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The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is famous for many things including being the richest man in Italy, owning AC Milan, and having a penchant for sun-beds. He is not however known for his tact. In fact, he usually hits the international headlines following one of his numerous gaffes, the most recent of which was to refer to US President elect Barack Obama as “giovane, bello e abronzzato” (young, handsome and tanned).
For some Italians, this last gaffe is the final straw on the donkey’s back; they are sick of their country being associated with their Prime Minister’s “jokes” and have set up a website called “I’m Italian and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is not speaking in my name“.
Just to remind anyone who is not familar with Mr Berlusconi’s famous “sense of humour”, in recent years, he has hit the headlines for:
- Likening German Socialist Martin Schulz to a concentration camp guard and sparking a diplomatic incident between Germany and Italy.
- Telling US business people that Italy was an attractive destination for US investment because it had “beautiful secretaries and fewer communists”.
- Arguing that the Italian city of Parma should host the European Food Safety Agency, rather than Finland, because “Parma is synonymous with good cuisine. The Finns don’t even know what prosciutto is.”
- Saying that “Mussolini never killed anyone. He sent them on holiday to confine them“, sparking outrage in Italy’s Jewish community and embarrassment even amongst his allies.
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