How do you say "sexist" in Italian? Berlusconi. At least that's what a group of female academics in Italy think. They're urging wives of male G8 leaders to stay home from the G8 conference to be hosted by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi next month in Italy.While the Obamas offer Americans at least a picture of marital bliss, Italians are being treated to a messy divorce. Since Berlusconi's wife of 20 years Veronica Lario filed for divorce in April, a colorful series of allegations about his love life and treatment of women have come out. The 72-year-old leader, who has had his fair share of other scandals including countless criminal trials, has been accused of having an affair with an 18-year-old and hiring paid escorts. Of course, he denies any "spicy" relations.
The academics also call into question Berlusconi's attempt to appoint showgirls, actresses, and a Big Brother contestant as candidates in the European elections.
Perhaps the first wives will attend, if only so their husbands have less free time to spend with their Italian host.
Pictures of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have surfaced, showing that even a wild beast can't overcome the defiant Russian leader. Putin saved a television crew and a group of scientists from a rare Ussuri tiger that escaped, while he visited a national park to learn how the scientists monitor the endangered animals.
Yesterday Britain urged the EU to stop talks between itself and Russia about building a closer relationship. Britain's PM Gordon Brown went as far to say that Russia's membership in the G8 should be suspended. Attention to forging a stronger East-West relationship began in 1997, but leaders in Russia want a more expansive cooperation agreement. Putin says he's not too concerned with EU threats, since European self-interest will keep the countries from acting rashly toward Russia.
Apparently the US and Russia can agree on one thing — saving the world's remaining 400 Ussuri tigers, "the biggest cat(s) on the planet," according to Putin. Putin has praised the US for its efforts in saving the cats.
Do you have any hope that the West can save good relations with Russia?
Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev is in no mood to listen to US criticism about the state of human rights or democracy in Russia. This week he said that the US was "essentially in a depression" and thus in no shape to tell other countries what to do.
During an interview with foreign journalists, one reporter asked the president about John McCain's proposal to expel Russia from the G8 for its record on democracy. Medvedev offered a lesson in international relations: "The Group of 8 exists not because someone likes or dislikes it, but because objectively, they are the biggest world economies and the most serious players from the foreign policy point of view." Little more than a decade after communism fell and left Russia in economic shambles, lucrative oil exports have made Russia economically, and geopolitically, confident.