Rift raises hopes for Prodi

Rift raises hopes for Prodi

Leading article: Blair the lobbyist?

ENFIN, un chef de gouvernment anglais qui parle le francais! Mais rappellez-vous, nos chers francais, ce que le petit caporal nous a appelles une nation de commercants. Ce matin nous nous demandons: ce M Blair, est- il vraiment notre premier ministre ou - deguise - un espece de negociant, un agent d'influence etrangere, le delegue d'une societe privee, l'enterprise internationale geree par Rupert Murdoch.

Farmers see sliver of hope

Farmers were yesterday given a glimmer of hope following the turmoil of the last few weeks, when the European Commission agreed to speed up moves to lift the ban on exports of British beef.

Communists set to revive Prodi's rule

Italy's communist leader, Fausto Bertinotti, said yesterday his party would support Prime Minister Romano Prodi's 1998 budget, effectively ending the country's political crisis.

It's not Whitehall, but it's farce

After the collapse of the Italian government, the soap opera of resolving the crisis is in full swing. What is going on? Andrew Gumbel tries to make sense of a weekend of ordinary madness.

Politician hands out free hashish

Marco Pannella, the Italian politician who was convicted last month of giving away hashish, was back at it yesterday - distributing free bags of the drug to a crowd in Rome's central Piazza Navona.

Italy facing new elections as far-left rejects budget plans

The Italian government was on the verge of collapse last night as the far-left party Rifondazione Comunista gave its final thumbs-down to the 1998 budget.

Italian opposition unite in protest over welfare cuts

Even before full details of the centre-left coalition's 1998 budget had been published, the Italian government's hard-left allies and the opposition centre-right bloc were already howling in protest.

Italy unveils its prescription for EMU status

The Italian government yesterday unveiled a package of budgetary pain aimed at meeting criteria for European monetary union on time but the measures looked more like accounting tricks than real cuts and highlighted the growing weakness of Italy's attempt to be included in the European A-stream.

Small fish, big bite

Profile; Emma Bonino; John Lichfield on the radical Italian who could put the Government on the line

Berlusconi learns to love his enemies

When Silvio Berlusconi first swept into Italian politics three years ago, his mission was "to save the country from the communists". These days, though, the people he calls communists - in reality the Social- Democrat successors to the old Communist Party known as the PDS - are some of the best friends he has.

Flat Earth: Po-faced Bossi

Italy seems to be suffering from a collective sense of humour failure over Umberto Bossi. He is the man who wants to split away the richer north from the rest, but since he can't find any linguistic or ethnic borders for the proposed independent nation of "Padania", it has been delineated in socio-economic terms, which might or might not take it almost as far south as Rome.

Italy's Olive Tree coalition begins to crack

Having taken 50 years to reach power, one might have thought the Italian left would be content to govern in peace, concentrate on lasting the full five-year parliamentary term, introduce real and lasting reforms, and above all avoid the kind of fratricidal inter-party squabbling that undid so many coalition governments in the bad old days of the Cold War.

The fishermen's unlikely friend?

PROFILE: EMMA BONINO; Europe's fisheries commissioner is not afraid to tell it like it is.

Italy's Mr Clean keeps politicians guessing

Is Italy's champion corruption-busting magistrate about to enter politics, and if so when and with whom?
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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada