Posted December. 25, 2008 06:36,
2008 has been an unusual year for world leaders, with several suffering humiliation. The following is four episodes that drew world attention.
○ Attack of the shoes
U.S. President George W. Bush was humiliated by an Iraqi journalist on a visit to Iraq Dec. 14. The journalist hurled his shoes at Bushs head, saying, This is a gift from Iraqis. Fortunately, Bush narrowly dodged the shoes.
Iraqi security guards pounced on the journalist and Bush brushed off the incident. The humiliation didnt end there, however.
The maker of the shoes thrown at Bush saw a surge in orders and a slew of interactive games involving shoe-throwing emerged on the Internet.
○ French first lady steals spotlight
French President Nicolas Sarkozy had the spotlight taken by wife Carla Bruni when they visited Israel in June. Israels leading daily Yediot Ahronot covered their visit with the headline Queen Carla on the front page and devoted two pages to her attire and accessories.
Another Israeli daily Haaretz ran a close-up of Bruni on the front page, with her husband appearing in the background.
○ `Otello puts German leader to shame
In March, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was humiliated at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, Germany. Vodafone, a British mobile service provider, unveiled its new search service Otello that allows users to send pictures from their mobile phones and receive search results in the form of Web links. The new search service, however, failed to recognize Germanys most prominent woman.
When a staff member at the fair took a photo of Merkel and transmitted it to Vodafones database, Otello drew a blank. An embarrassed Merkel quipped, Thats a major gap - please update.
○ Gaffes by British and Japanese prime ministers
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown drew sneers from fellow lawmakers with his slip of the tongue at the House of Commons Dec. 10. He intended to say, We saved the bank.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso was also shamed by making mistakes in reading Chinese characters in an official setting. Aware of the criticism that he lacks knowledge, with some saying he only reads cartoons, his wife told a Japanese weekly that Aso reads newspapers and watches CNN every morning and evening.