"That's Italiano!" Welcome to the only newsletter highly recommended for peace by the Palestinian-Italians, "Only In Italy!"
Excellent. Finally a law that protects private property. I am sure that with the passage of this bill the number of robberies will substantially decrease. Now, if the Government could find a way for people to defend themselves from gypsies, purse and camera snatchers on motorini, pickpocketers and extracomunitari, the people could enjoy the outdoors again.
It looks like the Berlusca's guys are finally straightening out the country. Perhaps when personal safety is not a problem anymore I may consider returning. Have a great day. Anthony
Thanks for all the tenderness expressed in your letter, Anthony, and we really hope you give Italy another chance.
We really don't mind the gypsies because we're thoroughly entertained by the way they dress. You don't find too many people in Italy wearing multicolored scarves, puffy pants, gold teeth and big loop earrings.
The pickpocketers are very courteous. They smile when they pick your pockets.
The extracomunitari (immigrants) are the only people keeping our economy alive while unemployed Sicilians just lay in the sun, relax and live off their relatives' pensions.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - April 24, 2004 - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's attempt to kiss a Russian woman factory worker turned into "a ridiculous gaffe."
It happened Friday while Berlusconi, who was visiting Moscow, toured a factory with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it got front page coverage in the Russian press.
The Russian paper Kommersant, said the prime minister approached one young factory worker and tried to kiss her.
The worker saw him heading in her direction and moved behind some of her co-workers to avoid him. But Berlusconi dived into the group after her.
"The worker, without saying a word, first resisted and then submitted to his enthusiasm, but without hiding her dismay," the newspaper said. Putin watched, clearly embarrassed.
During a subsequent news conference, Berlusconi whose gaffes are legendary, especially when traveling in other countries said he and Putin had competed over which of them could find and kiss the prettiest girl. "Naturally, he won," Berlusconi added.
Putin said nothing. But the Russian press was quoted as saying that the Russian president does not appreciate "the excessive exuberance of his friend Silvio."
Isn't our prime minister fantastic?
We don't understand where the problem is. He was just trying to show off his
Italian masculine charm to ex-communists. He's our handicapped Rudolph
We also heard Berlusconi and Putin competed over which of them could carry
the most doughnuts without using their hands. Putin struggled to arrive to a
dozen while Berlusconi passed out after he tried with more than two.
We don't understand where the problem is. He was just trying to show off his Italian masculine charm to ex-communists. He's our handicapped Rudolph Valentino.
We also heard Berlusconi and Putin competed over which of them could carry the most doughnuts without using their hands. Putin struggled to arrive to a dozen while Berlusconi passed out after he tried with more than two.
Rome - October 23, 2004 - The Mafia may be lying low, with no more bombings and high-profile killings, but it still is quietly strangling businesses in Italy with protection and loan sharking rackets, a new study showed Wednesday.
The study by Confesercenti, a group representing retailers, said organized crime costs Italian commerce some 60 billion euros ($58.65 billion) a year overall.
That figure includes direct costs of paying protection money and loan sharks and indirect costs from robberies, for security and other expenses.
Some eight billion euros end up directly in the pockets of the Mafia, according to the study, called "S.O.S. Business.''
About 160,000 shops and small businesses were paying organized crime protection money, the study showed.
It said that in some areas of southern Italy, particularly Sicily, 100 percent of businesses are affected by organized crime in one way or another.
For example, 80 percent of the shops in Sicily's two largest cities, Palermo and Catania, pay protection money to the Mafia.
Some 70 percent of retailers and small businesses pay protection money in the southern province of Reggio Calabria and about 50 percent in Naples.
The figure becomes smaller as one moves onto the mainland and up the peninsula to the north.
The study shows that organized crime is trying to extend its tentacles into northern Italy but with varied success. Extortion from Rome to the north was still under 10 percent.
Retailers, merchants and entrepreneurs are afraid to go to the police to report extortion, preferring to pay protection money to avoid violent retaliation by crime groups.
In 1991, the Mafia killed Palermo businessman Libero Grassi, who had tried to rally merchants into refusing to pay protection money, known as a "pizzo," in Italy.
At last August's 11th anniversary commemoration of Grassi's killing, his widow complained that not enough was being done to protect businesses from Mafia racketeers.
In fact, the study pointed out that 77.5 percent of extortion crimes were uncovered by police investigations and not as a result of complaints by victims.
Lino Busa, author of the report, said that the Mafia's technique was changing.
In order to avoid a rebellion by retailers similar to that organized by the murdered Grassi, the Mafia was now demanding less money from individual businesses.
But it was expanding its "client base'' by targeting more and different enterprises.
"They are now demanding money from news vendors, pharmacies, professional offices such as real estate firms, film production, theater, concerts and sports events,'' Busa told reporters.
Busa said the figures from this year's study were up about 10 percent over last year. He said there had been a substantial growth in loan sharking.
The study showed that some 120,000 merchants pay off loans to loan sharks amounting to about nine billion euros a year.
Interest rates used by organized crime loan sharks were about 10-15 percent monthly. In some cases they could reach 500 percent a year when missed interests payments were accumulated.
What a surprise. We wonder how much taxpayer money was spent on this study?
Breaking News! There recently was a $2 million study that discovered
that some of the buses in Italy are crowded.
Another news breaking study discovered that 19% of the Mafia that collects
'protection' money wear dirty socks. We can't believe another survey showed 62% of the shop owners who deal with
loan sharks complain that the sharks don't smile enough when they collect their
money. I think the study was funded by the same group that discovered that the Mafia
wore dirty socks on crowded buses.
Breaking News! There recently was a $2 million study that discovered that some of the buses in Italy are crowded. Another news breaking study discovered that 19% of the Mafia that collects 'protection' money wear dirty socks.
We can't believe another survey showed 62% of the shop owners who deal with loan sharks complain that the sharks don't smile enough when they collect their money. I think the study was funded by the same group that discovered that the Mafia wore dirty socks on crowded buses.
Milan - June 22, 2004 - Obese men with difficulties in getting an erection can improve their sexual function by exercising and losing weight, Italian researchers said on Tuesday.
(This is dedicated to all the wonderful but befuddled women in the world who insist there are no lovers like Italian lovers.)