Sub-editor, World Desk, London, London
Peter's Feed
May 24, 2012

Greek burglars cash in as savers flee banks

ATHENS (Reuters) – Andreas and Emilia Karabalis, who are both 80, feared their bank in Greece would collapse, so they withdrew their 80,000 euros ($100,000) savings and stashed it at home for safety.

Days later, the thieves came in the night.

“We were sleeping. The two masked burglars came to our bed and tied us up. They hit us. They robbed us – they didn’t leave anything, it was torture,” said Emilia, who still trembles when she recalls the attack this month on the island of Lefkada.

May 21, 2012

Greek leftist brings message to Europe: “Let’s talk”

ATHENS (Reuters) – The charismatic Greek leftist who could determine the fate of the euro begins a tour of European capitals on Monday carrying a single message: it’s time to talk.

In an interview on the eve of his first visit abroad since his surprise rise in a May 6 election, Alexis Tsipras veered occasionally into the combative rhetoric that has seduced disaffected Greek youth and alarmed Brussels and Berlin.

May 19, 2012

Greek election race tightens into dead heat

ATHENS (Reuters) – A flurry of polls on Saturday showed the race to lead Greece has tightened into a dead heat ahead of an election next month that could determine whether it remains in the euro.

Greece was forced to call the new vote for June 17 after an election on May 6 left parliament divided evenly between groups of parties that support and oppose austerity conditions attached to a 130 billion euro rescue agreed with lenders in March.

May 17, 2012

Poll shows Greece electing pro-bailout government

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek voters are returning to the establishment parties that negotiated its bailout, a poll showed on Thursday, offering potential salvation for European leaders who say a snap Greek election next month will decide whether it must quit the euro.

The poll, the first conducted since talks to form a government collapsed and a new election was called for June 17, showed the conservative New Democracy party in first place, several points ahead of the radical leftist SYRIZA which has pledged to tear up the bailout.

May 14, 2012

Greece’s hard left leader more than just “sexy Alexi”

ATHENS (Reuters) – It’s fair to say that “sexy” is not an adjective used to describe most Greek politicians.

When Alexis Tsipras, the 37-year-old ex-student radical poised to become the most powerful man in Greece, sat with no necktie across the negotiating table from middle-aged party bosses, it was clear politics in Athens were about to change.

May 12, 2012

Greece lurches towards new vote, hard left leads

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek politicians abandoned their quest to form a government on Saturday, leaving the president with one final opportunity to avert new elections that could drive the debt-choked country out of the European single currency.

Greece’s political landscape is in disarray after voters humiliated the only parties backing a rescue plan tied to spending cuts, leaving no bloc with sufficient seats to form a government to secure the next tranche of financial aid.

May 11, 2012

Greek parties scramble to avert new vote

ATHENS, May 11 (Reuters) – The leaders of Greece’s
once-dominant political parties make their final effort on
Friday to form a coalition and avert a new election, which a
poll showed would all but wipe them out and give victory to a
radical leftist who rejects an EU bailout.

The overwhelming majority of Greeks want to stay in the euro
zone but voted last Sunday for parties that reject the severe
terms of a bailout negotiated last year. European leaders say
Greece will be ejected from the common currency if it turns its
back on the package of tax hikes and wage cuts.

Mar 17, 2012

Iraq militia frees U.S. hostage after 9 months

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Followers of Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr freed an American former soldier on Saturday after holding him captive in Baghdad for nine months.

The American, identified as Randy Michaels, was shown on television in a U.S. military uniform with no insignia, flanked by two members of parliament from Sadr’s movement, including the parliament’s first deputy speaker.

Mar 12, 2012

Fear as death squads hunt Iraq’s gays and “emos”

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The man holds up two pictures of his friend, which tell the story of what it now means to be gay in Iraq.

One photograph, which the man keeps on his mobile phone, is a portrait of a handsome youth with a stylish haircut. The other, a printed snapshot taken last month, shows the body of the same young man lying sprawled in the back of a white pickup truck, his head disfigured by blunt trauma.

Feb 27, 2012

Iraq militia hands over last missing U.S. soldier’s remains

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A Shi’ite militia has handed over the body of the last U.S. soldier missing in Iraq, closing a final chapter of the war two months after U.S. troops left and more than five years after the soldier vanished while secretly visiting his wife in Baghdad.

A source in Shi’ite militia Asaib al-Haq said the group had acted as an “intermediary” in handing the body of American soldier Ahmed al-Taie to the Iraqi government. The source denied the group was behind his abduction and killing.