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BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) - A convoy of Shi'ite Muslim militia and Iraqi army forces set out from a base near Ramadi on Saturday to advance on areas held by Islamic State, a Shi'ite spokesman said, launching a counter-offensive to reverse stunning gains by the jihadi insurgents. The fall of Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital, to Islamic State on May 17 could be a shattering blow to Baghdad's weak central government. The Sunni Muslim jihadis now control most of Anbar and could threaten the western approaches to Baghdad, or even surge south into Iraq's Shi’ite heartland.
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday his leftist-led government was on the final stretch of negotiations with its international lenders on a cash-for-reforms deal that would not involve further pension cuts and harsh austerity. "We are on the final stretch of a painful period shaped by the government's negotiations with the institutions," Tsipras, back from an EU leaders summit in Riga, told his party's central committee.