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Strike Cripples Services in Greece

Thousands of civil servants walked off their jobs in Greece Wednesday to protest wage freezes and bonus cuts that are part of a government plan to fix the country's troubled economy.

The strike, which includes air traffic controllers, grounded flights in and out of the country. Teachers, doctors, nurses and train workers are also among those who are taking part in the 24-hour work stoppage.

Some demonstrators have gathered in Athens where they waved banners and chanted slogans against the government's economic reform policies.

The European Union has been pressuring Greece to slash its budget deficit, which reached 12.7 percent last year.

EU officials worry that the Greek financial crisis will affect the value of the euro - the currency used by 16 EU members.

On Tuesday, the Socialist-led government announced plans to raise the country's retirement age in order to save money on pensions.

Prime Minister George Papandreou has said his government's primary duty is saving the economy and reducing public debt while protecting the middle and lower classes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.