Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
By James Mackenzie ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Enrico Letta called on parliament on Wednesday to back his government or risk chaos as he sought to push through long-avoided reforms intended to revive Italy's economy after two years of recession. Opening a debate in the lower house before his third confidence vote since October, Letta said Italy had avoided reforms for 20 years and could no longer afford to delay, with protests across the country this week underlining the bitter public mood after years of painful attempts to squeeze costs and boost revenues. I won't give in to those who say the chaos is too much and we can't do anything," he said, pledging to combat a growing tide of political disillusion and hostility to the European Union. The economy is now smaller than it was more than a decade ago and obstacles range from rampant corruption and a discredited political system to a level of tax evasion which the head of Italy's tax authority said this week was incompatible with a democratic state.
Time magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the Year on Wednesday, crediting him with shifting the message of the Catholic Church while capturing the "imaginations of millions" who had become disillusioned with the Vatican. This is the third time the magazine has chosen a pope as its Person of the Year. In 1994, Time gave that honor to Pope John Paul II, and in 1963, to Pope John XXIII. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that Pope Francis was not seeking fame.