Support for Berlusconi and comedian Beppe Grillo, right,i raises chances of indecisive result

Italians head to polls as spectre of Silvio Berlusconi looms

Support for Berlusconi and comedian Beppe Grillo raises chances of indecisve result

Beppe Grilloa, a charismatic 64-year-old comedian from Genoa whose anti-political non-party, the Five-Star Movement, has come roaring

Italy's anti-politician on the verge of election sensation

Hopes of a stable coalition emerging after today's vote have been upset by emergence of the comic turned would-be leader

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.

Italian election: Surge in popularity for eurosceptic protest party headed by stand-up comedian Beppe Grillo raises fears in EU

The political establishment in both Italy and the EU was quaking today after claims that a eurosceptic protest party headed by a stand-up comedian, would finish with the second largest share of the vote when Italians go to the polls this weekend.

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

Sulley Ali Muntari celebrates at the end of the Champions League clash between AC Milan and Barcelona

'It was an extraordinary game': AC Milan revel in role as underdogs against Barcelona

Manager Massimiliano Allegri hails defensive display of the Serie A team

Messi is on target to break his own Spanish league record of 50 goals from last season

Silvio Berlusconi's younger model AC Milan face ultimate scrutiny from Barcelona in the Champions League

Reshaped Milan side aim to 'sterilise' Catalans at San Siro – and boost president's election aims

Silvio Berlusconi on the campaign trail in Rome yesterday

Bribes are part of doing business, says former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi

Political enemies immediately seized upon remarks

AC Milan released this picture, appearing to show Paolo Berlusconi making peace with Balotelli

AC Milan publish picture of Paolo Berlusconi 'making peace' with Mario Balotelli following racism row

AC Milan vice-president called the striker 'the family's little n****'

Mira Sorvino and her host Richard Lugner in Vienna

You shall go to the ball: Austrian tycoon picks this year's partner

Hollywood A-listers jet in to add sparkle to Vienna's annual event with an image problem

The News Matrix: Tuesday 5 February 2013

Children groomed for online sex abuse

Postcard from... Milan

The spectre of Benito Mussolini, the Fascist dictator, still haunts Italian society. Seventy years after his death, Il Duce continues to divide those who shudder at his name and a minority who note the trains were more punctual back then.

Italian election: Silvio Berlusconi resorts to buying votes with promise of a cash refund on a controversial tax

Centre-left opponents warn of return to Italy’s dark days if ex-premier wins general election

The News Matrix: Monday 4 February 2013

French hit Islamist camps from the air

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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
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The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
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Army general planning to come out
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Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
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The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
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Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
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Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project