Greece unions strike to halt austerity plan

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ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's Parliament narrowly passed a crucial austerity bill early Thursday, in a vote that left the coalition government reeling from dissent as it struggles to secure vital bailout funds.

The bill, which will further slash pensions and salaries, passed 153-128 in the 300-member Parliament. It came hours after rioters rampaged outside Parliament during an 80,000-strong anti-austerity demonstration, clashing with riot police who responded with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon.

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Flights to and from the country stopped for three hours at the start of the 48-hour strike and national protests that closed schools, halted train and ferry services, and left Athens without public transport or taxis while state hospitals ran on emergency staff.

-- AP

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