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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'