"Buona giornata!" Welcome to the only news organization that still believes fascism was meant as a practical joke, "Only In Italy!"
Thanks once again for subscribing.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Naples - October 8, 2008 - Citizens of Naples rushed to the phones Wednesday after hearing a mighty bang over the city that lies in the shadow of Vesuvius. Switchboards were jammed at the city's eruption hotline until it said the sleeping giant had nothing to do with the noise.
The bang, which was heard across the Naples area and out to sea, was caused by two Italian fighter jets racing to intercept an unidentified intruder. The sonic boom came as the F16s broke the sound barrier to draw level with the plane and check its credentials. As the city drew a huge breath of relief, the now-cleared Austrian plane continued its flight home from an aid mission in Chad.
Naples occasionally goes through scares about its famous volcano.
The last major fright came in August 2007 after US magazine National Geographic claimed that current evacuation plans wouldn't get people out in time if "the world's most dangerous volcano" blew its stack like it did in 79 AD, burying Pompeii.
Entitled Vesuvius, Asleep for Now, the report claimed that evacuation plans were not sufficiently up-to-date. The city's anxiety levels fell after Vesuvius watchers issued a comprehensive denial.
In recent years, Naples officials have repeatedly played down reports that Vesuvius might be set to blow. Top vulcanologist Franco Barberi recently said that even in the worst-case scenario, Naples' evacuation plan would enable the threatened populace to be smoothly evacuated.
Italy has created simulations of all possible kinds of eruptions, Barberi said.
Recent eruption forecasts have varied, saying the dormant volcano could slumber on for decades or centuries. Around a million people currently live and work around Vesuvius and at the current rate of expansion this could swell by a further 200,000 by 2016.
In 2003 authorities in Naples started offering people living on the volcano's slopes hefty cash incentives to move away. So far there have been few takers.
Vesuvius has erupted about three dozen times since it buried the Ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing about 2,000 people. The most serious blast killed some 4,000 people in 1631."Porca di quella vacca", my wallet is gone, my scooter is gone, my TV is gone, my watch is gone, my daughter is gone...and so is my wife! Oh, wait...what was that bang? Vesuvius or my head exploding?!
"Holy cazzo", How can you have the nerve to panic and call a city hotline over that sweet little volcano? It's the tamest thing in that city.
Has anyone ever been to Naples? It's not even part of Italy anymore.
Meanwhile, you're living in a city where people say, "Ah, excuse me, bella. I'm going out to get the mail...cover me!
Naples is far more menacing than other large Italian cities; certainly in a league of its own crime-wise and it has a disturbingly third world feel to it with kids riding scooters, shotgun style.
Should we mention the lovely Napolitani? A tenderhearted race of people with women yelling constantly with food in their mouths and men scampering around with their shirts half-buttoned.
"The bang, which was heard across the Naples area and out to sea, was caused by two Italian fighter jets racing to intercept an unidentified intruder." The Napolitanos should have hoped they were flying in to wipe out a few "Camorra" hideouts.
Rome - October 9, 2008 - Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday launched a drive to stamp out corruption in the civil service.
The premier said Italy had a longstanding problem with corruption among civil servants, partly because of the size of its state administration.
"There is a price to be paid for a sprawling, bureaucratic and bloated public administration like ours," he said, unveiling a new anti-corruption task force.
"Corruption has age-old roots and has taken on a pathological and endemic form which cannot be tolerated and which we aim to root out," the premier told a news conference with Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta. Berlusconi said the government's new Anti-Corruption and Transparency Service would aim, among other things, to "effectively map out corruptions risks and carry out an in-depth probe into European Union funds".
He said the task force would have an "intelligence-gathering rather than policing role" and would save millions of euros in taxpayers' money. It would seek to produce "a modernized, digitalized and transparent public administration," he said.
Berlusconi said he was familiar with the problems of administrative corruption because of his early experiences as a young construction entrepreneur in Milan.
He said he had to stop building in Milan "because you couldn't build anything (there) unless you went (to officials) with a check in your mouth".
"This, fortunately, occurred many years ago," he added.
Berlusconi is relying on Brunetta to push through the kinds of reforms which have been announced by successive governments only to make little impact.
The feisty minister has already hit headlines for a campaign against "slackers".
Last week statistics were released showing that sick days were sharply down following Brunetta's move to cut pay for suspected malingerers.
Brunetta said the rate of absenteeism had been cut by 45% and "by the end of the year we will effectively have 50,000 more workers" without new hirings.
As part of the drive, Brunetta said turnstiles like those at soccer stadiums would be installed at his ministry to show when staff entered and left their offices.
Berlusconi quipped that news of the move had already produced a visible result. "The surrounding bars are already empty," he said.
Hey, you "grandissima faccia di culo", what Sicilian mountain do I have to move to get a simple identity card renewed?
"Buona Fortuna", asphalt head. A big problem for Italy's public sector is absenteeism, which, of course reduces efficiency and wastes taxpayers money. Absenteeism poses a problem even when state employees are present for most of them work in a comatose state. It can get quite frustrating to have your paperwork processed while you hear the wind whistling through their ears and watch that flustered and irritated look on their face.
Signore Brunetta, who is an economist, is considering a proposal to send senior public sector managers abroad for as long as six months. Supposedly, the idea of managers being sent abroad is so they may come across better ways in which to do things in Italy, and, of course, be able to teach those in other countries a thing or two. Of course, this exchange of ideas will be potentially very frightening!
Italian managers abroad:
"Get here by 8:30 am? What for?"
"An hour for lunch? What for?"
"The offices are open tomorrow? What for?"
"A weekly salary?" What for?"
Bergamo - October 10, 2008 - An Italian bank clerk became a bank robber after losing all his money on the stock market, police said Friday.
The 30-year-old man, identified as S.V., left his job in this northern Italian city last year and became a stick-up man after he lost some 70,000 euros on the Milan stock market. He was caught Thursday after kidnapping a bank employee and demanding a 70,000-euro ransom.
S.V. was arrested by a police officer who came to the pick-up dressed as the bank manager who was supposed to deliver the money.
The clerk-turned-robber confessed to four previous robberies which had not produced the results he expected. He had decided to make one last "throw of the dice" to make his money back, he said.
"It was supposed to be the last heist. I was banking on going to live in Africa".
"Oh, cornuto diavolo!" There goes my dream life in Somalia.
There's little probability S.V. is going to win the "Brightest Bank Teller" award.
Dominated by the government since the 1930s and long protected from almost any international competition, Italian banks became fat, lazy, and, in some cases, susceptible to pressure from politicians and organized crime. As a result, they have been left with the highest cost structure and lowest profitability in Europe.
With time, crafty and shifty Italian bank tellers obtain a certain "inside knowledge" on how Italy's banking system really operates. Had he heeded the old proverb, "chi va piano va sano e va lontano" (he who goes slowly goes far and surely), he could have utilized this knowledge to recuperate his market losses. (Hint-hint, jackass: dormant bank accounts)
"The clerk-turned-robber confessed to four previous robberies which had not produced the results he expected." FAIL: Robs four banks and still misses the mark.
"He was caught Thursday after kidnapping a bank employee and demanding a 70,000-euro ransom." FAIL: An Italian bank teller who thinks his fellow colleagues are worth 70,000 Euros.
You want sympathy from us, S.V.?
Fact: Italian banks charge "much higher" fees for checking accounts than in the rest of Europe. The average annual cost for an account in Europe's fourth-largest economy is 182 euros, compared with 35 in the Netherlands, 65 in Belgium, 99 in France and 108 in Spain.
"Porca miseria!" For 182 Euros, we should get an espresso and a cornetto served by the bank manager every time we drop by.