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Berlusconi told Liberation the country's left had not modernised itself and was stuck with an outdated tax-and-spend model ill-suited to Italy's troubled economic situation.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.
Production from conflict-free mines are bagged and tagged with a barcode to make it easily traceable.
"We will further expand our capacities to be able to respond to the high market growth," Jochem Heizmann, head of VW's China operations told reporters on Saturday ahead of the Beijing auto show.
The State Duma lower house on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012.
Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company's bid to resuscitate its business.
Discussions will continue in the days and weeks ahead, but there is no particular deadline for concluding the talks, the official added.
Russia's oil output stands at over 10 million barrels per day, the world's largest, but it needs new sources of crude oil, including hard-to-recover deposits and the Arctic, to sustain this level
The strike at Yue Yuen is not just one of China's biggest in recent years, it's also more clearly driven by workers' fears that they have been scammed by an opaque and convoluted welfare payment system.
When the system is in place citizens will be able to buy a limited amount of subsidised fuel, and will have to pay a normal, market price for any extra quantities.
Production in Upper Nile state's Paloch oilfields, where output has not been hampered by the conflict, stood at 159,000 barrels per day this week.
Dragomir Stoynev accused fellow European Union members of a politically-motivated attempt to scupper the project, and urged the bloc to understand the effect that doing so would have on its members.
The drops have come mainly because Japan did not take any cargoes in March and South Korea is not scheduled to take any shipments in April, according to the tanker data.
Japan's finance ministry and central bank have declined to comment on the payments.
But a survey shows that most people believe inflation is speeding up and could surpass 37 percent this year.
A fifth payment of $450 million was due on April 15, contingent on Iran having diluted half of its most sensitive stockpile of nuclear materials
The year-on-year inflation rate in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March against 0.7 percent in February, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said.
Pushed by higher food and shelter costs, the consumer price index rose in March.