Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Attacks on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the British press have hit an especially raw nerve as he hosts this year’s G8 summit and some Italian newspapers have had enough.
The summit has come at a particularly sensitive time for the beleaguered Italian leader, who has been dogged for weeks by salacious scandals involving allegations he has a soft spot for underage women and has entertained escort girls.
Britain’s irreverent media have had a field day, delving into his exotic personal life and publishing lurid cartoons of the veteran Berlusconi cavorting with naked women.
Adding insult to injury, the British press have also led the charge in accusing Berlusconi of chaotic organisation of the annual G8 knees-up, with a fanciful story in the Guardian suggesting Italy might be ejected from the rich nations club.
Fresh from his success on the TV show Dancing with the Stars, Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, grandson of the last king of Italy, is campaigning in June’s European elections for Italy’s small centrist party, the Union of Christian Democrats (UDC).
“I had offers from other parties but I feel culturally close to the UDC and its leader Pier Ferdinando Casini,” Filiberto told Reuters on the campaign trail in the small northwestern Piedmont town of Crescentino. “I feel close to its family values, its Christian roots, its ties with the homeland, which I have supported since I’ve been in Italy.”
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is the consummate campaigner. No matter where he finds himself, the indefatigable 72-year-old always makes sure the cameras are squarely on him.
Although he is quick to flash a smile to his supporters, Berlusconi can be just as fast in delivering barbed words to his critics. And when he does not have the time to do it, his supporters are more than happy to oblige.
Did Italy unwittingly trigger the crisis in South Ossetia and then play a central role in stopping it? It may not be the view in most of the world but you could come to that conclusion from reading some Italian papers.
First, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was quoted in a report by French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy on Wednesday, which was reproduced in full on the front page and pages 2 and 3 of Corriere della Sera, as saying that he was first alerted to the situation in South Ossetia by reports in the Italian press that he saw while on a dieting holiday in Italy.
“Should I wait until she’s finished?” asks a soldier from an Italian Alpine regiment, in their distinctive feathered Tyrolean-style hat, to her police colleagues as they patrol an area of Turin notorious for addicts known as “Toxic Park” and see a woman shooting up.
Incidents like this one reported in Corriere della Sera newspaper seem to support Italian police unions’ doubts about Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s initiative, which began this week, to put 3,000 soldiers on the streets of 10 cities for the next six months to help the police fight a supposed crime wave. Some police officers believe military personnel, even those hardened by peace missions abroad, do not have the training needed to fight crime.