"Buon giorno!" Welcome to another bullet ridden issue of "Only In Italy!"
I'm not surprised that Italy is trying to invent the invisible cloak, but I did want to let you know that I went into a post office in Palermo (yes, south of the Naples border) to mail a package to the U.S. and they were EXTREMELY helpful, even advising me on the least costly method.
When in Italy, I mail packages quite often and the least helpful office was in Lavagna -- in the NORTH -- they didn't have the shipping boxes, wouldn't give me more than one shipping option and basically chased me out of the office! Also, the worst tourist information office was in Milan (north of the Naples border to, right?). Three different people completely ignored me when I asked a question of each, and instead just stared at me. (I was there 10 minutes before their lunch break.)
Next time, I'll let them know that the invisible cloaks haven't been invented yet ;-) I do love your newsletter, along with the "birdbrained" south of Italy. "Food Lover Kathy" @foodloverkathy
Grazie, Kathy, and thanks for the honor of having your feedback! It was surprising to hear that a Palermo Post Office was of assistance to you. Usually, their motto is "let's get nothing done and onwards to the next cigarette."
By the way, take a wild guess at where 99% of the workers from just about any meaningless state job (including postal and tourist information) in Northern Italy come from? I'll give you hint...most of them have food caught in their teeth at any given moment.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Naples - September 14, 2010 - A businessman with alleged ties to the mafia who was kidnapped Sunday night outside Nola, near Naples, was found Tuesday morning by Carabinieri police.
Antonio Buglione, 54, who with his brother Carmine runs a private security firm in Nola, 20 km (12.4 miles) east of Naples, was found by police chained up in Marigliano, near Nola. Another brother, Carlo, was said to have received a ransom demand Monday for five million euros ($6.4 million).
After combing the countryside around Nola, Carabinieri found Antonio Buglione's abandoned car. Buglione is also the brother of Rosa Buglione, the mayor of a town near Nola called Saviano where the firm has another base.
The security entrepreneur is said to have had past ties with the Neapolitan Camorra mafia and has also been involved in probes involving local politicians.
According to prosecutors, for several years from the late 1990s top Camorra boss Carmine Alfieri used Buglione's security guards and private surveillance patrols to keep tabs on police movements. In 2008 Buglione was accused with a regional councilor of the center-left Democratic Party, Roberto Conte, of fraudulently inflating rents in the Naples area.
In 2010 the businessman was placed under investigation along with a Senator of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party on suspicion of money laundering and fraudulent bankruptcy.
Buglione's first brush with the law came in 1993 when he was wounded in the face in an ambush. Two years later, in 1995, he was arrested in a probe into alleged irregularities in the concession of licenses for security firms. Ex-Naples police chief Umberto Improta was also involved while a PdL MP, university medicine professor Carmine Mensorio, committed suicide after being named in the probe.
It was at this time that Buglione's alleged links with the Alfieri clan first came to light and the security manager was accused of attempted extortion.
WARNING: If you are a proud Napolitano and get easily offended, please, do NOT read and go listen to a Nino D'Angelo CD.
We're going to say it again...There is no law in the land of Naples. Itís 'Spartacus' with bad Napolitano music and people should come to terms with it. How can one live in a city where people say, "Eh, excuse me. I'm going out to get some fresh fruit and red peppers...cover me!"
If you run a business in Naples, happen to get kidnapped, and then you're miraculously found alive...you're not going to encounter the most sympathetic Italian law enforcement officials. A typical question a victim should receive is, "Antonio, who were these criminals and what did they want?"
No no, not in Naples...prepare yourself to be humiliated:
"Antonio, you were really asking for it, weren't you?
What if your Naples business needs protection and security? Well, you can do two things:
You could hire the extraordinary services of the "Buglione Brothers", Antonio, Carmine and Carlo. Try to disregard their alleged ties to the mafia, the ransom requests, the occasional kidnapping, investigations on suspicion of money laundering and fraudulent bankruptcy, and the sister who's a mayor in a nearby town and happens to have a face that could stop a sundial.
Or you could take your cars and circle your company like covered wagons in order to avoid being attacked by savage Naples Indians.
Rome - September 14, 2010 - Libya has apologized for firing on an Italian trawler Sunday some 30 nautical miles off the North African country's coast, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said on Tuesday.
"What occurred the other evening should not have taken place and Libya has apologized," Maroni told a morning TV news show.
"A probe has been opened and I believe they must of mistaken the trawler for a boat carrying illegal immigrants, although the probe will ascertain exactly what took place," he added.
"I want to know happened. The Libyan motor launch was one of the six we gave the North African country in accord with the 2007 agreement signed by then (interior) minister Giuliano Amato," Maroni said.
"While it is true that Italian military personnel were onboard, they were only offering technical assistance and were not part of the crew," the minister said.
"Yesterday (Monday), we received their report which confirmed they were not involved in the incident and today (Tuesday) there will be a meeting at the (interior) ministry to determine exactly what took place," he added.
"For me this was a serious incident but just an incident. We will examine what can be done to ensure this will not happen again," Maroni said.
On their arrival Monday on the island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and North Africa, the crew of the Ariete said the trawler was hit by a few rounds of gunfire which strafed the side of the ship trawler, hit the cabin and punctured a dinghy.
None of the ten-man crew was injured.
The Ariete, out of the northwestern Sicilian port of Mazara del Vallo, was reportedly told to stop but ignored the order and headed for home, sparking the burst of fire.
According to Ariete Captain Gaspare Marrone, the incident took place in the Gulf of Sirte about 30 nautical miles off Libya, which Italy considers these waters international, according to several treaties, but Tripoli insists they are theirs and regularly repels or warns off vessels that stray into them.
Incidents like Sunday's are fairly frequent although it is rare for a Libyan vessel to open fire.
In June Libya sequestered three boats from the Mazara fleet and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a friend of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, personally intervened to get them back. The Ariete crew said they had had "a close call".
Wow, "che schifo!" International treaties, diplomatic incidents, machine gun fire, sequestered boats. It won't make a difference. The fish vendor at my local market can use all these excuses and I'll still think the "figlio di una mignotta" is robbing me with those prices for calamari.
The kick in the "coglioni" is the fact that Italian military personnel were on board the Libyan motor boat...and the "cornuti" didn't lift a finger to stop them.
FACTS: The Sicilian skipper, Gaspare Marrone, said that the order to stop came from a man who spoke with a faultless Italian accent: "I think there might have been an Italian on board that patrol boat."
He shouted: "Heave to or this group will start shooting". Why should he have said 'this group'? You'd have expected him to say: "Heave to or we'll shoot". And his accent was more Italian than mine is", Marrone concluded.
Machine gun fire riddled the side of the fishing boat and the dinghy tender. In the opinion of Commander Vittorio Alessandro from the coastguard general command, the Sicilian skipper...along with Gilligan, Ginger, Maryann, the Howells, and the Professor were very lucky.
How dare they! "Bastardi!" Just because the fishing crew was Sicilian didn't mean they had to open fire. We're more than sure they were wearing shoes and belts rather than fishing lines to hold up their pants.
Rome - September 14, 2010 - A Northern League mayor's decision to plaster a school near Brescia with his regionalist party's symbol has raised a political storm in Italy.
Oscar Lancini, the mayor of Adro near Brescia, justified putting the party's green Sole delle Alpi (Sun of the Alps) on the town school's windows, desks, wastepaper baskets and doormats by saying the symbol is also linked to the area's Celtic heritage. But the move has been criticized by parents' groups, opposition parties and the local branch of the CGIL trade union is planning legal action to remove the symbols of a party that frequently takes extreme positions on immigration issues.
"Branding a public school with an image loaded with such significance risks depriving it of its value as part of the nation," CGIL, Italy's biggest union, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Italian Parent's Movement (Moige) expressed "dismay" and even members of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, which is allied with the League in the central government, said Lancini had gone too far.
"The mayor of Adro would be wise to have all the symbols of his party removed from the public school at the town's expense, not the central government's," said PdL MP Osvaldo Napoli.
Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini has also come under fire for not being more forthright in condemning Lancini's actions.
She said she was "always of the idea that political polemics should be kept outside school" but described the move as "folkloristic" and called on the mayor's critics to be equally vocal when left-wing symbols enter the classroom.
"The mayor of Adro's act has the complicity of minister Gelmini and therefore of the whole government," said Giampiero De Toni, a Senator with the center-left Italy of Values (IDV) opposition party.
"This is dangerous because it throws the independence of the school into doubt.
"Party symbols should stay outside schools. It's a clear attempt to identify the state with a political party, what's more a xenophobic, separatist one. We thought such attempts had been buried with the end of Fascism".
A member of the opposition Radical party said Gelmini should send ministry inspectors to the school.
It's Mr. Oscar Lanciniís Neighborhood: "Itís a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Everybodyís from the north! There are no Sicilians, Calabrese or Napolitani."
First lesson of the school year: "Students, remember one thing; just because someone is different than you is no reason to be nice to them. Can you say, outcasts? Si, you can."
We could just imagine the difference between this pristine school and one of our typical Sicilian public schools: Large multimedia screens, free WiFi, iPads for the students, and pretty teachers compared to Pentium 1 computers riddled with viruses, color printers that print only in black, 56K dial-up with no internet connection, our cousin, Ignazio, teaching Greek Latin...and no running water.
"Minchia", what fun could it possibly be to attend this school? And why do I have to be badgered into signing up for the "Northern League" political party before I can sign up for the archery team? What could the punishment be? Staying after school to clean up the cafeteria?
Fascism, xenophobia, immigrant issues..."porca vacca", who cares? I can't spell xenophobia let alone know what it is! I'm dealing with zits, out-of-control hormones, peer pressure, and trying to get laid!
"Vaffanculo", who needs the aggravation. I want to go home, smoke pot, and daydream.