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Business Highlights

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Greeks going unpaid as jobs vanish, president warns of 'societal explosion'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) â¿¿ Looking out across a room full of reporters gathered to welcome French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, Greece's President Karolos Papoulias gave a stark warning about the state of the country after three harsh years of government spending cuts, joblessness and tax hikes.

"We are faced with a societal explosion if any more pressure is put on society," he said.

In spite of Greece receiving much-needed bailout loans, life seems to be getting worse for ordinary people. Not only are Greece's 1.35 million unemployed unable to make ends meet, but a growing number of those in work are struggling as more and more companies can no longer make regular salary payments. As well finding it harder to feed, heat and clothe themselves and their families, Greek workers also have to pay increasingly hefty taxes the government is relying on to turn the economy around.

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US housing starts dip but remain at solid pace

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. homebuilders began work at a slower pace in January than in December. But the decline occurred in the volatile area of apartment construction, which sank 24 percent. By contrast, the rate of single-family homebuilding rose 0.8 percent.

Even with the overall decline, the pace of home construction in January was the third-highest since 2008 and was evidence of continued strengthening in residential real estate. And in an encouraging sign for the rest of the year, applications for building permits, a signal of future construction, topped December's rate. Applications for permits are at their highest point since mid-2008.

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More expensive food pushes up US wholesale prices 0.2 percent after 3 months of declines

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. wholesale prices rose only slightly in January after three straight declines, the latest sign that inflation is posing no threat. It means the Federal Reserve has room to keep interest rates at record lows without worrying about igniting inflation.

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