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May 1, 2013

Pope condemns Bangladesh working conditions as “slave labor”

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the conditions of workers who died in the Bangladesh factory collapse as “slave labor,” saying unjust salaries and the unbridled quest for profits were “against God”.

His words were his toughest yet on workers’ rights since his election on March 13, and another indication that the former archbishop of Buenos Aires was intent on making social justice a major plank of his pontificate.

May 1, 2013

Italy investigates racist slurs against first black minister

ROME (Reuters) – The Italian government ordered an investigation on Wednesday into slurs on right-wing websites against the country’s first black minister, a case that has put Italy’s racial problems back in the spotlight.

Cecile Kyenge, an eye doctor and Congo-born Italian citizen, was named integration minister in the new government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta last Saturday. She is one of seven women in the government.

Apr 30, 2013

Pope accepts invite to Israel, urges peace talks

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume talks and make “courageous decisions” to bring peace after his first meeting with Israel’s President Shimon Peres on Tuesday and accepted an invitation to visit the Holy Land.

The two discussed the civil war in Syria, tensions in Iran and the scourge of anti-Semitism during half an hour of private talks in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

Apr 30, 2013

Pope accepts Peres’ invitation to Israel

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Israeli President Shimon Peres invited Pope Francis on Tuesday to visit Israel, at his first meeting with the new pontiff who has appealed for peace in the Middle East.

The pope accepted the invitation “with willingness and joy,” a Vatican spokesman said, but there was no indication when a trip would be made.

Apr 25, 2013

Differences with centre-right delay Italy’s Letta

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s prime minister-designate Enrico Letta started “encouraging” talks on Thursday for a new government to end two months of political deadlock, but said significant differences with the centre-right would take more time to iron out.

Letta, the 46-year-old deputy head of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), said he would use Friday as a “day to reflect” on his chances of piecing together a broad coalition to govern the euro zone’s third-largest economy.

Apr 25, 2013

Pope hints at possible changes to scandal-ridden Vatican bank

VATICAN CITY, April 25 (Reuters) – Pope Francis has
indicated for the first time that he may make changes to the
Vatican’s scandal-ridden bank as part of a broad review of the
Holy See’s troubled administration.

Before Francis was elected last month, many of the cardinals
who went on to choose him expressed concern about the harm done
to the Church’s image by three decades of scandals at the bank,
which Italian magistrates are now investigating for money
laundering.

Apr 25, 2013

Letta sees improving chances of forming Italy government

ROME, April 25 (Reuters) – Prime Minister-designate Enrico
Letta saw “improving” chances of success as he began
negotiations on Thursday to form a new government and end a
nearly two-month-old stalemate in the euro zone’s third-largest
economy.

The 46-year-old deputy head of the badly fractured
centre-left Democratic Party (PD), was the President Giorgio
Napolitano’s surprise choice to head a broad-based coalition.

Apr 25, 2013

Letta tries to form government to break Italy’s political logjam

ROME (Reuters) – Prime Minister-designate Enrico Letta began tricky negotiations on Thursday to form Italy’s new government and end a nearly two-month-old stalemate in the euro zone’s third-largest economy.

Letta, the deputy head of the badly fractured center-left Democratic Party (PD), was the surprise choice tapped by President Giorgio Napolitano to head a broad-based coalition.

Apr 23, 2013

Italy president set to announce choice for prime minister

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano is set to announce on Wednesday his choice of prime minister to form a new government and pull the euro zone’s third largest economy out of a two-month political rut.

The new coalition government, which could take office in a matter of days, would be backed primarily by the rivals on the center-left and center-right, the same parties that had refused to cut a deal since national elections in late February.

Apr 22, 2013

Irate Italian president to begin talks on new coalition

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s president launches urgent talks on Tuesday that could see a prime minister designated after two months of post-electoral stalemate that has weighed on a stagnant economy and alarmed Rome’s partners in the euro.

After directing an emotional blast of impatience on Monday at the very parliament which handed him an unprecedented – and heartily unwanted – second term as head of state at the weekend, 87-year-old Giorgio Napolitano has announced a “rapid round of consultations” with political leaders, starting early Tuesday.