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    DEFIANT

    Italy P.M. Refuses to Step Down

    Tiziani Fabi, AFP / Getty Images

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has refused to accept requests for his resignation, saying his government is "up to the task" of rejuvenating the unstable economy. "Today more than ever, we need to act together," he said. The center-left opposition and leaders in the financial market feel differently. Rates on Italy's 10-year bond remained above 6 percent Wednesday, a slight cutback from Tuesday's record-breaking highs. Also on Wednesday, Berlusconi called for Italy's own budget balance, following a $70 billion austerity package passed in mid-July and the United States striking its own budget deal. Berlusconi and other government officials argue that Italy is stronger than investors believe it to be; however, the country's growth rate sits at a mere 1.0 percent.