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Greece's Financial Plight Eases Slightly

A man (L) makes a transaction at an ATM machine outside an Emporiki Bank branch in Athens, March 9, 2012.
A man (L) makes a transaction at an ATM machine outside an Emporiki Bank branch in Athens, March 9, 2012.

Greece's financial plight is easing a bit, with the government receiving the first segment of its new bailout and at the same time attracting investors for a bond offering.

Greek officials said Tuesday the Athens government has received $10 billion from its European neighbors and the International Monetary Fund. The payment kept Greece from defaulting, with most of the money going to repay bonds held by the central banks in the 17-nation euro currency bloc.

Meanwhile, Greece sold its first bonds since reaching an agreement for its new $171 billion bailout, the country's second in two years, and elimination of $141 billion in debt the country owed its private creditors. The country raised $1.7 billion on the three-month loans and will pay less in interest than it did on similar bonds before securing the debt relief.

In Washington, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a congressional committee that Europe has "made very significant progress" in resolving the continent's two-year governmental debt crisis that centered on Greece's massive financial problems.

But Geithner warned that the eurozone is only in the initial stages of carrying out new tighter controls on spending and that "economic growth is likely to be weak for some time." Europe is predicting its economy will shrink slightly this year.

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

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