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Sep 10, 2013

Berlusconi allies step up threats over Italian Senate ruling

ROME (Reuters) – Allies of Silvio Berlusconi stepped up warnings on Tuesday that they would bring down Italy’s unstable ruling coalition if center-left lawmakers refuse to delay a hearing over expelling the billionaire former prime minister from parliament.

A cross-party Senate committee, which is deciding whether Berlusconi should be stripped of his seat in the upper house following a conviction for tax fraud last month, resumes talks at 8.00 p.m. (1800 GMT) after an initial meeting on Monday.

Sep 9, 2013

Monte Paschi’s new capital needs could force nationalization

MILAN/ROME (Reuters) – The prospect of nationalisation looms large for Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) now that the beleaguered lender needs to raise more than twice as much capital as originally planned to meet new European Union requirements.

Italy’s third largest bank said on Monday it would approve a tougher than initially expected restructuring plan on September 24 to comply with European Union demands, confirming investor fears it is struggling to emerge from the euro zone debt crisis.

Sep 9, 2013

Italy’s Monte Paschi’s new capital needs could mean nationalisation

MILAN/ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI: Quote, Profile, Research) may have to be nationalised unless it can raise more than twice as much capital as originally planned, to meet new European Union requirements.

The bank, the country’s third largest, must find an extra 2.5 billion euro (£2.1 billion) to shore up its finances, the government said late on Sunday, highlighting its continuing weakness after a huge derivatives scandal surfaced this year.

Sep 9, 2013

Monte Paschi doubles planned capital hike to 2.5 bln euros

ROME, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di
Siena will seek 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in
fresh capital from investors, more than double its original
plan, under a new bailout to shore up the loss-making bank, the
economy ministry said on Sunday.

The revised plan is the latest measure in a painful recovery
process for Italy’s No.3 bank. Monte Paschi is still grappling
with the aftermath of a massive derivatives scandal which
emerged in the wake of its expensive acquisition of rival
Antonveneta in 2008.

Sep 9, 2013

Italy coalition faces risk as Senate panel meets on Berlusconi

ROME (Reuters) – A special committee of the Italian Senate meets on Monday to consider expelling Silvio Berlusconi following his conviction for tax fraud, a decision that could shatter the fragile ruling coalition and plunge Italy into fresh political crisis.

Senior figures in Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party have threatened to pull out of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s government if Berlusconi is stripped of his seat in the Senate.

Sep 3, 2013

Lunch hour in Italy serves up some sour economic lessons

ROME (Reuters) – Of all the statistics available on Italy and its varied economic problems, few are as eye-opening as the fact that at around 1 p.m on any given day, three quarters of the population will normally be sitting down to lunch in their own homes.

According to data from statistics agency ISTAT, lunch is the most important meal of the day for 68 percent of Italians and 74.3 percent usually eat it at home, a figure which has grown as a long recession has hit spending on food and eating out.

Aug 27, 2013

Italy coalition struggles for deal as tax showdown nears

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s fractious ruling coalition struggled on Tuesday to bridge differences over a housing tax that threatens to create a new crisis for a government already severely strained by the legal turmoil surrounding Silvio Berlusconi.

With twitchy financial markets nervous about the prospect of fresh political instability in Italy, the Milan stock market fell for a second day and government borrowing costs rose ahead of a closely anticipated bond auction on Thursday.

Aug 1, 2013

Rome mayor plans traffic revolution near ancient Colosseum

ROME, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Less than two months in office, the
mayor of Rome is promising a minor revolution in the Italian
capital and risking the ire of local motorists by closing the
area around the ancient imperial forum complex to traffic.

The roads near the forum and the nearby Colosseum will be
shut down on Saturday night for a special series of celebrations
before being cut off permanently, starting from 5.30 a.m the
following morning.

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.