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Italian Leader Tightens His Belt in Euro Crisis, and Undoes It Frequently

ROME, 2011-11-08 — The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is fighting to save his government as investors renewed pressure on him to step down and have a new government manage the country out of its debt crisis.

The Prime Minister denied reports that he was planning to resign and said he was convinced his government would survive. "We will persevere," he said in a telephone call made from his villa near Milan, where he was staying with his two eldest children and six 18-year old girls, one of whom was later named a Minister in his Cabinet.

Next week, he will face a parliamentary vote that could strip him of his governing majority. The Prime Minister dismissed this threat, saying, "The only stripping will be happening upstairs in my bedroom."

Whatever happens next week, Italy is inevitably staring at a phase of painful and unpopular belt-tightening and auterity measures. "I am the man for the job," said Berlusconi. "I undo and tighten my belt several times a day, more than any other man in Italy!"

Rudolph Valentino

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