World Bulletin/News Desk
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday his People of Freedom (PDL) party firmly opposed Italy leaving the euro and believed such a policy would be disastrous.
Berlusconi alarmed many observers earlier this year by musing openly about Italy quitting the euro zone, but he told the French newspaper Liberation in an interview that his remarks had been misreported.
He said some members of his party had raised the possibility just to put pressure on Germany to relent with its demands for painful fiscal austerity.
"I always said that the exit of one or more of its members would mean the disintegration of the euro zone. It would mean the failure of a historic project to unify Europe and no one could want that," he said. "Within the PDL, we all consider that an exit from the euro would be a disaster."
Berlusconi, who resigned last November to cede the premiership to technocrat Mario Monti, also said he had not yet decided whether to lead his party in next April's general election.
"It's a fact that the whole party, starting with the members of parliament, are asking me to come back to benefit from my popularity at the general election," said the 75-year-old billionaire, who has served three times as prime minister.
"I have not yet decided but one thing is for sure: I have always been at the service of my country."
The PDL's parliamentary leader, Fabrizio Cicchito, said last month that Berlusconi would be the party's candidate. The Mediaset magnate has kept a low profile since resigning in the middle of financial turmoil that risked tipping the euro zone's third largest economy into a Greek-style crisis.
Monti has ruled out running in next year's election and polls suggest a centre-left bloc around the Democratic Party would win, with the PDL battling for second place with the maverick 5 Star movement led by former comedian Beppe Grillo.
Berlusconi told Liberation the country's left had not modernised itself and was stuck with an outdated tax-and-spend model ill-suited to Italy's troubled economic situation.
"What pushes me to remain active is a sense of responsibility toward my country and, perhaps, the bitterness of not having accomplished everything which I wanted," he said.
Berlusconi, on trial on allegations of paying for sex with a teenager, said he was a victim of "a lynching for political ends".
"Nothing strange took place, just some friends who came to my house with admirers - none of whom was an escort girl - for some dinners which were perfectly calm," he told the newspaper.
India will buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth 32 billion rupees ($525 million), the source
As pro-Russian separatists control more than half of the coal mines in Ukraine, government looks elsewhere to supply coal demand.
Business executives warn of an investment slowdown, while the government wants companies to diversify sales.
The money will be used to develop infrastructure, power distribution and business cooperation, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said
If Russian oil giant Rosneft's request for $49 billion from the government is not met, Russia could face larger budgetary and revenue problems, say experts
China launched the first stage of an Asian development bank, in what is widely seen as a challenge to U.S.-backed international banks.
Aid agencies are tentatively also giving away cash and letting refugees decide for themselves what they need. The money is being wisely spent and rarely wasted
The research firm IHS estimated this week that ISIL militants were producing about $2 million worth of crude oil a day before recent U.S.-led air strikes.
The conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island continues over the ownership of the hydrocarbon reserves in the exclusive economic zones off the shore of the island
Aeroplane maker company Boeing sells plane parts to Iran, as part of easing the sanctions and first step since 1979
OPEC's second-largest producer, Iran is normally among the first members of the oil producers' group to call for supply cuts to support prices.
The 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc said they would advance structural reforms to unleash new sources of growth.
Ukraine needs to pay its previous debt to Russia by the end of the year and pay in advance for getting new volumes of natural gas
The loss of Khafji's 280,000 barrels per day of Arabian Heavy crude will be felt more in Kuwait, which has far less spare output than its neighbour
Under Lufthansa's proposals, pilots would still be able to retire early, but the age would gradually increase to 60 from 55.