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Rome Protesters Call on Government to Create New Jobs

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Rome on Saturday, calling on the government to do more to create new jobs and to boost the spending power of workers.

The protest comes less than two months after Italy's new right-left coalition government came to power under Prime Minister Enrico Letta following a long-drawn political squabble on the back of February's inconclusive elections.

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Italians Vote in City Polls with All Eyes on Rome

Italians voted Sunday in the second round of municipal polls in 67 towns and cities, with Rome's right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno facing a stiff challenge from the center-left candidate.

Little known on the national scene, challenger Ignazio Marino picked up 43 percent of the vote in the first round two weeks ago, while Alemanno, a former neo-fascist, came in second with 30 percent.

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U.S. Moving 200 Marines to Sicily for Libya

Italy on Wednesday said the United States was transferring 200 marines and two planes to its base at Sigonella in Sicily to deploy in Libya in case U.S. diplomats come under attack as they did last year.

Speaking in parliament after leftist lawmakers complained they had not been told about the deployment, Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said the transfer was "in accordance with bilateral agreements" between Italy and the United States.

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Survivor Found in Italy Ship Crash, Eight Feared Dead

Eight people were feared dead after a container ship lost control in the night and smashed into a control tower in Italy's busiest port in Genoa where rescue workers plucked a badly injured survivor from the ruins on Wednesday.

The 50-meter (164-foot) high glass-topped tower was destroyed when the ship ploughed into the dock. Some people were thrown into the cold water, while others were trapped in a lift which plunged into the sea, Italy's fire brigade said.

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Aoun: I Will Not Accept Alternative to Orthodox Law, I Wasn't Informed of Any Rome Agreement

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun rejected on Tuesday any possible alternative to the Orthodox Gathering parliamentary electoral law, saying that the rights of Christians in Lebanon are being usurped.

He said after the Change and Reform bloc's weekly meeting: “I was not informed of any of the discussions that were held in Rome.”

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Report: Rome Meeting Agrees on Technically Postponing Polls, Formation of Senate

A meeting held between Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqati reached a breakthrough over the controversial electoral law, which will be technically postponed according to a two-page plan.

Al-Liwaa newspaper reported on Tuesday that the two-page document, which was agreed upon between the three officials, states that political foes should consent on a hybrid electoral law that divides the parliamentary seats equally based on winner-takes-all and proportional systems or 60 percent of MPs be elected through the winner-takes-all and 40 according to the proportional system.

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Sparks of Humor in Pope Francis's First Days

Starting with the historic moment when the first Latin American pontiff greeted the crowds in St Peter's Square after his election on Wednesday, Pope Francis has shown a lively sense of humour.

The smiling 76-year-old waved his hand in the air to underline a point about just how far the cardinals who elected him had looked to find a new pontiff.

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Report: Berri, Miqati to Head to Rome for Pope's Inauguration

Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqati are expected to travel to Rome on Saturday night to attend the new pope's inauguration and congratulate him on his election, An Nahar daily reported.

Environment Minister Nazem al-Khoury will accompany Berri and Miqati, it said.

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Cardinals Pray for Unity before Historic Papal Election

Cardinals prayed for unity and pledged allegiance to whoever will be the next pope at a grandiose mass in St Peter's Basilica on Tuesday ahead of a conclave to elect a new leader for the Catholic world.

The dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, celebrated the special papal election mass, telling the 115 scarlet-robed cardinals preparing to elect the 266th pope: "Each of us must work to build up the unity of the Church."

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Conclave Offers Business Boon for Crisis-Hit Rome

The upcoming conclave to elect a new pope is proving a boon for business in Rome in a harsh economy -- from a new iPad application to booked-out hotels and balconies rented out for stellar prices.

Thousands of pilgrims have descended on the Italian capital in what would normally be low season to bid a final farewell to Benedict XVI and watch the rare and centuries-old tradition of a papal conclave to vote in his successor.

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