250 people have now been confirmed dead in the terrible earthquake in central Italy. Tragedies like these require statesmen to help a nation heal.
What is wrong with Silvio Berlusconi?
Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is reported to have said the 17,000 people made homeless by Monday's earthquake should think of themselves as being on a "camping weekend". .
The website of the German television news channel N-TV said he had made the quip while being interviewed by one of its reporters on a visit to one of the emergency camps set up to take those who lost their homes in the disaster. But a video clip from the interview featured on the site did not contain the remark, which is bound to prompt intense controversy.
Berlusconi said they "lacked nothing. They have medicaments. They have hot food. They have shelter for the night," according to the video soundtrack.
His remarks, which seem to have been intended to reassure the public, scarcely correspond to the experiences of the homeless. Between Monday and Tuesday they had to endure a night of driving rain and hail in which the temperature fell to 4C (39F).
Curious that the remark isn't on tape, but I believe it. Berlusconi is both a rich bastard and a thief. The book The Sack of Rome details his reign better than anything else I've seen. He controls Italian media - literally owns it - and has used this control to wriggle out of countless scandals and return to power.
Bafangu. (Am I getting that right?)