The International Herald Tribune published a discussion on Israeli-Paletstinian conflict and the possiblilty of a two state solution – ‘Two states of being’. Very interesting, insightful and worth a read.

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berlusconi last day?

Photo by FLICKR user Van Vas under Creative Commons

This may be the last day for Berlusconi as Prime Minister. If the motion of non-confidence promoted by the Speaker of the Italian lower house Gianfranco Fini passes, Berlusconi will resign.

Shortly after, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano may call for new political elections or may instruct some other MP to set up a new government without Berlusconi and Northern League. According to some part of the Italian press (or at least, according to its wishes), this may the end of the Berlusconism. However, it seems difficult that Italy will be able to shrug off such an important figure from its identity so easily.The Italian political context has not changed yet and the circumstances which allowed the rise of Silvio Berlusconi are still the same.

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Student rage doesn’t just speak English. Young protesters have taken over the streets in many other European countries including Greece and Italy, marking a new wave of demonstrations against austerity measures being introduced by governments across the continent.

Italian students protesting in front of the Parliament

Photo credit: Atenei in Rivolta / Flickr

While Greek students protest against government cuts to the education budget, in Italy riots exploded throughout the country as the Italian Parliament was due to discuss the university reform proposed by Education minister Mariastella Gelmini. Students joined nationwide demonstrations in the major cities to block the reform supported by the right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi, designed to overhaul the employment of university staff and, according to the cabinet, promote meritocracy in Italy’s higher education system.

Last Thursday, London was once again the stage for a massive student demonstration of protest, on the day of the crucial Commons vote on the reform. However, the students’ attempt to lobby MPs (in particular the Liberal Democrats) to vote against a rise in tuition fees failed.  The policy was approved by 21 votes; twenty-one Lib-Dem MPs rebelled, along with six Conservatives. The coalition motion, backed by 323 votes to 302, would raise fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year. On the contrary, in Italy student’s were successful in temporarily halting the university reform, forcing the Senate to postpone their decision until after 14 December.

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On the eve of the crucial no-confidence vote for Berlusconi’s Government, The Grey Side of News decided to publish a three-piece review on Italy, a country that is currently going through one of the toughest times in its 15o years history.

Next year it’ll be 150th birthday for Italy, but the perception is that “Italians never had it so bad,” to turn Lord Young’s recent remarks upside-down.

One Italian politician used to say that politics is made of ‘blood and shit’. As here at Grey Side of The News we love to hit on politics to give mirror pictures of societies, let’s try to analyse what’s now going on in the land of pizza and sunshine through three different lens: the impact of WikiCables revelations on Italy; the impact of the non-confidence vote of the 14th of December on the Government (and, therefore, on the whole country); the impact of the students’ protest new wave on institutions.

wikileaks italia


The WikiSide of Italian Foreign Policy

Although Wikileaks has not revealed anything special about Italy, US Diplomats ‘cables  may become an interesting source for Italian historians.

It wasn’t a secret that the Americans never appreciated the special relations between Berlusconi and Putin and neither the poor Italian Prime Minister’s international reputation.However, Wikileaks gave to Italy an evidence that the country is able to set up a proper independent foreign policy in order to have access to the Russian energetic sources.

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The Grey Side Of News was once again on the frontline last Thurdsay, when London was paralysed by student protests. This is an exclusive insight of what it meant to be in Westminster on Thursday evening, when hordes of angry young people gave voice to their rage for the hiking in tuitions fees voted by the Parliament.

David Cameron had insisted there was no excuse for the “appalling violence” of the protests. During the demonstration, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, was poked with a stick through an open window of the Rolls Royce she was travelling on along with Charles. Police have arrested 33 people; dozens of officers and protesters were reported to be injured.

According to the Guardian, “protesters and student groups, on the other hand, insisted the policing had been heavy-handed and disproportionate, arguing that the kettling for hours of thousands of people within a freezing Parliament Square was certain to cause frustration that would boil into anger.  Simon Hardy, an NCAFC co-organiser, said the line had been breached because: “It was clear that a lot of students wanted to protest in Parliament Square. They weren’t satisfied to go to Victoria embankment.” He acknowledged the group had not had agreement to protest there, but called the move “radical but good-natured.”

Our reporter Max Santalucia was there to give you a testimony of what was it like to be a student on that day, at the riots. Just like the 21-year-old literature student interviewed by The Guardian, “a girl of five foot two, pushed several times in the face, dragged on the floor and laughed at by police when I told them I had asthma.” And, likewise, what was it like to be a police-officer sent there by his government to face thousands of angry, really angry protesters.

To see more videos of Westminster riots, click on this link. It goes straight into Max Santalucia’s youtube channel. Five videos of the protests “behind the enemy lines,” as the use to say in warfares.


To celebrate World Aids Day 2010, 1 December, the Grey Side of News has interviewed Peter Tatchell, gay and human rights campaigner, whose Equal Love Campaign has found a spotlight on this website few weeks ago!

GSN: What are the next steps in the fight against AIDS and to promote social awareness about the issue in London? Especially since figures show that London boroughs have the highest rates of HIV in the country, with 26,580 people receiving care and the Health Protection Agency reveals that many more are unaware they are infected.

PT: Our big worry is that public spending cuts will reduce funding for HIV awareness and prevention campaigns. Some HIV agencies are funded by local government and local government finance faces major cutbacks.

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Aid&Accountability: Still a happy couple?

Public interest in international aid is slowly growing across the UK, as catastrophic disasters such as the Pakistani floods make demands on people’s generosity. But what is the level of accountability and transparency of aid agencies and NGOs responsible for delivering money and services to those countries in need of help? A panel chaired by Paddy Coulter, Oxford Global Media partner and communications director of Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at Oxford University’s department of international development, addressed these pressing questions yesterday night at Frontline Club.

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When investigating international news coverage on Iran, The Grey Side of News decided to tackle the issue from the following point of view:

How is the work of Iranian film artists and their treatment, sometimes through censorship, covered in local and international news?

In the following analysis, our  primary example will be the media coverage the arrest of Iranian film director Jafar Panahi, Iranian filmmaker, winner of the Venice Festival’s award for his film ‘The Circle’ and the Berlin FilmFestival award with ‘Offside’ – both films touch on women’s right in Iran, from March-May 2010.

International attention turned to Iran with the arrest of Jafar Pinahi. News coverage from around the world has followed his storyline, from his arrest to his release during the period of March to May 2010.
Last year Panahi openly showed his support for Iran’s green revolution – the protests after the 2009 elections. He was at this point apparently making film on the election events.


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Religion may still makes an important contribution for a more peaceful society, Lord Blair ex-Chief  of Scotland Yard said.

During a meeting about Religion and Public Order organised on the 18th of November by the theological think thank Theos at Birdcage Walk 1, Mr. Blair analysed the current role of the religion and how it may be improve our society.

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British Muslims and Far-Left activists joined forces for a demonstration in Central London  last Saturday against what they see as a surge of islamophobia in the country. More than 1000 people, including sympathisers from other religious faiths, joined this event which was a response to the EDL (English Defence League) ‘s rally in Kensington two weeks ago. Read the rest of this entry »