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Berlusconi will face crucial vote Thursday

Rome Premier Silvio Berlusconi put his future on the line Tuesday by submitting his government to a confidence vote in parliament on Thursday.

Berlusconi is struggling with the worst crisis of his four-year government. The billionaire media mogul’s popularity has fallen amid sluggish economic growth and Italy’s military mission in Iraq.

If the government fails to rally a majority in parliament, it must resign.

Argentine gets 640 years

Madrid, Spain A court convicted a former Argentine naval officer of crimes against humanity Tuesday and sentenced him to 640 years in prison for throwing 30 naked, drugged prisoners from planes during his country’s “dirty war” more than two decades ago.

The verdict for 58-year-old Adolfo Scilingo closes Spain’s first trial under a law that says crimes against humanity can be tried in the country even if they are alleged to have been committed elsewhere.

Scilingo admitted to participating in two “death flights” in which 30 people were thrown to their deaths into the Atlantic.

Role in Paris fire revealed

Paris A night watchman’s girlfriend who placed candles on the floor for a romantic tryst, but then left in a rage over his drunken state, may have accidentally caused last week’s hotel fire that killed 24 people, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The woman, 31, said she placed burning candles on the floor at the Paris Opera hotel, then threw piles of clothes on the floor and left because he was drunk.

The watchman was in a coma. Officials raised the death toll Tuesday to 24, including 11 children, with 27 hospitalized.


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