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Berlusconi Deals With Trash: Real And Metaphorical in Italy

ROME -- Premier Silvio Berlusconi has a lot of trash to deal with these days, both real and metaphorical.

A rubbish crisis around Naples has led to violent protests and put new pressure on the Italian leader, who had promised to solve the problem for good.

Ties between the 74-year-old Berlusconi and a 17-year-old Moroccan girl who says she attended parties at Berlusconi's villa also are at the center of a mounting scandal.

Berlusconi has dismissed that as "media trash," and on Friday he said he has nothing to clarify or apologize for.

But for the Italian leader -- his coalition weakened, his popularity falling -- these setbacks could not have come at a worse time. Analysts said Friday the setbacks might ultimately take their toll on the embattled premier.