Italy to urge Belarus' President Lukashenko to respect human rights

Italy to urge Belarus' President Lukashenko to respect human rights Rome - Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko would be told during his meeting with Italian leaders Monday to respect human rights, Italy's foreign minister has said ahead of the meeting. Lukashenko's visit to Rome which includes a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, is seen as a diplomatic breakthrough for the former Soviet republic which for years has been isolated because of government persecution of political opposition and independent media.

Trulli on pole in Toyota double for Bahrain Grand Prix

Toyota not to appeal over Trulli penaltySakhir, Bahrain - Jarno Trulli clinched pole position ahead of team-mate Timo Glock in a Toyota one-two in qualifying Saturday for Sunday's Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, the winner in Shanghai last week, was third, ahead of Brawn GP's Jenson Button, the overall leader.

World champions Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes was fifth fastest, ahead of Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello.

Renault's Fernando Alonso, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Williams' Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen filled the rest of the top 10.

Abandoned children back in Germany after pizzeria stranding

Abandoned children back in Germany after pizzeria stranding Olpe, Germany  - Three young children - abandoned in an Italian pizzeria after their mother and her companion ran out of cash - arrived home Friday in Germany, where they have been made wards of court, authorities in the district of Olpe said.

Two child protection officials from Olpe, east of Cologne, had travelled the day before to Aosta in Italy to pick them up.

Inter Milan cancel Adriano's contract

Inter Milan cancel Adriano's contractMilan - Inter Milan Friday rescinded the contract of Adriano after the Brazil striker recently failed to return from international duty.

Inter said Adriano's contract with the Serie A team had been ended with effect from April 1.

"Inter's appreciation goes to Adriano for the eight years and 74 goals we lived through together," the club said on its website.

After the last international break, Adriano, 27, failed to board a scheduled flight for Italy on April 3 and did not communicate his decision to his agent and Inter.

US-Russia preliminary disarmament talks "constructive"

US-Russia preliminary disarmament talks "constructive" Rome - The United States and Russia on Friday characterized their first preliminary talks on strategic arms reduction as "constructive" and "very productive."

The talks between US and Russian diplomats are to prepare the ground for a meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 7.

Italian football has lost its class and appeal

Italian football has lost its class and appealRome - A few years ago, la Repubblica columnist Vittorio Zucconi wrote that only madmen would continue calling the Italian Serie A the best league in the world. Time proved the veteran journalist to be right and today, despite a fourth World Cup won in 2006, it is hard to find someone who feels like comparing Italy's top flight with that of England or Spain where the best players in the world tend to go these days.