World View: U.N. Claims Immunity in Haiti Cholera Compensation Case

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Bawdy Silvio Berlusconi may return as Italy's Prime Minister
  • U.N. claims immunity in Haiti cholera compensation case
  • U.S. deploys 100 troops to Niger to operate drone base
  • Al-Qaeda 'tip sheet' for avoiding drones found in Mali

Bawdy Silvio Berlusconi may return as Italy's Prime Minister

Underage Karima el Mahroug, known by her stage name 'Ruby,' has been linked to Berlusconi (AP)
Underage Karima el Mahroug, known by her stage name 'Ruby,' has been linked to Berlusconi (AP)

Italy's outgoing Premier Mario Monti, who took the helm of an emergency government of unelected technocrats in November 2011 when Silvio Berlusconi resigned as premier with Italy's debt crisis threatening to spiral out of control, is expected to lose his job after Sunday's and Monday's general election. 

The most likely outcome is a stalemate, with no party having enough seats to control parliament. Monti has help stabilize Italy's economy through a series of austerity measures that have cost him a lot of political support.

Silvio Berlusconi's center-right alliance has been rapidly closing a double-digit polling gap and may win, thanks to a media campaign where Berlusconi has called Monti's austerity measures "cruel and inhuman," and promised to reverse them, even promising to refund tax money that Monti's government had collected.

Gazzetta Del Sud

The possibility that 76-year-old Berlusconi might return to office is appalling to politicians in other European countries, many of whom consider him to be a clown. He's also notorious for his involvement in multiple sex and corruption scandals that created pressure on him to step down as prime minister in November 2011. 

Germany's Der Spiegel has been publishing numerous articles raising alarms about a Berlusconi comeback. Friday's article provides a list of "Berlusconi's most revealing gaffes," in an effort to dissuade Italians from voting for him. Some of the gaffes are: 

  • One of Berlusconi's most legendary quips came in February 2006 when he said: "I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone."
  • In the summer of 2011, Berlusconi reportedly said in a telephone conversation with a journalist that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a "culona inscopabile," which was widely translated as "unfuckable fatass."
  • After the deadly earthquake in the central Italian city of L'Aquila left tens of thousands homeless in April 2009, Berlusconi described their living conditions this way: "Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary. But they should see it like a weekend of camping."
  • In 2006, Berlusconi reportedly said: "Only Napoleon did more. But I'm definitely taller."
  • Berlusconi has been involved in multiple sex scandals for which he is entirely unapologetic. In April 2011, he said, "When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30 percent of women answered, 'Yes', while the other 70 percent responded, 'What, again?'"
  • When US President Barack Obama was elected, Berlusconi welcomed him into office by praising him as "handsome, young and suntanned."
  • Berlusconi has rarely shown remorse for his sexcapades. In November 2010 he said, "It's better to like beautiful girls than to be gay."
  • In July 2003, Berlusconi told Martin Schulz, a German member of the European Parliament: "I know that in Italy there is a man producing a film on Nazi concentration camps. I'll suggest you for the role of Kapo. You're perfect."

Spiegel

U.N. claims immunity in Haiti cholera compensation case

United Nations officials, who usually express moral outrage and bring a holier-than-thou tone to almost any issue, are now claiming immunity for a catastrophe that United Nations peacekeepers inflicted upon the Haitian people after the 2010 earthquake. 

Haiti hadn't had a case of cholera in over a century, but a cholera epidemic started spreading rapidly in 2010 after the U.N. peacekeepers arrived. It turned out, via DNA tests, that the strain of cholera was identical to the strain of cholera that's endemic in Nepal. So the Nepalese peacekeepers came to Haiti and infected the water supply, causing the epidemic. 

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon never accepted the conclusion that the U.N. was to blame, but promised to help Haiti's cholera victims. But on Thursday, the United Nations rejected a claim for compensation for thousands of Haitian victims of cholera, saying that the United Nations is protected by immunity. Global Post

U.S. deploys 100 troops to Niger to operate drone base

The Pentagon has deployed about 100 troops to the West African nation of Niger to conduct unmanned reconnaissance flights over Mali and share intelligence with French forces fighting Islamist jihadists in the neighboring country of Mali. 

The United States already has drones and surveillance aircraft stationed at several points around Africa. Its only permanent military base is in the small country of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, more than 3,000 miles from Mali. Reuters

Al-Qaeda 'tip sheet' for avoiding drones found in Mali

Associated Press staff in Timbuktu, Mali, have stumbled on an al-Qaeda "tip sheet" with a list of techniques for avoiding American drone strikes. 

  • Intercepting drone frequencies using the Russian-made “sky grabber.”
  • Jamming drone signals using a “Racal,” also made in Russia.
  • Spreading glass or reflective material over vehicles or buildings.
  • Deploying skilled snipers to shoot down low-flying drones.
  • Using “general confusion methods,” and avoiding permanent headquarters.
  • Placing dolls or statues “outside false ditches.”
  • Hiding, especially in trees or caves.
  • All passengers run in different directions from a car pursued by drones.
  • Occupy buildings with multiple exits.

The tip sheet was created several years ago by al-Qaeda in Yemen. Global Post and AP (PDF)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, Mario Monti, United Nations, Haiti, Ban Ki-moon, cholera, Niger, al-Qaeda, Timbuktu, Mali 

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