The flags of the European Union and Greece flutter at the Greece consulate in New York June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
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Greece lurched deeper into crisis Wednesday as European finance ministers prepared to consider a request for new loans in a last-ditch effort to keep the country in the eurozone after it defaulted on a key payment and a bailout keeping its economy afloat expired.Cash-strapped Greece became the first developed country to default on the International Monetary Fund after missing a 1.5 billion euro ($1.7 billion) payment Tuesday, as efforts to find a compromise with its EU lenders came to naught. The missed payment underscored the failure of more than five months of wrangling between Greece's left-wing government and its creditors to reshape the country's bailout and prevent it dropping out of the eurozone. But talks were set to resume on Wednesday after Athens asked for a new two-year aid plan -- the third in five years -- as ratings agencies cut their ratings on Greece's debt, predicting it will return to recession this year. On Wednesday, the European Central Bank's governing council will also meet to discuss the crisis in Greece.
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