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Germany’s lower house approves market rescue plan


Berlin : The lower house of the German parliament, Bundestag, Friday passed the government’s huge financial rescue plan worth nearly 500 billion euros (about $685 billion).

The rescue plan, tabled by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet Monday, was approved by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers, with 476 voting in favour, 99 against and one abstaining.

The rescue plan now goes to the upper house or Bundesrat for approval later in the day.

After that, German President Horst Koehler is expected to sign the plan to make it effective immediately.

Germany’s rescue plan, amounting to about 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, is part of European bail-out effort.

According to the plan, the government would offer a maximum of 400 billion euros (around $548 billion) in guarantees, set up a separate fund of 70 billion euros (some $96 billion), and release 10 billion euros (about $13.7 billion), to recapitalise banks.