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Funny Incidents Cause World Leaders to Blush

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 Bush’s 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 didn’t 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. Israel’s 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 Ha’aretz 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 Germany’s most prominent woman.

When a staff member at the fair took a photo of Merkel and transmitted it to Vodafone’s database, Otello drew a blank. An embarrassed Merkel quipped, “That’s 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.