CRISIS

Italy Approves Economic Reform

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's long reign could come to an end as early as this weekend. Italy's Senate overwhelmingly approved the economic reforms demanded by the European Union, and the lower Chamber of Deputies is expected to approve the legislation by Saturday. Berlusconi has promised to step down as soon as the reforms pass. The rumored pick to lead the new government is economist Mario Monti. He'll have a tough job ahead of him, as he tries to push through further austerity reforms in an attempt to avert a Greek-style economic meltdown that threatens to wreck the EU. Global stocks rose Friday on the news of the economic reforms as investors felt more confident about avoiding a euro-zone debt crisis.