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Greece Says Needs 27.5 bn Euros to Recapitalize 4 Biggest Banks

Greece's four biggest banks need 27.5 billion euros ($36.4 billion) in recapitalization funds by the end of April, the national central bank said in a report released Thursday.

"Capital needs for all Greek commercial banks were estimated in May 2012 at 40.5 billion euros, of which the 27.5 billion euros corresponded to the four core banks," it said.

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Black Market Thriving in Syria: Cars, Fuel, and Cigarettes

Endless supplies of cigarettes, a BMW or Mercedes for between $4,000 and $6,000 but fuel at vastly inflated prices -- the black market is thriving on the Syria-Turkey border.

"It is all legal," insists Abu Ahmad, once a grocer in Syria's war-ravaged city of Aleppo who is now dealing in motor vehicles in the rebel-held town of Aazaz near the frontier.

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European Stocks Rise after Festive Break

Europe's main stock markets rose Thursday following the festive break and a rally in Tokyo, as traders focused on whether the United States would avert the 2013 "fiscal cliff" of sharp tax hikes and spending cuts.

In afternoon deals, London's FTSE 100 index of top companies was up 0.30 percent at 5,972.17 points compared with the close on Monday, its previous trading session.

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Ford to Invest $773 mn in U.S., Create 2,350 Jobs

U.S. auto giant Ford said Thursday it will invest $773 million to expand factories across its home state of Michigan, generating 2,350 new jobs, part of a plan to add 12,000 jobs by 2015.

The investment will help save an additional 3,240 jobs, it said.

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Ireland's EU Presidency Hoping for Growth but Trouble Persists

Bailed-out Ireland hopes to use the momentum of its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2013 to push through measures to boost growth and create jobs.

Ireland is the first country to take on the six-month rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc while being propped up by money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

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Spain Reveals Sea of Red Ink at Bankia

Spain revealed Wednesday an ocean of red ink in its bailed-out Bankia group at the heart of the nation's banking crisis.

The lender Bankia had a negative value of 4.148 billion euros ($5.5 billion) and its parent group BFA 10.444 billion euros, the state-backed Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring, or FROB, said in a statement.

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New Turmoil Hits Egypt's Tourism

At Egypt's Pyramids, the desperation of vendors to sell can be a little frightening for some tourists.

Young men descend on any car with foreigners in it blocks before it reaches the more than 4,500 year-old Wonder of the World. They bang on car doors and hoods, some waving the sticks and whips they use for driving camels, demanding the tourists come to their shop or ride their camel or just give money.

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Starbucks Boss: 'Come Together' on Fiscal Deal already

Starbucks stirred the political pot Wednesday by urging its baristas to write "come together" on its cups as a way to pressure U.S. lawmakers to compromise on a deal to avert a year-end fiscal crisis.

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said the American coffee giant was recommending its first-ever message on the side of tall, grande and venti (small, medium and large) drinks sold at its Washington stores as a way to help break the capital's gridlock on the so-called "fiscal cliff."

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Minister Says Turkey Will Keep Buying Gas from Iran

Turkey will keep buying natural gas from neighboring Iran as Western allies raise pressure over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Wednesday.

"It is out of question for us to take a step backward," Yildiz was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "Furthermore, we have not been asked to take such a step."

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IMF Says Jordan Price Hike 'Important Step'

The IMF said on Wednesday Jordan's decision to raise fuel prices by up to 53 percent last month was "an important step," despite violent protests in which three were killed and more than 70 injured.

"Despite this challenging environment, the authorities have been implementing sound macroeconomic policies aimed at reducing fiscal and external imbalances in a socially acceptable way. The removal of general subsidies on all fuel products ... was an important step," it said in a statement.

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