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Demonstrators shout slogans against government's austerity measures during a protest outside the Greek Parliament in Athens -- April 27, 2010. - 


Stacey Vanek-Smith: Germany has just said it would approve a loan for cash-strapped Greece as soon as next week if Athens can hammer things out with the International Monetary Fund and other European leaders. Germany plans to chip in about $11 billion. That would make it the biggest contributor to the planned $60 billion bailout of Greece. Yesterday, Standard and Poor's downgraded the country's debt to junk status. That would make it very hard for Greece to borrow money. In the meantime, the Greek government has said it will have to cut salaries, pensions and thousands of jobs. From Athens, Joanna Kakissis has more.

Joanna Kakissis: The Greek finance minister insists there's no way his country is going to default. But promises are not calming markets. That's because economists say the Greek government won't be able to sell key spending cuts to an already angry Greek public.

And they may be right. Polls show most Greeks strongly oppose more spending cuts. Schoolteacher Afroditi Baza joined hundreds at a protest in Athens:

Afroditi Baza: Because most of us are working people, and we are living just from our salaries. We have nothing else!

Meanwhile, European tensions are starting to boil over. Germany is the biggest economy in Europe. But it says it won't sign off on a bailout unless Greece makes the deep budget cuts.

The Greek government has said it's listening to those German demands. But many Greeks aren't as diplomatic. They're angry that some German politicians and media are portraying them as lazy, corrupt freeloaders. One radio host responded by likening the Germans to a country of cheap, unhappy misers.

For Marketplace, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.