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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.

Jun 11, 2013

Italy’s two mavericks left licking wounds after local elections

ROME (Reuters) – Sweeping wins for the center left in Italy’s local elections have sounded alarms for Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, the mavericks 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 after the February poll, which it had long been expected to win comfortably.

Jun 10, 2013

Italy local elections give boost to PM Letta

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s battered center-left won the election for mayor of Rome and 15 other major cities on Monday, giving a lift to Prime Minister Enrico Letta as he strives to control an uneasy coalition with traditional rivals on the right.

The center-left candidate in Rome, former surgeon Ignazio Marino, took 64 percent of votes in a run-off ballot on Sunday and Monday, defeating the outgoing mayor Gianni Alemanno, who won 36 percent, the Interior Ministry said.

Jun 9, 2013

Italian PM hopes local election will strengthen hand

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta hopes to lift his bruised center-left party in local elections that conclude on Monday, strengthening his hold over an uneasy coalition government with its traditional rivals on the center-right.

The votes in Rome and other cities will have no direct effect on the national government but will test the fragile partnership between Letta’s center-left Democratic Party (PD) and the center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party of former premier Silvio Berlusconi.

May 18, 2013

Germany’s Merkel visits Pope, urges tougher market controls

VATICAN CITY, May 18 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela
Merkel met Pope Francis on Saturday and, apparently responding
to his criticism of a heartless “dictatorship of the economy”,
called for stronger regulation of financial markets.

On Thursday, Francis appealed in a speech for world
financial reform, saying the global economic crisis had made
life worse for millions in rich and poor countries.

May 11, 2013

Italy’s Berlusconi attacks judges but backs Letta government

ROME (Reuters) – Silvio Berlusconi launched a fierce attack on magistrates at a stormy political rally on Saturday, accusing them of trying to eliminate him politically but he pledged to keep supporting the fragile coalition of center-left Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

The leader of Italy’s center right, whose appeal against a tax fraud conviction was rejected this week and who still faces trial on charges of paying for sex with a minor, repeated his longstanding accusations against prosecutors.

May 6, 2013

Draghi says ECB ready to act as economy weakens

ROME (Reuters) – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi departed from a prepared speech on Monday to reiterate the central bank’s readiness to cut interest rates again if the euro zone economy deteriorates further.

The euro hit session lows against the dollar and the yen after Draghi said in Rome the ECB would monitor incoming data closely and would be ready to cut rates further, including the deposit rate currently at zero.