Protesters trying to set up Occupy-style camp in front of St Peter’s removed with the support of the Holy See
… “We put our faith in the Vatican but no one helped us,” Julian Garcia, one of the group, told Corriere della Sera. “We were sitting on the ground and they were hitting us with batons.” …
(via Vatican protesters evicted by police | World news | The Guardian)
Mario Monti, the former European commissioner, has been sworn in as Italy’s prime minister along with the ministers of his new, technocratic government, charged with steering the eurozone’s most indebted nation out of danger.
The 17-strong cabinet will be able to bring to bear on Italy’s daunting problems a formidable amount of intellectual fire-power. More than a third of the seats in the cabinet will be occupied by professors, including the prime minister himself. Monti, a distinguished liberal economist, kept the finance and economics portfolios. He handed the economic development and infrastructure portfolios to Corrado Passera, the chief executive of Italy’s biggest retail bank, Intesa Sanpaolo.
Three of the cabinet ministers are women, and two were appointed to top jobs: Anna Maria Cancellieri as interior minister and Paola Severino as justice minister. Elsa Fornero will have heavy responsibilities as minister for welfare and employment.
Speaking after announcing his cabinet, Monti said: “We feel sure of what we have done and we have received many signals of encouragement from our European partners and the international world. All this will, I trust, translate into a calming of that part of the market difficulty which concerns our country.”
The new government took office at a time when Italy was engulfed by the eurozone crisis, with its benchmark borrowing costs at an unsustainably high level of more than 7%. The swearing in of the new government made little difference to sovereign yields but it appeared to cheer the Milan bourse which closed almost 0.8% up on a day that saw Frankfurt and London lose ground. …
Italy was preparing for life without Silvio Berlusconi after a historic vote paved the way for a new government in Rome tasked with shoring up the country’s economy and taking it off the frontline in the eurozone crisis.
The 75-year-old billionaire looked set to bring down the curtain on a government that has played a significant role in taking his country, the European single currency and the global economy to the brink of catastrophe. The dramatic end of Berlusconi’s 17-year domination of Italian politics came as the lower house of parliament approved a package of savage cuts and stimulus measures demanded by the European Union to trim Italy’s massive €1.9 trillion debt.
After losing his majority in the house, a weakened Berlusconi had pledged to resign as soon as he had pushed the reform package through parliament in record time. The reforms were passed by 380 votes to 26. Opposition parties did not participate.
The package was passed as José Manuel Barroso, president of the European commission, issued a sharp rebuke to eurosceptics in the UK who want to use the current crisis to disengage from the European Union. Writing in the Observer, he said all members of the EU need to unite and “advance together”. …
… “They can say about me that I screw. It’s the only thing they can say about me. Is that clear?” he said to the man allegedly blackmailing him. “They can put listening devices where they like. They can tap my telephone calls. I don’t give a fuck. I … In a few months, I’m getting out to mind my own fucking business, from somewhere else, and so I’m leaving this shitty country of which I’m sickened.” …
Fininvest ordered to pay out for bribing judge in 1991, dealing heaviest blow yet to Berlusconi’s business career
John Hooper in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 10 July 2011
As one international media tycoon was flying to London to deal with the crisis in his empire, another cut short a visit to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa and hastened to Rome after being dealt the heaviest blow yet in his controversial business career.
Silvio Berlusconi learned on Saturday that judges in Milan had ordered his company Fininvest to hand over more than half a billion euros to his deadliest rival.
The money is compensation for bribery of a judge to rule in Berlusconi’s favour in his struggle with the industrialist Carlo De Benedetti for control of Mondadori, Italy’s biggest publishing house.
Last week it was discovered that a clause had been inserted in a package of budgetary adjustments that would have meant Fininvest did not have to pay the compensation until it had exhausted the appeals process. In Italy, that can take years, or even decades.
Several ministers have since said they knew nothing about the insertion until it was reported in the media. But the prime minister has insisted it was discussed in cabinet.
Berlusconi himself was put on trial for bribery in connection with the Mondadori judgment, but the charges against him were dropped in 2001 after being timed out by a statute of limitations. In their written ruling, however, the Milan appeals court judges said he was “jointly responsible” for the corruption.
They said it was “beyond any plausible reasoning” that Fininvest’s lawyers would have been given the money to bribe the judge while “the owner of the company that paid and benefited was kept in the dark”. It was obvious they would not have acted “in the absence of an unequivocal order” from Berlusconi, the judges said. …