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  • On Thursday the Italian Senate passed the hastily redrafted emergency austerity budget. The situation, in a nutshell, is dire. Although Italy has the third largest economy in the Euro zone, its national debt has soared to $2.6 trillion, or 120% of its GDP. But pessimism is in the air, and the latest International Monetary Fund projection is that by the end of this year public debt will shoot up even further.