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Greece, creditors converge in talks but still room to cover: minister
Greece and its international creditors have converged on key points on a cash-for-reforms deal but talks still have some room to cover before an agreement is clinched, the country's economy minister said on Thursday. "Right now negotiations are continuing, ... there have been big points of convergence," George Stathakis told Mega TV's On Line show. Greece's leftist-led government said on Wednesday it is starting to draft an agreement with its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund that would pave the way for aid, but European officials dismissed this as wishful thinking.
05/27/2015 06:01 PM

Blair to leave Middle East envoy post after years of struggling diplomacy

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks during the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South SinaiBy Luke Baker JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Former British prime minister Tony Blair is standing down as the Quartet representative in the Middle East, the organization said on Wednesday, after eight years struggling to break ground in peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians. Officials close to the Quartet of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, said Blair, 62, would continue to play an informal role in trying to forge a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israel. A Quartet statement said Blair "plans to step aside" and expressed appreciation for what it called his "unwavering commitment to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace" and efforts to improve the Palestinian economy.


05/27/2015 03:22 PM

Greece touts imminent loan deal, creditors cautious

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) talks to media next to Greek Finance Minister Yianis Varoufakis at the finance ministry in Athens after their meeting on May 27, 2015Greece on Wednesday said it was close to a loan deal with its EU-IMF creditors that would unlock badly-needed bailout loans for its struggling economy. "We are in the final stretch, we are close to an agreement," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said after a briefing at the finance ministry. A Greek government source had earlier said technical experts representing Athens and its creditors were to start drafting the long-awaited agreement in Brussels on Wednesday.


05/27/2015 03:06 PM

Russia, Ukraine see competitiveness plunge amid crisis: study

A broken ATM machine in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, on March 31, 2015Russia and Ukraine have seen their economic competitiveness plummet amid heightened tensions in the region, according to a global ranking topped by the United States and Hong Kong. In its annual ranking released Wednesday by the Swiss-based Institute for Management Development (IMD), Russia fell from 38th place to 45th out of the 61 countries. Conflict-wracked Ukraine meanwhile nose-dived 11 spots, landing at 60th place, ahead of only Venezuela, the ranking showed.


05/27/2015 03:03 PM

Ukraine must keep up fight against corruption -VP Biden

Vice President Biden speaks at the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation's 2015 Good Jobs, Green Jobs ConferenceBy Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ukraine's government needs to investigate and prosecute corruption at all levels and implement difficult political reforms to retain the support of the United States, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday. The U.S. government has given Kiev $470 million in economic assistance and signed two loan guarantees, each worth $1 billion, since pro-Western parties took office in Ukraine more than a year ago. Another $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee has been promised by the end of the year, but is contingent on reforms, Biden said in a speech at the Brookings Institution think tank.


05/27/2015 02:54 PM

Toll Brothers profit beats estimates on lower tax provision

A sign of a Toll Brothers development is seen in Broomfield, ColoradoThe company's shares fell as much as 3.7 percent to $35.63 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Toll Brothers said average selling price rose 1 percent to $713,500 in the second quarter ended April 30. "The economy and housing continue on parallel paths of recovery," Executive Chairman Robert Toll said.


05/27/2015 02:14 PM

Foreign investment in Latin America falls 16% in 2014

The Executive Secretary of the Centre of Studies for Latin America and the Caribbean in the United Nations, Alicia Barcena (L) delivers a speech at the CEPAL building in Santiago on May 25, 2015Foreign direct investment in Latin America and the Caribbean fell 16 percent in 2014, reversing a decade-long growth trend as the region's economies slowed, a UN panel said Wednesday. Foreign investment in the region fell to $158.8 billion last year from a record $190 billion in 2013, said the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. It was the first drop since 2009 and a sharp reversal in a trend that saw foreign investment expand rapidly over the course of a decade, from $46.9 billion in 2003.


05/27/2015 01:24 PM

Canada sticking to 2 percent growth forecast for 2015: Oliver

Canada's Finance Minister Oliver speaks in the House of Commons in OttawaThe Canadian government is sticking to its forecast of 2 percent economic growth this year despite a "quite weak" first quarter, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of finance chiefs in Germany. Oliver, pressed as to whether the ruling Conservatives would promise more tax cuts in the run-up to an Oct. 19 election, said that as budget surpluses grew, the government would have more flexibility to keep taxes low.


05/27/2015 12:56 PM

Greece says deal with creditors is close; markets rally

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, is welcomed by Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, during his visit at the Finance Ministry in Athens Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Greece is out of cash to repay debts due as soon as next week. The country and its creditors — other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund — have been locked in negotiations for months on what reforms the southern European country needs to take to get the final batch of loans from its international bailout. (Costas Baltas/InTime News via AP) GREECE OUTATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's prime minister said Wednesday that his country is close to reaching a deal with bailout creditors, prompting European stock markets to jump on hopes of a breakthrough in the slow-moving, often acrimonious talks.


05/27/2015 12:46 PM

European stocks close higher before G7, with eyes on Greece

In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 climbed 1.26 percent to 11,771.13 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 rose 1.95 percent to 5,182 points compared with Tuesday's closing levelEuropean equity markets closed sharply higher Wednesday before a G7 finance meeting focusing on Greece's debt drama, while airlines group IAG neared its takeover of Irish rival Aer Lingus. Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven (G7) wealthiest nations are meeting in Dresden to discuss the global economy and financial regulation, with Athens on the agenda amid stubborn fears of a Greek eurozone exit. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has invited his counterparts and their central bank chiefs from Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, for the gathering which kicks off later on Wednesday.


05/27/2015 12:40 PM

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