In Rome, Italy's Senate overwhelmingly approved a package of growth-boosting measures that are likely to pave the way for the resignation of longtime Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as soon as this weekend, and the appointment of an interim government.

The measures, contained in a hefty amendment to Italy's 2012 budget, passed the senate in a 156-12 vote. That outcome was widely expected amid pressure from Italy's head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano, and several European Union authorities that have been pressing Italy to do something to reboot its stagnant economy.

Mr. Berlusconi, who tried to tackle the crisis with tax increases and spending cuts, has pledged to step down as soon as the measures are approved by the lower house, which will vote on the matter Saturday.

In Athens, Greece swore in caretaker Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and his cabinet, who will implement the country's latest €130 billion ($177 billion) bailout before leading the country to elections. The ascension of Mr. Papademos, a U.S.-trained economist and former vice president of the European Central Bank, closed an 11-day chapter of Greece's political crisis that forced premier George Papandreou to step down amid questions over his country's future in the euro zone.

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