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Oct 13, 2013

Italy to step up patrols in hope of saving migrants from shipwreck

ROME (Reuters) – Italy is to step up military patrols in the southern Mediterranean to try to prevent repeats of the shipwrecks which have drowned hundreds of African migrants this month.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta said late on Saturday an “air and naval package” would be put in place south of Sicily, where tens of thousands of migrants in flimsy, overcrowded boats have made the crossing from Africa so far this year.

Oct 12, 2013

Latest migrant deaths fuel Italian, Maltese calls for EU action

ROME (Reuters) – Italian calls for Europe to do more on the migrant crisis grew on Saturday and Malta’s prime minister said the Mediterranean was becoming a “cemetery” after another boat sank off Sicily, killing dozens more people.

Italian and Maltese navy ships recovered 34 bodies and rescued 206 migrants after their boat sank about 60 nautical miles south of Sicily on Friday and rescued more than 200 others in separate incidents on Saturday.

Oct 4, 2013

Italian Senate committee starts Berlusconi expulsion process

ROME (Reuters) – Italian senators met on Friday to decide whether to move towards expelling Silvio Berlusconi from parliament over his conviction for tax fraud, opening the way for a final decision later this month which could seal his political fate.

Berlusconi, who has dominated Italian politics for the past two decades, did not attend the hearing but denounced the procedure as a maneuver by his political enemies to remove him.

Oct 3, 2013

Italian Senate committee likely to start Berlusconi expulsion process

ROME (Reuters) – An Italian Senate committee is likely to start a process on Friday to expel Silvio Berlusconi from parliament following his conviction for tax fraud, meaning the former prime minister’s fate could be sealed within weeks.

Berlusconi, who has dominated Italian politics for two decades, brushed off suggestions that his parliamentary career might soon be over after the conviction and an aborted attempt to topple the government.

Oct 2, 2013

Italian PM Letta faces Senate showdown as Berlusconi party splits

ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister Enrico Letta warned on Wednesday that Italy risked being left without a stable government if he loses a confidence vote triggered by Silvio Berlusconi’s move to pull his centre-right party out of the coalition.

However, the media tycoon’s furious decision on Saturday to withdraw his ministers from the government has provoked a revolt in his People of Freedom (PDL) party that could see dozens of Senators defy orders and vote for the government.

Sep 30, 2013

At least 13 drown in migrant boat off Sicily

ROME (Reuters) – At least 13 people on a migrant boat arriving in eastern Sicily drowned, apparently after trying to get off their stranded vessel while it was just a few meters from the shore, Italian authorities said on Monday.

Television pictures showed the bodies, all of adult men, wrapped in white sheets lying on the beach.

Sep 30, 2013

Italian political crisis threatens to split Berlusconi camp

ROME (Reuters) – Silvio Berlusconi’s bid to push Italy into new elections faces a test on Monday when he meets lawmakers from his center-right party who have shown growing unease over his shock decision to pull support from Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s coalition.

Berlusconi’s decision to order the five ministers from his People of Freedom (PDL) party to resign from Letta’s cabinet has plunged Italy into political chaos and left the euro zone’s third-largest economy without a functioning government.

Sep 29, 2013

Italian president hopes to solve political crisis without new vote

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s president began talks on Sunday to pull the country out of a new political crisis, attempting to undercut a move by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to bring down the government and force new elections seven months after the last vote.

For the third time since 2011, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano is trying to steer the country out of political chaos that has proven a major threat, not only to the euro zone’s third-largest economy, but to the region’s efforts to halt its four-year debt crisis.

Sep 29, 2013

holdUPDATE 4-Italian president hopes to solve political crisis without new vote

ROME, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Italy’s president began talks on
Sunday to pull the country out of a new political crisis,
attempting to undercut a move by former Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi to bring down the government and force new elections
seven months after the last vote.

For the third time since 2011, Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano is trying to steer the country out of political chaos
that has proven a major threat, not only to the euro zone’s
third-largest economy, but to the region’s efforts to halt its
four-year debt crisis.

Sep 27, 2013

Italian PM returns home to political tension

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta returned to Rome on Friday preparing for a showdown over the future of his warring coalition government following threats by Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right allies to walk out of parliament.

Letta’s left-right coalition has flirted with collapse ever since Italy’s top court convicted former premier Berlusconi of tax fraud last month and sentenced him to four years in prison, commuted to a year of house arrest or community service.