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Greek Bailout Vote Scrapped

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou reportedly scrapped plans to vote on the European bailout, officials close to Papandreou said Thursday. While the European bailout is deeply unpopular in Greece, Papandreou said the referendum is in effect a vote on whether Greece would stay on the euro—something that his own finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said was not an option. European leaders, led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Thursday that if Greece left the euro, the country would be forced to leave the EU—and lose all of the EU’s aid. There were calls Thursday for Papandreou to resign, although his government could be ousted as soon as Friday, when they face a confidence vote by Parliament. Reuters reported that Papandreou has made a deal with ministers to resign and hand over power to a coalition government if they help him win the confidence vote. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank lowered its benchmark interest rate Thursday in response to what President Mario Draghi called a "mild recession."