Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

How (not) to interview a porn star


dabbraccio3.jpgWhen I told my wife that I was going to meet porn star Milly D’Abbraccio at her apartment the other day, during office hours, with a camera crew, she had the same reaction that my boss did: sounds like a great story. That’s because D’Abbraccio is running for public office, just like Cicciolina did decades ago.

If Cicciolina was known for her impromptu striptease, then D’Abbraccio’s calling card must be her bottom — which she plastered on campaign posters gracing the walls of the Eternal City (see below). Her campaign poster complains that Italians are tired of the same old faces in politics, and uses the Italian swear word for backside to describe what their faces look like.

It’s hard to find the right balance as a journalist when interviewing a porn star for a political story. There was an uncomfortable moment when, cameras rolling, D’Abbraccio started listing her favourite films, which include ”Professoressa di lingue” or Professor of languages (and tongues). I admit, I had to fight very hard to stop from laughing out loud.

A long-time Reuters correspondent who has tossed questions at everyone from Hugo Chavez to Hamid Karzai, I’m used to being deadly serious. But was that same attitude necessary or even helpful in this interview? Did I need to nearly give myself a seizure to prevent myself from laughing? I’m assuming the name of that film was supposed to be amusing.

from Italian elections:

Berlusconi media assets give him iconic status-study

A study by two Italian psychology professors I unearthed on the Internet throws light on the effect Silvio Berlusconi's influence over the nation's media can have on the minds of ordinary Italians.

It appears to suggest that the former prime minister's image is deeply engrained in the psyche of Italians and this may give him an electoral advantage.

No ties as Berlusconi plays safe


Berlusconi without a tie

Berlusconi says the new casual look he has adopted for this election was not dictated by a style advisor.

Instead the open-necked shirts are all about safety, he told Il Giornale daily.

“The enthusiasm of the crowd is overwhelming. They greet me like a rock star. You know why I decided to stop wearing a tie?

from Africa News blog:

What is the solution to Kenya’s political gridlock?

kenya_rioters_resized.jpgImplementation of Kenya's peace accord brokered by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in February to end post-election bloodshed has hit a logjam over power sharing. The accord provided for power sharing based on a political party's relative strength in parliament. President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) both said in the first week of April that they had agreed on how to share 40 ministerial positions. But bickering started immediately. Both sides have traded accusations: the ODM said Kibaki's side had reneged on a promise to cede key ministerial positions while the PNU accused the ODM of undermining negotiations with "new preconditions and ultimatums" in the 11th hour.

At issue is also the extent of Kibaki's executive authority under the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, signed by both sides after post-election turmoil killed at least 1,200 people and uprooted some 300,000 from their homes.

Near German slayings, expats doubt vote will end mafia threat


The issue of tackling organised crime has not been especially prominent in the Italian election campaign but to ex-pat Italian residents of Duisburg in north-western Germany, it’s an emotive topic. The industrial city in the Ruhr valley made international headlines last summer when six Italians were gunned down outside a pizzeria in an apparent feud between members of the Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta.

On a recent trip to Duisburg, Reuters correspondent Iain Rogers visited the sight of the shootings.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan: Breaking down the stereotypes

An economy growing at an average of 7 percent for six years now with a construction  and consumer boom, a rising middle-class that has just voted out a government, a free  press, a thriving fashion scene. Another emerging market star?

Yes, but this is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, better known these days for its  suicide bombings, a nuclear arsenal and labelled as  the epicentre of Islamist extremism including perhaps the last  redoubt of Osama bin Laden in the lands straddling the Afghan border. "Jihadistan" as one reader wrote on this blog. People outside a restaurant in Islamabad after a bomb  blast 

from Blogs Dashboard:

Echoes of Obama in Veltroni Campaign

Veltroni at a campaign rally

It's no secret in Italy that the underdog candidate for prime minister, Walter Veltroni, likes Barack Obama -- and likes him a lot.

Veltroni's campaign motto "Si può fare" is a literal translation of Obama's "Yes we can", and his campaign mantra of change seems to take a page straight out of the Obama playbook. His party has sought to highlight their similarities, even quoting George Clooney saying Veltroni and Obama "are the most responsible people I have ever met".

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

NATO, Afghanistan and the lessons of cricket

In a new book launched this week about the ill-fated attempt by British imperialists in the mid 19th century to occupy Afghanistan, I came across an interesting detail: the Afghans refused to play cricket. During the occupation of Kabul by British troops from India, "the Afghans looked on with astonishment at the bowling, batting and fagging out of the English players", writes former Reuters journalist Jules Stewart in "Crimson Snow: Britain's First Disaster in Afghanistan".

File photo of a Taliban guerrilla leaderWith NATO reaffirming its commitment to Afghanistan in a "strategic vision" statement issued at a summit in Bucharest this week, I wondered if there was a bigger lesson in this refusal to engage in cricket,  just as the Afghans have never submitted to foreign occupation -- seeing off the British Raj in the 19th century and defeating Soviet occupiers in the 20th century. "The Afghans will always win," writes Stewart in the conclusion to his book.

from FaithWorld:

Saudi mufti denies inviting Israeli rabbis

Saudi King Abdullah at a cabinet meeting in Riyadh, 24 March 2008//Ho NewThe call last week by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah for an interfaith dialogue has provoked outraged reactions from Saudi Islamists and praise from Saudi liberals. Saudis of all persuasions were taken by surprise when Abdullah made his announcement, which met with a quick and positive response from religious leaders abroad. The Vatican was said to be especially interested in this idea because Abdullah made a groundbreaking visit to Rome and met Pope Benedict last November.

But one report in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot went to the nub of the matter -- will Jewish rabbis be able to visit the bastion of Sunni Islam and home to Islam's two holiest sites? That would be big news. As the Israeli daily reported it, the Saudi grand mufti, the official government spokesperson on religious affairs, had begun sending out feelers to Israeli rabbis to attend some meeting in Riyadh at an unspecified date.

The Cyprus street opening which almost never was


U.N. soldier walks towards Ledra Street  In Cyprus, stepping out of line can be a deal breaker.
Ahead of Thursday’s dismantling of a symbol of the island’s division, it almost ended in disaster.
Balloons were released into the air, champagne corks popped and there were smiles all around when both sides opened the gates to a flood of human traffic at Ledra Street.

 But two hours before the fireworks, Greek Cypriots were in a flap over the movements of Turkish Cypriot policemen, in a spat which could have threatened the reopening of  Ledra Street after about half a century.