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Anti-immigrant party gains in Italy

After its surprisingly strong showing in Italian parliamentary elections last week, the quasi-separatist, anti-immigrant Northern League Party is likely to take over several key posts in Silvio Berlusconi's cabinet including the interior, reforms, and agriculture ministries. The League's control of the Interior Ministry puts Italy's immigration policy is in the hands of a party whose leaders have suggested that the navy fire on rafts carrying illegal immigrants.

Italy's new deputy prime minister is likely to be Roberto Calderoli, a guy who proudly wears T-shirts emblazoned with the Danish Mohammed cartoons, promoted a "pig day" protest in a Muslim neighborhood, and, after the Italian team's World Cup victory, dismissed their French opponents as "negroes, communists and Muslims."

Berlusconi, who mocked his Spanish counterpart for appointing too many women to top posts, may want to watch his words considering the classy fellows in his own cabinet.

Passport

Morning Brief, Monday, April 21

Khaldoon Zubeir/Getty Images

Middle East and Africa

Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is threatening "all-out war," Reuters reports.

Saudi Arabia is shelving plans to increase oil production, even though oil is pushing past $117 a barrel.

Hamas would accept a peace agreement along the 1967 borders, according to Jimmy Carter, provided Palestinians hold a referendum on the issue that includes exiles.

More than 1,000 people a day are fleeing Zimbabwe to South Africa.

Global Economy

The credit crunch doesn't seem to be bothering "high net worth individuals."

Americas

Paraguay's opposition pulled off its first win in more than 60 years.

2008 U.S. Elections

Behind in the latest Pennsylvania polls, Barack Obama is sharpening his attacks on Hillary Clinton. Voting is tomorrow.

Europe

Paul McCartney wants YOU to become a vegetarian.

The U.N.'s refugee agency has implicitly condemned Greece for its treatment of detainees.

Asia

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund sees a recession ahead.

High birth rates are bad news for the Phillipines.

Asian companies and consumers are turning increasingly to genetically modified food products.

Today's Agenda

President Bush is joining is Mexican and Canadian counterparts in New Orleans for his last North American Leaders' Summit.

British Foreign Minister David Miliband meets with Pakistan's prime minister.

IAEA No.2 Olli Heinonen is in Iran to find out more about Iran's nuclear weapons programs.