February 14, 2013 |
ROME - Weeks before Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation because of failing health, Italians were already bracing themselves for a change at the top. But the elections to pick a new Italian government this month have been overshadowed and potentially thrown for a loop by Benedict's shocking decision to be the first pontiff to step down in almost 600 years. The 85-year-old's final Mass on Wednesday, which drew the kind of cheering fans to St. Peter's Basilica that politicians dream of, dominated pages of newspapers that Italy's political candidates had hoped to fill with dramatic campaign promises and choice insults aimed at their opponents.
January 14, 2013 |
ROME --Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's request that his trial for allegedly paying a minor for sex be suspended in the run-up to next month's elections was thrown out by judges Monday. Lawyers representing the former leader argued that he would be too busy running his election campaign to dedicate himself to the trial. But after a four-hour deliberation, judges replied that campaigning was not on a par with parliamentary appearances, which can merit suspension of a trial, and ordered the proceedings to continue.
October 31, 2012 |
ROME - The Italian Parliament on Wednesday approved anti-corruption legislation aimed at addressing a series of scandals involving graft, extravagant misuse of public funds and rampant cronyism that have outraged the economically distressed nation. The new regulations call for stiffer prison sentences for public officials found guilty of bribe-taking, abuse of office or influence peddling. They also add the crime of corruption between private parties, as well as protective measures for whistle-blowers.
June 14, 2012 |
Milan, Italy - From the American side of the Atlantic, the debate over Europe's economic future often sounds like a bloodless, mind-numbing discussion of currency zones, bank recapitalization and interest rates. But in countries with fragile economies like Spain and Italy, it takes on real-life urgency. Pain is everywhere. Unfinished construction sites litter classic landscapes, monuments to businesses that have failed and bank loans that didn't come through. In Italy, where I have spent the last three weeks, the unemployment rate has topped 10% and news broadcasts have given lavish coverage to a wave of suicides by small-business owners who couldn't meet payrolls or tax bills.
November 17, 2011 |
Italy swore in a new Cabinet and Greece's recently anointed prime minister won an important vote of confidence as both countries scrambled Wednesday to avoid an economic disaster that could torpedo the Eurozone. The two nations are pinning their hopes on unelected, technocratic leaders tasked with bringing down staggering levels of government debt and restoring investor confidence in their badly battered economies. Failure by either country could spell doom for the euro, the currency they share with 15 other European nations.
November 14, 2011 |
Eager to win back the confidence of financial markets, Italy's president on Sunday appointed economist Mario Monti to lead the country's new government. The move came almost 24 hours after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi submitted his resignation amid widespread celebration on the streets of Rome. President Giorgio Napolitano's announcement sets the stage for Monti, a former European Union commissioner, to form a new technocratic government that will try to navigate Italy out of the debt crisis with austerity measures sought by the European Union.