Breaking News, Politics

Italy’s PM To Step Down

Silvio BerlusconiItaly’s prime minister is stepping down.

On Tuesday, Silvio Berlusconi announced that he will resign. His announcement came after a key vote in parliament indicated that he does not have the support of the majority of parliament.

Italy is in the midst of an “economic crisis” – the country has borrowed more money than it can pay. It has too much “debt.”

Other countries, like Ireland, Portugal and most recently, Greece, have had similar crises. However, Italy’s problem is much bigger and arguably more of a problem for the whole European Union (EU). The European Union is a partnership of 27 countries in Europe.

Italy is more than $2.6 trillion in debt.

When one country in the EU is so deeply in debt, the other countries can try to bail them out by lending them money. That’s why the problems in Italy and some other countries are so far-reaching.

Berlusconi’s resignation comes with a condition. He said he will only step down after Italy’s parliament passes laws (likely later this month) that will help to clear up the country’s debt crisis.

Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano, will have to decide whether to dissolve parliament in Italy and call an election, or perhaps get another leader to take over the government. (Italy’s president is its ceremonial head of state.)

Silvio Berlusconi is a colourful politician, who has been involved in a number of high-profile scandals. This year, Forbes magazine ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $7.8 billion.

This is an interesting and complicated story with many sides. Follow it through your local newspaper or TV news coverage as events unfold in the coming weeks.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Why/how do you think Italy and the other countries got into the situation where they “borrowed more money than [they] could pay?”  Why do you think countries need to borrow money?  Who/where do they borrow it from?  What do they need the money for?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
Journalists often try to write news stories in a way that is neutral (they don’t choose a side).  Do you think this article is neutral?  Find evidence from the article to support your ideas.
How might this article be different if it was written by a Berlusconi supporter?  What if it was written by someone who was adamant that Berlusconi step down?

Identify the point of view presented in texts; determine whether they can agree with the view, in whole or in part; and suggest some other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Grammar Feature: Writing Ordinal Numbers
When objects or people are placed in an order, we use ordinal numbers to explain their position.  In the article, an ordinal number is used in the following sentence: “This year, Forbes magazine ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $7.8 billion, according to Wikipedia.”
The ordinal number, 118th, shows Berlusconi’s position in a ranking of wealthy people.  As you may have noticed, an ordinal number has two letters written after the numeral.  These letters indicate how to read the number and they show that it is an ordinal number.

Write the ordinal numbers for the following numerals:
1) 1
2) 22
3) 989
4) 1 billion
5) 83