Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Some nations who once criticised Mohamed ElBaradei over his approach to Iran’s disputed nuclear programme joined a roomful of effusive tributes to the outgoing chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency on Thursday.
But Israel, ElBaradei’s most public and caustic critic, left its seat empty to sidestep the succession of delegations hailing the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, participants in the closed-door meeting said.
The IAEA’s multinational board of governors presented ElBaradei, 67, with a silver platter, approved a resolution declaring him “Director-General Emeritus” for after he retires on November 30, and gave him a standing ovation.
He was moved to tears of appreciation.
The tall, slightly stooped IAEA chief said he felt “humbled and grateful” and picked up on his cherished theme of international cooperation to solve conflicts, poverty, disease and other iniquities of the world.
Non-Italians may struggle to understand why Italy has let Silvio Berlusconi become (as of two days ago) its longest-serving leader in post-war history, and the foreign media dedicates often indignant editorials and articles to the subject. But the centre-right leader himself put it very succinctly to a conservative youth meeting in Rome this week, “I have 68 percent support because the people are like me: they love women, football, life and someone who gets things done and does so much for his country.”
At the same meeting, the 72-year-old leader responded to another day of newspaper revelations about his sex life (two newspapers reported that 30 young women had attended parties at his home, with some them paid 1,000 euros to sleep with him) by sticking defiantly to the jocose style of politics that he repeatedly says is the secret to his success (he calls it “la politica del cucu” or “hide-and-seek politics”, referring to a practical joke he once played on an unimpressed Angela Merkel).
Berlusconi, the father of five and a grandfather, invited all the girls in the audience of young militants from the centre right to “give me their phone numbers”.
Last weekend Berlusconi had extended the same invitation to the female host of the new Tunisian-based Mahgreb television channel Nessma (in which his family business empire is reported to have a stake ). After recalling his earlier incarnation as a cruiseship crooner, the smiling Berlusconi said to the programme’s host: “And your phone number?”
This attitude helps explain why many Italians have little difficulty believing in the reports about the prime minister’s partygoing private life. He himself only denies that he ever paid for sex, not that some of the young women in question stayed overnight at his apartment in Rome or attended parties at his villa in Sardinia. But, as Reuters Television found out when asking people on the streets of the capital whether all these revelations could bring down the premier, as some of his critics and even allies have been suggesting in recent days (see our story from yesterday), many Italians think such behaviour is either perfectly acceptable, irrevelant to politics, or they are resigned to the fact that it will not have a political impact.
“I think in private everybody is free to do what they want,” said Rome resident Giovanni Cravero, while Giulia Fratelli told us that it “would not be fair” if it did prove Berlusconi’s undoing.
Many Italians clearly find Berlusconi’s uninhibited style to be a faithful reflection of the country’s mentality, rather than an insult to women. Few politicians take him to task for his blatantly sexist comments and would probably be accused of being overly “moralistic” or hypocritical if they did, especially since the court case in Bari that is digging up most of the dirt about Berlusconi’s private life has spattered some centre-left opposition figures too.
The prime minister, a former construction mogul who is the owner of AC Milan football club and of Italy’s largest private broadcaster Mediaset, often cites his background in business as the key to his political success, contrasting it with rivals who have spent their entire working lives in politics.
Despite all the debate in Italian political and journalistic circles this week about whether the “Berlusconi era” is coming to an end, he still has the support of about half the country, according to opinion polls (though that falls far short of his own privately commissioned polls, which are never published). Perhaps part of the explanation can be found in the entrepreneurial energy with which he has addressed the reconstruction of L’Aquila, which was hit by an earthquake in April.
Bringing a salesman’s touch to politics, Berlusconi promised that the 30,000 people in the area made homeless by the earthquake would all have nice new homes, with all mod cons, by December — “beautiful houses, with lawns out front. And in the fridge I will put cake, some bubbly and a note wishing them a nice life in their new home.”
Why do you think Silvio Berlusconi still has the support of about half the country? What do you think of his style of leadership?
At his penultimate meeting with governors of the U.N. nuclear watchdog before he steps down in November, Mohamed ElBaradei gave diplomats a reminder of the colourful prose and no-nonsense authority they may soon miss.
A veteran of the long-running dispute between the West and Iran over its contentious nuclear programme, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency urged the 35-nation governing body to “put (your) heads together to break the logjam,” on the same day that Tehran submitted a package of proposals to foreign powers.
from Maggie Fox:
You can prevent swine flu by washing your hands and keeping away from sick people, but how do you make money off of it? Some smaller companies such as Vical and Novavax hope the pandemic might make a short cut for them.
In general vaccines are not lucrative money-makers but this could change.
And then there are always the big antiviral makers. CDC's new guidelines do not offer hope for much more market for them, however. They recommend preserving these drugs for people who really need them.
Are young German voters getting the short end of the stick because the country’s political leaders fall over themselves to placate senior citizens?
Or is it simply a case of democracy pure when politicians listen attentively to what seniors demand because they are the group that votes more faithfully than any other age group?
Strikingly different election campaign styles in Germany and Britain, especially parties’ contrasting use of the media, provide some intriguing insights into the political traditions of the two nations.
in Britain, the parties hold daily news conferences, broadcast live, where leaders attempt to set an agenda for the day — be it on health, tax or education — and then get grilled by the press corps.
The Pusan International Film Festival opens its 14th edition with “Good Morning President”, a movie taking a warm-hearted look at the ruthless and cold-blooded world of South Korean politics.
The festival is Asia largest and runs from October 8-16 in the South Korean port city of Busan. Organisers on Tuesday unveiled the line-up for the festival where 355 films from 70 countries will be screened, including 98 that will be world premieres.
from Maggie Fox:
WHO has given up on trying to keep any kind of precise count on swine flu, which is just about everywhere now. It's fairly mild but hardly anyone has any immunity, so it will infect far more people than seasonal flu does in an average year. That may mean more serious cases and more deaths than usual, just by virtue of sheer numbers.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
With so much noise around these days in the relationship between India and Pakistan it is hard to make out a clear trend. Politicians and national media in both countries have reverted to trading accusations, whether it be about their nuclear arsenals, Pakistani action against Islamist militants blamed for last year's Mumbai attacks or alleged violations of a ceasefire on the Line of Control dividing Kashmir. Scan the headlines on a Google news search on India and Pakistan and you get the impression of a relationship fraught beyond repair.
Does that mean that attempts to find a way back into peace talks broken off after the Mumbai attacks are going nowhere? Not necessarily. In the past the background noise of angry rhetoric has usually obscured real progress behind the scenes, and this time around may be no exception.