World Bulletin / News Desk
Italy should leave the euro unless the European Central Bank agrees to pump more cash into the economy and guarantee government debts, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday.
"We have to go to Europe and say forcefully that the ECB should start printing money," Berlusconi said in an entry on his Facebook page.
"Otherwise, if it doesn't, we should have the strength to say 'ciao, ciao' and leave the euro, while remaining in the EU, or to say to Germany that it should leave the euro if it doesn't agree," he said.
Berlusconi, still facing trial on charges of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute, has had little involvement in day-to-day political life since resigning last year after Italy came close to a Greek-style debt crisis.
"My 'crazy idea' is that the Bank of Italy should print euros or print our own currency," he said.
His comments come as Italy's fractious political parties begin manoeuvering ahead of elections in 2013 with his own centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party in disarray after heavy losses in local polls last month.
The May local elections underscored growing rejection of the mainstream parties with big gains for the Five Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo, a rough-tongued comic who calls politicians "diarrhoea" and also wants to see Italy pull out of the euro.
The latest opinion poll by the Ipsos polling institute this week showed the PDL trailing both the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the Five Star movement with just 16.8 percent support.
But he has given indications recently that he is preparing to take a more active role as next year's elections approach, proposing last month to change Italy's government system into a French-style elected Presidency.
"I don't remember a more difficult moment than this in my life. People have really lost confidence," he said on Facebook. "What move can change the recessionary spiral?"
With support for the technocrat government of Prime Minister Mario Monti falling as the austerity measures imposed to combat the crisis begin to bite deeply, support for the euro has also begun to weaken.
A poll this week by the Washington-based Pew research centre showed 44 percent of Italians thought the euro had been damaging for Italy.
Berlusconi has a record of making provocative suggestions which are subsequently quietly dropped but his comments on the euro correspond with an increasingly critical tone against the euro by other parties.
His comments on the euro were immediately welcomed by his estranged former allies in the Northern League, who oppose the Monti government and have long been sceptical of the single currency.
"As the crisis worsens it is right to prepare for the collapse of the system, which would take our country out of the euro," the League's deputy parliamentary head Maurizio Fugatti said in a statement.
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.