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Soaring rhetoric

The week's news at a glance.

Rome

Italy’s election campaign officially kicked off this week with characteristic swagger from incumbent Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In one campaign speech, Berlusconi announced that he has already accomplished more than any European save Napoleon, but then the next day he went even further. “About Napoleon, I was obviously joking,” Berlusconi said. “I am the Jesus Christ of politics, a patient victim. I put up with everything; I sacrifice myself for everyone.” The bravado has had little effect so far. Romano Prodi, a former prime minister who heads the center-left opposition, has a solid lead over Berlusconi. The election is scheduled for April.

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