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Italy passes US$100 bil. in economic reform measures

MILAN -- The Italian government has announced urgent measures worth 80 billion euros (US$100 billion) to spur economic growth and lower debt as financial markets increasingly worry about the country's finances.

Premier Mario Monti's Cabinet passed the wide-ranging measures Friday. They include the sale of government property, issuing special bonds for infrastructure projects and reducing headcounts for the Cabinet and in the Treasury Ministry.

The government plans to raise 10 billion euros through the sale of financial and oversight companies controlled by the Treasury, and use the money to pay down public debt.

The measures will also simplify bankruptcy filings so companies can restructure debt and relaunch themselves and shorten the length of civil proceedings. It also provides breaks for construction firms, which have been particularly hard hit by the crisis.

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