Real Berlusconi Scandal Buried By Tabloid Journalism
Written by Nadia Di Martino
One must dig through the Internet to find information about Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s comment on immigrants. I refer to the comments as "Walking through the streets in the centre of a city like Milan, and I do, it does not seem to be an Italian or European city with the number of non-Italians, but an African city". Offending both Africa and immigrants in Italy, the Italian leader somehow got away with it while the international press desperately focused on the risqué photographs of him with several women, published in El Pais, a Spanish daily newspaper.
Niche websites like Adnkronos reported the Berlusconi’s outburst of racism, and rightly in the section ‘politics’. (http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=3.0.3397030373) The Guardian instead preferred to focus on ‘the tits’, with a passing mention on its Website June 5, concentrated in an 11 lines paragraph. Apparently one of the most discriminating and racist comments released by a government leader are not ‘sexy’ enough for The Guardian’s audience.
The same Guardian, on the printed edition of the day after, recycled the same article in its section ‘International’ on page 24. The article, written by John Hooper and Giles Tremlett, gives details (possibly more than necessary since the images are widely distributed) about the apparently scandalous pictures unmasked by El Pais. The Guardian is all juiced up describing the photos of ‘topless guests’, ‘one wearing a tanga’, ‘a naked man standing by a swimming pool in what appeared to be a state of sexual arousal’ , ‘Berlusconi ... pictured walking, fully clothed, with an unidentified young woman , also clothed, (...)’ and ‘ poolside statues of naked sirens’.
In honor of Earth Day, The Leader World presents coverage from Global Affairs reporters Sarah Jennings and Nadia Di Martino on various efforts to clean up our precious planet.
Jennings writes on the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, run by the UK’s Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS) charity. The campaign is one of several similar efforts across the world to get rid of litter, as described in her article. Click the link below to read more.
Despite gloomy headlines, green initiatives beyond cutting carbon are still making the world a cleaner place, one burger wrapper at a time.
According to LitterAction.org.uk, the amount of litter dropped annually in the UK since the 1960s, has gone up 500 per cent. It is estimated local authorities are now spending an estimated £500 million a year to pick it up.
A survey conducted earlier this year for Keep Britain Tidy found the state of UK streets and public spaces ‘unsatisfactory’. Research showed littered environments can significantly affect residents' quality of life, and act as a magnet for more serious crimes.
The survey named McDonald's, KFC and Subway as the most frequently ‘littered brands’ in England. Statistics collected from Southampton to Leeds found McDonald's trash accounted for 29% of litter, KFC 8% and Subway 5%. Rubbish from fish and chip or kebab shops made up 21% of the fast food total, while branded coffee totalled 5%.
Neptune Memorial Reef. Photo credit: The Neptune Society
The romantic and spiritual connection between ocean and humans can finally be purchased in the form of a final resting place. It is available to everyone interested and possibly environmentally friendly. While sea scattering as a ritual is not unusual, The Neptune Society has translated the concept into an unexpected reality. Customers can choose the ocean a few miles off the Miami coast as their body’s ultimate resting place for as little as $2,000 USD (1,548 Euros). This is a deal compared to the average price of a funeral that in the States stands at least $6,500 (5,031 Euros). However, apart from trivial costs management, the holistic aspirations of the Neptune Memorial Reef are worth a thought.
Architecturally inspired by Atlantis, the legendary Lost City, the Neptune Memorial is the world’s largest man-made artificial reef. Accessible to the dead as well as to divers, ecologists and tourists, the site was initially set up to provide a habitat for new wildlife and to replace the deteriorating reef system. The idea of cremation came in at a second time, as an additional way to benefit the environment. To choose the Neptune Memorial Reef as resting place means in fact to save the equivalent of 100 acres of dry land on the planet.
Water-Resistant Rice Could Curtail World Food Shortages
Rice varieties with the sub 1 gene being tested in Los Banos, Philippines, at the International Rice Research Institute. The sub 1 gene is responsible for flood tolerance in rice. (Photo by Ariel Javellana/IRRI)
Scientists have successfully created a rice variety that can withstand up to ten days of flooding. Rice, which can usually endure two or three days underwater, can now be modified against the effects of climate change, and as flooded fields and crop losses are increasing, this flood-resistant rice will play a key role in combating a world food crisis.
Swarna Submergence 1, or Swarna Sub 1, was developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines. It is currently being field tested in Bangladesh, one of the countries predicted to be most affected by climate change. It’s thought about half Bangladesh’s population-dense land would be flooded should sea levels rise 1 metre, and approximately two-thirds of Bangladesh’s estimated 154 million population work in agriculture, and name rice its most important product.
“We started the work on farmers' fields in 2007, so we have 2 years of testing. Most of the farmers that we work with grow Swarna,” said David Mackill, head of Swarna Sub 1 field testing for the IRRI. “When they see the performance of Swarna Sub 1 in their flooded fields, they are very excited and enthusiastic about growing it in the next season,” Mackill said. “Because of the reaction…we expect rapid adoption of Swarna Sub 1 in areas where Swarna is popular.”