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Italian News Snippets: 4 February 2007

There’s more to the Italian news that a former premier’s flirting and his wife’s demand for a public apology. No, really – there is.

  • Italy has suspended all soccer matches following the rioting and violence which ultimately resulted in the death of a policeman in Catania. Soccer fans the world over have earned the nickname of “hooligans,” and, as Martha notes at The Offside Italy, “This has simply got to stop.”
  • Premier Romano Prodi has approved an enlargement for a US military base in Vicenza, leading to a split in his coalition and a call for his resignation by Silvio Berlusconi (who is apparently a sore loser). Berlusconi’s opposition coalition defeated Prodi’s government on the base expansion question in the Senate. Italian politics are nothing if not hard to keep track of.
  • A Dante expert says the great poet could have been on psychedelic drugs when he penned his greatest works. Does that mean hell isn’t really an inferno?
  • And now, for the domestic news… Some are wondering whether the oh-so public fight between Berlusconi and his wife was all a calculated publicity stunt to get the former premier’s name back in the news. My, but aren’t people cynical when it comes to politicians. Here’s the MSN video about the original story, including some great footage of both members of the couple. I especially love how Berlusconi met Lario to begin with… Yeesh.
  • Michael Schumacher isn’t done with racing – yet. He was in Italy last month testing a new go-kart.
  • A gang of ancient art smugglers (the art was ancient, not the smugglers) has been uncovered in Italy, with 35 arrests made in late January.
  • The Prodi government is moving ahead with a bill granting rights to unmarried couples, despite some serious opposition. This just isn’t Prodi’s week.
  • Italy was apparently the worst country in Europe last year in terms of converting EU rules into national law.
  • Italians are more concerned about violence against minors than they are about terrorism.
  • There are more reports about Italians having trouble leaving home… From the “Duh” Department of the Italian Government. A worthwhile project would be to figure out how to change that. Unless no one wants to change it?