Bill Gates owns Silvio Berlusconi

Not every day does Bill Gates lay the smack down on a sitting premier, but that was the case when the Microsoft founder slammed Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's foreign aid policy. Berlusconi's stolen Italian headlines in the last week (but when is that not the case?) for a post-hair-transplant bald head -- and Gates couldn't resist making a not-so-subtle reference:

And in a clear reference to the notoriously image-conscious Berlusconi, Gates told Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Rich people spend a lot more money on their own problems, like baldness, than they do to fight malaria."

Italy's foreign aid budget was approximately 0.11% of its GDP in 2009, one of the lowest figures among developed countries, and half of what it was even in the prior year. Gates didn't mince words on his views:

"Dear Silvio, I am sorry to make things difficult for you, but you are ignoring the poor people of the world," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau.



Gaddafi's son blames Germany for supporting Israeli war crimes

Earlier this week, Saif al-Islam Alqadhafi, the son of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi,  sent a letter (excerpted below) to German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding a recent gift from her country to Israel:

We read with great surprise news reports indicating that the German Government will support the State of Israel by offering gifts in the form of a sophisticated submarine and two Missile botas to be added to the five submarines which have already been provided to Israel, the price of which was paid by the German tax-payers.

...I do not think that tht German people who have suffered dictatorship, supression and terrorism either during the Nazis era or the commnist reign, which are well known to Her Excellency Dr. Angela Merkel agree to the money of tax-payers being spent to purchase offensive non-defense weapons and submarines ...I do not think that the Greman tax-payers seek the enhancement of the offensive capacity of the world's greatest human rights violating State in the world. you are thoughtful towards Israel to atone for the mistakes of the past, but I assure you that one day you will be thoughtful towards us to atone for today's mistakes."

The letter has been fairly widely distributed to journalists. Saif is thought to be increasingly influtential in shaping Libya's foreign policy, though interestingly, he writes the letter on behalf of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation rather than his father's government.