"Choose neither a woman nor linen by candlelight.. (How linen got thrown in the proverb, we don't know.)
Ragazzi, ragazzi...you guys are more 'incazzati' than usual this week...'mamma mia'! Nothing has changed in Italy for centuries and for sure it won't change any time soon so...'calmatevi' and enjoy your "specialness". Bella
Grazie, Bella. We don't get too angry. It all depends. There are days when we want satisfaction even if one of us has the sniffles. And then there are days when we get so aggravated at what goes on in Italy that it pushes us to send everything to hell and to think about becoming professional ice skaters.
But if the fish at the market is fresh and our repulsive neighbors make sure to look down and keep quiet when they pass us on the streets, then we're happy to live for another day.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Genova - May 12, 2012 - Italy is waging war on a group of American invaders that are threatening the existence of their European peers.
American grey squirrels, which were first introduced into Europe in 1948, have thrived in the parks of the northeastern region of Liguria since the 1960s.
With 10-inch-long bodies, equally long tails and a weight that can reach 21 oz, American grey squirrels are bigger than European red squirrels. These strong Americans invaders steal the Europeans’ food and carry diseases that are lethal to locals.
To defend the indigenous squirrel population, Liguria, Piemonte and Lombardia regions, as well as the Italian Environment ministry, have launched a project aimed at uprooting the estimated 300 American grey squirrels living in the Levante Genovese Park.
The cost of the war against American squirrels, nearly 2 million euros, is partially covered by the European Union.
This squirrel war has its ‘general,’ Andrea Balduzzi, a professor of natural sciences at the University of Genoa.
At dawn, the professor and his student troops go after the invaders, armed with traps and cages. Once caught, the animals are transferred to vets to be sterilized before being released in natural parks.
And squirrels caught outside the park are executed by euthanasia.
It's amazing the brilliance that could cross the minds of some Italian lawmakers. There could be just one valid explanation: Ventilation.
A helpful and common cure would be to open a window or go for a walk in the park. We would suggest the lovely Levante Genovese Park.
And did you know Italians have a couple of things in common with squirrels?
- Squirrels in general are found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.
- Squirrels eyes are positioned in such a way that they can see some things behind them.
And you would think Italy would have become accustomed to getting invaded by now.
- 1072: The Normans conquered Sicily, Calabria and Napoli, and establish a kingdom over Southern Italy.
- 1796-1800: Napoleon conquers northern Italy, ends Milano's occupation by Austria, ends Genova's independence and annexes Piedmont, Tuscany and the Papal state to France. Took the 'Mona Lisa' and hung it in his bedroom. Southern Italy: "Burns, doesn't it? Vaffanculo and welcome to the club."
- 2012: 1000 shipments of pureed tomatoes weighing 200 kg invade Italy from China every day, destined for the Italian market to be sold as if it were 'Made In Italy'.
Rome - May 14, 2012 - Her family name means "little severe one", and Paola Severino means to live up to it in her crusade against judicial inefficiency which is helping to gag Italy's chronically weak economy.
Seemingly endless legal delays such as in settling commercial disputes are estimated to cost up to one percentage point in Italian GDP growth and the justice minister wants to tell hesitant investors that she is serious about solving the problem.
"There is much to be done and we will forge ahead," Severino, the first woman to hold the justice portfolio, told reporters in an interview.
Severino is already setting up specialist business tribunals and wants to crack down on the huge number of appeals which are clogging up the legal system.
With this message she is heading to the United States as part of an international "road show" to convince foreign companies considering investing in Italy that the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti will speed up the snail-paced system of civil justice.
This week 63-year-old Severino, who was a top lawyer and legal scholar before Monti recruited her for his technocrat government, takes her pitch that Italy can be trusted to the United Nations and to investors at the New York Stock Exchange.
"If a company has certainty about how laws will be interpreted by judges and if it can count on shorter times for court cases...it will invest more and launch more long-term projects, helping the economy," she said.
Studies by the World Bank show that it takes 1,210 days (more than three years) to recover a claim in Italy compared with 394 days in Germany. The average costs paid by businesses in Italy usually amount to about 30 percent of the value of the dispute, compared with 17 percent in France.
In 2010 the European Court of Human rights ruled against Italy 53 times for violating the European Convention's article protecting the right to a fair trial, and 44 of the those condemnations were for the excessive length of proceedings.
Severino believes Italy's entire legal culture needs to change. "Italians today go into litigation too much and it lasts too long," she said in the interview.
Italy is the fourth most litigious of 38 European countries, with 4,768 disputes per 100,000 inhabitants. About 2.8 million new cases were brought last year alone.
"We want to convince people that it is useful to have short trials, quick settlements and immediate results," she said, pointing to studies that show than an efficient justice system is closely related to a country's overall economic performance.
Italy has a backlog of 5.5 million civil cases, which Severino says will have to be tackled by "an enormous shovel".
A simple dispute among neighbors about who is responsible for the maintenance of a dividing wall, for example, can take years to settle. The average time to settle a civil case is more than seven years and a criminal case nearly five.
Severino said the Italian justice system needs "a filter" to cut the number of cases allowed to move on to the appeals level after the court of first instance.
"The whole process is slowed up at the appeals level, it is an enormous bottleneck," she said. "We have to get to the point where some cases are not permitted to enter the appeals process in the first place," she said.
Another deterrent to foreign investment in Italy is organized crime, especially in the south, home to groups such as the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, and the Neapolitan Camorra.
Severino said a growing number of companies in the south are now refusing to pay protection money to organized crime and government programs that have confiscated properties from mob groups have greatly weakened their influence.
"If you asked people in Sicily 50 years ago if the Mafia existed, most people would have said no out of fear. Today Sicilians would say yes, and it is something we have to rid ourselves of," she said.
But she acknowledged with a easy laugh that changing Italy's legal system will not come quickly. "I am no miracle worker," she said.
Hmmm...That's something. It's not everyday you see the justice minister of a country go on a "road show" and try to put on a convincing performance. "Cavolo", the real performance will be watching foreign investors and the United Nations try to keep a straight face.
Minister Severino: "There is much to be done and we will forge ahead."
"Now, all of you. Stop drooling and listen...."
- Italy has 9 million trials pending (5.5 million civil cases, 3.4 million penal cases) and 420,000 lawyers: "We honestly don't know how this all started and got out of hand. The chicken or the egg. The trial or the lawyer. We don't know what came first! Regardless, we're going to reprogram the Italian Matrix to make it stop hatching lawyers.
- Italian juries are not sequestered: "We will ask jurors to stop having lunch with lawyers during the trial. If they must, they shall only be allowed to discuss the pasta specials of the day. We will also ban journalists from the cafes where jurors and lawyers go for coffee during court breaks...to discuss the trial...and follow media coverage."
- According to an Euromedia poll, 16% percent of Italians fully trust the justice system compared to 28% two years prior. Italian civil rights groups are intense in their criticism of what they view as kangaroo courts: "One of our main priorities is to raise the animal court level to that of a monkey."
- In the USA, federal judges must study a 637-page manual in order to be able to evaluate forensic evidence: "We will ask Italian judges to at least download the app and take a glance at it on weekends and holidays."
- Prosecutors are connected to the judiciary. They are not elected or appointed and lead entire investigations: "Si, many criminal investigations in Italy are botched by prosecutors who are judges that have NO background in criminal investigation, police work, or forensic science. But we realize we need more than Moe, Larry, or Curly in a nice Italian suit to tell the police what to look for, where to go and what evidence to analyze, contaminate and throw away."
Rome - May 14, 2012 - Enrico De Pedis, the leader of a murderous gang known as the 'Banda della Magliana', was gunned down aged just 38, by members of his own crew.
Detectives investigating the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, 15, in 1983, believe De Pedis is linked to her kidnapping. The body of the Vatican employee’s daughter has never been found.
Last month the diocese of Rome, on orders from the Vatican, granted investigators permission to open up the tomb in the Sant’Apollinare basilica close to Piazza Navona in the centre of Rome. Their decision was the result of an anonymous call to a missing person’s program on Italian television which said the riddle of Orlandi’s kidnapping would be solved "if De Pedis tomb was opened".
De Pedis, whose name on the 15,000 Euro ($19,100 USD) tomb is spelt in diamonds, was gunned down in 1990 in Campo De Fiori. Officials said that De Pedis body was "well preserved" and that he was recognized by detectives present. He was still dressed in a dark blue suit and black tie.
His body was inside the last of three coffins and the forensic team lifted his arm out of the casket to take fingerprints, which were a positive match.
But another mystery was revealed as a box of bones was found inside the tomb which officials said were "not those of De Pedis" and were removed for examination.
Officials said that several boxes of bones were also recovered from elsewhere within the crypt which they explained could date from 200 or more years ago.
Despite his criminal past, it was said that church officials allowed De Pedis to be buried in one of the capital’s most notable churches because he had "repented while in jail and also done a lot of work for charity", including large donations to the Catholic Church.
He and his gang controlled the lucrative drug market in Rome and were also rumored to have a "free hand" because of their links with police and Italian secret service agents.
In 2008 Sabrina Minardi, De Pedis’s girlfriend at the time of Orlandi’s disappearance, sensationally claimed that the now dead American monsignor Paul Marcinkus, the controversial chief of the Vatican bank, was behind the kidnapping.
In the early 1980s, Monsignor Marcinkus used his status to avoid being questioned by police probing the collapse of a Banco Ambrosiano which the Vatican had invested heavily in.
The collapse was linked to the murder of Roberto Calvi, dubbed God’s Banker because of the Vatican links, whose body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London in June 1982.
Emanuela Orlandi’s brother Pietro, who in the past has accused the Vatican of not co-operating fully with the police and prosecutors, was at the scene and said: "I never expected my sister’s remains to be found in the coffin. Personally I also doubt that the Magliana gang had anything to do with my sister’s disappearance. I just hope that with the opening of the tomb there is transparency and collaboration between the investigating authorities and the Vatican."
How unbelievable! How stupid! This situation is a slap in the faces of Catholics all over the Italian planet.
For those of you who are curious the Sant'Apollinare is a peculiar church located outside the walls of that Vatican. Peculiar because it's used primarily by members of the ultra-conservative 'Opus Dei' prelature for special masses for student priests and for celebrations of marriage and baptism of those affiliated with this loony sect.
In other words, it's an exclusive religious cult where its members worship their own big heads. "'Fanculo", there! I said it!
Why a known-mobster is buried in a Vatican church has been the object of lots of speculation since 1997, when a little church maid revealed the tomb’s existence to a nosy journalist. Unfortunately, we don't know how it ended for the maid, but when the story broke out, we sincerely hope she jumped on the first rowboat for New Zealand.
Now, we can't keep track of all the holy shenanigans of that Vatican. Life is too short...but our readers want satisfaction! Therefore, we demand to know what does it take to be buried in a Vatican Church!
Don't living survivors of Catholic Schools deserve such an honor?
- Did you march off to school in distinctively colored school uniforms bought at that special store?
- Ever raise your little hand to go to the bathroom only to have a toilet Nazi (aka nun) respond, "Sit down and shut up"?
- Ever have a bat from hell in a black and white uniform swoop down on you and drag you by the EARS from one line to another? Let me guess, it's still a mystery to you to how you wound up on the wrong line.
- Were you ever interrogated at 11 years of age by other toilet Nazis or bats on what you were giving up for Lent? Let me guess again, candy and TV were not enough. It's somehow connected to some theory on being sorry for sins and Easter.
SORRY FOR WHAT SINS? "PORCA DI QUELLA VACCA", YOU'RE WERE 11!
- And then Ash Wednesday came along and threw you for a loop!
Enough of this! "Affanculo" to all!
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE BURIED NEXT TO AN APOSTLE!