Bank chief claims economy 'improving'
GREECE: The governor of the Bank of Greece said today the country's recession had cut output by 20.1 per cent between 2008 and 2012, but he argued the economy was improving.
European Central Bank governing council member George Provopoulos said that Greece's economy would remain in recession in 2013, with unemployment expected to continue rising this year.
CYPRUS: German and French finance ministers called for efforts to seal a bailout package for the country by the end of March following Nicos Anastasiades's victory in the presidential election.
Wolfgang Schaeuble and Pierre Moscovici said they were "confident that the forthcoming government will significantly accelerate the pace of reforms."
QATAR: An appeals court reduced the sentence of jailed poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami from life to 15 years today for a verse considered offensive to the Gulf nation's ruler.
Despite the reduction Mr Ajami denounced Qatar's judicial system in a court session held under heavy security.
PAKISTAN: A countrywide blackout left the country without electricity for almost two hours on Sunday night.
The authorities blamed technical problems for the breakdown, insisting that it was not caused by sabotage.
SYRIA: The US was scrambling today to salvage an opposition conference that Secretary of State John Kerry is due to attend this week.
Some members of the sharply divided Syrian Opposition Council are threatening to boycott Wednesday's meeting, which could hit chances of further aid for the rebels.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said today his government is ready to hold talks with the armed opposition, but did not say whether rebels would have to lay down arms first.
GUINEA: Opposition parties are gearing up for national strikes this week after announcing they will boycott May 12 elections.
Opposition coalition spokesman Faya Millimono said on Sunday that the bloc wouldn't contest the polls - originally slated for 2011 - because of government administration of the election.
In particular, he said South African company Waymark, selected last week to draw up voter lists, would be open to government manipulation.
ICELAND: The government said today that it is drafting plans to ban pornography in print and online in an attempt to protect children from a tide of violent sexual imagery.
The proposal by Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson has caused uproar. Opponents say the move will censor the web and undermine Iceland's reputation as a bastion of free speech.
Advocates say it is a sensible measure that will shelter children.
SLOVENIA: The government moved closer to collapse today after another junior partner quit the centre-right coalition just before Wednesday's confidence vote in parliament.
The People's Party and its two ministers left the government, becoming the third party to do so since an anti-graft watchdog accused Prime Minister Janez Jansa of corruption in January.
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