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Italy - page 3

A category on Italy for english-speaking readers.

Italian Minister Probed Over Former Terrorist

Italy

Rome prosecutors are probing Welfare Minister Paolo Ferrero of the Communist Refoundation Party in connection with his controversial nomination of a former Red Brigade terrorist as part of a government advisory panel on drugs.

Ferrero has already annulled the appointment of Susanna Ronconi and the minister himself revealed on Thursday that prosecutors were looking into the nomination which enraged right-wingers in parliament.

Although he had initially defended the choice of Ronconi, he said legal advisors had judged the nomination illegitimate because she has been banned from public office.

Sources at the welfare ministry confirmed on Friday that prosecutors have sent Ferrero formal notice that he is being investigated. Under Italian law this does not necessarily mean he will be prosecuted. The probe aims to establish whether the minister can be charged with abuse of office.

Details of the case have been given to the Tribunal of Ministers, the only body which can carry out full investigations involving members of the government.

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A Greener Country

Italy

Pressure groups from around Naples protested in Rome last Wednesday against the illegal dumping by Mafia-controlled businesses of millions of tons of toxic waste that they say is to blame for a rise in the number of tumours among local residents. Environmentalists, doctors and local officials from what has come to be known as the “Triangle of Death” gathered outside the Senate (a few hours before Prodi’s government fall) to voice their anger at the government, which was criticized for not doing enough to resolve the prolonged crisis. “We have been screaming for years now and we have obtained nothing. Officials are simply ignoring us”, said Alex Zanotelli, a local priest.

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A notable exception

Italy

A resurgent Red Brigades group smashed earlier this week was ready to strike using automatic weapons and fake police uniforms, Italian officials said on Thursday.
The arms cache discovered Wednesday near Padua, officials said, included a kalashnikov, an Uzi, three hand guns, bulletproof vests and fake uniforms. It showed the “operational efficiency the group had reached and the danger they posed,” the government said. “It was the complete equipment needed to carry out any kind of attack,” police said.

Those arrested are accused of organising a “terrorist association constituting an armed group”. Calling itself the Political-Military Communist Party (PCPM), the group adhered to the “second position”, the so-called “movimentista” faction, of the Red Brigades (BR). The group’s members were split into three cells in Milan, Padua and Turin. Among items seized by police were the weapons they used for shooting practice in the countryside near Rovigo and Milan. Eight of those arrested are CGIL trade unionists, one of whom is believed to be the leader of the Turin cell.
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The People’s Republic of Italy

Italy

One count of wilful murder and two of attempted murder in the context of a political crime against the Republic of Italy are the charges faced by Mario Lozano, the american soldier who, on the evening of 4 March 2005 on the road to Baghdad airport, killed Nicola Calipari, a SISMI (italian military secret service) officer, that was bringing home far-left Manifesto journalist Giuliana Sgrena, freed after a long period of captivity in the hands of Islamic terrorists. Also injured in the same incident was the driver of the Toyota Corolla used by the Italian secret service agents, Carabinieri Major Andrea Carpani.

Predictably, the Pentagon ruled out any possibility that Mario Lozano might be extradited or otherwise put at the disposal of Italian investigators for the trial over the death of SISMI officer Nicola Calipari. For the Department of Defense, the conclusions of the military probe into Nicola Calipari’s death are still valid and no further action is necessary against the soldiers at the Baghdad checkpoint. This is the official Pentagon reply to the decision by the preliminary hearing magistrate in Rome. The Department of Defense pointed out that it is the responsibility of other parts of the American government, specifically the State Department, to discuss the matter with the Italian authorities. In international cases involving American troops, the Department of Justice and State Department are responsible for assisting the soldiers. The Pentagon had never intentionally revealed the identity of the soldiers at the checkpoint where Calipari was killed on 4 March 2005 and for that reason refused to talk about Lozano’s current duties.

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Chavez, the model

Italy/World

Venezuela’s National Assembly granted President Hugo Chavez unprecedented power to rule by decree on Wednesday, vastly increasing his authority to move forward on his leftist agenda in every area of the country’s life from the oil industry to telecommunications to banking.

Chavez was given the special powers for 18 months by a legislature fully controlled by his party and a handful of allies. The lawmakers took their celebratory vote under the open air and tropical blue skies of Caracas’s main square, Plaza Bolivar, where ordinary Venezuelans also gathered.

National Assembly Speaker Cilia Flores asked for a show of hands from dozens of government supporters congregated below the statue of Venezuelan and Latin American independence hero Simon Bolivar. “Approved unanimously, with the vote of the people”, she proclaimed.

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From Multiculturalism to Integration

Italy/World

After 30 years of believing that multiculturalism had the power to hold their settler society together Australians are losing faith in what was always a tangled concept and are returning to the simpler formula of integration.
“We have moved from scepticism to disenchantment”, said ruling Liberal Party luminary Peter Coleman. “It has now sunk in that some immigrants and their children, many of whom know us well enough, profoundly despise our way of life and even consider themselves at war with it.”

As if on cue, 150 Serb and Croat youths provided further grounds for disenchantment by getting themselves thrown out of the tennis Open in Melbourne for fighting each other in a reprise of the 1990s Balkan Wars.

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Mr.Prodi’s Wonderful World

Italy

Speaking at the traditional end-of-the-year press conference, Romano Prodi, our Prime Minister, said the next step for his government will be to adopt structural reforms and for these Italy needed “courage, unity and generosity…qualities which everyone must demonstrate: the majority and the opposition”.

Commenting on his coalition, which has a razor-thin majority in the Senate, Prodi observed that “we won with this majority and this majority is capable of making decisions now and in the future”.
Prodi then recalled how Winston Churchill once said that a majority of two votes means there was one extra.

Very interesting remarks, in our opinion. Actually, Mr.Prodi omits to say that in the Upper House, the Senate, his government very often bases his survival (especially in confidence votes) on senators for life, who are not elected by the people, but this is a minor detail, we guess. Mr.Prodi also likes to stress that just a one-vote lead is enough to rule. Right, we agree. But, when he was the minority leader, he always complained that the country was torn and on the brink of a “cold civil war”.

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Mafia? What’s mafia?

Italy

Although murders in Naples may get the most news coverage, there are more homicides in Milan than the city by the bay, according to Justice Minister Clemente Mastella.
In an appearance Tuesday before a joint session of the Senate justice and constitutional affairs committees to report on the effects of the recent prisoner pardon which has drawn sharp criticism despite being approved in July with cross-party votes, the minister said there were 27 homicides in Milan between August and October of this year, compared to 23 in Naples. Mastella, a self-styled champion of Italy’s southern Mezzogiorno region, added that for the first nine months of the year the number of murders in Milan totalled 103 compared to 75 for Naples.

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