Caving in to pressure: why Mario Monti’s technocrats couldn’t repair Italy after Silvio Berlusconi’s government collapsed

Elsa Fornero, an academic whose job it was to modernise a rigid labour market, tells Michael Day what went wrong

Editorial: The fatal attraction of Silvio Berlusconi

For a country that has so much going for it, in the way of lifestyle, landscape and flair, Italy has an infuriating knack of doing just the wrong thing. And the fear must be, as Italians prepare to vote in elections that are as crucial for the European Union as they are for Italy, that the country is reverting to type.

After Berlusconi, Beppe should be just what Italy needs. And yet...

Honest, inexperienced politicians may not be the answer for a nation on the edge of economic disaster. Plus, the rise of Japan's concrete jungle

Here comes a chopper... After arms chiefs are accused of bribery in a $750m AgustaWestland deal

Andrew Buncombe reports on a history of corruption in India

Italy arrests Finmeccanica defence boss in helicopter bribes probe

The boss of Italy’s biggest defence company, Finmeccanica, and the top executive at its helicopter division, AgustaWestland, were arrested today in a corruption probe.

Silvio Berlusconi's political opponents have suggested that Mario Balotelli's move to AC Milan might have motivations beyond the football field

The Balotelli effect: Silvio Berlusconi surges ahead in polls weeks before Italian general election

A blitz of TV appearances, populist sound bites and even the signing of star striker Mario Balotelli for his AC Milan football club appear to have helped ex-Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi surge in the polls, just three weeks ahead of a general election.

Bellydancer's disappearing act delays Berlusconi corruption trial

Karima El Mahroug was due to testify on today but did not provide any valid justification for her absence

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti intends to resign

Monti's vow to quit could bring Italian elections as early as February

Italy and Europe were tonight bracing themselves for a general election and the real possibility that the scandal-plagued billionaire Silvio Berlusconi could become prime minister for a fourth time.

Monti, stripped of Berlusconi's support, offers his resignation

Italian PM will stay in office only until austerity budget is passed
The openly gay, anti-mafia campaigner Rosario Crocetta took 31 per cent of the votes

Sicily's first gay governor opens a new schism between Italy's old enemies

Former bastion of homophobia has overtaken north on equality, says Milanese newspaper

Silvio Berlusconi passes a policeman outside Milan's justice court

Far from being a sideshow, Silvio Berlusconi's legal battles have dominated Italian politics for decades

The former President became a figure of ridicule and spawned a thousand other crooks

Pope's secret files has been found revealing Vatican scandals

Pope's butler found with thousands of secret papers

Documents tell tales of Vatican scandals, spies and secret societies, trial of Paolo Gabriele told

Giorgio Napolitano: The Italian President has demanded official clarification of why the raid went ahead

Italy attacks Cameron over high-risk rescue operation

President criticises 'inexplicable' failure to inform Italian authorities before SBS hostage raid

An activist set fire to tyres during a protest last week against the rail tunnel in northern Italy

Italy erupts over plans for high-speed rail link

Locals plan a general strike over decision to construct an Alpine tunnel through to France, that they say will cause huge environmental damage

A politician of unimpeachable integrity: Scalfaro in 2006

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro: Former president of Italy, renowned for his honesty

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro was a Catholic politician whose anachronistic virtues, in particular his complete honesty and his commitment to the constitution, came to Italy's rescue during the gravest political crisis of the post-war era, the corruption scandal which erupted in 1993.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?