Italian economy minister calls S&P rating cut ‘backward'

Italian Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni. Photo: EPA

Italian Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni criticised Standard & Poor’s cut to its rating on Italy, saying it failed to take account of recent government measures to boost growth. Speaking at the annual meeting of the Italian banking federation, Saccomanni said ratings decisions on sovereign debt risked being based on outdated information and creating unwanted pro-cyclical effects.

Thursday, 11 July, 2013, 12:56am

IMF tells Italy: press reforms, create youth jobs

 Former premier Silvio Berlusconi plans to abolish a property tax which the IMF is urging the Italian government to retain. Photo: EPA

The International Monetary Fund has pressed Italy to do more about “unacceptably high” unemployment, especially among young people and women, and urged it to bring back an unpopular property tax whose return could threaten the survival of Premier Enrico Letta’s coalition government.

5 Jul 2013 - 2:19pm

‘Dear Italy, I have left, but would return if...’

A volunteer with Caritas carries meals in a soup kitchen in Rome. Unemployment in Italy stood at 12 per cent in April, and the brain drain is worsening. Photo: AFP

As thousands of Italians leave the country to look for work elsewhere, one young journalist’s blog claims to offer “a megaphone for this generation,” a voice to all those who profess to be ready to return “if...”.

25 Jun 2013 - 11:55am

Italian convict island is home to growing concern

Winemaker Lamberto Frescobaldi's vineyard estate, where the island's inmates spend their days. Photo: Reuters

High on a hillside overlooking the azure sea on a small Mediterranean island, two brawny men toil under the sun in a vineyard that has just released a €50 (HK$515) wine destined for the tables of top restaurants.

17 Jun 2013 - 5:32am

Mafia-victim sandwiches bring 'bad taste' protest

The offending Don Panino pub menu. Photo: SCMP

Italy has complained to Austrian authorities about a Vienna pub selling sandwiches named after Italians murdered by Sicilian mobsters.

10 Jun 2013 - 3:25am

Campaign to save Trieste's iconic Caffe San Marco

In its heyday, the Caffe San Marco was one of the fixed points on the vibrant intellectual map of Trieste, frequented by writers James Joyce and Italo Svevo and poet Umberto Saba. Decades later, in a world increasingly dominated by quick caffeine fixes and multi-ingredient beverages, the historic Viennese-style coffee house has remained a beloved part of the port city in Italy's northeast.

31 May 2013 - 5:12am

Italian girl's murder spurs unanimous vote on anti-domestic-violence treaty

Fabiana Luzzi was stabbed and set on fire. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Italy's lower chamber of parliament ratified a European treaty against domestic violence as the country buried its latest woman murder victim: a 15-year-old girl stabbed and burned alive, allegedly by her boyfriend.

30 May 2013 - 2:48am

Italian voters shun 5-Star as coalition gets needed electoral boost

Beppe Grillo's party failed to win any of the 564 towns and cities that voted after refusing to support Enrico Letta's party. Photo: AFP

Italian voters gave Prime Minister Enrico Letta's fragile coalition government a badly needed boost in local elections, shunning Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement just three months after its spectacular success in a parliamentary vote.

29 May 2013 - 1:55am

Daniele Lo Presti: tale of sleaze, blackmail and organised crime

Daniele Lo Presti

It is more than two months since Italian paparazzo Daniele Lo Presti was murdered under Testaccio bridge in Rome. Lo Presti had been due to meet friends for a run on February 27 at 5.30pm, and had been jogging on the footpath that follows the Tiber River.

10 May 2013 - 2:32am

Postcard: Udine

The Far East Film Festival in the Italian town of Udine offers Western audiences a chance to watch glossy commercial fare made in Asia.

Italy's Udine Far East Film Festival (FEFF) made its name by bringing quality commercial films from Asia to international audiences.

5 May 2013 - 3:39pm

Italy's new government sworn in after deadlock

New Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta (right) and President Giorgio Napolitano (centre) stand during the swearing in ceremony of the new government at the Quirinale Palace in Rome on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Italy’s new coalition government was sworn in on Sunday, bringing fresh hope to a country mired in recession after two months of bitter post-election deadlock watched closely by European partners.

28 Apr 2013 - 8:32pm

Jobless Italian shoots two policemen after failure to strike politicians

The alleged gunman is tackled to the ground. Photo: AP

Two Italian police officers were shot outside the prime minister's office in Rome today by a lone gunman while the country's new premier, Enrico Letta, was being sworn in across town, police said.

The gunman had acted out of anger with politicians, one of the prosecutors working on the case said.

29 Apr 2013 - 3:21am

Political crisis seen to turn Berlusconi into a powerbroker

Scandal-tainted tycoon Silvio Berlusconi. Photo: AFP

Guess who's back? The real winner as Italy's long political crisis comes to an end is none other than Silvio Berlusconi, a scandal-tainted billionaire tycoon and a global figure of fun. The former prime minister, 76, is not expected to be included in the new cabinet being set up by moderate leftist Enrico Letta, but there is no doubt among political observers that he will be a power behind the throne.

25 Apr 2013 - 4:14am

Italian parties agree to back Marini for president

Franco Marini faces vote

The Italian parliament's attempt to elect a new president ended in disarray yesterday. Two rounds of voting failed to herald the end of a two-month impasse over a new government and the threat of fresh political divisions. A third vote is set to take place today.

19 Apr 2013 - 3:09am

Ex-unionist tipped as Italy holds presidential poll

Pier Luigi Bersani. Photo: EPA

Voting to choose Italy’s new president began on Thursday with a former trade unionist the frontrunner in an election which could herald the end of a two-month impasse over a new government, but is threatening to divide the centre-left.

18 Apr 2013 - 7:09pm