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Italy leftist PM candidate Bersani tops opinion poll ROME: Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani is favourite among Italians to lead the next government, with outgoing technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti second most popular and Silvio Berlusconi coming a close third, a poll showed on Sunday.   Bersani scored 36.2 percent, Monti 23.3 percent and Berlusconi 21.8 percent, the poll, conducted by the CISE electoral research institute for Il Sole 24 Ore daily, found.   Whoever wins the Feb. 24-25 elections will have to tackle a deep recession and rising unemployment in the euro zone's third largest economy as well as keeping strained public finances under control.   Monti said on Friday he would lead a centrist alliance, setting up a three-way contest with Bersani's Democratic Party (PD) and Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL).   The poll of 1,309 Italians was carried out between Dec. 22 and Dec. 28.   A former European Commissioner, Monti was appointed to lead an unelected government of experts to save Italy from financial ...

Thatcher leaves hospital LONDON: Britain's former prime minister Margaret Thatcher has left hospital after successful bladder surgery, British media have reported.   The BBC and Sky News television said the 87-year-old was discharged on Saturday, citing sources close to the former premier, but her spokeswoman did not immediately return calls on Sunday seeking confirmation.   The former premier, who led Britain from 1979 to 1990, was admitted to hospital on December 20 for a minor operation to remove a growth from her ...
Explosives found near home of Cyprus president NICOSIA: Three pounds (1.36 kilogrammes) of military grade TNT were found on Saturday close to the holiday home of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, police said.   The "high yield explosives and a common detonator" were discovered at a distance of 500 metres (yards) from the president's retreat and ready to use, police spokesman Andreas Angelides told reporters.   He said the explosives were hidden and placed under a tree some 15 metres from the main road that leads to ...
Russian passenger plane splits apart MOSCOW: A Russian passenger plane with up to 12 persons on board split into three pieces after sliding off a runway and crashing into a highway outside a Moscow airport on Saturday, officials said.   State-run RIA news agency said two persons were killed.   A photograph posted on the Internet showed a wrecked plane on a highway outside Vnukovo airport, with smoke billowing from the back end and only a mangled part of the front half visible.   "After a ...
Berlusconi accuses Monti of plot with Italy ROME: Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday condemned outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti's plan to lead a centrist alliance in Italy's election in February, accusing him of a plot to favour the left, but centrist leaders denied any secret accord.   Monti, who replaced Berlusconi as prime minister last year as Italy scrambled to avert a financial crisis, said on Friday he wanted to unite a broad coalition of factions around a reform agenda aimed at easing the country's ...
Polish utilities, KGHM extend draft deal to fund nuclear plant WARSAW: Poland's top three utilities and copper miner KGHM have given themselves until the end of March 2013 to sign a deal to share the cost of constructing the country's first nuclear power station, the companies said on Friday.   In September they signed a letter of intent, which they have now extended, to share the estimated 30 billion zlotys ($9.75 billion) to 50 billion zlotys cost of building the station.   Poland wants to develop nuclear power to ...
Berlusconi to pay 36mn euros a year divorce settlement ROME: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to pay his estranged wife Veronica Lario 100,000 euros ($132,200) a day as part of a divorce settlement, the daily Corriere della Sera said on Friday.   The newspaper said the 36 million-euro-a-year settlement, reached after three years of negotiations, was filed with a court in Milan around Christmas.   No comment was immediately available from the court or from lawyers for either Berlusconi or Lario following emailed and telephoned ...


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