Berlusconi in hot water with the Vatican
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In today's international press- India's papers ask if the Commonwealth Games' organising committee has turned the games round after weeks of bad headlines, the Brazilian election goes to a photo finish and Silvio Berlusconi is in trouble with the Vatican.
Brazilian daily O Globo says it knows why- left leaning voters deserted current president Lula da Silva’s Workers Party in droves in favour of the greens led by Lula’s former environment minister Marina Silva.
She won 19.5 million votes- and the paper says both parties are now fighting over those voters.
Serra is already trying to persuade her to back his party in the next round- Silva left the Workers Party last year under a cloud and the paper’s opinion poll says many of her supporters are prepared to follow- with 50% of the green votes set to go to Serra- which means the election, which was meant to be an easy win for Dilma, could still be all to play for.
However the paper says Lula himself will be leading the Dilma campaign in the second round- and with 80% approval ratings he’s a formidable opponent.
Now to India where the Commonwealth games kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony yesterday- the games has of course been beset with problems- but the Times of India, which recently been very critical of official incompetence, today says games organisers have turned it around.
They say the famously dirty athletes accommodation- where snakes were found only last week- is now as good as any five star hotel.
It has discos, restaurants, souvenir shops and even a golf course- and foreign athletes are raving about the delicious food, according to the paper.
The Independent isn’t quite so positive- its headline is ‘Delhi’s poorest watch from afar as Games open in dazzling style’.
The paper says officials have put up huge billboards around town to deliberately hide slums from passing tourists- and it says there are two modern Indias- the flashy, high tech rising superpower on display inside the stadium, and the desperately poor one, living without electricity or mains water just metres away.
The correspondent asked local people ifthey were inspired by the Games- but the interviewees replied that no future sports star could come out of the slums because even though they love sport, especially cricket, they’ve got nowhere to play.
Now to Italy- where prime minister Berlusconi is no stranger to controversy- but now he’s in trouble with the Vatican.
Official Vatican paper l’Osservatore Romano has reacted very strongly to a series of videos that came out online at the weekend showing Berlusconi telling racist jokes about Jews and using the most blasphemous swearword in Italian- which I won’t translate now but it’s considered so bad an Italian big brother contestant was recently thrown off the show for using it.
The paper says the jokes are deplorable- they show insupportable blasphemy and racist stereotyping- and they offend religious believers and the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust.
And finally- to the West Bank- an unlikely place for a artisanal brewery you might think, seeing as it’s a Muslim country of course.
But the annual beer festival in the village of Taybeh was a huge success this weekend, says the Guardian- the Palestinian Oktoberfest drew ten thousand people.
Business for the Taybeh brewery is bomming despite the obvious difficulties of operating in a Muslim environment- they sell 600,000 litres a year to Christians in the West Bank – and they’ve launched a non alcoholic version that’s proving popular with Muslim drinkers as well.