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Nation & World briefly

Italy’s premier-designate Mario Monti to present new govt, economic program today

ROME (AP) – Prime Minister-designate Mario Monti of Italy said Tuesday he is ready to present his new government to the president after winning wide backing – and important pledges of sacrifices – from political, business and union leaders during two days of intense consultations.

Monti said he still has to put the final touches on his Cabinet and economic program, which he will outline to President Giorgio Napolitano on Wednesday. His government must receive votes of confidence in both houses of Parliament, expected this week, to take office and begin the task of steering the eurozone’s third-largest economy through its debt crisis.

Monti expressed his “serenity” and “conviction” in Italy’s ability to overcome the difficult phase in its history.

“I was impressed by the sense of responsibility and willingness to back social growth,” Monti said. “Everyone offered concrete contributions of possible partial sacrifices in exchange for a more general positive outcome.”

Monti, a respected economist and former European commissioner, is under pressure to quickly reassure financial markets that Italy will avoid a default that could tear apart the 17 countries that use the euro currency and push the global economy back into recession. The European Union and the European Central Bank have outlined measures Italy must take – many of them reforms blocked in the past by special interests.

Syrian soldiers killed as crisis spins out of Assad’s control

BEIRUT (AP) – Army defectors ambushed dozens of Syrian troops and regime forces gunned down civilians during one of the bloodiest days of the 8-month-old uprising, which appeared Tuesday to be spiraling out of President Bashar Assad’s control.

Up to 90 people were killed in a gruesome wave of violence Monday, activists said. The extent of the bloodshed only came to light Tuesday, in part because corpses lying in the streets did not reach the morgue until daylight.

As the bloodshed spiked, Assad’s former allies were turning on him in rapid succession – a sign of profound impatience with a leader who has failed to stem months of unrest that could explode into a regional conflagration.

Turkey, Jordan and the 22-member Arab League all signaled they were fed up with Assad’s response to the uprising and were ready to pressure him to go.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he no longer has confidence in the government led by Assad, a 46-year-old eye doctor who inherited power from his father 11 years ago.

Apple names Arthur D. Levinson non-executive chairman

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) – Apple has named board member Arthur Levinson as its non-executive chairman to fill the vacancy left open when co-founder Steve Jobs died last month.

Levinson is chairman of Genentech Inc., a pharmaceuticals company he joined as a research scientist in 1980 and led as chief executive from 1995 to 2009. Levinson has been co-lead director on Apple Inc.’s board since 2005. He joined the board in 2000.

Robert Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., was tapped as a director.

After taking the reins at Disney in 2005, Iger repaired frayed relations between Jobs and Disney, first by making ABC shows available on iTunes, and then by leading Disney’s acquisition of computer animated movie studio Pixar for $7.4 billion. The Pixar deal made Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder.

The appointments were announced Tuesday.

Long-lost plane recordings after JFK assassination found, selling for $500,000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A long-lost version of the Air Force One recordings made in the immediate aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, with more than 30 minutes of additional material not in the official version in the government’s archives, has been found and is for sale.

There are incidents and code names described on the newly discovered two-plus hour recording, which predates the shorter and newer recording currently housed in the National Archives outside Washington and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Texas. The shorter recording was thought to be the only surviving version of the tape.

The asking price is $500,000 for the reel-to-reel tape, which is inside its original box with a typewritten label showing it was made by the White House Communications Agency for Army Gen. Chester “Ted” Clifton Jr.

It is titled “Radio Traffic involving AF-1 in flight from Dallas, Texas to Andrews AFB on November 22, 1963.”

“As Americans have looked to the history of the Kennedy assassination in search of answers, somewhere in an attic there existed a tape made years before the only known surviving version, of the conversations on Air Force One on that fateful day,” said Nathan Raab, vice president of The Raab Collection, a Philadelphia historic documents dealer that put the tape up for sale Tuesday.