Tag Archive: Italy

A year ago today, about 360 migrants died in a shipwreck off the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean. Although one of many similar cases involving migrants trying to reach Europe, the many fatalities brought unprecedented expressions of solidarity, as well as demands for political solutions that would better protect lives.

While those who died where granted Italian citizenship before burial, those who survived were liable to face criminal charges on grounds of irregular entry—triggering an overdue debate on the criminalisation of undocumented migrants in Europe. “Lampedusa” became synonymous with the failings of the EU’s common migration and asylum policy, sparking a debate among policy-makers, civil society and the wider public. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-J5 – Michael’s Blog


On the outskirts of Rome along the ancient Catholic pilgrim route known as the Via Francigena and not far from a giant shopping center featuring a massive IKEA and the French do-it-yourself Mecca called Leroy Merlin, cranes are hoisting giant spires onto the top of a Baroque-revival-style church. But unlike most of the religious edifices erected in Catholic Rome, this Roman temple is being built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) of Italy to accommodate a congregation that has grown from 9,000 to nearly 30,000 followers in less than 30 years.

The Rome Temple Complex of the LDS sits on 15 acres and will feature lush gardens, and a 40,000-square-foot temple with floor and ceiling designs to mimic Michelangelo’s Capitoline Hill plaza overlooking the Roman forum. Marble from Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Brazil is being used to decorate the interior and exterior spaces. The grounds will also include a stake center meeting house (a stake being roughly similar to a Catholic diocese), a visitor center, a family history library and a special Mormon-only hotel for workers and worshippers. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-HU – Michael’s Blog

Asking senators to vote for their own abolition was always going to be a tough mission – even for the ever-confident Matteo Renzi.

So it is hardly surprising that the Italian prime minister’s flagship reform bill – on which he has staked his career – has run into a few little problems in the upper house of parliament. 7,850 of them, to be precise.

Opponents to the proposals – which would see the senate stripped of many of its powers and become a much smaller, unelected regional chamber – have tabled nearly 8,000 amendments which they want debated before the upper house moves to a first reading vote. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-hw – Michael’s Blog

Italian regulators have slapped Google with stricter regulations that should change how the company stores and collects user data, a move that closes out a year-long European investigation into Google’s privacy practices, Reuters reported.

The new regulations mean Google will need consent before tracking people’s data and using it for advertising. Google must also delete users’ data every two months. The Internet giant has until September to submit a plan detailing how it will comply with the new rules within the next 18 months. If it fails to meet the new standards, the company could face fines upwards of $1.35 million (1 million euros) if it doesn’t make the changes. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-hj – Michael’s Blog

Matteo Renzi breezes through the gilded wooden doors in jeans, D’Acquasparta trainers and rolled-up shirt sleeves. “Today, I am tie-less,” he announces, disingenuously apologetic, perhaps, for a man with a much-photographed leather jacket.
Dress-down Friday?… – https://michaelvolkmann.com/2014/05/31/matteo-renzi-italy-can-be-a-leader-in-europe-the-guardian/ – Michael’s Blog

European Union


They come seeking refuge, but when asylum seekers cross into the European Union, they often find little compassion. In Greece, they are held in squalid detention camps, while in Italy they often end up on the street. Here is what they face at entry points across the EU.


They know they are putting their lives at risk. Nevertheless, many people board ramshackle watercraft and set sail from the coast of Africa in the hope of a better life in Europe.

While a few years ago it was predominately North African migrants coming to Italy in search of work, today it is often refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia who are fleeing chaos and violence in their countries. The number of asylum applications in Europe has sharply increased in the past six years. [Read the full article]


Coastline of Lampedusa


She was already lying on the jetty on Lampedusa, seemingly lifeless among dozens of corpses. But then someone noticed she was still breathing. Instead of being placed in a zinc coffin like so many others, she was quickly airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Palermo.

It is still unclear whether the unidentified woman from Eritrea, who is about 20, can be saved. If she is, she will be one of about 150 survivors of a tragedy that unfolded at approximately 4 a.m. last Thursday near Isola dei Conigli, or Rabbit Island, off the coast of Lampedusa when a ship that had sailed from the Libyan city of Misrata with about 500 refugees on board caught fire and sank. At least 181 lost their lives within sight of Italy, which they viewed as a promised land. More than 100 are still believed missing, as divers and the Italian coast guard battle high seas and strong winds in their recovery efforts. [Read the full article]


Rainbow flag (LGBT movement) LGBT (lesbian, ga...

Sometimes it really does suck to be gay. In addition to the usual hard work – the recruiting of innocents, the destruction of the institution of marriage, compulsory brunch – there’s been an unusually high volume of international bigotry and bad news to put up with this week.

Take the recent diss from Guido Barilla, the chairman of his family’s famous pasta company. He announced on air that he would never feature a gay family in one of Barilla’s ads. Clearly unaware that gay people can actually hear what he says on the radio, Barilla added that he had “no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose.” He then encouraged those of us who found his statements offensive to eat another brand. [Read the full article]

English: Silvio Berlusconi in a meeting with J...


For the first time, Silvio Berlusconi is threatened with a legally binding conviction. Italy’s highest court is due to rule this week on the former premier’s tax fraud verdict. It could finally mean an end to the magnate’s political career — and spell serious trouble for the fragile governing coalition.

Silvio Berlusconi is already rehearsing the role of martyr. “If they convict me, I won’t go into exile,” he told Il Libero, a conservative newspaper that is sympathetic to the former prime minister. He said he was innocent, but that he would not apply for house arrest: “If I am convicted, I’m going to prison,” said the four-time premier, media mogul and multi-billionaire. [Read the full article]



English: Silvio Berlusconi in a meeting França...

Italy’s supreme court is due to consider Silvio Berlusconi’s final appeal against a tax fraud conviction which, if upheld, could see him barred from public office for five years and play havoc within the fragile coalition government.

In the most important legal verdict the former prime minister has pending, the court of cassation is scheduled to decide on Tuesday whether or not to confirm the convictions of two lower courts which have already found Berlusconi guilty of the charges – first in October last year and then again in May. [Read the full article]

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