday it plans to provide a US$85 million loan to Indonesia in a bid to aid the country's establishment of a wastewater disposal facility. The money will come from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), a state-run fund launched in 1987 aimed at helping poor and less-developed countries with loans that carry low interest rates.

Biden warns Russia on 'dark path' to isolation

By Roberta Rampton VILNIUS (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reassured the leaders of Lithuania and Latvia that the United States would defend any NATO members against aggression and warned that Russia was on a "dark path" to isolation over its actions in Ukraine. Biden was in the capital of Lithuania, part of a quick trip to reassure Baltic allies worried about what an emboldened, aggressive Russia might mean for their nations. Lithuania, along with Estonia and Latvia, are NATO members.

Serbia nets alleged Balkan drug boss with help from CIA

By Matt Robinson BELGRADE (Reuters) - Alleged Balkan drug boss Darko Saric, one of the most wanted figures in the crime-riddled region, surrendered to Serbian police on Tuesday as a dragnet involving the CIA closed in on him in Latin America, Serbian authorities said. Serbia's government said the 43-year-old had set no conditions for his surrender, other than to see his wife, son and daughter for 30 minutes at Podgorica airport in neighboring Montenegro en route from an unspecified third country to Belgrade.

Dominican Republic homicide rate hits lowest level in 11 years

By Ezra Fieser SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - The homicide rate in the Dominican Republic plunged to an 11-year low in 2013 as the government used the military to back up the National Police, bucking the trend in the Caribbean where increased drug trafficking has brought more violence. The number of homicides fell by 12.5 percent last year to 1,975, compared with 2,258 in 2012, according to statistics supplied to Reuters by the attorney general's office.
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