other Berlusconi subtitled news:
By Nick Squires in Rome
Published: 8:30AM BST 13 Sep 2009
Mr Berlusconi was elected as prime minister for the third time last year and, unless his parliamentary support crumbles, could continue in office until the next election in 2013.
"Silvio Berlusconi's decline may have begun, as his enemies and some allies speculate. But it is yet to be seen where or when it will happen and, above all, it is not clear who would benefit," wrote Massimo Franco, a columnist for the Corriere della Sera broadsheet.
What is certain is that Mr Berlusconi's braggadocio has failed to quell the clamour over the alleged sex scandals. In the latest escalation, it was claimed last week that over a five month period last year he hosted 30 young women at 18 dinner parties at his mansion in the centre of Rome, with some of them paid 1,000 euros allegedly to have sex with him.
The women, who included lingerie models, reality television contestants and young actresses, were recruited by Giampaolo Tarantini, a 35-year-old businessman from the southern port of Bari who is an acquaintance of Mr Berlusconi.
The lavish dinners, where the women were served champagne and given gifts of jewellery, were held during the period when Mr Berlusconi was involved in an attempt to rescue the national airline, Alitalia, from imminent bankruptcy.
Some of the women were eastern European and South American, raising awkward questions for Mr Berlusconi about whether his trysts could expose him to blackmail by a foreign power.
Prosecutors have gathered so much evidence, much of it leaked last week to the press, that the case is likely to go to trial, with Mr Tarantini, 35, accused of procuring prostitutes.
Mr Berlusconi himself is not under investigation and has denied ever paying for sex, with his lawyer famously insisting that the ageing Lothario would only have been the "end user" of any such services.
The Bari case has already revealed evidence that a professional escort, Patrizia D'Addario, 42, was paid 1,000 euros by Mr Tarantini to sleep with Mr Berlusconi at his residence in Rome in November.
She taped explicit conversations between them on her mobile phone and went public when the prime minister failed to keep his promise that he would propel her into politics and help her with a business enterprise.
Mr Berusconi is said to be contemplating legal action against her and claimed on Friday that she could face 18 years in prison for what he described as "four crimes" she had committed - though he did not elaborate.
As the besuited powerbrokers of Mr Berlusconi's party debate his future over conspiratorial meals in Rome's clubs and restaurants,
Mr Berlusconi faces a difficult few months ahead. Italy is deep in recession and the country's employers' federation warned last week that Italians should expect a further 780,000 job losses by next year.
In October the Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the legality of a controversial law pushed through last year, giving Mr Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while in office. If the court strikes down the so-called Alfano law, his immunity will be revoked. "It is his obsessive fear," said Marc Lazar, a political scientist.
In the same month, the British lawyer David Mills will launch an appeal against his conviction in May for accepting a £430,000 bribe, allegedly from Mr Berlusconi, in exchange for giving false evidence at two corruption trials in the 1990s.
But if his wife has abandoned him, at least some of Mr Berlusconi's family are still prepared to rally to his side. On Friday, his eldest daughter from his first marriage, Marina, came publicly to his defence. She said her father had been subject to a "lynching" by relentless newspaper reports that were nothing more than "inflammatory slander".
"There have been real attempts to stab him in the back, but happily he has good reflexes," said Miss Berlusconi, who is president of Fininvest, the holding company that controls her father's media empire, Mediaset.
"I know perfectly how precious freedom of the press is... but all freedom has a limit, which is respect of freedom of others. Journalists are free, Berlusconi is also. He is free to have a private life."