Italy Hopes Expo 2015 Launch Will Lift Doubts, Avoid Trouble

Italy opens the Milan Expo on Friday, torn between hopes that the showcase of global culture and technology will cheer up a gloomy national mood and fears that it will be overshadowed by scandal, delays and street protests. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is counting on the Expo to reinforce fragile signs of economic recovery, says the event will be a litmus test for the future of Italy after years of stagnation and recession. Planned demonstrations by anti-Expo campaigners and fears of security incidents following a gun attack in a Milan courthouse last month have also dampened the mood. Officials say the problems will be forgotten once the six-month-long exhibition of products and technologies from around the world begins.