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Italian Government Says Sacrifices Needed To Protect Nation

The Italian government says sacrifices are necessary to get public finances in order and protect the country from the sort of market speculation that pushed Greece to the brink of bankruptcy.

The cabinet is meeting today in Rome to approve public sector spending cuts to reduce the deficit by some $31 billion by 2012 in a bid to convince markets that the country can handle its high debt load.

Gianni Letta, one of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's most-trusted aides, says the measures are necessary to save Italy from the fate of Greece.

compiled from agency reports