Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is aiming to do some serious image rehab after taking a beating in the European press this summer for his alleged sexual indiscretions, including intimations of intimacy with teenagers and escorts. To that end, Berlusconi is pulling out the legal big guns and going after a group of publications in France, Italy, Spain and Britain for besmirching his reputation.

Meanwhile, the prime minister is having a little trouble getting back in the Vatican’s good graces. –KA


His lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, says they are suing for libel over a series of stories that has involved teenage models and paid escorts.

Mr Ghedini said among those being targeted were the French weekly Nouvel Observateur for publishing a story called “Sex, Power and Lies”, and the Spanish newspaper El Pais, for showing photos of naked guests at Mr Berlusconi’s villa in Sardinia.

Mr Ghedini would not say which British publications could face action, though Mr Berlusconi has accused fellow media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, of mounting a personal attack on him via the British newspaper The Times, which Mr Murdoch controls.

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