Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama FINALLY Calls Berlusconi, Intruder Pervades Hospital

WASHINGTON - United States President Barack Obama telephoned Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi Tuesday night to wish him a speedy recovery from Sunday's attack in Milan, the White House said. Obama was the latest in a string of world leaders to phone the recuperating premier. Obama found Berlusconi "in excellent spirits," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.

He said the US president thanked Berlusconi for the "leadership" he had shown in Afghanistan where Italy has contributed more troops than any of America's NATO allies to the surge against the Taliban. Berlusconi is expected to leave hospital Wednesday after Sunday's attack in which his nose and two teeth were broken by a man with reported mental health problems.

Berlusconi is suffering from neck pains after the attack, his spokesman Paolo Bonaiuti told Italian TV Wednesday. ''Unfortunately he suffered pains all night, which was more disturbed than the others,'' Bonaiuti said. He said the persistence of these pains was ''a bit worrying'' and might affect a decision on when he will leave hospital. ''The medical staff will see him between noon and one o'clock and then we'll say when he'll be able to leave,'' Bonaiuti said. Berlusconi has been ordered to rest for two weeks after he leaves hospital but Bonaiuti said keeping the go-getting Berlusconi out of action would be a ''mission impossible''.

Bonaiuti added that Berlusconi had been ''very happy'' to receive the get-well-soon wish from Obama. He was also pleased to get a visit from two members of his AC Milan soccer club, Clarence Seedorf and Thiago Silva, the premier's spokesman said.Security has been tightened around Milan's San Raffaele hospital.


Despite the beefed-up security, a man succeeded in getting to the entrance of Berlusconi's ward during the night, police said.

They said the man, a 26-year-old from Turin, ''appeared to have psychological problems''.

A background check established that the unidentified man had been sectioned in a Turin hospital last year because of unspecified mental problems.

The man was ''immediately'' stopped outside the ward by the Italian premier's security detail and is in custody.

"I want to greet the premier, I want to greet the premier," the man is reported to have said.

Police said the man parked in the underground car park at the San Raffale hospital and took the lift to the ward, where he was stopped, searched and detained.

The man was found to be carrying no weapons.

Some hockey sticks and rusty knives were found in his car.

The man's parents told police they had not noticed their son had left the house at around one o'clock a.m.

He arrived at the hospital about an hour later.

The man does not face any legal action as yet, police said.

Berlusconi's assailant Massimo Tartaglia, a 42-year-old electronics engineer, has asked to be sent to a psychiatric facility rather than jail.

A decision is expected later Wednesday.

Tartaglia hurled a replica model of the Milan Duomo from close range at the premier on Sunday, splitting his lip as well as breaking his nose and teeth.
UK Telegraph:
The 26-year-old intruder, who police said "appeared to have a mental problem", was stopped at about 2am close to the Italian prime minister's room in a Milan hospital.

Mr Berlusconi is being treated there following the attack he suffered on Sunday evening when he was smashed in the face with a souvenir replica of the city's cathedral, the Duomo.

Model in Silvio Berlusconi sleaze claims has car set on fire"He was coming out of the lift when bodyguards and police immobilised him immediately," said a police spokesman.

"He said he wanted to talk to the prime minister. He did not have an aggressive attitude or any weapon or dangerous object on him. We found hockey sticks in his car."

Mr Berlusconi, who could leave hospital on Wednesday depending on the outcome of an a medical examination, is recovering from a broken nose, two broken teeth and other injuries.

The assailant, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, who has apologised to the 73-year-old prime minister for what he called a "cowardly" act, faces charges of aggravated assault, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Read more about the Berlusconi incident and fallout here and here.

San Raffaele hospital website here.

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