In brief: Scandal-hit Berlusconi cancels public appearance at family-values event
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has scrapped a planned appearance at a conference on family values in Milan this week, amid reports of encounters with teenage prostitutes.
Some attendees expressed unease over Mr Berlusconi's presence at the conference, which begins on Monday and will include family associations, cabinet ministers and members of the Catholic Church, including the Archbishop of Milan.
Journalist left in coma after attack
A LEADING Russian newspaper journalist was in a coma yesterday after two men broke his legs, jaw and fingers in an attack linked to his coverage of opposition parties.
Police said they had opened a criminal case over the attempted murder of Oleg Kashin, 30, a political reporter with Kommersant, Russia's best-respected news daily.
"They didn't just rough him up. To make their point they broke the fingers of a journalist," said Kommersant editor Mikhail Mikhailin. "I'm stunned."
Doctors induced a coma after Kashin was admitted to hospital with two broken legs, a damaged skull and a jaw fractured in two places, Mr Mikhailin said.
Greek PM says U-turn will hit markets
PRIME Minister George Papandreou kept up the pressure on voters to back him in today's local elections, saying yesterday that Greece would lose the trust it has started to rebuild with markets if the vote goes against his party.
"The worst thing we could do is to send a signal that there is a U-turn," he said in an interview with newspaper Ta Nea yesterday. "Confidence in our country would scatter to the winds and we would enter again a phase of destabilisation,"
No poking -- Queen joins Facebook
Queen Elizabeth is to embrace the world of social networking by joining Facebook. Buckingham Palace will unveil a Facebook page called 'The British Monarchy' tomorrow.
The page will feature news, photographs and videos, with daily updates about the activities of the queen and other British royals. But users will not be able to 'poke' the Queen or send her friend requests.
Haiti 'spared worst' by tropical storm
Hurricane Tomas weakened to a tropical storm yesterday after it lashed Haiti's crowded camps for earthquake survivors and coastal towns, triggering flooding and mudslides that killed at least seven people. The UN said the storm could have dealt a far worse blow.
"We have been incredibly lucky," UN spokeswoman Imogen Wall said, while noting that: "The flooding is still serious, particularly in Leogane, because of the cholera situation."
'Eastenders' star bailed after arrest
EastEnders star Steve McFadden has been arrested and bailed over claims he harassed a woman believed to be the mother of his baby girl.
The 51-year-old actor was picked up by police in Haringey, north London, on Wednesday. After being questioned he was released on bail to return to a police station early next year. McFadden plays EastEnders hardman Phil Mitchell.