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Debt inspectors probe Greek budget shortfall

ATHENS International debt inspectors are meeting with Greece's finance minister to try and overcome differences on austerity reforms before the country submits its 2014 budget to parliament at the end of next week.

The officials from the European Union and International Monetary Fund are examining government claims that the budget gap next year will be limited to 500 million euros ($670 million) and can be covered without any major new austerity measures.

They will meet with Yannis Stournaras and also examine how to ease the government's mortgage protection measures, the fate of loss-making state defense companies, and details of a mass public sector lay off plan.

Meanwhile, Greece on Tuesday raised 1.3 billion euros in a 13-week treasury bill auction, at a rate of 3.9 percent, unchanged from a month ago.