A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Wednesday:

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BRUSSELS _ Greece has made progress convincing the rest of the eurozone that it should get a $170 billion bailout _ but the country's austerity efforts will need much tighter surveillance, the chairman of the eurozone's finance ministers said.

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WASHINGTON _ World Bank President Robert Zoellick said he is stepping down, raising the possibility that a non-American might be chosen for the first time to head the 187-nation lending organization.

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LONDON _ European markets pulled back from earlier gains and the euro fell as concerns grew that Greece's creditors aren't ready to hand over bailout loans needed to avert a default and that the money might not be sufficient anyway.

In France, the CAC-40 closed just 0.4 percent higher, Germany's DAX rose just as much and the FTSE in Britain fell 0.1 percent.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo soared 2.3 percent, its highest close since Aug. 5. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2.1 percent, its highest finish since Aug. 4.

Mainland Chinese shares advanced with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index climbing 0.9 percent, its highest close this year. The Shenzhen Composite Index gained 1.5 percent.

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LONDON _ Britain's economy is likely to grow slowly this year in a "zigzag" pattern of quarterly gains and setbacks _ barring a disaster in the eurozone, the governor of the Bank of England said.

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BERLIN _ The German economy, Europe's largest, shrank less than expected in the last quarter of 2011 and was still able to post 3 percent growth on the year overall, the country's Federal Statistical Office reported.

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PARIS _ France's GDP grew slightly in the last quarter of 2011, the national statistics agency said Wednesday, bringing total economic growth for the year to 1.7 percent, just off government estimates.

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MILAN _ Italy's national statistics agency confirmed that the eurozone's third-largest economy had slid into recession thanks to a drop in industrial activity and a stagnant service sector.

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LISBON, Portugal _ Bailed-out Portugal managed to raise $3.9 billion in a debt auction despite concerns that a deepening recession could force it to ask for more international financial help.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Greece's finance minister said all pending issues in its international creditors' requirements for the country's second bailout will be completed ahead of a conference call between eurozone finance ministers.

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PRAGUE _ The Czech Republic's Statistics Office says the country's economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the final three months of 2011 to slip into recession after a brief recovery.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia _ Malaysia's central bank says economic growth slowed sharply to 5.1 percent last year and warned that prospects for 2012 are clouded by Europe's ongoing debt crisis.

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SHANGHAI _ American businesses are finding their prospects in China clouded by surging costs, intense competition and regulatory interference, despite the country's crucial importance for their survival, according to a report.

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CANBERRA, Australia _ Australian lawmakers narrowly approved tax hikes for the wealthy that will help the government meet its pledge to deliver a budget surplus next year.

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TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP