• CRUNCH WEEK FOR ITALY AS BERLUSCONI BATTLES SANCTION

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    ROME, Italy: Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has warned against instability as a parliamentary committee prepares for a debate starting Monday on Silvio Berlusconi’s expulsion from the Senate following his criminal conviction. The case has put on edge an uneasy governing coalition made up of Letta’s center-left Democratic Party and Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom party in what is the eurozone’s third biggest economy. As Italy struggles to extricate itself from a recession that has caused record unemployment, Berlusconi has once again taken the political center stage. The billionaire tycoon has complained that a new law against criminals in parliament adopted last year with the aim of cleaning up Italian politics and approved with votes from his own party violates his human rights. The three-time prime minister has lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg arguing that the law should not apply for convictions relating to crimes committed before its adoption as in his case.

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