On Thursday, Italy’s Parliament began debating austerity measures that echoed those implemented in Greece several months ago, including spending cuts, tax hikes, and pension changes. Right on cue, protesters in Rome voiced their dissent. The nation’s three largest unions put aside their differences to wage the first unified strike in six years, objecting to prime minister Mario Monti’s package of measures, which they say does very little to combat one of Europe’s highest tax evasion rates. Also galling was the fact that property taxes will not be levied against church-owned properties, including hotels, restaurants, and shops whose buildings are owned by the church but who have nothing to do with religion.
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