Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi (centre): while the “demolition man” was going to clean up politics, his 10 months in office have been marked by public administration scandals involving organised crime.  Photograph: Giuseppe Lami/EPA

Slow reform and Mafia scandals have hampered Matteo Renzi’s progress

Frontier: the pope at the Israel-West Bank wall. photograph: Mheisen Amareen/Reuters

Praying at the wall that divides Israel and Palestine, meeting sex-abuse victims and excommunicating the Mafia: the popehas quickl(...)

Tango dancers hold banners for Pope Francis who celebrated his 78th birthday on Wednesday. Tango dancers from around the world gathered in the Vatican to wish the Argentinian Pope a happy birthday. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters

It’s believed Pope Francis was once a nifty mover on the Tango dance floor

A Vatican investigation of American nuns  has ended in Rome with the release of an appreciative report that acknowledged the achievements and the challenges the nuns face given their dwindling ranks. Photograph: Antonio Perez/Pool via The New York Times

Report follows Apostolic visitation ordered over concern about ‘radical path’ of nuns

Eight people in Milan, Matera,Trapani and New York were this week arrested in connection with the attempted extortion of Matera-based businessman Luciano Marsilio.

Italian business man was asked for ‘loan’ to be repaid to the tune of €1 million

Pope Francis says he intends to travel to Africa once and to Latin America three times next year. Photograph: L’Osservatore Romano/EPA

‘Communion alone is no solution, the solution is integration’

Pope Francis: has said one of his mandates is to clean up the Vatican’s finances. Photograph: AP

Those who ran bank between 1989 and 2009 under investigation in relation to deals

Massimo Carminati, a former member of the NAR neo-fascist terrorist group and of the Banda della Magliana crime gang, is arrested by Italian Carabinieri Rome as part of the “Middle Earth” operation. Photograph: Italian Carabinieri Press Office/EPA

Organised crime ‘system’ in Rome around former right wing terrorist Massimo Carminati

Pope Francis with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew 1, in Istanbul. Bartholomew has a local flock of just about 2,000. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AP

Pope visit to Turkey permits opportunity to see the city’s modernity in up close

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