- - Thursday, July 14, 2011

ITALY

Senate passes key austerity package

MILAN — The Italian Senate on Thursday approved a crucial $99 billion austerity package aimed at convincing investors that the eurozone’s third-largest economy won’t be swept into the debt crisis.

The measures were passed 161-135 in a vote of confidence called by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government.


Italy fast-tracked approval of the package, which is due for a final vote in the lower house of parliament on Friday, and increased its size after markets plummeted this week on worries over the country’s financial stability.

The extent of investors’ fears was apparent in a debt auction on Thursday, when Italy saw its borrowing rates hit a record high in a sale of $7 billion in five- to 15-year bonds.

Italy is under pressure to show markets it can bring its accounts in order and promote growth, or risk being dragged into the debt crisis that has hit Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

PAKISTAN

Petraeus meets military leaders amid tensions

ISLAMABAD — Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the outgoing U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and his soon-to-be successor met with top military leaders in Pakistan on Thursday as the two countries struggled to resolve tensions over the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The visit by Gen. Petraeus and Marine Lt. Gen. John R. Allen was part of a flurry over meetings between diplomats and military leaders of the two countries since the May 2 strike against the al Qaeda chief in the northwest Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

Pakistani civilian and military leaders are angry over the raid because the Americans did not warn them about it, although they insist they had no idea the terror leader was on their soil. In response, they have kicked out many U.S. military trainers and asked the Americans to reduce their footprint in the country.

The U.S. recently announced it was suspending some $800 million in military aid to Pakistan until the relationship improves.

SYRIA

Protesters focus on the economy

Story Continues →