Greece approves austerity budget amid new strike

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ATHENS. December 23. KAZINFORM The Greek parliament has approved next year's budget, bringing in sweeping austerity measures; Kazinform refers to BBC News.

The budget imposes more spending cuts and tax rises, as required by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a bailout to tackle the country's debts.

Ahead of the vote, public transport unions protesting over cuts to wages staged another 24-hour strike.

The governing Socialists won the vote by 156-142.

The budget aims to effect a deficit of 7.4% of GDP next year, down from about 9.4% this year.

Greece needed to approve the budget to continue to receive a $144bn bailout fund created by European countries and the IMF.

Prime Minister George Papandreou insisted his austerity measures were working; Kazinform refers to BBC News.

See www.bbc.co.uk for full version.

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