A Look At What Can Lead To A Torn Aorta
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NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome.
SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Unidentified Man: (Speaking in foreign language)
POGGIOLI: Unidentified Man: (Speaking in foreign language)
POGGIOLI: Their leader is Gianfranco Fini, speaker of the lower house and co- founder of the center-right People of Liberties Party. One reason they parted ways was because Berlusconi's only concern, Fini says, is to shield himself from numerous corruption charges.
GIANFRANCO FINI: (Through translation) Berlusconi does not want to govern. What he wants is to remain in office because as long as his parliamentary immunity holds, he doesn't have to face trial.
POGGIOLI: But it's Berlusconi's close friendship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that raises the most concern among U.S. diplomats. James Walston is a professor of political science at Rome's American University.
WALSTON: It's not just Italy's energy security, it's the whole of Europe's energy security. We as Europeans don't want to be held to ransom by Putin at some later date.
POGGIOLI: Today, Berlusconi told MPs he knows Putin well, a person he's convinced who is working hard for Russian democracy.
SYLVIO BERLUSCONI: (Through translation) Russia supplies us with 30 percent of our energy needs, and Italian firms do good business in Russia. I've always promoted Italian interests. And I can assure you not one dollar of those business deals entered my pocket.
POGGIOLI: Political scientist Walston laments that even if Berlusconi does go down to defeat Tuesday, some of his legacy will remain.
WALSTON: The complete amorality of Berlusconi's success is a lasting trait, the lack of respect for law and legal process, the fact that if you are powerful, you can get away with just about anything."
POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.
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