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article imageItalian senator calls ambulance to beat traffic

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 10, 2007 in Politics
Gustavo Selvo, Italian Senator didn't want to be late for a TV interview, so he called an ambulance to go there quickly. He said to the emergency personnel that he had to see a heart specialist and gave the TV station address.
An Italian senator's boast on television that he cheated traffic jams in Rome during a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush by calling an ambulance may cost him a court appearance, officials said on Sunday.
Gustavo Selvo, Conservative opposition senator was worried about being late for a TV interview on Saturday because all the streets around the Senate were blocked for Bush’s recent visit to Italy.
He called the Italian emergency number 118 for an ambulance and said he had to go see the heart specialist right away and gave the TV Studio’s address for the doctor’s.
He could have got away with it but instead he boasted about this on TV and said: "I used an old journalist's trick to get here."
The emergency services were not amused. They had 600 genuine emergency calls on Saturday and about 50 ambulances standing by as part of the special preparations for the Bush visit, plus the possibility of injuries when anti-Bush protests turned violent.
Health Minister Livia Turco called such behavior "shameful and irresponsible" and said further investigation will be done to see whether Gustavo Selvo will be punished in civil or criminal courts.
"This arrogant stunt could have had tragic consequences if another person had really needed that ambulance," she said.
The incident came a few days after Italian senators had demanded ice creams to be served in their cafeteria. They were heavily criticized for this since there are plenty of famous ice cream restaurants near the senate. Also, the public feels the Italian government officials are overpaid, and have too many perks and privileges more than necessary.
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