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Italian Policemen Shot Near New Government Swearing-In

President Barack Obama wished the new Italian government well. The White House press office said Obama was looking forward to working closely with Letta's government "to promote trade, jobs, and growth on both sides of the Atlantic and tackle today's complex security challenges."

There was no direct reference to the shooting in the White House statement.

Trying to renew Italy's largely discredited political class, Letta brought many political newcomers into his Cabinet, including an eye surgeon who is a Congo native, and now is Italy's first black minister, in charge of integration issues involving the growing immigrant population.

But the new premier also sought to reassure European central bankers and EU officials anxious that his government will stay the austerity course set by Mario Monti, who replaced Berlusconi in 2011 to save Italy from sliding deeper into the sovereign debt crisis. Letta picked the Italian central bank's director general, who formerly worked at the International Monetary Fund, to hold the crucial economy ministry.

While the coalition's bitter rival blocs might be enjoying a truce, relations could deteriorate. Berlusconi has insisted that the government's first act should be undoing a highly unpopular property tax Monti established to help the state's coffers.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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