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New Arrests as Italy Probes Mafia Links to Rome Officials

Italian police on Tuesday arrested six people, including a senior culture official, in a probe running parallel to a major investigation into a mafia network suspected of operating out of Rome city hall.

The arrests are linked to fraudulent nods for city contracts, including tenders for the 2010 restoration of the Julius Caesar wing of the palace where city councilors meet, Rome's financial police said in a statement.

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Italy PM under Fire as Minister Probed in Mafia Migrant Scandal

Italy's premier on Saturday rebuffed opposition demands that he sack a junior minister who is being investigated in a burgeoning scandal over mafia involvement in centers for newly-arrived migrants.

"I will never ask someone to resign for a notice of investigation but anyone who is convicted must leave political life for good," Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said at a seminar in Genoa.

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Italy Arrests 44 Tied to Rome's Mafia Garbage King

Italian police arrested 44 people Thursday accused of dealings with a powerful one-eyed mobster whose gang thrived on rigging Rome public contracts on everything from garbage disposal to park maintenance.

Officers cuffed local politicians from both the left and right, including regional councilor Luca Gramazio from Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, accused of serving as a go-between for corrupt businessmen and the mob.

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Abbas to Meet Pope before Palestinian Nuns Canonized

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet Pope Francis in Rome on Saturday, the day before two Palestinian nuns are canonized, his office said.

Marie Alphonsine Ghattas of Jerusalem and Mariam Bawardy of Galilee, both of whom lived in Ottoman Palestine during the 19th century, will be made saints in a ceremony at the Vatican on Sunday.

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Rome Airport in Chaos after Fire Devastates Terminal

Scores of flights were canceled and thousands of passengers had their travel plans wrecked Thursday after a fierce fire devastated part of a terminal at Rome's Fiumicino airport.

The city's main airport was closed to passengers for several hours after a blaze triggered by an electrical fault in a bar broke out in terminal three, which is used for international flights.

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Rome Removes Refugees from Besieged Center

Authorities in Rome have removed the last remaining asylum-seekers from a center that was repeatedly attacked by local residents in incidents that were seen as a benchmark of rising xenophobia.

Around 40 immigrants had remained in the Tor Sapienza residence on the rundown eastern outskirts of Rome until earlier this week.

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Maronite Bishops Hope Dialogue Resolves Presidential Crisis, Urge Backing for the State

The Council of Maronite bishops welcomed on Friday the dialogue among the country's different factions, hoping that it would lead to the election of a new president, and urged the Lebanese to back the state at this critical stage.

The bishops hoped in a statement following their monthly meeting in Bkirki that “talks among the Lebanese political parties would be aimed at electing a head of state.”

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Rome Advises Italians to Leave Libya

Italy's foreign ministry on Friday advised against travelling to Libya and suggested that its nationals already should leave, adding that it stands ready to participate in any U.N. intervention in the country.

"We reiterate our invitation to our nationals to not travel to Libya and for those already there to provisionally leave the country," the foreign ministry said on its website.

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Girault Briefs al-Rahi on Outcome of His 'Presidential' Tour

Jean-François Girault, Director of the Department of the Middle East and North Africa at the French Foreign Ministry, held talks Monday in Rome with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi about the outcome of his latest Mideast tour, especially in relation with the presidential void in Lebanon.

Girault and al-Rahi also discussed means to end the presidential crisis, “the needed efforts that must be exerted in Lebanon and the role that must be played by the friendly countries, topped by the Holy See and France,” according to a statement issued by the Maronite Patriarchate's press office.

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Al-Rahi Meets Pope at Vatican, to Head Mass on St. Maroun Occasion on Monday

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi held a meeting on Friday with Pope Francis at the Vatican, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Al-Rahi is expected to head a mass at 7:00 pm on Monday at the Maronite College in Rome on the occasion of Saint Maroun.

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