The week at a glance ... Europe
LondonSwedes appeal Assange bail: Swedish prosecutors this week appealed a British judge’s decision to grant bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is under arrest in Britain on Swedish allegations of sexual assault. Under Assange’s bail terms, the Australian native would put up $317,400 and remain under house arrest, monitored electronically, at the mansion of a British friend. He would report to police each evening. The Swedes argued that Assange was a flight risk. “They clearly will not spare any expense but to keep Mr. Assange in jail,” said Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens. “This is really turning into a show trial.” Several celebrities in the courtroom, including filmmakers Ken Loach and Michael Moore and socialites Bianca Jagger and Jemima Khan, offered to contribute money for Assange’s bail.
Rome Berlusconi again survives: Rome erupted this week in the most violent street protests in years after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly survived a parliamentary vote of confidence. More than 100,000—many of them students angry at Berlusconi’s overhaul of the university system—protested, and hundreds torched cars and threw paint and smoke bombs at the parliament building, as riot police responded with tear gas. The confidence vote had been initiated by Berlusconi opponents who said his numerous sex scandals, alleged attempts to quash fraud investigations into his media empire, and the sputtering economy all compelled him to step down. Berlusconi’s slim margin of victory—just three votes—means he will likely have problems passing legislation.