Sunday, January 23

Just Another Day At The Sex Palace

Jihad? Nuclear Iran? Kate wedding dress? All brushed aside for reports that Silvio hosting "bunga bunga" parties at his 145-room, 16th century Villa outside Rome. Milan prosecutors are into an investigation, begun in May, of prostitution and orgy parties preceded by pole dancing, strip tease and "lesbian displays" at the PM's house. The case began when Karima "Ruby" El Mahroug arrested on suspicion of theft - Berlusconi telephoned the police asking to free her, claiming she was the niece of Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt and a bold faced lie. 100,000 leaked wire taps and text-messages include Ruby who, when shagging the PM for bracelets and cash, was inconveniently 17. Consent in Italy is 14 and the legal age for being a whore 18. Berlusconi denies the orgies took place and that, anyhow, he thought Ruby older than 17. He said this in the same breath. Most Italians, based on an Istitutio Piepoli poll in January, think Berlusconi will fight on - this his style -or, if government dissolved for an early election, his Freedom Party will remain in control somehow (today it has a three-vote majority in parliament). Umberto Bossi, head of the Northern League, and Berlusconi's biggest ally, jokes: "Silvio should go and rest somewhere, we'll handle things." And Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes. More ominously this month, Italy's Constitutional Court struck down key parts of a law that would protect Berlusconi from prosecution.

"When [Berlusconi] wants to, he calls; when he doesn't want to, he doesn't call. For the love of God, he's building us a career but then you need to see if that career leads somewhere. What if it doesn't lead anywhere?"
--Barbara Guerra, pictured