Berlusconi fails to topple coalition
Silvio Berlusconi’s failed attempt to topple the Italian government has left him weaker than ever, zapped of the aura of invincibility that has surrounded him for two decades as he faces the possible loss of his Senate seat and a ban from politics. Still, it is unlikely to be his last act. The three-time former premier, 77, staged one of Italy’s most stunning political plot twists in memory when he took the Senate floor at the last minute to announce that he would, after all, support Premier Enrico Letta’s government in a confidence vote. It was a face-saving measure that came after loyalists in Berlusconi’s party refused to follow his bid to collapse the coalition government as fallout over his tax-fraud conviction.
Greenpeace activists are charged
Defying complaints from international human rights and environmental organizations, as well as the apparent wishes of President Vladimir Putin, Russian prosecutors brought piracy charges against 13 Greenpeace activists and a journalist who covered their protest. The activists and the journalist were among 30 people aboard a Greenpeace International ship that was seized by Russian border guards after several members of the crew attempted to board a Russian offshore oil platform in the Arctic. The lodging of such serious charges illustrates how far apart Moscow remains from the West on such issues as freedom of speech and civil disobedience.
Police to be charged with murder
Investigators said that they would charge 10 police officers with torture and murder in the disappearance of an impoverished construction worker from Rocinha, one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest slums, the latest development in a case that has been a source of tension for months. The disappearance in July of the laborer, Amarildo de Souza, 42, set off street protests against police brutality in Rio, So Paulo and other cities.
Leaders of neo-fascist party freed
Three prominent lawmakers of the ultraright Golden Dawn political party who were arrested Saturday on charges of belonging to a criminal organization were released pending trial, a surprising decision that blunted the effect of a government crackdown. A fourth member of the neo-fascist party remained in custody. After more than 17 hours of testimony, the party’s spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, and two other members of Parliament, Ilias Panagiotaros and Nikos Michos, were freed with orders not to leave the country.
Memo: Tsarnaev destroyed evidence
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with carrying out the bombings last April at the Boston Marathon, disposed of key evidence after the attack by “discarding a remaining bomb detonator and smashing his cellphones,” said an internal memo approved by Attorney General Eric Holder. The memo, written to the director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to justify the imposition of harsh detention restrictions on Tsarnaev, also said that he and his brother, Tamerlan, “made additional bombs” after the lethal blasts and persuaded others to “attempt to destroy evidence related to the attack.” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also told FBI agents upon his arrest that he remained “committed to jihad,” the memo said.