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Glamorous Five Star Candidate Tops Rome Mayor Race

A month ahead of Italian local elections, the spotlight is turning increasingly on Rome -- where the anti-establishment frontrunner is vowing to clean up a city long dogged by corruption and negligence.

A glamorous 37-year-old lawyer, Virginia Raggi of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), is leading polls to become mayor of the capital, which has been run by a special commissioner since last November after the previous center-left mayor resigned amid an expenses scandal.

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Rome Mafia Trial Puts Black Soul of Italy in the Dock

The alleged ringleaders of Italy's newest mafia go on trial Thursday in a landmark case set to highlight systemic corruption in Rome and serve as a litmus test of the country's battle against organized crime.

Massimo Carminati, a one-eyed gangster with a history of far-right links, stands accused with more than 40 alleged accomplices of operating a network that stole millions of euros from the city of Rome.

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Rome Councilors Quit to Force out Embattled Mayor

More than half of Rome's elected councilors resigned en masse on Friday to oust scandal-tainted mayor Ignazio Marino, after he backtracked on a pledge to quit amid an expenses row.

The embattled Marino announced earlier this month he was to step down, only to withdraw his resignation on Thursday -- despite his own party calling on him to go.

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Ousted Rome Mayor Warns of Mafia Return

Rome's mayor cried foul on Friday after being forced to resign over an expenses row and warned the Italian capital could succumb once more to organized crime.

Ignazio Marino, 60, stepped down late Thursday over a scandal centered on 20,000 euros ($22,600) of restaurant bills settled with a city hall credit card over the course of his 28 months in office.

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Pope Visits Optician in Central Rome for Glasses

Pope Francis went to an optician's in central Rome on Thursday to try on glasses, Italian media reported.

Arriving in an unmarked car in the late afternoon, the Argentine pontiff visited the shop in the historic and lively city center close to the famous Piazza del Popolo, drawing crowds outside the window.

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Disruption Continues at Rome's Disaster-Hit Airport

Flights in and out of Rome's disaster-hit Fiumicino airport were seriously disrupted for a second day Thursday after a fire in a nearby pine grove threw dense smoke across the runway.

The blaze on Wednesday forced the suspension of all flights for two hours, with long delays stretching into the night even after the fire was brought under control.

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Fire near Rome Airport Disrupts Flights

Rome's Fiumicino airport briefly suspended all flights Wednesday after a fire broke out in a nearby pine grove, spreading dense smoke across the runway.

The Italian Civil Aviation Authority said the situation was "slowly returning to normal" as firefighters battled to extinguish the blaze.

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Rome Mayor Fights for Survival amid Eternal City Chaos

It boasts some of the most prized archaeological sites in the world, but modern-day Rome, plagued by the mafia, has descended into a grimy and disheveled chaos where its beleaguered mayor is fighting for his political life.

Ignazio Marino on Tuesday appointed a new transport councilor in a bid to combat corruption in a sector which has failed pitifully in the searing summer heat, with tourists and locals alike hit by long delays and overcrowded public services.

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Pope Expected to Draw more than a Million at Ecuador Mass

More than a million faithful -- some of whom traveled for hours and spent the night outdoors -- gathered Monday for the first open-air mass of Pope Francis's three-nation trip to South America.

Keeping vigil in tents, sleeping bags and on cardboard, tens of thousands hoping to catch a glimpse of the pontiff spent the night in the rough ahead of the service in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city.

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Peshawar Bomb Suspect Detained in Italy

A Pakistani accused of organizing a 2009 bomb attack on a Peshawar market that killed more than 130 people, has been detained in Italy, police said Friday.

Siyar Khan, 36, who is also suspected of involvement in a potential plot against Pope Francis, was arrested on terrorism charges as he stepped off a flight from Islamabad to Rome on Thursday evening.

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