Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only In Italy is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy.
Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.
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February 2009
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"Internet Censorship Crash Lands in Italy"



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Have a lovely day folks!   

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Italy: No One Beats Our Broccoli

Rome - February 11, 2009 - "Eat your whites!" a newspaper stated, noting that a "bristly upstart" from Italy was threatening to replace the more traditional cauliflower on dinner plates across Britain.

Yesterday Italy hit back, delivering a blow in the broccoli wars that was sure to turn British growers green with envy.

Politicians lined up to extol the virtues of the Italian greens with extravagant claims that broccoli could help you to lose weight and improve your life. Its very existence, they claimed, was proof that Italy was the world's undisputed culinary superpower.

Broccoli "was inflicting a heavy defeat on British cauliflower" for the simple reason that it tasted better, claimed one. "I invite British people to taste our broccoli and test its flavor and quality for themselves," said Luca Zaia, the Italian Minister of Agriculture.

He decried a campaign by the Brassica Growers' Association to help to save the cauliflower, as reported in a newspaper on Monday, as crude "protectionism".

"We know from experience that the British cauliflower can be good," he conceded, but was quick to add: "If you eat broccoli, extra virgin olive oil and pasta you will be fit, lose weight and live better."

Cauliflower production has fallen by 35 per cent in Britain in the past decade as tastes change but the growers' association insists that the quintessentially British vegetable must be saved.

Not so, say the Italians. "It would be too easy for us to retaliate by asking Italians not to buy Aquascutum or Burberry. But we would then fall into a protectionist trap rather than relying on quality and competitiveness," said Paolo Russo, head of the Parliamentary Agriculture Commission.

He added that Italian broccoli was "inflicting a heavy defeat on British cauliflower simply because it tastes better". Mr Russo advised British people also to eat mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and Italian hams. "Italian food products are appreciated around the world because they are of high quality and their origin is guaranteed. All the rest is protectionism and an offence to consumers."

Giuseppe Politi, head of the Italian Farmers' Confederation, suggested that British farmers should go over to broccoli production rather than trying to keep the vegetable out, "which certainly will not solve the problem".

Agriculture experts said that exports of Italian wine to Britain increased by 10 per cent last year. Coldiretti, another Italian farmers' organization, told an Italian news agency: "If, according the British paper, broccoli is substituting for cauliflower in British kitchens and restaurants then perhaps wine will eventually replace beer in pubs."

"Maria, mio amore, look at all this wonderful broccoli I brought home!"
"Francesco, che bello! Where did you get it?"
"Ah, Maria, would you believe this cute politician around the corner was selling them at
10 kgs a vote?"

Fun facts about broccoli:

1) The word broccoli comes from the Latin word "brachium" and the Italian word "braccio", which means "arm".
-> The word, "politico" comes from the Greek word "polis" and the Italian word "coglione", which means...coglione.

2) Broccoli is a part of the cabbage family.
-> Politicians have no family. They are spawned by Italy. It created them! Now it's too late. We can't abandon these lonely children who are telling Italian farming associations, "Just grow the vegetables, shut up, and leave the promoting to us."

3) Eating broccoli reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and death in postmenopausal women.
-> Politicians increase the risk of just about every disease and are only interested in premenopausal women.

4) Broccoli is a cool-weather crop and grows poorly in the summer.
-> Politicians are weeds which grow savagely and always in the wrong place. Sometimes they can take over and are difficult to remove. Ornamental or introduced public representatives can become 'politicians' when they spread rapidly from their original planting spot by seeding freely or by rooting, and can overpower their better-behaved voters.

5) Broccoli comes in a variety of colors, ranging from deep sage all the way to dark green and purplish-green.
-> Politicians come from a variety of Italian regions, ranging from the polenta-sucking racists from Padania to the corrupt cannoli-chomping Mafia from Sicily.

6) A long time ago, broccoli was considered "exotic" in someone's personal garden.
-> A long time ago, politicians were able to balance the budget and pick their nose at the same time.


Internet Censorship Crash Lands in Italy

D'AliaRome - February 11, 2009 - Italy may be able to force Internet providers to block access to Web sites including Facebook, the world's largest social-networking site, if they incite or justify criminal behavior, according to an amendment to a bill passed by the Senate.

Italian prosecutors began looking into Facebook groups dedicated to convicted Sicilian Mafia bosses Bernardo Provenzano and Salvatore Riina last month to verify whether they were used to send coded messages to mobsters. No official investigation was opened, according to Palermo prosecutor Maurizio De Lucia.

"The Internet must be free, but it can't be a jungle where good people and murderers are indistinguishable," Senator Gianpiero D'Alia, the lawmaker in Rome who introduced the amendment, said referring to Facebook fan clubs dedicated to the convicted mafia bosses.

"It's indecent that Facebook said that it won't allow pictures of mothers breastfeeding while there are no rules about removing groups of delinquents," D'Alia said in an interview today.

The aim isn't to block sites like Facebook or YouTube totally if they contain criminal content. Instead, the law is intended to force them to remove pages dedicated to groups inciting or justifying crimes, D'Alia said. The language of the bill doesn't distinguish between blacking out pages or entire Web sites.

The bill says the Interior Ministry will be able to order the blocking of Web sites if prosecutors first verify the criminal content of the sites. The bill would also make it illegal to incite others to commit crimes on the Internet, D'Alia said. It would be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, he said. It's already illegal to do so in the printed press in Italy.

Should Internet providers including Fastweb SpA, Telecom Italia SpA or Tiscali SpA fail to follow the ministry's order to black out the pages or sites, they may face a fine of as much as 250,000 euros ($322,338), the proposed law says.

"This creates a precedent for the preventive censure of unwanted opinions," Marco Pancini, YouTube's European policy consultant, said in an interview. "Because it's aimed at service providers, this law won't allow the filtering of single content pages, but will lead to entire platforms being blacked out."

Internet providers aren't able to eliminate single elements from Web sites, Pancini said. YouTube has the ability to eliminate potentially criminal or offensive material in collaboration with the Italian postal police, Pancini said, adding that laws regulating criminal content already exist. D'Alia said that current laws cover only pedophilia. An April 2003 law says that once a Web site is informed of illicit material in its domain, then that material must be removed immediately.

One of the Facebook groups that first sparked controversy last month with 481 fans proposes making Provenzano, who has been convicted of ordering more than a dozen murders, a saint. A group for Riina, who was known as "the Beast" for his penchant for violence and murder, has 945 members whose comments include, "You're my idol," and, "You're the best."

While there are groups for mobsters and even for accused Italian rapists, Facebook also has a group hailing as heroes Palermo prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were assassinated on the orders of Riina after successfully prosecuting hundreds of mobsters. That group has 369,463 fans.

The measure was inserted as an amendment to a bill aimed at cracking down on crime that the Senate passed on Feb. 5. The measure must pass in the Chamber of Deputies without being changed to become law.

"Porca di quella vacca, 'fanculo, would you believe my connection is down again...and it's not even raining outside?!"

The Chinese have erected a "Golden Wall" against information available on the Internet. They were inspired by the "Great Wall of China". Our jolly D'Alia wants to erect a "Ricotta Wall". He was inspired by the overconsumption of cannoli.

Gov't: "The Internet is breaking our "coglioni!"

This proposed amendment (already approved by the Senate) would oblige all slow and crappy Italian ISPs to block a site (be this a website, a blog or social media sites such as Facebook or Youtube) where material has been posted which is "believed" to defend or instigate a crime. We're not talking about deleting the material "believed" to be criminal/illegal but about filtering/blocking/preventing access to the entire site or platform.

The decision of whether such material is in fact illegal would not go to the Courts of Law. That would be ridiculous, useless and time consuming for the Italian government happily sustains a judicial system that operates at the speed and efficiency of a snail with muscular dystrophy.

Fasten your seat belt: The decision would be taken directly by the Minister of the Interior, with no opportunity for trial in front of judges.

When you read a story as this, you begin to realize that if you venture off to Rome and protest the mere existence of its politicians, chances are "all those roads that lead to Rome" will be filtered/blocked/prevented access to permanently.

So, if this stupid site posts the following dangerous threat:

"Quick! The only hope of stopping that senator who has reached maximum density is to cut off his endless supply of "pasta con le sarde." (sardines)

Chances are we'll have to move to Yemen where we will at least get faster broadband access.


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Italy Electricity Use Has Record Plunge

Rome - February 11, 2009 - Consumption of electricity in Italy plunged a record 8.5 percent in January as industry hammered by the economic recession scaled back output, Italian grid operator Terna (TRN.MI) said on Wednesday.

Terna said it was the sharpest drop since comparable data was available starting in 1975. The closest figure was a 7.6 percent fall in August 1975.

"The heavy fall in electricity consumption starting in the beginning of the year reflects the lasting phase of weakness in industrial production," Terna said.

Terna pointed to data from employers confederation Confindustria forecasting a double-digit contraction in industrial output in January.

Italy's government blamed international economic turmoil for the record fall in industrial output in December, announced on Tuesday. National statistics agency ISTAT said output contracted 14.3 percent on a work-day adjusted year-on-year basis.

Italy forecasts GDP contracted by 0.6 percent last year and will shrink 2.0 percent in 2009, giving two consecutive years of economic decline for the first time since World War Two.

Terna said that electricity consumption in January was less affected by more traditional factors, like weather and working days in the month. There were two working days less in January 2009 than in the same month last year but the weather was also colder, by an average of one and a half degrees.

"Holy cazzo!" Would you look at this bill?! Does this include the polishing of the generators?

No doubt the economic recession is to blame. Did it ever occur to the "Electric Minchia Company" that a part of the consumption plunge is due to the difficulty of getting it simply turned on?

To set up a new contract with the almighty lords of "luce" you'll need the following:

1) Pazienza (patience),

2) Permesso di soggiorno (Visa or stay permit): They can't send exorbitant utility bills to illegal aliens who can't afford them.

3) Documento Identita (Identity document with photo): Because they personally want to get to know who is purchasing their precious energy.

4) Numero cliente (client number of the previous tenant): So that if there are any unpaid bills left behind, they will assume you will be more than happy to settle them.

5) Codice Fiscale (personal tax number of the account holder),

6) Amount of power required (3, 4, or 6 KW): Go and check every appliance's need in your home, do the calculation, decide how much you'll need and get back to them.

7) Lettura del contatore (current meter reading): Believe us, they have the correct reading on file. They just want to see if you would dare to lie.

8) Bank details (if payment is to be by direct debit from a bank): Just to make sure you will be able to apply for a loan if you can't afford the bills.

9) Address to which the bills should be sent,

10) Address to which the contract should be sent,

11) Down payment (aka bribe) to get the paperwork reviewed and processed within 3-4 months (optional).

"Che scassapalle!" Pavlov's dogs weren't hassled as much as this.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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