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May 12, 2014

Migrant boat carrying hundreds sinks south of Sicily, at least 14 dead

ROME (Reuters) – Italian naval and coast guard vessels recovered 14 bodies and rescued around 200 people after a migrant boat sank in the sea between Libya and southern Sicily, authorities said on Monday, a day after dozens were drowned in a similar incident.

Italy has struggled for decades with a stream of migrants travelling in small, unsafe boats from North Africa to the islet of Lampedusa, midway between Tunisia and Sicily. The influx of migrants has grown since the Arab Spring upheavals of 2011 and the protracted civil war in Syria.

May 11, 2014

Italy grapples with specter of corruption as EU vote nears

ROME (Reuters) – A corruption scandal surrounding next year’s Expo 2015 in Milan and separate criminal cases involving allies of former premier Silvio Berlusconi look set to fuel voter anger at this month’s European elections, Italian politicians warned on Sunday.

Even for a country long inured to scandal, the arrest last week of seven officials connected with Expo 2015 Milan, including the event’s procurement head, on charges of bribery and manipulating public tenders has caused anger.

May 9, 2014

EU candidates say national governments must respect vote

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) – Candidates to lead the European Commission after EU parliamentary elections this month lashed out on Friday against suggestions that the real choice would be made not by voters but by national governments.

The meeting in Florence was the second between the candidates following their first debate in April, part of a broader effort to bring an element of direct democracy to appointing one of the European Union’s top officials.

Apr 28, 2014

Hundreds of thousands watch two popes become saints

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis proclaimed his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in front of more than half a million pilgrims on Sunday, hailing both as courageous men who withstood the tragedies of the 20th century.

Cheers and applause rang out across St Peter’s Square after the historic double papal canonization as many in the crowd fixed their gaze on huge tapestries of the two popes on the facade of the basilica behind Francis.

Apr 27, 2014

Popes John XXIII and John Paul II become saints, witnessed by thousands

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis proclaimed his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints on Sunday in front of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims celebrating two 20th century giants of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cheers and applause rang out across St Peter’s Square after the historic double canonisation as many in the crowd fixed their gaze on huge tapestries of the two popes on the facade of the basilica behind Francis.

Apr 27, 2014

Huge crowd gathers for historic canonization of two popes

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world converged on St. Peter’s Square on Sunday to attend the sainthood ceremony of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II, two giants of the Catholic Church in the 20th century.

Some, including many families, waited for more than 12 hours along the main street leading to the Vatican before police opened up the square at 5:30 a.m., about four hours before the ceremony was due to start.

Apr 26, 2014

Two popes to be made saints in historic ceremony

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – As many as one million people are expected in Saint Peter’s Square and nearby streets of Rome on Sunday to witness the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, two of the great popes of the 20th century.

John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and set up the modernizing Second Vatican Council, and John Paul II, the Pole who reigned for nearly 27 years and played a leading role on the world stage, will be declared saints by Pope Francis.

Apr 26, 2014

Holiday atmosphere as Rome gears up for papal canonization

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – St. Peter’s Square was packed ahead of Sunday’s canonization of two of the 20th century’s great popes but hustling tour guides and a hint of the fairground were reminders that it will be a show as well as a solemn ceremony.

More than a million people are expected in and around the square to see Pope Francis declare as saints John XXIII, the Italian pontiff who launched the modernizing Second Vatican Council in 1962, and John Paul II, the revered Pole who led the Church for almost 27 years before his death in 2005.

Mar 31, 2014

Italian PM Renzi: If Senate reform is blocked, I’ll quit

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tied his political future on Monday to a reform package aimed at creating more stable government by stripping the upper house of parliament of key functions and concentrating power in the lower chamber.

In the latest step of his ambitious reform drive, cabinet signed off on a bill to transform the Senate into a non-elected regional chamber without the power to approve budgets or hold votes of no-confidence in a government.

Mar 31, 2014

Italy PM Renzi says will quit if Senate reform blocked

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s new prime minister threatened on Monday to resign if a plan to reduce the powers of the upper house of parliament, a central part of his ambitious constitutional reform agenda, is blocked.

In the latest step of Matteo Renzi’s reform drive, the cabinet is due to approve a draft bill on Monday to transform the Senate into a non-elected chamber stripped of the power to approve budgets or hold votes of no-confidence in a government.