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The eurozone's consumer price downturn eased and jobless figures picked up slightly Monday but the modest improvements were not enough to dispell all fears of a deflationary spiral. Analysts said the figures were welcome although the European Central Bank will still have to pull out all the stops to prevent the economy stalling as oil prices continue to fall sharply, stoking the deflation threat. Consumer prices in the 19-nation eurozone were down 0.3 percent in February, less than the drop of 0.6 percent in January when tumbling energy prices slashed the cost of living, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said. Energy prices alone were down 7.9 percent, slowing only slightly after a fall of 9.3 percent in January, Eurostat said.
By Tim Cocks OTUOKE, Nigeria (Reuters) - The most impressive building in Otuoke, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's home town in the oil producing Niger Delta, is the multistory mansion complex he has built for himself and close family while in office. A few hundred metres away, the street where he grew up is a jumble of rusting iron-roofed shacks. Down a dirt side alley, Happiness Ebi smokes fish on a charcoal barbecue, a staple in this swampy southern region. "We haven't really seen much benefit since our brother became president, except the university," she says, referring to the shiny Federal University Otuoke, completed in 2011, that has about 1,000 students and nearly a third more staff. "But there's no light, no water here. We're disappointed." Yet she will vote for him again in a presidential election set for March 28. "Of course," she says, "He's our brother." Her answer reveals why the delta, historically one of Nigeria's most marginalised regions although its oil provides three quarters of government revenue, could erupt again if Jonathan leaves office. Otuoke, on the banks of a sand-coloured river, does not feel particularly favoured, although the few cars, well-clothed inhabitants and thriving petty trade show it is doing better than many places.