Loose-cannon Italian PM sparks constitutional crisis

...and lets fly another zinger

The Italian senate will hold an emergency summit today over the fate of Eluana Englaro, a 38-year-old woman who has been in a vegetative state since she was in a car crash in 1992. After a decade-long court battle, doctors reduced her nutrition on Friday in preparation for removing her feeding tubes, which her father claims would be in accordance with her wishes. But after consulting with the Vatican, Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi took the extraordinary step of reversing the ruling, and issued an emergency decree that stated food and water cannot be suspended for any patient depending upon them. On issuing the decree, which the Italian President refused to sign into law, Berlusconi stated: “This is murder. I would be failing to rescue her. I’m not a Pontius Pilate.” Justifying his campaign, the prime minister added that, physically at least, Englaro was “in the condition to have babies”, a remark described by La Stampa newspaper as “shocking”.