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Sat, 27 Nov 2021
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Mafia 'holds compromising Silvio Berlusconi photos'

Fabrizio Corona
Fabrizio Corona is known as the 'king of the paparazzi'
A leading Italian photographer has alleged that mafia gangsters claim to possess compromising photos of Silvio Berlusconi at wild "bunga bunga" sex parties.

Fabrizio Corona, who runs a celebrity photography agency, claimed that members of the Camorra mafia in Naples are trying to sell the alleged images to gossip magazines.

"Representatives from a big weekly magazine went to Naples to buy photos of Berlusconi from the underworld," he told an Italian television programme.

He said there were nude pictures of the Italian prime minister, but later appeared to backtrack, saying none of the images were "obscene".

Mr Corona, who is known as the "king of the paparazzi," also claimed that there had been a mysterious break-in at his photo agency, with thieves stealing several computer discs from his extensive picture archives, although he denied that he had any photos of Mr Berlusconi.

Prosecutors are expected to request as early as today that the prime minister, 74, be sent for trial on allegations of paying for sex with an underage prostitute, an erotic dancer known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, and of abusing his office by having her released on theft charges.

Black Cat

Romania may get even tougher on witches

Romanian witch
© Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press
There's more bad news in the cards for Romania's beleaguered witches.

A month after Romanian authorities began taxing them for their trade, the country's soothsayers and fortune tellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their predictions don't come true.

Superstition is a serious matter in the land of Dracula, and officials have turned to witches to help the recession-hit country collect more money and crack down on tax evasion.

Witches argue they shouldn't be blamed for the failure of their tools.

"They can't condemn witches, they should condemn the cards," Queen Witch Bratara Buzea told The Associated Press by telephone.

Critics say the proposal is a ruse to deflect public attention from the country's many problems. In 2009, Romania needed a euro20 billion ($27.31 billion) International Monetary Fund-led bailout loan to pay salaries and pensions when its economy contracted more than 7 percent. Last year, the economy shrank again. However, this year a slight recovery of 1.5 percent growth is forecast.

Arrow Down

Queensland Floods Hit Australian Businesses Nationwide

The Queensland floods have hit businesses all across Australia, with a National Australia Bank survey estimating they cut 5 per cent off the revenue of large and medium-sized businesses.

Not surprisingly, the biggest hit was to Queensland businesses, where revenue was down 9.8 per cent and the utilisation of machinery was down 13.8 per cent.

But other states were also hit, with a 4 per cent drop in business revenue in NSW and Victoria during last month attributed to the Queensland floods.


Australia wheat exports jump in Dec; floods may cut Jan sales

Australian wheat exports jumped in December after late plantings and weather difficulties dragged November shipments down but rail and port closures due to floods in January may cause another dip in exports.

Exports in December from the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter totalled 1.28 million tonnes, up from 914,200 tonnes in November and also up on the 1.08 million tonnes a year ago, according to data from Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Flu epidemic spreads in Russia

Russian flu epidemic
© RIA Novosti
The flu and acute respiratory viral infection are spreading in Russia, with more than 60 regions having been affected by now.

A drastic increase in the number of sick people has prompted the closure of kindergartens and schools in the Komi Republic.

Che Guevara

Egypt: Protests swell at Cairo's Liberation Square

Tens of thousands pour into central Cairo seeking president Mubarak's ouster, despite a slew of government concessions.

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have poured into Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square as protests against Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, entered their 15th day despite a slew of concessions announced by the government.

Tens of thousands of protesters have also come out on the streets in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.

There were also reports of a protest outside the parliament building in the capital. A witness said at least a thousand people had gathered at the spot and more were coming in.

According to Hoda Abdel-Hamid, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Egyptian capital, the crowd at Tahrir Square grew rapidly on Tuesday afternoon, with many first-timers joining protesters seeking Mubarak's immediate ouster.

The newcomers said they had been inspired in part by the release of Wael Ghonim, the Google executive, after what he said was two weeks of detention by state security authorities.


UK: Mysterious red dots appear on houses in Barking

© Unknown
Police have reassured residents in Barking after mysterious red dots appeared on houses across the Borough.

During the past few days, officers at Longbridge and Abbey Wards had been made aware of red dots and markings being made on the front doors and windows of local resident's homes.

This has caused some anxiety within the community as residents consider that they may have been targeted for crime.

A spokesperson for Barking & Dagenham Police moved quickly to quell rumours saying: "Police would like to assure residents that there is no similarity between the householders of the properties that have been marked. Rumours are currently spreading that all of the homes marked are occupied by the elderly or by Asian people. This is not the case. Hundreds of homes have been marked with residents being of all ages and cultures.


Thousands evacuated from Paris Suburb for Disposal of WW II Bomb

© News Wires
Around 6,000 people were evacuated from a Paris suburb Sunday as police disposed of a World War II bomb discovered in an old Renault car factory. The half-tonne bomb was dropped by allied forces when Paris was under Nazi control.

Police evacuated 6,000 people from a Paris suburb Sunday while they neutralised an unexploded bomb dropped by an allied plane in World War II.

Thousands of residents, some carrying suitcases and pets, flocked out of their homes and into the streets at dawn as police cleared the neighbourhood and dealt with the bomb found last week, an AFP reporter saw.

"It went well. There was no big bang, that's the main thing," said Paris police bomb-disposal chief Denis Lamotte.

Arrow Down

Sri Lanka: Once again on Dengue

In the wake of the countrywide celebrations of the anniversary of independence and the massive floods in the North, North Central and the East, another matter of grave concern has gone unnoticed. The impending local government elections would also likely to take public attention away from it.

We are referring to the resurgence of the dengue outbreak and the ever increasing death toll due to it. The more this danger is kept unknown from the public the more it would spread for it is a matter to be dealt with primarily by the public. Unlike other epidemics dengue needs public awareness and public participation to prevent it spreading. It is not a matter for health personnel alone.

The need of public awareness is greater since politicians and even officials trumpeted the decline of the epidemic few months ago when warm weather prevailed, as if it was a triumph of their labour.

The authorities have been grappling with dengue for several years and yet they have not been able to make a serious dent in the incidence of the disease. It would be interesting to find out whether the preventive measures were carried out in earnest or were abandoned with the end of the rainy season. As far as community participation was concerned there was none in the past few months. Even legal action against errant householders and public environment cleaning campaigns had dwindled.

Dengue eradication could be achieved only through long and arduous concerted campaigns with the participation of the public at all levels. The ultimate success of the campaign would be decided by the level of environmental cleanliness and the success in eradicating mosquito larvae breeding places.


Stop Bullying People Who Are Different

Stop bullying
© unknown
Life is something we have just one chance to take part in, to leave our mark before we pass on.

It involves interacting with a diverse variety of people, from different cultures with different outlooks on life.

The fault with our world today is how limited the acceptance is of others in relation to the spreading outbreak of criticism and maltreatment of those who display their way of life differently than our own.

More specifically, the increase in teenage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender suicides is now considered an epidemic due to the excessive teasing and harassment of them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that these teenagers are much more likely to take their own life as a result of mistreatment by their peers.

One might say these innocent teenagers are "bullied to death" verbally, physically and most of all through the online social network.

It is estimated there are between 35,000 and 40,000 suicides in the U.S. every year. Of those numbers, 20 percent of the deaths are of children from ages 12 to 18.