ATHENS, Greece -- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras seized on new economic data Saturday that indicated that Greece was on track to economic recovery and promised relief to Greeks weary of years of punishing austerity.
"Greece is turning the page," Mr. Samaras told politicians and entrepreneurs at an annual international trade fair in the northern port of Thessaloniki, traditionally used by Greek prime ministers to outline their government's economic policy for the coming year. "There will be no more austerity measures."
Citing figures released Friday by the national statistics agency, he said the Greek economy shrank 3.8 percent in the second quarter, significantly less than an estimate of 4.6 percent.
Taliban prisoners freed
KABUL, Afghanistan -- At least 18 Taliban prisoners, some of them prominent figures, were released by Pakistan and Afghanistan, with no guarantees that they would not rejoin the insurgency, Afghan and Pakistani officials said Saturday.
Pakistani officials said they were releasing seven Taliban prisoners to facilitate the peace process, while Afghan officials said they had requested the releases and welcomed the move.
Separately, Afghan officials confirmed Saturday that the day before they had begun exchanging 11 Taliban prisoners for the release of a female member of the Afghan Parliament, who had been kidnapped by the insurgents last month.
MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Two bombings killed at least 15 people Saturday at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, the latest in a series of deadly attacks that have undercut recent security gains in Somalia, officials said.
The Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attacks -- a car bomb and a suicide bombing.
Oil exports plunge
TRIPOLI, Libya -- Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zidan faced increasing calls for his ouster Saturday as strikes by government employees at oil export terminals cost the North African country more than $5 billion in losses.
Bilqasim Shindeer el-Shibany, a board member of Libya's National Oil Corp., told The Associated Press that oil exports almost entirely have stopped. Late last month, officials said exports were around 300,000 barrels per day, down dramatically from pre-war levels in early 2011.
Sinai assault kills 9
CAIRO -- A military spokesman said that the Egyptian army had killed nine Islamist extremists in an operation Saturday, part of a campaign lasting weeks to quell militant activity in the lawless Sinai region.
The operation was part of an effort to stamp out militant havens in Sinai, where reports of deadly attacks on the police and security forces have become an almost daily occurrence.
Also in the world ...
Thousands of supporters of Cambodia's opposition rallied Saturday in Phnom Penh against the authoritarian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, calling for the United Nations to help lead an investigation into accusations of cheating in the July 28 national elections that the governing party says it won. ...The former basketball star Dennis Rodman left North Korea on Saturday after visiting with the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, and unleashed an expletive-laced tirade while rejecting calls that he push for the release of an American missionary who has been detained by North Korea since late last year.
-- Compiled from news services