Silvio Berlusconi

By Alex Camille

The Man

Silvio Berlusconi recently celebrated his 75th birthday. Born Sept. 23, the Italian Prime Minister is a man with a rich history and a very exciting career both personally and in the public view.

He proudly holds the prestigious title of being Italy’s longest serving post war prime minister and third longest serving since the creation of Italy. Unfortunately this prestigious title isn’t matched by his actions. Accused of authoritarianism because of his total control of the media, he is considered a benevolent dictator. But there’s more to him than meets the eye. If you are looking for a bit of perspective, imagine a President Donald Trump with the media dominance of Rupert Murdoch and the sexual tastes of an aging Charlie Sheen, and you’re fast approaching the idea of Berlusconi.

The Legend
His rock star approach to the Italian political world has led to volatile public ratings of his term in office. However he has dodged a series of political, sex and corruption scandals but the constant drip of accusations against him has seen many of his friends and allies drift away.

He has never hidden his love for women. Nor does he keep inappropriate comments to himself either. For example this September he took a swipe at German Prime Minister Angela Merkel calling her an ‘un****able Lardass’.

The Career

Living up to his nickname ‘Il Cavaliere’ which translates into ‘the knight’ Berlusconi has made a name for himself not only in the political but also the business world. He has been the brains behind several successful projects such as ‘Milano Due’ (a huge residential project of 10,500 apartments), ‘Telemilano’ (Small cable television company) and ‘Finivest’ (Italian media group). However this personal fortune is in she ways only a means to ensure adequate funding for his political campaigns and a monopoly on Italian media networks with which to disseminate conveniently advantageous political information.

It’s a shame that there are no real political achievements of his to speak off. I mean his swift reaction to a deadly earthquake that struck the central region of
Abruzzo in April 2009 is thought to have boosted his popularity. In addition he did receive the order of merit for labor in 1977. But it seems that his political career is just a ‘side-hobby’ for him when in reality his real accomplishments are as a businessman. But once again, Happy Birthday Silvio, your 75 but with the hair transplants and plastic surgery you couldn’t tell.

Apple Founder Steve Jobs dies at 56
By Gabrielle Davelaar
AMSTERDAM – Steve P. Jobs, co-founder of Apple has lost  his battle against cancer. He was 56.
Jobs struggled with pancreatic cancer for a long period, while remaining the face of the company until August 2011.
He led the company, which changed the technological world tremendously, from 1996.
Not only did the company change the design of computers but also new gadgets such as iPods, iPhones and iPads were crucial products that changed the technological scene globally.
 A full-page image of Jobs with an accompanying note “Steve Jobs 1955-2011” has been posted on the company website.
Many people left messages of condolences.
“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple said. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
 Leading tech world gurus also sent their condolances.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, said: “”Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend.”  “Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”

Apple Computer was founded in 1976 by Jobs and his childhood friend Steve Wozniak. The Apple computer was considered to be the world’s first personal computer.
 “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented,” wrote President Barack Obama on the official White House blog.

Carice van Houten picks 5th Dutch Film Award

By Stella Toonen

UTRECHT – Dutch actress Carice van Houten won the Gouden Kalf Award for a record fifth time Sunday at the Dutch Film Festival Gala.

Last Wednesday the Dutch Film Festival nominated her as Best Actress for her role in Black Butterflies. This film was also nominated for the award for Best Film.

During the gala on Friday night both Van Houten and Black Butterflies won awards in respective nominated categories.

This year’s award is the fifth Gouden Kalf award for Van Houten.  She got other four for her roles in Suzy Q, Minoes, Zwartbook and De Gelukkige Huisvrouw.

She is the first actress in the history of the Dutch Film Festival to win more than four awards.

“I was afraid the Jury might decide that I could not win the award again, because I already have four of them, but I’m happy they didn’t,” said Van Houten as she accepted the award.

Twelve years ago van Houten finished her acting studies at the Kleinkunst Academy in Amsterdam.

In recognition of her talent, she won her first Gouden Kalf a year later.

Since the success of Zwartboek (Black Book) some years ago Van Houten has been appearing in American productions such as Valkyrie and Body of Lies.

Next year she will be starring in director Juan Carlos Frednadillo’s Intruders together with Clive Owen.

Dutch Writer Hella Haasse Dies

By Stella Toonen

AMSTERDAM – Dutch writer Hella Haasse (93) died in her apartment in Amsterdam last Friday.

Haasse was born in 1918 in the Indonesian capital Jakarta (then still called Batavia).

Having worked as a playwright, Haasse wrote her first novel Oeroeg in 1948.

The book attracted much attention and soon Haasse received her place among the other great writers in Dutch post-war literature.

During the years that followed after Oeroeg, she extended her oeuvre with literary works as De Scharlaken Stad and Heren van de Thee.

Her stories were often based on historic events or on her life in the Dutch Indies.

Haasse’s work is published in nineteen languages, and she was one of the first Dutch writers who promoted Dutch works abroad.

During her life Haasse received the prestigious Constantijn Huygens Award, the P.C. Hooft Award and twice the Literature Audience Award.

In 2004, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands even presented to her the Dutch Literature Award, because of the “artistic and humanistic value of her oeuvre”.

Haasse’s funeral will be held in Amsterdam and is only open for family and close friends.

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