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Jul 19, 2013

Italy government survives vote on Kazakh case

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano survived a no-confidence vote on Friday, averting a political crisis that could have brought down the fragile coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

Alfano, secretary of Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom party (PDL) which governs in an uneasy partnership with its traditional rivals in Letta’s center-left Democratic Party (PD), faced calls to resign over the hurried deportation of the family of a dissident Kazakh oligarch in May.

Jul 18, 2013

Italy’s center left to back minister in no confidence vote

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s center-left Democratic Party agreed on Thursday to back its center-right coalition partner’s interior minister in a no confidence vote, heading off a potential crisis for Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s fragile government.

Party secretary Gugliemo Epifani said PD lawmakers would vote against the motion called by opposition parties demanding minister Angelino Alfano resign over the rushed deportation of the family of a dissident Kazakh oligarch in May.

Jul 15, 2013

Italy’s interior minister faces political storm over Kazakh expulsion

ROME (Reuters) – A leading Italian newspaper on Monday urged the deputy of head of Italy’s fragile ruling coalition to resign over the expulsion of the wife and daughter of dissident Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who also serves as deputy premier, was not told of the operation in which Ablyazov’s wife Anna Shalabayeva and their six year-old daughter Alua were expelled in May, the government said in a statement on Friday.

Jul 12, 2013

Vatican freezes funds of cleric in money smuggling case

ROME, July 12 (Reuters) – The Vatican said on Friday it had
frozen funds belonging to a senior cleric at the centre of a
suspected money smuggling operation, and could open
investigations into other individuals.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who has close links to the Vatican
bank, was arrested last month, accused of plotting to bring
millions of euros in cash into Italy from Switzerland for rich
friends.

Jul 5, 2013

Pope Francis stresses continuity in first encyclical on faith

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis issued his first encyclical on Friday with a message on the importance of Christian faith that showed he plans no radical departure from the doctrinal stance of his predecessor Benedict.

“Lumen Fidei” (Light of Faith) was originally intended to form part of a series by Benedict on the theological virtues, following earlier encyclicals on love and hope, but was not completed by the time of his surprise resignation in February.

Jul 3, 2013

Italy’s Letta calls coalition meeting to smooth tensions

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta meets members of his uneasy left-right coalition on Thursday, aiming to ease tensions that have slowed reforms and hampered efforts to keep public finances under control.

Letta called the meeting after former prime minister Mario Monti, whose centrist Civic Choice movement supports the government, threatened this week to withdraw his backing unless the pace of reform was stepped up.

Jun 25, 2013

Berlusconi verdict opens volatile new phase for Italy government

ROME (Reuters) – Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction on charges relating to underage prostitution has opened an unpredictable chapter for Italy’s fragile coalition government just as signs of uncertainty have returned to euro zone financial markets.

The 76-year-old leader of the centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party, already fighting a four-year jail sentence and a ban on holding public office for tax fraud, meets Prime Minister Enrico Letta for discussions on Tuesday.

Jun 14, 2013

Italy’s Grillo facing showdown as 5-Star mutiny swells

ROME (Reuters) – Beppe Grillo, the fiery comic whose populist 5-Star Movement stunned Italy by winning a quarter of the votes in February’s election, is facing his biggest test since the vote with rebellion brewing among his novice lawmakers.

Publicly blamed by one of his own senators for the party’s poor showing in local elections earlier this week, in which it won only two towns out of more than 500, Grillo faces the threat of a mutiny that could blow the party apart.

Jun 14, 2013

Analysis: Italy’s Grillo facing showdown as 5-Star mutiny swells

ROME (Reuters) – Beppe Grillo, the fiery comic whose populist 5-Star Movement stunned Italy by winning a quarter of the votes in February’s election, is facing his biggest test since the vote with rebellion brewing among his novice lawmakers.

Publicly blamed by one of his own senators for the party’s poor showing in local elections earlier this week, in which it won only two towns out of more than 500, Grillo faces the threat of a mutiny that could blow the party apart.

Jun 11, 2013

Italy’s political charmers are stung by local polls

ROME (Reuters) – Sweeping wins for the center left in Italy’s local elections have sounded alarms for Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, the charismatic figures who emerged as the big winners from February’s deadlocked national vote.

Elections on Monday in more than 500 towns and cities, including the capital Rome, saw the center left bounce back from its humiliating near-collapse in the parliamentary election, which it had long been expected to win comfortably.