Greece backs prime minister

ATHENS, Greece — The Greek prime minister survived a crucial confidence vote early today, keeping alive a government dedicated to averting a debt default that could spark a financial maelstrom around the world.

Lawmakers voted 155 to 143 along party lines to back George Papandreou, who now faces a critical vote next week on a massive austerity package that Greece's international creditors have said must pass by the end of June.

He is seeking 28 billion euros ($40.24 billion) in budget cuts and new taxes and 50 billion euros worth of privatization of public assets. Unless the new measures pass, Greece will not receive the next batch of bailout funds, worth 12 billion euros, and will face a disastrous default in July, when it runs out of money.

Australian airlines flying as ash departs

SYDNEY — Airlines are returning to the skies from some of Australia's largest airports on Wednesday as a volcanic cloud that has forced two days of flight cancellations clears over southern Australia.

Australian flagship carrier Qantas and rival Virgin Australia resume early morning flights from the southern city of Adelaide today.

Qantas and its budget subsidiary Jetstar have told customers that flights through Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, and the national capital, Canberra, will resume late morning with Virgin returning to the air by noon.

In Sydney, Australia's largest city, and neighboring Newcastle, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin will resume services this afternoon.