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.