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Berlusconi near collapse at event

World Brief

Italian media mogul Silvio Berlusconi nearly collapsed during a speech to political supporters Sunday, and aides rushed to the podium to keep him from falling.

The 70-year-old later blamed exhaustion and, after flying by helicopter to one of his villas near Milan, he told reporters, “I feel well.” But he said he would spend 24 hours at a Milan hospital as a precaution.

The incident came as Berlusconi, former prime minister and leader of the conservative opposition, was about 40 minutes into a speech railing against Premier Romano Prodi’s center-left government at a rally in Montecatini Terme in northern Italy.

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