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Berlusconi Austerity Plan Passes Italian Senate as ECB Meets

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s revised 54 billion-euro ($76 billion) austerity plan was approved by the Senate as the government seeks to convince investors and the European Central Bank it’s serious about cutting the deficit.

The Senate backed the plan in a confidence vote last night after the government beefed up the package the previous day by increasing sales tax and changing pension rules. Top lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies, parliament’s lower house, meet today to set their vote, which may come as soon as Sept. 10.