Andreotti rues the day he said 'yes' to a life in Italian politics

Giulio Andreotti, the former Italian prime minister who is on trial in Sicily for alleged Mafia links, wishes he had never become involved in politics. And Pope John Paul II may well wish he had not got involved with Mr Andreotti.

If he could have foreseen his future troubles, Mr Andreotti told a Portuguese Catholic radio station, he would have said ''no, thanks'' a half-century ago, when Alcide De Gasperi, Italy's post-war leader, asked him to join the Christian Democrats. Rather than become a politician, he would have pursued a career as a canon lawyer or a doctor, the Life Senator said.

The Pope, meanwhile, has been criticised for inviting Mr Andreotti to address a health-care conference at the Vatican, during which the two were photographed chatting and shaking hands.

On Tuesday, a university student who was reading a prayer at a papal Mass departed from his text and quoted the words of Aldo Moro, the murdered former prime minister, in describing Mr Andreotti. In a letter written from captivity before he was killed by Red Brigades guerrillas in 1978, Moro said: ''He was indifferent, bloodless, absent, closed in his shadowy scheme of glory.''

The unidentified student continued: ''One can be grey, Senator Andreotti, but honest; grey but good; grey but full of fervour - but this is what you lack, human fervour.'' The Pope did not respond, and continued with his Mass. John Major also showed no reaction.

After two weeks of factory tours and market-economy lessons from his Chinese and Vietnamese comrades, Fidel Castro toured the huge Cu Chi tunnel network where Viet Cong guerrillas hid during the Vietnam war. Wearing a soft cap and a guerrilla-style kerchief around his neck, the Cuban leader spent an hour hearing how the tunnels were dug in the 1960s, and became a launching point for attacks on Saigon. Mr Castro tried to squeeze into a few tunnels, but didn't get very far. In a guest book, he wrote that the tunnels were an example of man's endurance in the face of aggression.

Imelda Marcos wants a reconciliation with the former president Corazon Aquino. The former first lady of the Philippines says the feud between her family and that of Benigno Aquino, Mrs Aquino's assassinated husband, has lasted too long. In fact, she says, it has provoked the gods to strike the Philippines with numerous natural calamities.

"We are displeasing the gods because we are not giving eternal rest to the dead," Mrs Marcos said, referring to her late husband Ferdinand and to continued suspicion that he had ordered Aquino's killing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch