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Papandreou Faces Showdown on Austerity as EU Deadline Looms

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces his second survival test in a week as lawmakers vote on a five-year austerity plan that must pass for the cash-strapped nation to secure more international aid.

Failure to pass Papandreou’s plan may lead to the euro area’s first sovereign default as Greece needs to cover 6.6 billion euros ($9.4 billion) of maturing bonds in August. The week, beginning with talks over creditors’ role and ending with a Sunday meeting of finance ministers meet in Brussels, will be marked by a 48-hour general strike in Greece.