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RAI Rumblings As President Resigns

The shakeup continues at Italian state broadcaster RAI with its president Antonio Baldassarre stepping down in response to government pressure. Baldassarre and RAI board member Ettore Albertoni submitted their resignations to Italy's lower and upper houses on February 26. Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini has been spearheading the move to remove RAI's top executives, especially after they decided to move one of RAI's channels, RAI2, to Milan without government approval. RAI2 may complete its move to Milan according to Umberto Bossi, minister for reforms, after a summit met in Palazzo Grazioli to discuss the broadcaster's board and practices. According to government sources, names under consideration for the new board are Albino Longhi, Massimo Magliaro, Marcello Del Bosco, Vincenzo Porcacchia and Mario Resca. Massimo Ferrario, current director of RAI's Milan facilities, is said to be up for director general, it was reported by Italian news agency AGI. Adding to the controversy is speculation on the role and motives of Prime Minister Silvo Berlusconi, owner of RAI's main competitor, the private television network Mediaset. The annual Cartoons By the Bay is promoted and supported by RAI, which broadcasts programming from the festival in Positano, Italy.