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Italy News: 08.10.08

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Police in Bologna say they’ve detained five people on suspicion of recruiting for terrorist organizations in Iraq & Afghanistan, and of planning terrorist attacks. They’re still looking for a sixth person.
  • A new poll in Italy suggests that fully 25% of Italian couples engage in “wife swapping.”
  • Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, shouldn’t be thought of as a prude by any means. But the exposed nipple on the giant reproduction of a Venetian master’s painting that hangs on a wall in the PM’s palace (and which forms the backdrop for many a-formal photo-op) had to go just the same.
  • The streets of Italy are being invaded by Italian soldiers who, on the direction of Berlusconi, are cracking down on street crime and illegal immigration. But one news outlet asks – does that address the real problem?
  • Nuns in Campania have set up a temporary church on a beach using a couple of beach huts and a tent.
  • Those of you who love Italian food & also can read Italian may be interested to know that the Home Food organization has a blog, and now they’ve set up a forum where you can talk Home Food with other enthusiasts.
  • The second running of Siena‘s Palio is coming up this Saturday – and here’s a nice background piece on the festival.
  • I’m always looking for more tools to help in the Italian language learning process; Alex at Blog from Italy has found one I’m going to add to my bookmarks – EnglishGratis.
  • While one recent newspaper article suggested that Italy may be forced out of the euro if the economy slumps further, another writer for that same newspaper says that’s a bunch of baloney. Or mortadella, as the case may be.
  • The Pope says China needs to “open itself to the Gospel” of Christianity.
  • The Pope has also said that “protection of the environment has been undervalued by the Catholic Church.”
  • Andrea Pininfarina, the man whose company is behind the iconic designs of many Italian cars was killed in an accident near Turin when a car knocked him off his Vespa.
  • Berlusconi says Italy is in talks (again) with a foreign company (again) to try to save Alitalia (again).
  • The Italian police say they’ve arrested one of the country’s top mobsters.
  • The Times Online has done a feature on the city of Bologna, which is one of those places I could happily move to tomorrow if the need arose.
  • Italofile has posted a few notes about things going on in Italy this month.
  • Venice’s new bridge is still causing controversy; it’s due to open officially next month.
  • Prices for pasta and bread in Italy have been going up steadily since last fall, and a new report says that the price hikes have been unjustified.
  • Two Italian aid workers in Somalia who were kidnapped back in May have been released.
  • There will be an attempt to break the underewater kissing record off the coas of Liguria. The current record is two minutes and 26 seconds.
  • One of the world’s most remote luxury hotels is in Italy, high up in the Italian Dolomites.
  • The mayor of a town on Ischia says restaurants must offer low-calorie menu options – he’s concerned the locals have put on too much weight.
  • Check out this list of the top three spa resorts in Italy – in Tuscany, Campania, and Trentino Alto Adige.
  • The cities of Padua and Verona have raised the fines imposed on people who use prostitutes.
  • Italian scientists say they’re four years away from a real-life version of “The Fantastic Voyage” – they say that in four years they’ll have micro-robots with cameras mounted on them which can be swallowed by patients with stomach ailments, and doctors will be able to control the robots & conduct “surgeries” without using invasive procedures. Okay, so they won’t be shrinking human beings down to go inside the robots, but still. Very sci-fi.
  • Tired of the museum crowds in Italy? Check out some of the less-visited museums and you’ll have the whole place to yourself.
  • Berlusconi, one of Italy’s richest people, has purchased a villa on Lago Maggiore. This while Italy’s economy continues to slump. Is that anything like fiddling while Rome burns?
  • Italian novels – even those that are wildly popular at home and in other countries – can run into resistance when people try to get them translated into English. One recent Italian book only got translated into English because the Italian publisher put up the money to do so.