James's Feed
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.

May 1, 2013

Italy’s Letta wins French backing for focus on growth

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s new prime minister Enrico Letta won French backing on Wednesday for calls to spur economic growth alongside budget rigor, but problems lay closer to home with coalition partners demanding tax cuts that would blow a hole in the budget.

Letta, who took his message to Berlin on Tuesday, met French President Francois Hollande and said he was “100 percent satisfied” with the meeting and Hollande’s response to his calls for Europe to start focusing on growth as well as consolidation.

May 1, 2013

Italy’s Letta faces early squeeze over anti-austerity drive

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s new prime minister, Enrico Letta, is preaching an end to austerity while pledging to meet European Union debt targets and his fledgling coalition is already at odds over how to pay for cuts to an unpopular housing tax.

Letta, who took his message to Berlin on Tuesday, is due to meet French President Francois Hollande later on Wednesday where he can expect a favorable hearing for his calls for Europe to start focusing on economic growth as well as budget rigor.

Apr 29, 2013

Italy’s Letta launches government with call for growth

ROME, April 29 (Reuters) – Italy’s new Prime Minister Enrico
Letta promised to press for a change to the European Union’s
focus on austerity and pursue economic growth and jobs as his
government sought backing from parliament on Monday, ending
months of political gridlock.

Speaking ahead of a confidence vote in the lower house,
Letta said Italy could not afford to focus simply on trying to
cut its huge public debt and needed a new emphasis on lifting
the economy out of recession.

Apr 29, 2013

Italy’s Letta government begins life in climate of crisis

ROME (Reuters) – New Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta will seek the backing of parliament in a confidence vote on Monday, facing severe political and economic problems that will test the solidity of his coalition government in the months ahead.

The vote takes place under the shadow of the gun attack on Sunday in which an unemployed man shot two police officers and a passerby outside the prime minister’s office in Rome just as the cabinet was being sworn in at the nearby presidential palace.