Italy News: 06.28.09


Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Another earthquake shook L’Aquila on Monday night – this quake was a 4.5 on the Richter scale, compared to the 5.8 quake from early April. No injuries are reported from the new tremor (probably because so many people are still living in tent cities).
  • Not only did PM Silvio Berlusconi hire escorts as party guests at his villas, one of them says she stayed the night to “work” for La Berlusca. And instead of being paid for those services, he said he’d help her with a building project she had.
  • Oh, wait, there’s more – even better is that in his denial of ever having paid for sex, Berlusconi’s logic includes the line, “I never understood what the satisfaction is when you are missing the pleasure of conquest.”
  • Three female academics in Italy have called for the wives of world leaders due to show up in the country for the G8 summit to boycott as a protest against Berlusconi’s “sexist” and “offensive” attitude to women.
  • I’m beginning to think I should set aside an entire post for stories about stupid stuff Berlusconi does. In this episode, desipte the storm of controversy around him at the moment (almost all of which has to do with scandals involving women), he made the following comments to workers in L’Aquila who are rebuilding homes in the earthquake-damaged city: “Where are the girls? I don’t see any. In that case, I’ll have to bring them next time I come” and “Well boys, if all goes well, I’ll really bring the showgirls. Otherwise, we’ll all come across as gays.”
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  • 14 people in Catania have been arrested and 800 computers were seized by Italian police in a crackdown on child pornography.
  • A Mafia fugitive wanted in Italy was arrested in Caracas, Venezuela leaving his apartment.
  • Officials at the Italian embassy in Tehran say they’re willing to open the embassy to wounded protesters.
  • There are some lovely pictures of the Venice Biennale in this set from the New York Times.
  • Before US President Barack Obama leaves Italy after the G8 summit he’ll get to meet the Pope in Vatican City.
  • Evidently the trash collection problems in Italy aren’t limited to Naples – Palermo’s now got its own garbage issues to deal with.
  • A new show at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples features mosaics, frescoes, and masks from ancient Greek and Roman theatre.
  • Environmental groups in Italy say that the Sahara Desert is making its way across the Mediterranean.
  • Who knew that Italy’s film star Gina Lollobrigida was also a photographer? Well, okay, apparently lots of people did. But it’s news to me. A show of her work opened on Friday in Rome.
  • Okay, even if visiting the Rome zoo isn’t high on my to-do list when I’m there, I have to admit that seeing a baby zebra would be pretty cool. And this is the first one born in Rome in 10 years.
  • What do gondolieri in Venice do to protest something? Apparently they block the city’s main waterway. And now 72 of them are facing a total of 173 years in jail for blocking traffic on the Grand Canal back in 2003 and 2005.
  • The latest word is that construction on the new bridge to connect Sicily to Italy’s mainland will begin next year.

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