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Austerity package prompts strike threat

ROME -- The leader of Italy's largest union is threatening a general strike against an austerity package that Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government hastily pushed through to balance the budget by 2013 and avoid financial collapse.

The threat came amid mounting criticism Sunday of the $64.8 billion package passed Friday in response to demands by the European Central Bank.

Critics say the package -- a mix of spending cuts, job cuts and tax increases, including a "solidarity tax" for high-earners -- will strangle Italy's stagnant economy, which is now expected to grow by only about 1 percent this year.

Other critics, including nine members of Berlusconi's own coalition, say it unfairly targets the middle class and fails to tackle Italy's massive tax evasion problem.

Susanna Camusso, leader of the CGIL labor union, criticized measures aimed at liberalizing Italy's labor market and targeting its pension system, saying a strike is the only way to "change the inequity of this package." She told the La Repubblica newspaper that union officials will meet Aug. 23 to set a strike date and invited other unions to join.


Suspect in stabbings that killed 6 arrested

LONDON (AP) -- A man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of fatally stabbing six people, including two young children, on the British island of Jersey, police said.

Neighbors said the mass killing, inside an apartment in the capital of St. Helier, involved members of the same family.

The victims, all Jersey residents, were two men, two women and two young children, police said. The 30-year-old murder suspect also sustained unspecified injuries that were not life-threatening.

Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull, who is leading the investigation, said his officers had yet to establish the victims' ages and circumstances of the attack.

"It goes without saying that when you are dealing with multiple deaths, of men and women and, in particular young children, you would be inhuman not to be shaken yourself," he said.

Violent crime is rare on Jersey, a British island dependency 14 miles off the west coast of France's Normandy peninsula. It is the largest of Britain's Channel Islands and has fewer than 100,000 residents, many of them tax exiles.


Nearly a dozen killed at Pacific coast resort

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) -- Nearly a dozen people were slain in violent attacks over the weekend in the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, police said Sunday.

Eight of the victims were killed Sunday and three Saturday, said a statement from the public safety department in the state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located.

Early Sunday, four men were gunned down by assailants firing from two passing cars, the statement said. A fifth, a 36-year-old man, was injured.

Also Sunday, authorities discovered the bodies of a 23-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man who had been fatally shot.

In a separate section of the city, authorities found the bodies of two men estimated to be in their 20s who also had been shot to death. Messages believed to have been left by drug traffickers were found next to their bodies, the statement said.

Saturday, the body of a man who had been beaten was found half-buried in the ground, while two men who had been shot were found in a graveyard. One of them had died of a gunshot wound to the back of the neck, and the other died of bullet wounds on the way to a hospital.