World News Brief, Wednesday November 9

Berlusconi wins budget vote but loses majority; Italian PM meets with ministers as allies urge him to resign; Bonds hit new high; Australia set to get carbon tax; US to use APEC to pressure China on yuan; Syrian forces enter Hama; Syrian protesters call for intervention in Hom "disaster area"; and more

Top of the Agenda: Pressure Mounts on Berlusconi After Losing Majority

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is consulting with senior ministers after winning this morning's crucial budget vote, but seeming to lose his parliamentary majority (BBC).

Even before the vote he faced increasing public calls for his resignation (WSJ), including by his close ally Umberto Bossi. The prime minister faced a critical parliamentary budget vote to determine whether he maintained the governing majority to tackle a sovereign debt crisis that is rapidly engulfing the eurozone's third largest economy.

Today's vote was for the ratification of Italy's 2010 budget, a usually routine procedure now viewed as an indicator of whether the government can implement fresh austerity measures (DeutscheWelle) called for by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Interest rates on Italian government bonds rose to 6.74 percent (NYT)--their highest level since Italy adopted the euro--as international investors looked to Italy and Greece to resolve their political impasses and move forward with economic reforms. Berlusconi said he will not resign.


The Guardian's John Hooper outlines four blueprints for Italy's future if Berlusconi vacates the prime minister's office.

The eurozone crisis has turned its attention to Italy and to a man who has repeatedly defied his political enemies. But TIME's Stephan Faris wonders if Berlusconi can withstand a panicking economy.

Things are getting lonely at the top for Berlusconi. After members of his own party distanced themselves, business owners are now calling for his resignation, writes Der Spiegel's Fiona Ehlers.



US to Push China on Currency Appreciation at APEC

The United States said it will pressure China to allow the yuan to appreciate more quickly toward a market-determined exchange rate (WSJ) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this week.

An undervalued Chinese yuan remains a contributing factor to the US-China trade imbalance, but experts warn that labeling China a "currency manipulator" will not rein in mounting US deficits.

AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Julia Gillard's carbon tax legislation (SMH) is set to become law after passing the Senate by a narrow vote. Gillard's victory puts fresh pressure on other polluting countries ahead of December's global climate talks in South Africa.



Syria in security crackdown; Opposition calls for intervention

France proposes new austerity measures


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