Homophobia in Germany and Italy


This video from Italy says about itself:

Berlusconi: better to have a passion for beautiful girls than being gay

31 May 2013

“Meglio essere appassionati delle belle ragazze che gay” (“Better to have a passion for beautiful girls than being gay”) is one of the most famous wisecracks of the former prime minister of Italy, the media billionaire Silvio Berlusconi.

British daily The Guardian asked people from various countries: What’s it like being LGBT in your country? A reader from Germany shares her story:

Germany: Hostility below the surface

Penal code § 175, outlawing gay sex, was of course abolished decades ago, we have openly gay foreign ministers and other openly lesbian and gay politicians – and it’s been legal now to “marry” your partner by committing to a civil union (without some rights like the right to adoption as a couple etc.). But recent homophobic attacks against Baden-Württemberg’s proposed new school curriculum that includes the teaching of sexual diversity shows that there’s lots of resentment under the surface.

Of course, compared to having to fear for one’s personal safety on a daily basis, things in Germany are pretty good. But I find it nonetheless annoying to have people take for granted that I have a husband just because I’m a woman. And it’s not just annoying but sad that in smaller German towns, gays and lesbians are practically invisible and are too afraid to be recognized by neighbors or bosses to join a gay parade, if there is one in the first place. And I feel it is altogether tragic and shocking to hear, after having moved to a different town, that a young lesbian acquaintance of mine — one of those who did not join the parade — has committed suicide.

So, on the surface lots of rainbow colors, but it’s still pretty dark underneath.

A bit of better news from the USA: Same-sex couples flock to Arkansas after judge strikes down marriage ban.

And not so good news from the USA: Boycott launched against openly gay St Louis Rams player Michael Sam, by Christian lobbyist Jack Burkman.

Greek bishop condemns homosexuality as ‘perversion of human existence’: here.

Britain: MANY in the LGBT community fear a return to the “dark ages” on HIV awareness as the government’s austerity programme silences key programmes, activists were told yesterday: here.

Singapore bans library books that show gay couples. Politician Yaacob Ibrahim says government must abide by ‘community norms’: here.

Berlusconi-mafia connection arrest in Italy


This video, recorded in Italy, is called Ex-Berlusconi minister arrested in Mafia investigation.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Former Berlusconi minister arrested over mafia ally collusion

Friday 9th May 2014

A FORMER minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government was arrested in a luxury Rome hotel today for allegedly helping a political ally convicted of mafia collusion to flee abroad.

Claudio Scajola is accused of helping Amedeo Matacena to flee to Dubai, evading a five-year jail sentence, said anti-mafia prosecutor Arturo de Felice.

Mr Matacena was declared a fugitive last summer. He was tried for ties with the Calabrian ’ndrangheta crime syndicate.

Mr Scajola resigned as industry minister in 2010 amid allegations that he paid far below market value for a luxury apartment overlooking the Colosseum in Rome.

He was later tried and acquitted of wrongdoing.

Mr Scajola is the second close Berlusconi aide to come under judicial scrutiny.

Marcello Dell’Utri has been declared a fugitive in Italy and detained in Lebanon, where he fled before a decision on an appeal against his conviction for mafia links.

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Berlusconi-mafia contact man arrested in Lebanon


This video from Italy says about itself:

Berlusconi calls “hero” the Mafia member Vittorio Mangano [English subtitles]

27 March 2009

Once upon a time, Berlusconi hired a man to work as broom at his villa: his name was Vittorio Mangano and, incidentally, he was also a Mafia member,who will be sentenced to imprisonment for murder and similar nice stuff.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Silvio Berlusconi associate to appear in Beirut court over Lebanon arrest

Marcello Dell’Utri, suspected of escaping justice, awaits ruling over appeal against sentence for colluding with Sicilian mafia

John Hooper in Rome

Sunday 13 April 2014 16.02 BST

Silvio Berlusconi‘s longstanding associate with whom he co-founded Italy‘s main rightwing party is expected to appear before a magistrate in Beirut on Monday at a hearing for a decision on the legality of his arrest.

Marcello Dell’Utri, who allegedly acted as a mediator between the Cosa Nostra and Berlusconiwas detained at a five-star hotel in the Lebanese capital at the end of last week. This has come before a final ruling by the Italian supreme court, due on Tuesday, on his appeal against a seven-year sentence for colluding with the Sicilian mafia. The 72-year-old senator’s lawyer said it was illogical to think his client was seeking to escape justice, since he had used his own name and credit card to book into the hotel.

Berlusconi was quoted on Sunday as having said it was he who had sent Dell’Utri to Lebanon. The daily La Repubblica said the former prime minister told a delegation from his Forza Italia (“Come on Italy”) party that he was responding to a request from Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had asked him to do what he could to help the leader of Lebanon’s Kataeb party, Amine Gemayel, to regain the presidency.

The warrant for Dell’Utri’s arrest cited a bugged discussion between the senator’s brother and a friend which the judges said showed there was a “serious and concrete danger” of Dell’Utri’s trying to establish himself abroad before the supreme court ruling. Some Italian newspapers on Sunday published extracts from the transcripts of the recordings.

Speaking on 8 November 2013, Alberto Dell’Utri, the senator’s twin, said: “Ten days ago, Marcello dined in Rome with … an important politician from the Lebanon who has been president and is putting himself up in the forthcoming elections and on 14 November he is planning to go to Beirut to see.”

However, the two men, whose conversation was taped as part of a separate investigation, also discussed the possibility of the senator might in future shuttle between Lebanon and west Africa on a diplomatic passport issued by the authorities in Guinea-Bissau as part of a scheme to exploit the country’s mineral riches. The transcripts indicated that Alberto Dell’Utri was proposing his brother should make a big donation to the country through an NGO set up by Berlusconi for building hospitals in Africa. Alberto Dell’Utri’s friend suggested a figure of €5m (£4.1m) might be appropriate.

“All that Marcello needs to do is go to Silvio and tell him: ‘Silvio, I’m going to Guinea-Bissau’: explain everything to him … ‘I’m founding a soccer school for the kids,’” Alberto Dell’Utri commented.

Marcello Dell’Utri – then the head of the advertising arm of Berlusconi’s vast business empire – created Forza Italia! from scratch in 1993, appointing his own executives to be its earliest officials. His conviction for collaboration with Cosa Nostra refers only to a period ending the previous year.

Lawyers expressed conflicting opinions on the difficulties of extraditing Dell’Utri from Lebanon if the supreme court upholds his conviction on Tuesday.

Super-rich septuagenarian Silvio Berlusconi will have to spend four hours a week serving the elderly to repay Italian society for tax fraud: here.

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