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Italy grants refugee status to Kazakh tycoon

Italy has granted political refugee status to the family of a Kazakh tycoon, who is in prison in France fighting an extradition order from Russia and Ukraine where he is wanted for massive fraud, lawyers said.

Italian court: 'You don't have to name to defame on Facebook'

Facebook users in Italy may want to think twice next time they post something on the social networking site after the country’s highest court ruled that insults on the site – even ones with an unnamed target – could be regarded as defamatory.

'Knockout game' spreads to Italy and claims its first victim

A man has died in Pisa after being punched in the head while walking in the city centre in an attack characteristic of the so-called ‘knockout game’, a vicious street-game craze that originated in the US, whereby passers-by are punched for the fun of it.

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Italy's poor forced to live in squats / Clashes as Rome police move to evict squatters

Italy's recession, the worst since World War II, has had a devastating effect on many ordinary Italians, squeezed hard by tax rises and an alarming unemployment rate, currently at a record 13 percent. The country's traditional family support network has come under increasing strain, and rights groups say more should be done to turn the capital's unused public offices and empty army barracks into council houses.

Clashes broke out at an abandoned office block in Rome on Wednesday as scores of riot police moved to evict some 350 poor families who had occupied the building because of a chronic housing crisis in the city.

Beppe Grillo won't apologize for 'anti-Semitic' post

Italian politician Beppe Grillo has refused to apologize to Italy’s Jewish community after the press dubbed him an anti-Semite for publishing an adapted version of Holocaust survivor Primo Levi’s classic ‘If this is a man’.

Italy's unelected Prime Minister slams EU austerity

Italy's new (unelected) prime minister on Saturday blasted what he called a European Union of austerity and bankers, as he kicked off his party's campaign for next month's European elections.

Dozens hurt in Rome anti-government protest

Police fired tear gas and made a number of arrests in Rome on Saturday as an anti-government protest turned violent, leaving several injured, according to medics and an AFP photographer.

Italian woman dies after taking abortion drug

An Italian woman has died after taking an abortion pill. It is the first known death in Italy that could be linked to the controversial RU486 drug.

Italians in Genoa 'can't afford to pay for funerals'

Italians hit by the economic crisis in the north-eastern city of Genoa are unable to pay for burials, leaving one local funeral home with a €500,000 bill last year alone.

Court mulls community service for disgraced former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi

An Italian court on Thursday began a sentencing hearing against Silvio Berlusconi which could see the three-time former prime minister and billionaire tycoon forced to do community service for nine months.

Priest stole nuns' money to pay for sex

A priest from Feltre, a hillside town in the northern Italian province of Belluno, is under investigation for allegedly paying a Moroccan man for sex, and with cash stolen from the local convent.

Why Italy might not exist in five years

With Europe's eyes on independence referendums in Scotland and Catalonia, Italy's own potential breakaway states have failed to gain much attention. But separatists in Venice - and other parts of Italy - have the wind in their sails.

Unpaid Italian council worker in self-immolation threat

A man in southern Italy threatened to set himself on fire after waiting months for the town council to pay him, local police said.

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Armed activists planned to free Venice with 'tank'

Italian police on Wednesday arrested 24 alleged separatists for terrorism after thwarting a plan to take over St Mark's Square in Venice armed with guns and a rudimentary "tank" made from a digger.

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'Absolutely crucial' UK stays in EU says Italy's un-elected leader

Italy's dictator...er... unelected prime minister, Matteo Renzi, said on Tuesday the European Union needed Britain, but offered little backing for his counterpart David Cameron's hopes of treaty change.

Let them eat cake: Italian politicians 'wasted €2m' on fine wine and caviar

Sixty-four politicians from the regional council of Lombardy, one of Italy’s wealthiest regions, have been accused of squandering almost €2.14 million worth of public funds on everything from premium wine and caviar to jars of Nutella and placing bets.

More than 40% of Italians want to quit euro

A new poll has found that more than 40 percent of Italians would like the country to leave the European single currency.

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We're very worried by rise of Nazis in Europe

Jews in Italy have seen walls smeared with swastikas and had pig's heads delivered to their doors in recent months, but the head of the Jewish Community, Riccardo Pacifici, insists Italy remains a much better place to be Jewish than many other European countries.

Rome workers lament Obama visit

US President Barack Obama has been given a warm welcome by Italy's leaders and Pope Francis, but The Local discovers that not everyone is impressed by the state visit - especially business owners forced to close ahead of his trip to the Colosseum.

Push in Sardinia for online vote on independence from Italy

The island of Sardinia plans to hold an online referendum on independence from Italy, following in the footsteps of country’s northeastern Veneto region, where a similar vote revealed high separatist moods.

Group of 8 Leaders Agree to Exclude Putin

President Obama and the leaders of the biggest Western economies agreed on Monday to exclude President Vladimir V. Putin from the Group of 8, suspending his government’s 15-year participation in the diplomatic forum and further isolating his country.

Venice Referendum: Crimea encouraged vote to take place

Hot on the heels of Crimea breaking away from Ukraine, the Italian city of Venice has voted for independence from Rome. An overwhelming 89 percent of Venetians voted for going it alone, in a referendum... and the city could now start withholding taxes from the Italian government.

Venice Referendum: Crimea encouraged vote to take place

Venice votes to cut ties with Italy in poll

Italians in Venice and its surrounding region have voted in an online poll in favour of breaking away from the rest of the country and forming their own state.

Jewish chief defies Italy's anti-semites

On Wednesday, Pacifici gave a testimony at the trial of seven right-wing extremists, during which he revealed that a pig’s head was sent to his home.

Italy: 'Desperate' mother kills her three daughters

A woman in northern Italy killed her three children over the weekend, reportedly telling police afterwards that she was "desperate" and in poverty after her husband left the family.

Italy warns Libya over weapons fears

Italy's new (unelected*) foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, warned Libya on Thursday that political instability is hampering international efforts to provide assistance to the deeply divided country.

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Ukraine crisis threatens new 'Cold War' says Italy's FM

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has said the Ukraine crisis risks propelling Europe into "a new Cold War scenario" that could "take us backwards by decades".

Beppe Grillo faces jail over train protest

The head of Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement party (M5S), Beppe Grillo, was sentenced to four months in prison on Monday for breaking a police seal on a building during a protest.

Schoolgirls sold sex 'to buy makeup and clothes'

Two Italian schoolgirls – aged 14 and 15 – have told police how they worked as prostitutes after school so that they could buy makeup and clothes.

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Restaurant that invented Tiramisù to close down

The Italian restaurant credited with inventing Tiramisù – one of the most famous desserts in the world – is to close down as Italy's financial crisis continues to take its toll.

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