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European Stocks Tread Water, Greek Debt Deadline Eyed

European stocks are treading water, flitting between small gains and losses, with investors reluctant to make any bold moves ahead of Greece's debt-swap deadline.

(DOW JONES NEWSWIRES) London - At 0845 GMT, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.1% at 258.10. London's FTSE 100 index was down 0.1% at 5760.21, Paris's CAC 40 index was flat at 3363.28 and Frankfurt's DAX was 0.2% lower at 6618.62.

Greece is hopeful it can achieve participation of around 75% to 80% in the deal, which is aimed at writing down 53.5% of the country's EUR177 billion debt. However, that would still fall short of the 90% needed to avoid the activation of collective action clauses that would force the hand of reluctant investors. The worry here is that the activation of CACs will trigger payouts under credit-default swap contracts, as it would be a case of a debtor coercing a creditor under the rules of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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