Ex-premier nearly falls during speech

From Times Wire Reports

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi nearly collapsed during an emotional speech to political supporters, and aides rushed to the podium to keep him from falling.

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

The incident came as Berlusconi, leader of the conservative opposition, was about 40 minutes into a speech railing against Prime Minister Romano Prodi's center-left government.

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