World Bulletin/News Desk
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi failed to appear at a political rally on Friday, dashing expectations that he would use the occasion to announce he would run for his former post in next year's election.
On Thursday, Fabrizio Cicchitto, parliamentary leader of Berlusconi's PDL party, had said that the 75-year-old media billionaire would be the centre-right candidate for premier in the general election due in early 2013.
But reporters and television camera teams gathered at a Rome hotel in the hope of a clear statement from the man himself were disappointed.
"I bring you the greetings from President Berlusconi who was unable to attend because a commitment prevented him coming," PDL party secretary Angelino Alfano told the meeting of a small Catholic group allied to the PDL.
Despite mounting speculation of a possible comeback, Berlusconi has made no public declaration himself and his no-show at Friday's rally maintains the uncertainty over his political future.
An opinion poll by the IPR institute published in the left-leaning La Repubblica pointed to defeat for the centre-right next year, with or without Berlusconi at the helm.
It forecast a centre-left alliance led by the Democratic Party would take 42 percent of the vote, ahead of 30 percent for the centre-right, with the populist 5 Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo taking 20 percent.
Berlusconi, forced from office last year as a financial crisis threatened to slip out of control and leave the Treasury unable to manage its 1.9 trillion euro debt pile, has given several hints that he plans to return to politics.
He still faces trial over allegations, which he denies, of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute.
He has taken an increasingly critical line against the austerity policies of Prime Minister Mario Monti and talked openly about Italy abandoning the euro, adding to the already high level of uncertainty surrounding next year's election.
On Friday, ratings agency Moody's underlined the importance of the vote for financial markets, cutting Italy's sovereign debt rating by two notches and saying that the uncertain political climate was adding to financial risks.
Some Arab media had recently claimed that the bank had already been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and some of Libya's militant movements
The first H5N8 case in Germany was confirmed on Nov. 4 on a poultry farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Some 5,000 birds were infected by the disease, of which 1,880 died.
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High-speed trains were halted, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage from the quake
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Peshmerga spokesman Brigadier General Halgurd Hikmat confirmed that Turkish soldiers had started special forces training with peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq
Barhoum described the accusations leveled against the Qassam Brigades as "false", which – according to him – aim at defaming Hamas and its military wing.
Demonstrators also demanded the expulsion of armed militias from Sanaa, in reference to Shiite Houthi militants who have seized control of the capital in September.
The majority of the deaths, 785, were ISIL fighters according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The bodies of the men from the Albu Fahd tribe were discovered after the army launched a counter-offensive against the ISIL in a village on the eastern edge of Ramadi
His comments stepped up Moscow's war of words with the United States and the European Union in their worst diplomatic standoff since the Cold War ended.
Though murdered revolutionary folk hero Sankara's body was placed in an unmarked grave, it is believed to be buried in a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou's Dagnoen neighbourhood.