CANALE 5, LA STAMPA, WASHINGTON POST, TV5 MONDE, AP

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The hardest part is having to say your sorry. No, actually, the hardest part is taking the blame. Sometimes, depending on the subtleties of the language in question, these are two very different things. We have been reminded of that again with the television interview this week of Italian cruise ship captain Francesco Schettino. Here's a quick rundown of some weak, WEAK attempts over the years at fessin" up...

- July 2012: Former Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino on his cruise catastrophe:

Captain Schettino became a reviled figure around the world after his role in the cruise ship disaster that killed 25 people off the coast of Italy in January. There were conflicting reports as to whether he was hot-dogging too close to shore to impress friends on the island of Giglio. He also left his command post well before all the passengers were evacuated.

In an interview on Italian television on Tuesday (see video below in Italian), Schettino said he was sorry for the victims, but defended his actions. "This was a banal accident where there was a breakdown in the interaction between human beings," he said "It created misunderstandings which explains why there is so much anger." He then attempted to pin the blame on a junior officer. Prosecutors told La Stampa daily that Schettino's version of events contained "embarrassing" lies.

- June 2012: Argentine tennis player David Nalbandian after kicking a line judge:

Tennis fans witnessed an unusual scene at the Queen's Club AEGON Championships last June in London when Argentine player David Nalbandian kicked a linesman in frustration during a game against Marin Cilic (see first video below). He was disqualified - and later fined, according to the Washington Post - but his apology after the game came grudgingly: he blamed the Association of Tennis Professionals for his anger (see second video below).

- 2011: Ex-IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn following allegations of rape in New York:

The French economist and politician was at the center of a storm in the summer of 2011 after he was arrested in New York for alleged rape. Charges were eventually dropped but his political career was over, and new allegations surfaced after his return to France in September 2011, when he gave a largely awaited interview on French television. His performance came under major fire (see video below in French) and was perceived as insincere. He said he had made a "moral mistake" but denied any violent or forced relations and insinuated that his political enemies may have played some role in events.

- 2002: The Catholic Curch in the American sexual abuse scandal:

It took a decade for the first Catholic Church official to be criminally convicted in the sex abuse scandal, the Associated Press recently reported, a slowness that helps explain why Cardinal Bernard Law's apology in 2002 for the Father Geoghan case was so important. But victims weren't satisfied at the time (see video below at 3:14), neither with the form of apology nor the Cardinal's continuing career at the Vatican.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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