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MILAN: Silvio Berlusconi accused Italian prosecutors yesterday of threatening a senator with jail to force him to say the billionaire former prime minister paid him to join his centre-right party.
Sergio De Gregorio, a senator formerly with the Italy of Values party, joined Berlusconi’s party in 2006, forcing the collapse of a coalition supporting then Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
Naples prosecutors are investigating accusations that Berlusconi paid De Gregorio ¤3m to change sides.
In an interview with the daily Il Messagero yesterday, De Gregorio said he told magistrates he took money to join Berlusconi’s formation, known then as Forza Italia, and bring down Prodi’s government.
Berlusconi said De Gregorio had only made the statement after magistrates threatened him with imprisonment.
Horsemeat found in Taco Bell UK beef
LONDON: Britain’s food regulator said horsemeat had been found in beef products at Taco Bell fast food outlets, the first time it has been discovered on sale in British restaurants since the scandal broke in January.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said yesterday it had conducted 1,797 tests over the last seven days, over 99 percent of which had come back negative for horsemeat levels at or above one percent.
However, four tests were positive, it said. These included Birds Eye ready meals and Brakes skewers, already named and withdrawn from sale. It added that no tests to date on samples containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute).
Ukraine could pardon ex-minister
KIEV: Ukraine’s president said yesterday he may pardon a close ally of jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, her one-time interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko while also dismissing the idea of freeing the opposition leader herself.
President Viktor Yanukovych’s three years in power have witnessed the jailing of several of the politicians who led the pro-democracy Orange Revolution of 2004.
Yanukovych said he would wait to see how Lutsenko’s current appeal against his fraud conviction plays out in court before making a decision to pardon him.
“When the appeal court hearing ends, if it does not free him, I will review the issue of his pardon,” Yanukovych said at a press conference marking his three years in power.
Nurse under fire over corpse pictures
GENEVA: A nurse in Switzerland who posted pictures of herself on Facebook sitting next to the corpse of an old woman came under fire yesterday from her profession, as prosecutors said they had launched an investigation.
The Swiss national nurses’ federation said in a statement it was “shocked and saddened” by the actions of the nurse from the eastern city of Saint Gallen.
The pictures were revealed yesterday by the 20 Minuten newspaper. Among them was an image of the nurse laughing and posing at the bedside of a dead woman, apparently in a care home, alongside off-colour comments.