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Greek Wildfires Under Control


Greek authorities say wildfires that have swept through southern Greece over the past week claiming 64 lives and destroying property have been brought under control.

The European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hubner, Friday flew over the scene to assess Greek needs. She said the European Union could offer up to about $800 million in assistance to Greece this year.

The United States has pledged $1.3 million in aid and technical assistance to the Greeks.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called the fires a "European disaster." He was expected to arrive in Greece Friday for talks with government officials.

The Greek government has offered immediate payments of $4,000 each to victims claiming compensation from the fires.

Thousands of citizens have demonstrated in Athens this week against what they consider a lack of government preparation for dealing with the situation.

Greek voters will go to the polls next month to select a new parliament. The issue of forest fires and how they should be tackled is expected to be a key issue.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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