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Top Italian economic adviser gunned down

ROME, Italy (CNN) -- A top Italian economic adviser was gunned down Tuesday while riding home on his bicycle in a shooting the government blamed on domestic terrorism.

Marco Biagi, 52, a professor and consultant to Italian Minister of Labor Roberto Maroni, was shot to death by two gunmen just outside his home in Bologna, authorities said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but authorities drew parallels to the 1999 slaying of Massimo D'Antona, a top Labor Ministry adviser. D'Antona was killed by the Red Brigades, a left-wing terrorist group that carried out a wave of bloody attacks in the 1970s.

"Terrorism shows itself once again, after the assassination of Massimo D'Antona, a topical danger that must be fought with all the necessary force," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

Biagi was a strong proponent and one of the authors of controversial labor reform, which Italy's main labor unions have threatened to strike over in protest.

The business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said Biagi was dedicated and engaged to the "reform of the labor market." Biagi contributed columns to the publication.

Biagi also was a professor at the University of Modena, the president of the Italian Industrial Relations Association and an adviser to the European Commission in employment and social affairs.




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