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TOPIC: berlusconi


Berlusconi, A Modern-Day Casanova Who Stumbled Into Politics

At the core, the controversial Italian leader, who died this week at 86, wanted to be liked, loved. That explains many of his choices, including the ones that have left a dark mark on Italy's history.


ROME — Silvio Berlusconi was an amicable man – child-like and generous. He told bleak, bewildering, embarrassing jokes, but he did it with such bold, bubbling enthusiasm that you always ended up smiling at his incomprehensible naivety, which was above all his desire to please everyone. I'm convinced it's the key to understanding him: he was a great Casanova of politics, TV, football and business.

Aging horrified him. He thought that having hair was a matter of "respect for others," and that getting a facelift was a matter of decency, tantamount to good manners. He did not come from a well-to-do family. His father was a bank clerk, and, perhaps with some inventiveness, was actually much more, while his mother was a housewife. Berlusconi was a smart kid. He sold his homework; he sang on cruise ships. He put his best qualities to good use. His generosity was cynical but instinctive, and sometimes touching.

From his beginnings building a small company, he would change the country forever. He started with an advertising agency, which became a lever for the Italian government itself.

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Silvio, Is That You? A Neighborhood In Naples Mourns A VIP

A case of mistaken identity for our Naples-based psychiatrist, in the wake of Silvio Berlusconi's passing.

Patrizia arrives for her appointment in a frenzy.

"Dottoré, it's too painful. Why did he have to die like this."

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Silvio Berlusconi, The Impossible Biography

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's death at the age of 86 reveals his complexity as both a public and political figure — in Italy and beyond. The author, who has tried in vain to write Berlusconi's biography, sifts through the truth behind the many myths.


ROME — A few years ago, a friend suggested that I write a biography of Silvio Berlusconi — the kind that becomes indispensable to consult and cite every time Berlusconi is mentioned, like the biography of Julius Caesar written last century by French historian Jérome Carcopino.

This undertaking presented two problems. One was immediate: unfortunately, I don't have the stature of a Carcopino. The other, bigger problem showed up shortly after: Berlusconi has such a long history in politics, with so much written about him, that it becomes impossible to separate truth from legend.

For a couple of days, I dedicated myself to drafting the topics I wanted to cover. Very simple: Berlusconi is a politician, Berlusconi is an entrepreneur, Berlusconi is a sportsman.

I immediately added Berlusconi and the judiciary. This chapter was already long and complex: the investigations against him on charges of corruption, tax evasion, proximity to the Mafia, even the 1993 mob-linked killings in Milan, and many more topics.

Trying to frame Berlusconi as a politician immediately gave me hell, looking at his long career. Berlusconi and TV was already by itself a book of 400 pages. Berlusconi and soccer was another 300 pages. Berlusconi and the women in his life, his friends, his family, his connection to culture, his relationship to his wealth, his houses, his enemies and more.

The above prologue to this article quickly gets long, and was nothing compared to the original book outline, which I continued to enrich with other sections.

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Kyiv Claims Quick Counteroffensive Wins, Berlusconi Dead at 86, Djokovic’s Record

👋 Mandi!*

Welcome to Monday, where Kyiv says it has liberated three villages as part of its counteroffensive, Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dies at 86, and thankfully, Hong Kong had planned for two giant rubber ducks. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg got hold of an article detailing Russia’s future mobilization process and the formation of new units before it was quickly deleted by Moscow.

[*Friulian, Italy]

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In The News
Renate Mattar & Inès Mermat

New Russia Sanctions, Scotland’s Sturgeon Quits, Quake Survivors

👋 Ke aal aee!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the EU debates hitting Russia with a 10th sanctions package, Nicola Sturgeon announces her surprise resignation after eight years as Scotland’s leader and rescuers are still pulling survivors out alive nine days after the Turkey-Syria earthquake. We also feature a report on a group of anti-Putin Russians who are supplying drones to Ukraine’s army, convinced that neutrality and “pacifism” is not an option in this war.

[*Dogri, Jammu and Kashmir, India]

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Ginevra Falciani

Why MeToo In Italy Is Different

A recent wave of testimony from inside the Italian entertainment industry again failed to gain much attention, another example of MeToo failing to take off in the traditionally sexist country. There are multiple explanations, though also quieter signs that something may be changing.

For a few fleeting hours, it seemed the MeToo movement might finally break out of the shadows in Italy: the internet was buzzing after the La Repubblica daily had published the testimonies of several actresses recounting the sexual harassment they’d faced.

A week later, on Jan. 16, the associations Amleta and Differenza Donna held a press conference to report 223 additional testimonies of sexual harassment and violence in show business.

The activists broke the cases down by gender (in all but two cases the abusers were men, and 93% of the victims were women) and by job title (directors made up 41% of the abusers, followed by actors, producers, teachers, casting directors, agents, critics, and even some audience members). But it was also notable that only 12 actresses had brought their cases to court, and that the names of those accused would not be revealed so as not to compromise ongoing legal actions.

A few newspapers reported the news. Then, nothing more.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino and Emma Albright

Surovikin’s Monday Strategy — Another Week Begins With Massive Russian Strikes

Moscow's new commander in Ukraine has changed the timing of when to strike cities and infrastructure.

For the fourth straight Monday morning, Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities have been subjected to a major air assault by Russia. At 8 a.m., the first missiles and air strikes were reported across Ukraine, again targeting critical infrastructure.

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A large-scale air alert was declared throughout the country, as explosions hit Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Cherkasy, and Kirovohrad regions.

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Sophia Constantino and Bertrand Hauger

Putin’s Martial Law Dismissed As “Propaganda Show,” “Desperate Tactic”

Russia's martial law for the occupied territories of Ukraine is a "pseudo-legalization of looting of Ukrainians' property," said another official in Kyiv.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is fast-tracking the imposition of martial law in the four occupied territories of Ukraine — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia — which he now considers annexed parts of Russia.

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But Kyiv and its Western allies are reacting with disdain more than fear or worry. Residents of Kherson have reported receiving mass text messages warning the city would be shelled and informing them that buses would be leaving from the port from 7 a.m. on Thursday. Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to the Ukrainian president, described Russian announcements as “a propaganda show,” adding that the population transfers amounted to “deportations”

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In The News
Sophia Constantino, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger

Retaking Zaporizhzhia, Iranian Climber Explains, Healthy Sleep

👋 ¡Hola!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Russia reports an attempt by Ukraine to recapture the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power, Iran’s climber explains why she competed without a veil, and researchers conclude that yes, you do need that beauty sleep. Meanwhile, Marc Pfitzenmaier for German daily Die Welt takes the temperature on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, the “last bastion” between Russia and the entire Batlic region.


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Stefano Stefanini

Giorgia Meloni Is No Real Threat To European Unity

After far-right politician Giorgia Meloni emerged as the top vote-getter in Italy's election, the question on everyone's lips is what will her relationship be with the European Union. The risk of her pushing for an Italian exit from the EU is slim.


ROMEGiorgia Meloni has unquestionably earned the trust of Italians. But now she will have to work on earning the trust of the rest of the world, especially the world to which Italy belongs: the West and Europe.

Italy cannot afford political isolation, economic self-sufficiency or cultural marginalization.

"Italy first" does not represent the national interests. Not for an Atlantic, European and Mediterranean middle power that belongs to organizations scattered around the globe — a dense network of interdependencies and ties on which our security and well-being depend.

New leaders are often given a trial period on the international scene. Not so for Meloni, who will get to the prime minister seat with the Russian-Ukrainian war at the center of Europe and a pressing energy emergency.

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In The News
Irene Caselli, Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Annexation Referendums Start In Occupied Ukraine, Forced Voting Reported

Russia's proxies in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions announced that referendums on joining Russia had begun that Ukrainian and Western officials have denounced as shams.

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For four days, "voting" will be held at people's homes "for security reasons," Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti wrote. On the last day of the "referendums," on September 27, locals will be asked to go to "polling stations."

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On Cover Boys, Obituaries And Putin Getting The Last Word  ​

September 3-4

  • EU v. Russia visa fight
  • Argentina righting Trans wrong
  • A penguin’s flip-flops
  • … and much more.
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