9 January, 2017
Selected Foreign Policy clips:
9 January, 2017
Selected Foreign Policy clips:
19 August, 2014
ROME (AP) — Rome is a sightseer’s dream, and for many visitors, indulging in authentic Italian cuisine is one of the biggest draws.
But for non-locals, the first meal of the day can be a bit of a letdown. Breakfast in Italy is a stand-up affair: You crowd at the bar, scarf down a stale pastry and a shot of espresso, and in five minutes flat, the day has begun. Tourists quickly learn that if they dare to plop down at a table in the center of Rome, they may be slapped with an extra “table service” charge and ushered out once when they’ve finished.
Long family lunches on Sundays are an established tradition in Italy, but a casual cross between breakfast-and-lunch with friends is almost a foreign concept.
But escaping from the hurried morning routine may be why weekends at Necci, a bohemian outpost in Rome’s edgy Pigneto neighborhood, have become something of an institution to the artists and creative types who live nearby.[Full Story]
11 August, 2014
FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Is helping a pal win a contract just being friendly? What’s wrong with taking the kids to the beach in the office car? And why not linger over lunch at the trattoria if things aren’t too hectic at work? These are the kinds of questions that city bureaucrats pondered recently in Florence in what has been billed as Italy’s first anti-corruption class for public officials.
Italy, the birthplace of the Mafia, is notorious for its problems with corruption — and these days it’s awash with scandals that have tainted some of its most important public works projects. But the lessons in Florence took aim at more mundane problems: the little instances of everyday corruption that many Italians don’t even recognize as being wrong.
The approach proposes to tackle corruption at its roots: a deeply ingrained mentality where friendly reciprocity can too easily cross the line into nepotism, and where tolerance, on the one hand admirable, can also mean turning a blind eye to wrongdoing. Such tendencies may not always be the driver of corruption, but can allow it to flourish.
“The issue is to make bureaucrats and citizens understand that this type of behavior is not correct anymore, you can no longer do this,” said Marco Giuri, one of the teachers of the course. “Because in our mentality, it’s not corruption, it’s just help. It’s not that you are paying for a service, but it’s simply a favor between contacts, a relative, or the fact that he’s a friend. These occurrences are the most common and they are the ones the law wants to break through — and it’s common because it’s really in the DNA of Italians.” [Full Story]
28 July, 2014
ROME (AP) — A new amusement park outside Rome celebrates the world of cinema, taking visitors back to the golden age of Italian film production when the Rome-based Cinecitta Studios — still in operation — were known as “Hollywood on the Tiber.”
“Here, the idea is that people will also enter not only sets, but the confusion of a place where we are shooting movie. Everything will be illusion,” said Emmanuel Gout, president of Cinecitta Parks. “The visitor will become a protagonist of the day, becoming a star, becoming involved in some fake movie.”
At a submarine set, visitors get into character by donning marine helmets and racing through an action-packed movie scene. These marines bark orders and frantically spin valves, trying to avert an impending disaster. [Full Story]
18 June, 2014
ROME (AP) — Experts say they’ve discovered how to rescue Nero’s underground Golden Palace from further decay and eventually reopen the ruins of the ancient emperor’s entertainment complex to the public: uproot the trees in the park above it.
Archaeologists and restoration experts said Wednesday that research, including digital simulations, aimed at solving the Domus Aurea’s chronic humidity problems indicates that removing the trees will help prevent further damage. Currently tree roots and rainwater sink into the walls, damaging frescoes and causing parts of the ceiling to fall off.
“It’s a radical choice, but we have to do it,” said Fedora Filippi, director of the restoration effort. “It’s either the roots or the Golden Palace.” [Full Story]
17 June, 2014
ROME (AP) — Italy’s immigration crisis has so overloaded the government’s centers that churches are now opening their doors to newly arrived migrants, many of them fleeing conflicts in Syria and Africa.
The Italian coast guard rescued another 293 migrants at sea and brought them to Sicily Tuesday. They join the nearly 60,000 migrants who have arrived in Italy in the first half of 2014, far more than the 42,000 who arrived in all of 2013.
Churches in Palermo have emptied out pews to make space for clean cots and community members are pitching in to cook meals and donate goods. Volunteers from the Catholic charity Caritas greet migrant boats at the port with food, clothes, doctors and even psychologists.
“We’ve substituted the altar with beds,” said the Rev. Rosario Francolino, who has been coordinating the reception of 700 Africans at a Palermo church since Sunday. “I think it’s the most beautiful Mass the community could celebrate.” [Full Story]
9 June, 2014
ROME (AP) — Rome’s mayor met with a group of foreign diplomats Monday in an effort to raise some 200 million euros ($271 million) to help restore some of the eternal city’s most neglected artifacts.
Mayor Ignazio Marino told the assembled diplomats from around the world that Rome’s cultural treasures should be considered heritage “for all mankind” and asked for their help in creating a foundation to manage cultural sites.
The foundation would oversee the cataloguing of 100,000 boxes of excavated Roman-era artifacts and restore the unkempt gladiator training grounds next to the Colosseum, among many other projects on the mayor’s wish list.[Full Story]
30 May, 2014
ROME (AP) — Previously unpublished World War I images and documents are on display at Italy’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier starting Saturday, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the bloody conflict that many historians say united Italians in common cause for the first time.
The exhibit features images of executions and emaciated prisoners of war that were censored during wartime, as well as notifications for military tribunal death sentences that were posted on the streets of Rome.
It also includes videos, letters and diaries that detail the horrors of trench warfare. “Now we are like beasts that are hunted,” wrote a 37-year-old Italian corporal. “You go to the slaughterhouse without realizing it.” [Full Story]
29 May, 2014
ROME (AP) — Italian investigators said Thursday they seized 30,000 bottles of falsely labeled premium wine from central Italy, after savvy consumers who realized that the Brunello di Montalcino they were sipping turned out to be “normal table wine” alerted authorities of the fraud.
With a bottle of Brunello going for around 30 euros ($40), the fraud is estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars), said Col. Marco Grandini of the Siena branch of the Carabinieri military police.
During a three-month investigation, authorities staked out restaurants, wine bars and grocery stores in central Italy which carried the suspect wines. Along with about 10,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino, there were also impostors carrying premium labels such as Chianti Classico and Sagrantino di Montefalco. A Sangiovese wine bore opera singer Andrea Bocelli’s label.[Full Story]
20 May, 2014
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A global network of religious orders against human trafficking announced Tuesday they will campaign against a feared rise in child prostitution during the World Cup.
“In Brazil, our greatest concern is linked to the increase in the exploitation of child prostitution,” said Sister Gabriella Bottani, an Italian nun who is an organizer of the coalition involving 240 religious congregations from 79 countries.
She said international sporting events attract human traffickers, who trick job-seekers into slave labor and also kidnap children for illegal adoptions or forced begging. [Full Story]