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Thanassis Stavrakis, Associated Press
Riot Police push back protestors who try to enter at the Parliament building at Athens' main Syntagma square, during a 24-hour strike on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. A general strike against the impending cutbacks stopped train and ferry services nationwide, while many schools and banks were closed and state hospitals worked on skeleton staff.

THE HEAT IS ON: Pressure from home and abroad is intensifying on Greece's political leaders to decide on cutbacks to secure a bailout and avoid a potentially disastrous default. Meanwhile, a general strike against impending cutbacks stopped train and ferry services in Greece, and led to closings of many schools and banks.

THE ISSUE: Athens must placate its creditors to clinch a €130 billion ($170 billion) bailout deal from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund and avoid a March default on its bond repayments.

THE RISKS: A disorderly bankruptcy by Greece would likely lead to its exit from the eurozone, a situation that European officials have insisted is impossible because it would hurt other weak countries like Portugal.