by RAY FLEMING
WELL, the Japanese G8 summit didn't have a “Yo Blair!” moment like the one in St Petersburg a couple of years ago, but the United States delegation was responsible for an embarrassing gaffe when it circulated a far from complimentary profile of Silvio Berlusconi with a press kit at the summit. It described the Italian prime minister as someone who had burst on to the political scene with little or no experience in 1994 and had soon found himself accused of the very corruption he had vowed to eradicate - “He is one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice.” It is not known whether President Bush made amends with a “Yo Silvio” approach but the American delegation at the summit made a written apology saying the profile did not represent the views of President Bush, the American government, or the American people.” Quite so - but they may represent the views of those Italian people who are becoming increasingly concerned about Mr Berlusconi's actions since he was last elected. A rally which filled Rome's Piazza Navona last Sunday protested against the priority Berlusconi is giving to legislation that will grant immunity to him and associates in a corruption trial currently taking place in Milan. In the last 15 years Berlusconi has had to defend himself against charges of corruption, false accounting, tax fraud and illegal financing of political parties. But laws passed while he was previously in government have so far shielded him from conviction.

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