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Dec 29, 2014

Ferry stricken by blaze fully evacuated, seven dead

ROME/ATHENS, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Rescue teams on Monday
completed the evacuation of nearly 500 people from a car ferry
that caught fire off Greece’s Adriatic coast, working through
the night and defying high seas and freezing weather in a
36-hour drama.

But seven people were killed in the incident, the Italian
coastguard said.

The fire broke out on a vehicle deck of the Norman Atlantic
ferry, which was carrying 478 passengers and crew and more than
200 vehicles, early on Sunday. Rescue efforts were immediately
complicated by bad weather.

Dec 10, 2014

Italy’s Northern League calls for EU to be ‘demolished’

ROME (Reuters) – In a European political landscape increasingly populated with insurgent, anti-system parties, Italy’s eurosceptic anti-immigrant Northern League is the latest to profit from a groundswell of hostility to the European Union.

The League’s 41-year-old leader, Matteo Salvini calls the euro a “criminal currency” and wants to demolish the Brussels consensus that has dominated European politics since the end of World War Two. He is also, at odds with mainstream leaders, an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dec 4, 2014

Rome mayor orders review of contracts amid graft scandal

ROME (Reuters) – The mayor of Rome ordered a review of city contracts on Thursday after a police investigation revealed a web of corrupt relationships between politicians and criminals in the Italian capital.

Police arrested 37 people and placed dozens more under investigation on Tuesday in the latest scandal to hit Italy, ranked one of the most corrupt countries in Europe in Transparency International’s latest global corruption index.

Dec 3, 2014

Topless Salvini woos Italy’s voters from bedroom

ROME (Reuters) – Matteo Salvini, the 41-year-old leader of the anti-euro Northern League party, chose a bare-chested, bedroom photoshoot in a weekly magazine on Wednesday to underline his status as the newest sensation in Italian politics.

Despite the gimmick, Salvini, who took over his party last year after a financial scandal brought down its founder Umberto Bossi, has steadily emerged as a potentially serious challenger to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Nov 29, 2014

‘Tired’ Grillo overhauls leadership of Italy’s 5-Star Movement

ROME (Reuters) – Beppe Grillo, the unruly comic who built Italy’s 5-Star Movement into one of the most potent anti-establishment forces in Europe, is struggling to stop a steady slide following months of infighting and electoral setbacks.

After a week that saw two local election defeats and two parliamentary members expelled from the party, Grillo announced his movement needed a more formal leadership structure.

Nov 24, 2014

Italy’s Renzi wins regional vote, low turnout sends warning

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party (PD) won regional elections in Calabria and Emilia Romagna on Sunday but an exceptionally low turnout suggested growing disillusion among many voters.

After years of economic crisis that has created hardship among a growing number of Italians, the lackluster turnout was a clear warning sign for Renzi as he faces pressure to push through potentially unpopular financial belt-tightening.

Nov 15, 2014

Rome’s anti-migrant protests highlight resentment among poor

ROME (Reuters) – Protests over a migrant center in a run-down suburb of Rome this week have exposed a crisis in poor areas of the Italian capital suffering after years of neglect and mismanagement of infrastructure compounded by Italy’s deep economic crisis.

Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino was greeted on Friday by an angry crowd in Tor Sapienza, a struggling area on the eastern outskirts of the city where residents accuse migrants in the reception center of drug trafficking and street harassment.

Oct 30, 2014

Italy union head accuses Renzi of seeking confrontation

ROME (Reuters) – The leader of Italy’s largest union accused Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Thursday of deliberately stoking conflict with the labor movement and ignoring the growing cost of the economic crisis for Italian workers.

Speaking a day after four workers protesting against job cuts at a steel plant in southern Italy were hurt in clashes with police, Susanna Camusso, secretary general of the CGIL, said the government had chosen a “logic of confrontation” to drive its political agenda.

Oct 26, 2014

Monte Paschi has biggest capital gap in ECB tests, may seek merger

MILAN/ROME, Oct 26 (Reuters) – - Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di
Siena faces a 2.1 billion euro ($2.7 billion) funding
shortfall that could force it to seek a merger, after a European
banking review revealed serious weak points in the Italian
financial system.

The historic Tuscan lender, which was founded in 1472 and
carried out a 5-billion euro capital increase as recently as
June, said on Sunday it had hired Citigroup and UBS as advisers
to consider strategic options.

Oct 16, 2014

Italy and France make plea for growth as EU-Asia leaders meet

MILAN (Reuters) – Europe’s priority must be to stimulate economic growth, Italy and France said on Thursday, putting themselves at odds again with Germany, which is demanding deficit rigor.

With signs of a global slowdown rattling investors and prompting sharp declines across financial markets, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi stressed the need for expansive measures.