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French Socialists pick veteran to run party after poll rout

By Brian Love PARIS (Reuters) - France's Socialist Party named its new chief on Tuesday, a one-time political opponent of President Francois Hollande who will have to overhaul a ruling party reeling from local election losses in time for European parliament elections in May. Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, 63, was elected by the party's national congress to replace Harlem Desir, weeks after local polls in which the Socialists lost dozens of towns to the right and far-right opposition.

France's Hollande would lose election vs. Sarkozy, Le Pen: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande would be beaten at the polls by both his center-right predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and far-right rival Marine Le Pen if he ran for re-election this week, an opinion survey showed on Tuesday. Hollande's popularity has plummeted to record lows since he came to power two years ago, with voters increasingly frustrated about his failure to kickstart economic growth and bring down an unemployment rate stuck above 10 percent.

Britain's anti-EU leader denies expenses allegations

Eurosceptic UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said Tuesday he was considering legal action after a British newspaper reported that he faces an investigation over his EU expenses. Farage told the BBC that the "outrageous" allegations published by Rupert Murdoch's The Times were politically motivated, ahead of European Parliament elections on May 22. The Times reported that a former UKIP official had made a complaint to the European Union's anti-fraud office OLAF over allowances that Farage receives for his constituency office in Britain.

Berlusconi ordered to do community service for tax conviction

By Ilaria Polleschi and Silvia Aloisi MILAN (Reuters) - A court on Tuesday ordered former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to serve a tax fraud sentence by doing community service with the elderly, in a ruling that restricts his movements but not his political activity. The Milan court ruled Berlusconi, one of Italy's richest men, must spend at least four hours a week in an old people's home for one year.

Italian court delays ruling for Berlusconi ally

Italy's top court on Tuesday said it was delaying a ruling for a key political ally of Silvio Berlusconi, after both the lawyers of former senator Marcello Dell'Utri said they were sick. The judge said the Dell'Utri hearing -- which concludes a legal case that has lasted for more than two decades -- will now be held on May 9. The hearing is the ex-senator's second and final appeal in a case in which he was accused of serving as a mediator between Italy's former prime minister and the Sicilian Mafia.

Italian court delays ruling for Berlusconi ally

Italy's top court on Tuesday said it was delaying a ruling for a key political ally of Silvio Berlusconi, after both the lawyers of former senator Marcello Dell'Utri said they were sick. The judge said the Dell'Utri hearing -- which concludes a legal case that has lasted for more than two decades -- will now be held on May 9. The hearing is the ex-senator's second and final appeal in a case in which he was accused of serving as a mediator between Italy's former prime minister and the Sicilian Mafia.

Berlusconi lawyers pleased with community service ruling

MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian court ruling ordering former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to do community service once a week at a center for the elderly is "satisfactory" given the center-right politician's need to carry out political activity, his lawyers said. "The decision of the Milan court appears to be balanced and satisfactory with regards to Berlusconi's political activity needs," lawyers Franco Coppi and Niccolo Ghedini said in a statement on Tuesday.

Italian court orders Berlusconi to do community service

An Italian court on Tuesday ordered former prime minister and billionaire tycoon Silvio Berlusconi to do a year of community service in an old person's home in a symbolic but humiliating punishment for tax fraud. The flamboyant 77-year-old media magnate will have to work at the centre "one day a week and for not less than four hours", Milan judge Pasquale Nobile De Santis said in his ruling published by Italian media.

Italian court orders Berlusconi to do community service

An Italian court in Milan on Tuesday ordered former prime minister and billionaire tycoon Silvio Berlusconi to do a year of community service following his conviction for tax fraud, Italian media reported. Berlusconi will have to respect a curfew and will be limited in his movements in a further humiliation for the 77-year-old, who has been expelled from parliament and is banned from running in elections for six years. Details of the ruling were not immediately available.

Britain's anti-EU leader Farage denies expenses allegations

Eurosceptic UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said Tuesday he was considering legal action after a British newspaper reported that he faces an investigation over his EU expenses. Farage told the BBC that the "outrageous" allegations published by Rupert Murdoch's The Times were politically motivated ahead of European parliament elections on May 22. The Times reported that a former UKIP official had made a complaint to the European Union's anti-fraud office OLAF over allowances that Farage receives for his constituency office in Britain.
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