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Transport strikes hit Italy as Monti puts anti-crisis austerity package to confidence vote
ROME (AP) ' The Italian government faces a confidence vote over a package of austerity measures while a transport strike to protest the cuts is causing havoc for commuters across the country.
Premier Mario Monti is putting his package of new and higher taxes and pension reforms to a confidence vote in the lower Chamber of Deputies to speed up its passage.
The vote, which is expected by early evening Friday, will likely clear the measures, paving the way for final approval in the Senate within days.
The main political parties have said they would back the package despite disagreeing on some measures.
Monti says austerity is needed to save Italy from financial disaster, but unions are furious. Public transport workers idled buses and subways Friday. State railways were also on strike.