Insight: Rome will burn, regardless of Italian election result

ROME (Reuters) – Regardless of who wins next weekend’s parliamentary election, Italy‘s long economic decline is likely to continue because the next government won’t be strong enough to pursue the tough reforms needed to make its economy competitive again. Bankers, diplomats and industrialists in Rome and Milan despair at how Italians are shifting…
A woman walks past a trash bin defaced with a graffiti reading "Electoral boot. Vote here " in Rome, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013.





Greece hit by new strikes as jobless rate soars

20 Feb 2013
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unions have launched another general strike against austerity measures in Greece, amid predictions unemployment in the crisis-hit country will reach 30 percent this year. The 24-hour protest Wednesday by unions representing private and public sector workers has disrupted flights, halted ferries and crippled public…
Pedestrians pass under the sign of Greece's railways at the closed central train station during a 24-hour strike in Athens, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.






French troops kill ‘hundreds’ of Islamist fighters in Mali

From Antonia Mortensen,
February 6, 2013
Watch this video

France reports success in Mali fight

  • France launched an offensive last month against militants in its former colony
  • It says it has 4,000 French soldiers in Mali
  • French troops are fighting alongside nearly 3,800 African soldiers




Quick Fix For Mali: French Troops Can’t End Crisis

France is opting to use heavy airpower as a way to flush out the Islamists in Mali. It’s optimistic, writes, William Lloyd George, but like in Libya, it’s never that easy.

French troops in armoured personnel carriers rolled through the streets of Kidal in northern Mali on Wednesday. It was the last major city to be retaken from Islamists after a three week offensive by French forces which swept through Mali’s cities with lightening speed. Passing cheering local residents and the charred remains of the Islamists’ cars with their mounted machine guns still visible, the moment might have reaffirmed the confidence of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who said the intervention in Mali would be over in a “matter of weeks.”

French Soliders Arrive in Timbuktu

A crowd cheers the arrival of French soldiers in Timbuktu, in northern Mali, on January 29, 2013. (Arnaud Roine/ECPAD, via AP)




Famous last words, perhaps. While his optimism might serve as a confidence booster for a western world skeptical of military intervention, and a morale boost for his troops operating in such difficult battle terrain, the idea that  the French will be able to solve the problem in a couple of weeks is highly unrealistic.





Dutch queen handing throne to son

From Francesca Church, CNN
January 28, 2013 — Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Watch this video

Queen Beatrix to give up Dutch throne

  • Queen Beatrix to abdicate, handing throne to Prince Willem-Alexander
  • She assured Dutch in televised speech: “I’m not taking leave from you”
  • The queen turns 75 on Thursday

(CNN) — Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will abdicate her throne to make way for her son Prince Willem-Alexander.

She will formally end her reign on April 30 — the 33rd anniversary of her coronation.

“This doesn’t mean that I’m taking leave from you,” she said on Monday in a televised speech announcing the decision.

“I still will be able to meet many of you. I am deeply thankful for the faith that you’ve had in me … in all these years that I’ve been able to be queen,” she said.






French agent ‘executed’ by al-Shabab

17 Jan 2013
Al-Shebab, the Somalian armed Islamist group, say they have executed a French intelligence agent who they had held captive since 2009. The al-Qaeda linked group said they killed Denis Allex on Wednesday. French officials dispute the claim, saying they believe Allex was killed soon after a failed…
A French soldier saluts as he patrols with his fellows infront of the Eiffel tower, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013.









France strikes Mali rebels

14 Jan 2013
Bamako/ParisFrench fighter jets pounded Islamist rebel strongholds deep in northern Mali on Sunday as Paris poured more troops into the capital, Bamako, awaiting a West African force to dislodge al-Qaeda-linked insurgents from the country’s north. The attacks on Islamist positions near the ancient desert trading town of Timbuktu
This Sunday Jan.13, 2013 photo provided by the French Army Monday Jan.14, 2013 shows a French Rafale jetfighter landing after a mission to Mali in N'Djamena, Chad.











Hollande Deploys Troops To Mali To Stop Advance Of Islamist Extremists.. Al Qaeda-Linked Militants Seize Key Town.. Mali Declares State Of Emergency.. France Launches Air Strikes.. Operation ‘Will Last As Long As Is Necessary’









Julian Assange to make ‘balcony speech’ from Ecuador embassy

Related Stories

Julian Assange is due to address his supporters from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, marking six months since he was granted asylum inside the building.

It will be the second time the WikiLeaks founder, who took refuge at the embassy in June, has delivered a message from the balcony.

He faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

Crowds are expected to gather outside the embassy in the Knightsbridge area to watch the speech.

Australian Mr Assange, 41 – whose Wikileaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables embarrassing a number of countries – fears his extradition could lead to him being sent to the US and punished for releasing top secret documents.









Mayan apocalypse: Vatican says ‘the end is not nigh – for now’

Mayan prophecy that predicts the end of the world on December 21 time has been rubbished by the Vatican’s chief astronomer.








Merkel meets Netanyahu amid tense relations

06 Dec 2012
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting in Berlin for talks amid tension over Berlin’s refusal to vote against a Palestinian U.N. statehood bid and widespread frustration across Europe over Israel‘s plans to expand settlements….
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, left, arrive for a press conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.
photo: AP / Michael Sohn








Eurozone finance ministers agree deal on Greece bailout

27 Nov 2012

Eurozone finance ministers and the IMF have reached a deal on an urgently needed bailout for debt-laden Greece. They have agreed to cut the near-bankrupt…

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, second right, speaks with the media as she arrives for a meeting of eurogroup finance ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.








Former UBS trader Adoboli guilty on fraud charges over huge loss

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 20, 2012 —
Former UBS banker Kweku Adoboli arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on November 16, 2012.

Former UBS banker Kweku Adoboli arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on November 16, 2012

  • NEW: Former trader Kweku Adoboli convicted on a 2nd fraud count, acquitted on 4 others
  • NEW: Adoboli’s actions constituted “pure and simple” fraud, prosecutor says
  • Adoboli was charged in connection with a $2.3 billion loss in unauthorized trading at UBS






Brooks, Coulson charged over alleged payments to officials

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
November 20, 2012 —
(File photo) Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International, leaves the Old Bailey on September 26, 2012 in London
(File photo) Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International, leaves the Old Bailey on September 26, 2012 in London
  • NEW: Rebekah Brooks will appear in court next week, charged over alleged illegal payments
  • Andy Coulson faces charges over alleged payments to officials in a separate case
  • Brooks and Coulson edited a newspaper that was part of the News Corp. empire
  • Coulson was director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron





Two Spaniards Jump To Death Before Having To Clear Their Houses

Oscar-Winning Director Weighs In On Spanish Crisis















German leader Angela Merkel enters the lion’s den: Greece

October 9, 2012 | 

With Europe's debt crisis deepening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Greece o signal her support for a country where many blame her personally for driving their economy into the ground









Eurozone unlocks €500 billion war chest

Eurozone unlocks €500 billion war chest

The eurozone unlocked its long-awaited 500 billion euro European Stability Mechanism on Monday amid fresh concerns over the economies of Greece and Spain. The fund will be operational by the end of the month, chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said.









Pope’s Butler Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Papal Leaks








Greece bailout: Tension in Athens over unpaid workers

05 Oct 2012
Protesters are appearing in court in the Greek capital Athens a day after a rally by shipyard workers against job cuts descended into violence. A line of blue police lorries flanked the courthouse as riot police kept back supporters of those detained during the clashes on Thursday. Police had used truncheons when at least 100 protesters broke into defense ministry.
Riot police clash with protesters inside Greece's Defense Ministry in Athens, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.
photo: AP / Thanassis Stavrakis





Dogged by Scandal

French prosecutors drop Strauss-Kahn rape charges

French prosecutors drop Strauss-Kahn rape charges

A French court in the northern city of Lille has ruled that there are not sufficient grounds to try former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on rape charges related to a vice ring, after a key witness withdrew her statement.







King Juan Carlos: “This is no time to be chasing rainbows”

Monarch’s words come one week after massive Barcelona march boosted push for Catalan independence

Spain’s King Juan Carlos takes part in a ceremony at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Tuesday.


In a clear and blunt message aimed at Catalonia’s pro-independence supporters, King Juan Carlos on Tuesday asked all Spaniards to remain united in the same spirit as that of the Transition as the country tries to tackle the current political, economic and social crises.

“We are at a decisive moment for Europe and Spain that can either save or ruin the welfare which has cost us so much to accomplish,” the monarch said in an open letter posted on the Royal Family’s newly designed website, which was launched last week.

“In these circumstances, the worst thing we can do is to divide forces, encourage dissent, chase rainbows and deepen wounds. These are not good times to dissect meanings or to debate whether there are dogs or hounds who threaten our model of coexistence.” Last week 600,000 people marched in Barcelona in support of independence for the region. Catalan premier Artur Mas spoke of the need to supply the region with “the structures of a state.”

The worst thing we can do is to divide forces, encourage dissent and deepen wounds”

King Juan Carlos, who on Tuesday appeared with judges and magistrates for the opening ceremony for the new judicial term, was asked by reporters what he thought of last Tuesday’s massive turnout in support of Catalonia’s independence. The monarch did not want to comment but told journalists that in a few hours there would be a message posted on the Royal Household’s website.

Catalan regional spokesman Francesc Homs said that his government doesn’t feel “intimidated” by the king’s reflections, but said that the Catalonia “will not give up its status as a nation” or “its right to decide” whether to separate from the rest of Spain.

“We are in total agreement that there isn’t any need to ‘chase rainbows’ — this is far from what Catalonia is doing,” Homs said.







Barcelona Warns Madrid: Pay Up, or Catalonia Leaves Spain

Hundreds of thousands march for Catalan independence as economic pressure boosts secessionist sentiment
Demonstrators wave Catalan flags during a protest rally in Barcelona
Emilio Morenatti / AP
Demonstrators wave Catalan flags during a protest rally in Barcelona on Sept. 11, 2012. Thousands took to the streets to demand independence for Catalonia during the region’s “national day”

Sept. 11 always brings Barcelonans into the streets to dance the sardana, sing for their enemies’ blood in the anthem “Els Segadors” and chant political slogans in celebration of their national holiday, the Diada de Catalunya. But this year, a new intensity colored the Catalans’ nationalist fervor. The independence movement’s flag bearing a white star against a blue triangle outnumbered the region’s official yellow-and-red-striped standard. A pro-independence march, which in the past has never drawn more than 50,000 people, pulled in a crowd estimated by city police at 1.5 million. And every newspaper in the city carried the results of a poll released this week that reveals a once unimaginable transformation: half the population of Catalonia supports secession from Spain.

“We have no other option since our will has been totally ignored” says Soledat Balaguer, a member of the secretariat of the Catalan National Assembly, organizers of the demonstration that shut down the city center. “Catalonia needs to be its own state.”










Debt crisis: Greece to run out of money by August 20

Greece may run out of money and go bankrupt by Aug 20, a British government analysis of the ongoing eurozone crisis has warned.

A protester raises a Greek flag in front of the parliament building in Athens during an anti-austerity rally:Debt crisis: Greece to run out of money by August 20









Spain police clash with austerity protesters

20 Jul 2012
Spanish police have fired rubber bullets and charged protesters in central Madrid after a huge demonstration against economic crisis measures. Thick smoke hung in the air early on Friday from plastic bins set alight by protestors chased by police, who hit them with batons when some tried to reach the heavily-guarded parliament ….
Riot police search for the demonstrators during a protest against austerity measures announced by the Spanish government in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday, July 19, 2012.







Senate report: HSBC ‘laundered Mexico drug money’

17 Jul 2012
A US Senate investigation has disclosed how lax controls at Europe‘s largest bank allowed dirty cash to be laundered for almost a decade. The report into HSBC, released ahead of a Senate hearing on Tuesday, says Mexican drug money passed through the bank over seven years. Suspicious funds from Syria, the Cayman Islands, Iran and Saudi Arabia
HSBC building








Assange’s appeal to Ecuador is no surprise

Julian Assange requested asylum in Ecuador and is sheltering in the South American country’s London embassy 

Assange’s attempt to gain asylum in Ecuador is just the latest turn in one of the biggest media stories of our time. The WikiLeaks co-founder is currently in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, which issued this statement on June 19:






Britain's Queen Elizabeth watches during her Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace in London June 4, 2012. Pop royalty including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Elton John will entertain Queen Elizabeth on Monday on the third day of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, with 10,000 ticket-holders who watching the performances live on a circular stage. REUTERS-Dave Thompson-pool
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (bottom R) watches during her Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace in London June 4, 2012. Pop royalty including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Elton John will entertain Queen Elizabeth on Monday on the third day of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, with 10,000 ticket-holders who watching the performances live on a circular stage. REUTERS-Dave Thompson-pool

Prince Philip, who turns 91 next weekend, was taken to hospital with a bladder infection in what the palace said was a “precautionary” move.

He will remain under observation for a few days, meaning he misses the latter stages of the royal festivities, but the monarch still attended Monday’s gig featuring pop stars including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Annie Lennox.

On a clear-skied Monday night, hundreds of thousands of cheering, flag-waving people from around the world packed the grand red road leading to the monarch’s 775-room London residence, watching the concert live or on giant screens.


Britain's Queen Elizabeth (2nd L) waves, with Prince Philip (L), Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2nd R) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, from the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on the River Thames, in London June 3, 2012. REUTERS-John Stillwell-Pool

LONDON | Mon Jun 4, 2012 6:52pm EDT

(Reuters) – A star-studded lineup serenaded Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and huge crowds at a pop concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday to mark her 60-year reign, but Diamond Jubilee celebrations were overshadowed by news her husband had been hospitalized.










Kate Middleton Repeats Pink Dress At Buckingham Palace Garden Party

kate middleton

Duchess Kate headed to a Diamond Jubilee garden party at Buckingham Palace with 8,000 guests with her father-in-law Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla on Monday; the queen, of course, was there as well. (Will got held up at work.) Camilla went all-white — it is after Memorial Day in America, after all — and donned a feathery white fascinator, but Kate opted for a more demure look in a light pink dress.





Francois Hollande, France President, Considers French Troops’ Afghanistan War Mission Completed


Francois Hollande Afghanistan War
French President Francois Hollande followed by his Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, center, and his Defense Minister Jean Yves Le Drian, left, arrive at Kabul airport, Friday, May 25, 2012, before visiting troops in the Kapisa region of Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Joel Saget, Pool)



After this year’s G8 summit concluded in Camp David, President Obama joined Angela Merkel and David Cameron to watch the end of the Champions League final.

David Cameron cheered on underdog Chelsea as they scored a dramatic win over Germany’s Bayern Munich. Merkel looked less than pleased.

The victory was a first for the UK team, who won in overtime.

Check out photos of Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Francois Hollande and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso watching the game below. Images are courtesy of the White House’s Flickr account.

g8 leaders soccer

g8 leaders soccer





Merkel, Hollande press to keep eurozone together

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed their desire to keep the eurozone together on Tuesday in key talks just hours after France‘s new leader was inaugurated. With all eyes on their first-ever talks, the two leaders also vowed that the two Europeanpowerhouses were aware of their responsibilities ……
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the French president Francois Hollande in Berlin on Tuesday (15:05:12) Hollande was sworn in as president on Tuesday morning.  Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) gibt am Dienstag (15.05.12) dem franzoesischen Praesidenten Francois Hollande in Berlin nach einer gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz die Hand. Hollande wurde am Dienstagmorgen zum Praesidenten vereidigt.





The Turmoil Continues: Greece Faces More Elections After Failure To Form New Government

Is Harsh Austerity Even Necessary?… Arianna: Greece Will Leave Euro If Dead-End Path Continues… Der Spiegel: Greece Must Leave Euro Zone…






Francois Hollande Sworn In As France’s First Socialist President In 17 Years






French Presidential Candidates Face Off, Lob Lying Accusations











Deeming Rupert Murdoch not ‘fit’ opens a partisan divide

Tom watson
LONDON — It’s the most explosive line in the report, and the line that some lawmakers said they could not cross.

The finding that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to head a major international company led the news here in Britain following the release of a report Tuesday by a parliamentary committee looking into the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch’s giant News Corp.

But that one line, an extraordinary personal criticism of the Australia-born media magnate, turned the report into something of a political football, dividing the committee along party lines and preventing the panel’s full endorsement of the lengthy report.

The committee unanimously agreed that three of News Corp.’s senior executives essentially lied to lawmakers about the extent of hacking at the News of the World tabloid. Instead of being the work of a lone reporter, intercepting private voicemails now seems to have been practiced on an almost industrial scale at the newspaper, which Murdoch closed down last summer.

French far-right leader refuses to endorse presidential candidate

May 1, 2012

Le pen
PARIS — France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen told supporters at a rally in central Paris on Tuesday that she would be “voting blank” in Sunday’s presidential runoff.

Le Pen, president of the National Front, told the crowd of several thousand people she would not support either incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy or his Socialist challenger, François Hollande.









British Report Blasts Media Mogul Over Phone Hacking Scandal










Voting Begins in France





Arsenal’s Robin van Persie (L) challenges Wigan Athletic’s Maynor Figueroa during the English Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London April 16, 2012.


Main Image











Sarko rallies the troops but the guillotine looms

Feisty as ever, Nicolas Sarkozy will urge voters to ignore the most recent batch of guillotine-shaped opinion polls. The President of the Republic plans to lead “the people” to the barricades. The head of the party of the rich and the Catholic middle classes wants to lead the “silent majority” against the “arrogant”…
France's President and candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during a campaign meeting in Bompas, southern France, Saturday, April 14, 2012.









Toulouse gunman dies in hail of bullets during police raid

Toulouse gunman dies in hail of bullets during police raid
Mohamed Merah, the 23-year-old man who confessed to killing three French soldiers and four people at a Jewish school, died from a gunshot wound to the head Thursday after police stormed his home in Toulouse following a 32-hour stand-off.    







Athens issues threat to bond holdouts

The statue of King Leonidas of ancient Sparta stands over the battlefield of Thermopylae in central Greece.

The statue of King Leonidas of ancient Sparta stands over the battlefield of Thermopylae in central Greece

  • Greece has threatened to default on any bondholders who haven’t signed deal
  • Move turns up the heat on potential holdouts ahead of a deadline on Thursday






Euro summit tension over debt crisis plan

UK PM David Cameron gets a warm greeting from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a handshake from French President Nicolas Sarkozy

The EU’s 27 leaders are discussing how to create jobs and growth amid calls to go beyond enforcing budget discipline.

The EU has more than 23 million unemployed people and there are fears that wide-ranging budget cuts will harm enterprise and training.







The next installment of rescue funds for Greece hinges on the approval of the team, known as the troika. Athens must also complete a complex bond swap deal.

Demonstrators protest austerity cuts as the government seeks to avert a catastrophic Greek bankruptcy.

Demonstrators protest austerity cuts in front of Parliament in Athens. (Milos Bicanski / Getty Images / January 17, 2012)
















Dancers of the ExperiDance Company perform on the stage of the National Dance Theatre in Budapest during their rehearsal of a premiere for Liliomfi, directed and choreographed by Hungarian choreographer Sandor Roman. The premiere will be held on 15 January.

Dancers of the ExperiDance Company perform on the stage of the National Dance Theatre in Budapest









UK Grants Scotland Powers To Sever Ties.. ‘The Biggest Decision Scotland Has Made For 300 Years’






Stephen Hawking Celebrates His 70th Birthday

Stephen Hawking







Nicolas Sarkozy, France President, Says Syria Regime Of Bashar Assad Is Committing Massacres

Nicolas Sarkozy Syria

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) arrives with Defence Minister Gerard Longuet (R) at the Lanveoc-Poulmic naval airbase prior to deliver his New Year wishes to French army personnel on January 3, 2012 in Lanveoc, western France. (PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images)





Firefighters take part in protests against spending cuts in Catalonia’s public services in Barcelona, Spain. Spain’s unemployment rate stands at a 15-year high and is the highest in the eurozone.

Firefighters take part in protests against spending cuts in Catalonia's public services in Barcelona, Spain








Jacques Chirac, France Former President, Found Guilty Of Corruption

Jacques Chirac Corruption

Jacques Chirac in 2009.

 Former French president Jacques Chirac was found guilty in a Paris court Thursday of embezzling funds and violating public trust for hiring members of his political party for non-existent civil jobs while he was mayor of Paris.












Users of “Bath Salts” – a trendy new designer drug that’s all the rage in Germany’s club scene – say the substance can be hit and miss: often a rush of euphoria, sometimes an attack of paranoia. In a few cases, users have had full mental breakdowns.

A young woman speaks about the effects of MDPV, aka "bath salts"

A young woman speaks about the effects of MDPV, aka “bath salts”

MUNICH — They may not be against the law, but they are definitely dangerous. “On a good high, I dance for hours – but once I had a down that lasted for days,” says Rita Morales (not her real name) describing the game of Russian roulette that an increasing number of young Germans are playing with designer drugs known as “bath salts.”

“Wicked,” “Ecko,” “Rush Hour,” “Jungle Dust” – whatever the name, they come in small bright packages, can be sniffed or swallowed, and engender rushes of euphoria. Side effects? Racing heart, hyper activity, shivers, delusions of grandeur, paranoia, aggressiveness and suicidal thoughts.





Euro leaders stand by single currency

Senate voted 156-12 on Friday to pass the countey’s budget bill, which included the reform measures.

Berlusconi had promised to resign as soon as parliament passes the reforms.

There are mounting indications that economist Mario Monti will be tapped to head a transitional government to push through even more difficult reforms.

Italy is facing a Greek-style economic crisis that many fear would threaten the existence of the entire eurozone and cause a global recession.

Paving the way for Monti’s appointment, Giorgio Napolitano, Italy’s president, made him a senator-for-life on Wednesday, in a surprise move that raised his already high profile and instantly made him a legislator.

Berlusconi ‘to step down’

The law is due to be approved by the lower house Chamber of Deputies on Saturday.

Mario Monti’s potential role as Italy’s leader

That would mean Napolitano may accept Berlusconi’s resignation as early as Saturday night, and formally mandate Monti to try to form a new government soon afterwards.

Napolitano has urged parliament to act fast, and some analysts say a new government made up mostly of technocrats could be in place as early as Sunday night before markets open on Monday.

Napolitano moved quickly to calm markets on Wednesday after Italy’s borrowing costs reached levels that could close its access to market funding, a development which would threaten the future of the eurozone.

He gave assurances that Berlusconi would honour his pledge to step down after parliament approved reforms geared to placate markets, and he would waste no time in either appointing a new government or calling new elections.

Austerity plan

At first Berlusconi had insisted that early elections were the only option. But he has since softened his stand and is said by sources to be open to a new government.

Monti has been pushed by markets for weeks as the most suitable figure to lead a national unity government to urgently push through further austerity measures.

Silvio Berlusconi (centre) flanked by Interior Minister Roberto Maroni (left) and Reforms Minister Umberto Bossi during a voting session at the Lower Chamber, in Rome, 8 November


Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi announced his decision to step down on Tuesday after appearing to lose a parliamentary majority in a budget vote, and amid mounting concern that Italy could be the next victim of the eurozone debt crisis.






Greece swears in Papademos at head of unity government

November 11, 2011 —
Lucas Papademos is sworn in as Greece's new Prime Minister during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens.
Lucas Papademos is sworn in as Greece’s new Prime Minister during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Athens.

  • Lucas Papademos is formally sworn in as the head of a unity government
  • Finance Minister Venizelos keeps his role; Stavros Dimas is new foreign minister
  • The new government will start work next week after a vote of confidence
  • Greece’s political turmoil has shaken global financial markets

Athens, Greece (CNN) — Economist Lucas Papademos was formally sworn in Friday as the head of Greece’s new unity government, as the nation seeks to regain political and financial stability after weeks of uncertainty.

Papademos, a former banker and European Central Bank vice president, becomes the country’s interim prime minister after several days of political wrangling.

His ministers were also sworn in at a ceremony attended by the president and the head of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has retained his post in the new government, the prime minister’s office said.

Stavros Dimas, a former EU environment commissioner, is the new foreign minister. He belongs to the New Democracy party, the main opposition to the previous government.