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Italian News Snippets: 10 March 2007

What’s going on in the boot-shaped country, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

  • An Italian journalist is missing in Afghanistan, and it’s feared he’s been taken by the Taliban. Prodi is hopeful about his safe return.
  • Three bombs exploded overnight this week in Turin – there were no injuries and they caused little damage, and an anarchist group claimed responsibility for the blasts.
  • Traces of Emperor Nero’s legendary treasure have turned up in Cremona after a three-year dig.
  • Most Italians apparently think that being gay is a natural condition. I imagine the Vatican is none too pleased about that.
  • Prodi’s troubles aren’t over – he’s got a potentially difficult debate coming up about Italian peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan.
  • The Roman She-Wolf statue (symbol of Rome) has been taken down from its pedastal to determine its age.
  • Italians want to learn how to drive cleaner (and save on gas costs as well).
  • Prodi thinks there are too few women in business. Of course, this was in an address to a conference attended by 300 women managers from 18 Mediterranean countries, so it’ll be interesting to see if his statements carry over into his government.
  • An Italian MP irritated women all over the country with a rather disrespectful way of saying he didn’t like the idea of more women becoming members of parliament. A year and a half later, he’s apologizing.
  • Italian researchers are attempting to use clothing made from stinging nettles and hemp to fight the greenhouse effect.
  • A team of horsemen from Perugia will retrace Marco Polo’s journey along the Silk Road to China.
  • Not surprisingly, Italians prefer Italian red wine. Perhaps more surprisingly, they also like sparkling wines as much as whites.
  • The skeleton of a woman who lived in Sicily 14,000 years ago has a face again, thanks to a sculptor working with anthropologists.
  • Italian coffee giant illy, based in Trieste, is getting into the tea business.
  • This past winter was the hottest Italy has seen in at least 200 years.
  • It’s disappointing to learn that even though dark chocolate is supposed to be good for us, when they’re handed out as vitamins it’s just a marketing ploy and not for real. Drat.
  • Strikes are common enough in Italy’s transportation sector (there was a four-hour strike by air traffic controllers last month) that you might as well learn the word for strike: sciopero. If you see this word in the news, make sure you have another way to get to your next destination, just in case.
  • Anyone who loves Italy for its cuisine will get heartburn when they learn that Italy is starting to suffer the ill health effects of eating junk food.
  • That ancient family recipe for pasta sauce might have secret ingredients that don’t seem so old-world once you learn them.
  • Italian women are the slimmest in Europe, according to the EU Eurostat yearbook.
  • Italy ranks 8th on the list of top countries to live in by US travel magazine International Living. Only 8th?!?
  • Italy’s Culture Minister says the country is a “cultural superpower,” even though the buildings housing those priceless cultural icons might be crumbling.