Britain eases immigration cap for high earners

LONDON — High-earning non-European professionals will be exempt from an annual U.K. immigration cap, the British government said Tuesday.

Home Office Minister Damian Green said bankers, lawyers and others earning more than $241,880 will be allowed into the U.K. above a monthly limit on skilled workers that will come into effect in April.

Scientists will also be given a "significant advantage" under a system designed to favor sectors experiencing a shortage of U.K. staff, Green added.

The move could help combat some of the sharp criticism leveled at the government by business leaders after the U.K. in November announced a permanent immigration quota intended to slash the number of non-EU nationals permitted to work in the country to around 20,700.

Italian leader faces trial on sex, coverup charges

MILAN — His penchant for beautiful young women has cost him his wife, and now may cost Silvio Berlusconi what he cherishes most: power.

The 74-year-old Italian premier was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges he paid a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex, and then used his influence to cover it up — an offense that, if proven, could see him barred permanently from public office.

Berlusconi has called the allegations "groundless" and dismissed the case as a "farce," accusing prosecutors of seeking to oust him from power.