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Berlusconi told Liberation the country's left had not modernised itself and was stuck with an outdated tax-and-spend model ill-suited to Italy's troubled economic situation.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.
Ethiopia, Africa's largest coffee grower, is set to continue talks with global buyers in hopes of branding and trademarking its world-renowned coffee and boosting national revenue.
Russia has banned the import of EU food products including fruit and vegetables from Poland, whose total food exports to Russia were worth around $1.5 bln last year.
Ukraine is prepared to compromise on the price until a lawsuit it has filed against Gazprom is resolved, minister Yuri Prodan said.
Finnish electricity specialist Hiekkala: 'Finland and Baltic countries have possibilities to replace the import from Russia by own capacity or Nordic import.'
The Bahraini-based Dar Group (Al-Shair and Partners) and its Egyptian subsidiary, Dar al-Handasah, were awarded the contract worth some $1.8 billion to draw up the master plan for Egypt's Suez Canal development project.
Citizens unable to pay their credit card bills can apply to Finance Ministry to have their debts expunged.
Greek Cypriot Farmers’ Union EKA general secretary Panicos Hambas said that the Russian sanctions on the Greek Cypriot export of citrus fruits could lead Turkish Cypriot farmers to export their own fruits to Russia via Turkey.
The closing off of a major export market threatens to hurt segments of the euro zone economy at a time when growth is pretty poor anyway.
Soaring Chinese demand for commodities like coal has underwritten Mongolia's rapid growth, with more than 90 percent of its exports sold to China.
Thailand avoided recession in the second quarter, the state planning agency said on Monday, but questions remain about the pace and depth of growth.
The new ban would not apply to foreign automakers' production inside Russia. Ford, Volkswagen , Ford Renault, Toyota and Hyundai Motor Co all have production facilities inside Russia.
Across Asia's low-cost garment manufacturing industry in particular, there have been more strikes as unions use a shortage of skilled workers to press for better pay and improved safety
More than eight out of ten French citizens do not trust the government of Prime Minister Valls to improve economic situation, poll shows
Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years on July 31 after losing a lengthy legal battle with hedge funds demanding full payment on debt
The pipeline is expected to function on an interruptible basis from September and on a firm basis from March 2015.
Ethiopian gold exports rose to 12.35 tons during the reported period compared to 12.32 in the previous year.