If any doubt remained that the U.S. and British governments’ case for invading Iraq was based almost entirely on lies, the Guardian has just put such doubt to rest. The British newspaper published a story based on interviews with Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, code name “Curveball,” in which Janabi admitted “that nearly every word he had told his interrogators from Germany’s secret service, the BND, was a lie.”

A spokeswoman for the Russian government, Olga Kamenchuk, reports that VsTIOM, the state’s polling organization, has found an astounding level of ignorance among Russians about basic facts of science. As an example, one-third of Russians polled believe that the sun revolves around the earth (not vice versa), and an equal number believe that the earth is the center of the solar system. Also, most Russians polled, 55 percent of them, believe that all radioactivity is man-made.

Scandal-plagued Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be tried in April on charges of corruption and paying for sex with an under-age prostitute. The evidence is reportedly so overwhelming that the prosecutors secured a fast-track trial for the billionaire leader, bypassing the normal preliminary hearing.

On February 13 voters in Switzerland turned back a proposal that would have tightened controls on firearms possession and use in a country where a large share of the homes have at least one gun and where learning to shoot and handle a rifle for defense of country (as well as sport) is a right of passage for every Swiss male.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy agrees with other European leaders who say multiculturalism has failed.

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