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    In Italy, the minority Christian Democratic government of Signor Andreotti is under severe pressure. A?

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    In Italy, the minority Christian Democratic government of Signor Andreotti is under severe pressure. A number of politicians have predicted that it will fall within a week. The prediction came on Tuesday (10 January) in the wake of the worst political violence seen in Rome for more than a year.

    SYNOPSIS: The overnight violence erupted in the same working class neighbourhood where three people died over the weekend in a series of clashes.

    Rioters damaged cars and buses, set them on fore and answered barrages of police tear gas with petrol bombs and gunfire. Hundreds of youths were involved in the clashes.

    The army was called in after security precautions in and around Rome had failed to stop the wave of political violence.

    More than 20 spent bullets were found on the scene. But there were no serious injuries. The police fired warning shots in the air and detained about 30 demonstrators.

    Earlier in the day, a Fiat car company executive was shot and wounded in Turin. And a fire in a northern town destroyed a warehouse which contained some 10,000 washing machines. In both cases, extremist groups claimed responsibility.

    Interior Minister Francesco Cossiga condemned the latest wave of political violence when he reported to the lower House of Parliament.

    According to political observers, a collapse of the government might result in the Italian Communist Party taking a further step closer to power.

    For more than two months, the Communists, the Socialists and two smaller parties have been demanding formation of an all-party emergency government. And the political crisis has prompted United States Ambassador Richard Gardner to fly home for urgent consultations with the White House.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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