Italy marks 150 years of unity with flair

Associated Press
King Juan Carlos of Spain, top center, attends celebrations to mark the unification of Italy 150 years ago in Rome, Thursday, June 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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King Juan Carlos of Spain, top center, attends celebrations to mark the unification of Italy 150 years …

ROME (AP) — Italian politicians are setting aside bickering for a day as the country fetes itself with a flourish to mark 150 years as a united nation.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has joined leaders from some 80 other countries Thursday to review a military parade near the Colosseum.

The June 2 holiday marks the birth of modern Italy on a peninsula where city-states and popes fought wars and thwarted unity for centuries. This year's 150th anniversary saw Italians pour into the capital from the north and the south.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi is struggling to keep his government afloat despite a stinging setback this week in local elections. Notably absent from the ceremonies was Berlusconi's chief ally, Umberto Bossi, whose Northern League party wants less power for the central government.

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