The Hague, Netherlands
Queen to abdicate: Queen Beatrix is stepping aside to let her son rule. Following a Dutch tradition of making room for a younger monarch, the queen said this week that she would abdicate at the end of April so Prince Willem-Alexander, 45, could begin his reign. Britain’s Prince Charles, though, won’t be so lucky. British monarchy experts said Queen Elizabeth, 86, is unlikely to follow the example. Wearing the British crown is a lifetime commitment, and abdication is seen as a scandal. “It’s completely alien to our system, and it’s also alien to our law,” said Lord Norton, an expert on British governance. “The queen remains the queen until such time as she dies.”
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Defending Mussolini: Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be charged with a crime after his remarks at a ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust. Berlusconi said that, except for rounding up Jews, Mussolini was a good leader who was just being practical in siding with the Nazis. “Obviously the government of that time, out of fear that German power might lead to victory, preferred to ally itself with Hitler’s Germany rather than opposing it,” he said. Italian leaders of all political stripes called Berlusconi an “idiot” and a “disgrace to Italy,” and one politician sought to have him arrested for defending fascism. Berlusconi, whose party is polling second ahead of next month’s election, is appealing a recent conviction for massive tax fraud and is on trial for allegedly paying a minor for sex.
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