More Articles See All →
Time Left - 54 Days, 11 Hours
Pietre Bianchi B & B
Time Left - 53 Days, 11 Hours
Uliveto Secolare B & B
Time Left - 53 Days, 11 Hours
Under New Management Il Buon Gustaio
Time Left - 48 Days, 14 Hours
Packing Boxes Wanted
Time Left - 32 Days, 23 Hours
Child Car Seat
Time Left - 47 Days, 21 Hours
300Sq Metre Villa In Countryside
Time Left - 47 Days, 18 Hours
Satellite Dish 120 Cm Etc
Time Left - 15 Days, 18 Hours
View Other Content
Welcome to Puglia Life - The Puglia lifestyle site.
To purchase goods or advertise in the classified section you must be a member.
If you would like to contribute articles, stories or recommendations to help others enjoy their Puglia lifestyle please feel free to publish them here.
This is a community site aimed at providing people living in Puglia with up to date information, offers, news & events.
We have started negotiating special discounts for members of puglialife.com and I am pleased to announce that we have agreed a discount of 10% off all purchases over a certain price bracket with some of our local suppliers. We will keep the forum updated as more and more stores agree to this attractive offer.
There is a thread in the forum showing which stores and what products they sell and of course how to claim your discount. Definitely worth checking on a weekly basis.
This isn't intended to be a rant or a moan......this is just an article stating some simple facts that have affected our lives here in Puglia.
Before, in the good old days........when there were those lovely BIG silver bins......recycling bottles, cans, plastic and card seemed so simple.......
Rubbish.... genuine stuff that were left overs.....etc etc went in your normal indoor bin....in a black sack....then dumped into the Silver Bins......SIMPLE......anything that got recycled.....into another bin (with a plastic bag) and taken down (when you could be bothered) to get put into respective recycle bins in town.
NOW......with the ECO warriors remit of...... recycle everything..... where the heck do you put it all..... We have 2 bins provide to us by the comune......one of them is a magic bin because on Mondays it can hold weird stuff like batteries and video cassettes....on the first Tuesday it can hold Tin cans and plastic.........and on Wednesday it can hold Card......its a Tardis..........not only that.....and I guess even worse is where do you keep all the recycle stuff in the house......No way was the intention of the Comune to put those horrific bins in your house so you have to store the crap somewhere before it goes out....so we now have to have a bin for each of the other bins and empty those into the outside bins daily........and as for the "organic" waste........that is either going to be an ideal place for flies to breed or attract rats....neither prospect is welcome....
So now.......when shopping.....we look at each product in a different light......how much crap have I got to get rid of once we have finished with it.........
Far from making us more Eco friendly.....it has turned us into....can we burn this....monsters..........the object of the Comune is to limit pollution and land fill.....what they are creating is a monster that is polluting the ozone layer.......
As with lots of these things....the intention is right.....its the implementation that sucks.....
Bring back the Silver Bins.................encourage us to recycle.......levy fines on producers and manufacturers who use excessive packaging........do something constructive not destructive..........
I’m sure you’ll have seen the results of the Italian elections: no real winner but we most definitely have a loser, the outgoing Prime Minister. What’s making the markets gyrate like a yo yo though is that there’s now a combination of two things. Firstly, that the defiantly pro-euro and pro-European Union technocrats have very definitely been defeated and secondly, that is the only one of the financially troubled member nations that actually has the economic power to tell the EU where to go. If it should so wish to of course. This is because the country runs a primary surplus.
There were essentially four parties in this election (like everything in official Italy it is more complex than this but it’s a reasonable enough simplification here). Mario Monti, the outgoing Prime Minister and is friends. These are the guys who are, to adapt Paul Krugman, the very serious people. The European Project is terribly important, nothing must disrupt the euro and if this means recession to the point of depression in Italy well, so be it. These are the people who lost, heavily.
Then there’s Bersoni and his friends, centre leftish and quite, but not totally, tied to that EU course of action. They managed to blow a 10 point lead in the last couple of weeks of the election. Over on the right there’s Berlusconi: an interesting man really. A self-made billionaire who owns most of the country’s media, he’s been convicted of tax evasion and is currently on trial for sexual offences (contrary to what some papers have been saying, no, not for underage sex. The particular case is that the girl was over the age of consent, but that the arrangement was a financial one, and she wasn’t over the age of consent to accept money but was over the age to do it for free). Berlusconi, given that he was kicked out of the Prime Minister’s office in favour of Monti by the EU in what was certainly reminiscent of a coup d’etat is not, as you might imagine, all that much in favour of the continuing economic austerity to save the euro.
And then there’s Beppe Grillo. An accountant turned comic he has campaigned on the (possibly valid it has to be said) grounds that the rest of them are all crooks and it’s time to clean up politics. This blog does have a soft spot for him given that he’s used this blog as evidence of one of his contentions. Grillo is very definitely anti-EU. Or not necessarily the EU itself, but the manifestation of it which is endless austerity to save the euro. He would, very sensibly in my mind, drop that currency and go back to the Lira.
And the outcome of the election is that no one has a proper majority but we can still say this:-
Which is rather a problem for those insisting that there is no alternative to the austerity to save the euro. For Italy there is an alternative, for they are running a primary surplus.
Apologies, a necessary piece of economic geekery here:- think we all know what a national deficit is: when the government is spending more than it collects in taxes. Thus it must borrow to cover the money it is spending. But these deficits come in two types: the normal one and a primary one. The normal one includes all the interest that must be paid on those accumulated past deficits (of the national debt as it is known). The primary one does not include that interest. Now, if you’re way over your head in debt one way to deal with it is simply to go bankrupt. Countries cannot do that but they can default. And they really can: it’s happened some 800 times in modern history. However, if you’re running a primary deficit this doesn’t help you very much. Because you’ve still got to go out and borrow money to pay for government: because government is still spending more than it is collecting in taxes. And borrowing money immediately after you’ve just left all your creditors in the lurch is, umm, shall we say difficult? In which case you’re going to have to either raise taxes or cut spending very sharply: but it’s just that austerity that you’ve defaulted to avoid. So there’s not all that much point in it.
However, here’s where it becomes dangerous. If you’re running a primary surplus but still a normal deficit: you can get rid of your deficit by renouncing that past debt. You don’t have to raise taxes and cut spending. Because you’re no longer paying that interest you might even be able to lower taxes and raise spending having rejected debt repayments. And that’s the theoretical position that finds itself in.
The only reason Italy has austerity is to repay that past debt interest. If they didn’t have to do that then they could indeed have some fiscal stimulus and remove a lot of that economic pain. This is very different from Greece, Ireland, Spain and so on who simply did not have this room for maneuver. And as above, over half the voters have just voted anti-EU. Meaning anti-euro and likely in favour of bringing back the lira.If you are one of those that insists that Europe must move to ever closer union then this is really a rather scary moment. If Italy left the euro then it really all would be over. And the thing is, some half of the voters seem to want it and much more scary, Italy could in fact do it without a severe depression. Indeed, the economy would probably boom if it did leave the eurozone.
If you’re like me, someone who thought the euro was a bad idea all along, then this is interesting, not scary.
Sadly though, I don’t think that anything is going to happen immediately. As there’s no clear victor of the election the general consensus is that there will be another one along real soon now. In which I will be hoping for a Grillo victory, even if those who support the EU will be fervently praying that doesn’t happen.
A violent storm hit a troubled ILVA steel plant in southern Italy, injuring around 20 workers, leaving one missing and adding to disruption at the huge site, which is already caught up in a widening pollution scandal.
The tornado rolled off the sea and hit the port city of Taranto, bringing down a chimney stack and damaging a warehouse and lighthouse at the factory's docks, the company said in a statement.
Video shot by university student Daniele Carbotti with his mobile phone from the balcony of his house shows the progress of the tornado and a bright explosion at its passage.
"Something never seen before in Taranto" Carbotti's voice is heard in the video as the large tornado advances.
"Jesus Christ. It must have ripped out a light pole ...' Carbotti adds, commenting the explosion.
Divers were searching for a worker who was unaccounted for after a dockside crane collapsed. Three others on the crane were rescued.
Three people are facing charges in connection with the death of a young woman following a food allergy test at a private medical clinic in her home town of Barletta in the southern region of Puglia.
The suspects are gastroenterologist Ruggero Spinazzola, Anthony Kelly Fimbar, director of Mistral Laboratory Chemicals based in Antrim, Northern Ireland, and Shauna McCormick, a company employee.
They are accused of aggravated manslaughter and injuries after causing the death of Teresa Sunna and seriously harming two others ''through autonomous and independent causal contributions'', the Trani prosecutor said on Friday at a press conference marking the official end of investigations.
Sunna, 29, died from poisoning on March 24 this year after being given sodium nitrite instead of sorbitol sweetener during a test to identify possible food allergies.
Two friends were taken to hospital in a serious condition after undergoing the same test.
The toxic substance had been purchased as sorbitol on the on-line sales website eBay after allegedly being mistakenly labelled at the Mistral plant in Northern Ireland.
In April a Trani preliminary investigations judge banned Spinazzola from medical practice and impounded his clinic.
MPs working on the government's new budget bill in parliament said Friday they would be scrapping provisions to reduce public street lighting across the country in order to save money.
''It is the intention to cancel the measures for the 'dark skies' operation,'' said Pier Paolo Baretta of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Renato Brunetta of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) following a meeting with Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli.
''It is likely that we will present an amendment before the end of the day''. Last month the House environment commission blocked the provision, instead agreeing to uphold measures concerning the upgrade or replacement of existing lighting systems in accordance with new energy-saving technologies.
The so-called Stability Law budget bill was approved by the government in mid October and it is now making its long journey through parliament.
To the layman it may seem a no brainer to switch off as much "public" lighting as possible - not only to save money but to reduce light polution.
Italy’s troubled economy is no longer in free fall thanks to Mario Monti and his band of technocrats. But soon the politicians will return to power and a crisis looms large.
Open almost any Italian newspaper these days and you’ll see one constant theme: doom and gloom about the country’s future. The downward momentum of Italy’s still stagnant economy has slowed—at least for now—but the larger problem appears to be political. The country’s establishment remains entrenched along old party lines on a host of issues—such as judicial and electoral reform—even though the nation is facing an entirely new set of problems pertaining to the crippling recession.
By the time voters go to the polls to elect a new president next spring, at least one of the major political parties will likely implode, analysts say, and those still standing will probably be weakened—that is—if anyone still wants to be president. Silvio Berlusconi, the ribald media baron and disgraced former president announced last week that he won’t run, calling the country “ungovernable.” (Never mind that judges also forbade him from holding public office for five years. And Mario Monti, who has the job right now, says he won’t run either, since politics would compromise his ability to do his job until then.
That might sound like an excuse, but it isn’t: Monti and his band of apolitical technocrats have been able to reign in the bevy of tax evaders and pass belt-tightening austerity measures precisely because they’re not facing reelection next spring. Monti was appointed as prime minister last November when Berlusconi lost a crucial confidence vote and resigned to a cheering populace that celebrated his ouster in the presidential palace piazza. Monti could be—and many say should be—reappointed if whoever wins decides to keep him on. But if it’s far from clear if any among the country’s circus of candidates will have the corragio to do the right thing. “Economically, the situation in Italy is slowly improving, with the emphasis on ‘slowly’—not on ‘improving,’” said Gianfranco Pasquino, a political science professor at John Hopkins University and the University of Bologna. “But politically, the situation is deteriorating.”
It may only get worse. The politicians will almost undoubtedly be back—whether the people want them or not. Berlusconi won’t be running, but predictably, he has vowed to keep his finger in politics with his primary goal being to thwart Monti’s brand of tough love. Berlusconi’s successor in the center-right Il Popolo della Libertà party (PDL) is Angelino Alfano, who never publicly stood up to the former president, and who may not be able to garner enough support to win the election. “The PDL seems in total disarray,” says Federigo Argentieri, professor of political science at John Cabot University in Rome. “But they could come up with a competitive candidate who would be neither the dominant Berlusconi nor the submissive Alfano.”
Monti could be—and many say should be—reappointed if whoever wins decides to keep him on.
That leaves the center-left, which if last weekend’s regional elections in Sicily are of any indication, has a good shot to take back control of the country. The center-left Partito Democratico (PD)—led by Pier Luigi Bersani, a man so uninspiring that his opponents have called him a “zombie”—would have the edge if national elections were held right now. His main obstacle is the charismatic mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, though the elders of the center-left have all but discounted Renzi, 37, as too young and inexperienced.
Spoiling the party, however, could be Beppe Grillo, whose his Five-Star Movement fared well in Sicily, winning nearly 19 percent of the vote. Grillo, a well-known and wildly eccentric comedian—think Jon Stewart meets Jack Black—has taken his comedic star-power to the political stage. The scruffy non-politician has captivated the country in recent months by turning his stand-up routines into political rallies in which he entertains the masses with anti-establishment propaganda. Some have likened his appeal—though not his platform—to Berlusconi, who used the same “bread and circuses” approach to distract voters who would prefer not to have to think about what’s really facing the country.
In 2007, Grillo organized a series of popular rallies to protest the political establishment, in which he is now dubiously embedded. Yet voting for Grillo—who does not actually want to be prime minister, but prefers to use his party support to knock down other leaders—is widely seen as a protest vote. Perhaps that’s why Grillo did so well in Sicily, where less than 50 percent of the voters turned out for the elections. “Italians are fed up, and Grillo expresses something many Italians feel,” says Pasquino. “But both abstaining and voting for Grillo send the same message.”
If no one wins a clear majority when Italians finally go to the polls, most outside the immediate political establishment agree that reappointing Monti is the best option to keep Italy on the right track, though few agree that any in the race right now would actually step aside and have the humility to appoint him. “It’s difficult to see someone as capable as Monti with the same credibility entering the arena,” says Pasquino. “When the politicians come back, anything could happen.”
Ryanair has been forced to apologise to Italians after a crew member on a flight to the southern city of Bari reportedly described it as the "the city of the mafia and St Nicholas" in an on-board announcement.
Outraged passengers, who had boarded the flight in Paris, wrote to the Irish company saying they felt the suggestion that Bari was a hotbed of mafia crime, even if meant as a joke, was offensive.
"I feel terribly offended by the ridiculous way that you treat your passengers," one woman wrote.
The crew member allegedly told passengers in English and French: "Welcome on board this Ryanair flight from Paris Beauvais to Bari, the city of the mafia and St Nicholas."
Bari is the regional capital of the region of Puglia, which is the heartland of the Sacra Corona Unita, the least known of Italy's four main mafia groups.
The mention of St Nicholas was a reference to San Nicola di Myra, a fourth century Greek saint who is buried in the city and became the model for Father Christmas.
Ryanair apologised for the remark reportedly made by the crew member.
Stephen McNamara, the head of communications, said the company "does not agree with these comments and will certainly address the problem with the employee concerned. Ryanair apologises for any offence it might have caused".
Italian tax collection agency Equitalia on Friday cancelled a hefty fine sent to a 12-year-old boy living in Fasano in connection with unpaid car tax dating to three years before he was born.
The fine amounting to 1,138.77 euros - was lifted "on receipt of a letter from the boy's father and subsequent checks that led to the discovery of the "mistake", Equitalia said in a statement.
The error occurred after the tax authorities incorrectly matched the boy's tax code to another person of the same name, the real owner of the car.
Italy's blighted south is heading for social and economic meltdown as a result of job losses, a massive exodus of people and "industrial desertification", according to an alarming new report.
Unemployment in the "Mezzogiorno" is around 25pc compared with the national average of 10pc, according to Svimez, a think tank on economic development for the region. Less than one in four women work, 147,000 jobs were lost between 2007 and 2011 and 1.35m southerners fled the region in the last decade in search of better opportunities. Many of them came from the region’s big cities, including Palermo and Catania in Sicily, Naples in Campania and Bari in Puglia. They headed for more prosperous parts of Italy, notably Rome, Milan and the Emilia Romagna region, a powerhouse of food production and medium-sized businesses.
Consumer spending in the south has been stagnant for the last four years and GDP per capita is around half of that in the wealthy north of Italy.
A string of bitter industrial disputes, involving a steel works in Puglia and a coal mine and aluminium plant in Sardinia, have focussed attention in recent weeks on the south’s industrial decline and lack of investment.
The sobering report was released as Mario Monti, the prime minister, tries to reassure Europe and the United States that Italy is no longer at risk from eurozone contagion and that the fundamentals of the economy are sound.
During a visit to New York, the former European Commissioner said he was “quite sure” that Italy would no longer be a source of turmoil in the eurozone.
If IMU tax was not paid within the statutory deadline, it is possible to pay late as follows:-
- Payment within 14 days from 18.06.2012 - IMU tax will have to be paid with a 0.2% penalty per day plus interest at the rate of 2.75%
- Payment within 30 days from 18.06.2012 - IMU tax will have to be paid with a 3% penalty plus interest at the rate of 2.75%
- Payment by 18.06.2013 - IMU tax will be payable with a 3.75% penalty plus interest at the rate of 2.75%.
These, I think are quite hefty fines especially for those who are non resident.......
I have been speaking to the comune about people with holiday homes and the difficulty they find themselves in to pay IMU from the UK. If they have somebody over here that is able to pay it for them then apparently if they fill in the F24 correctly and take it to the bank they will not need to produce the codice fiscale card of the person they are paying it on behalf of.
Italians and the Catholic Church are up in arms after the Government revealed it was considering cutting the number of public holidays to increase output as the country totters on the brink of a financial crisis.
According to the latest Finance Ministry figures, Italy's public debt has spiralled to more than £1tn, with family spending as well as exports down and gross domestic product forecast to drop 2%.
It means there appears to be no real end to the recession in sight until next summer at the earliest.
As a result, technocrat prime minister Mario Monti is considering cutting back on public holidays in a bid to increase growth after officials said even slashing days off by a working week would boost growth and raise GDP by as much as 1%.
Italy has a total of 11 recognised public holidays a year but unlike Britain these remain fixed and if they fall mid-week people traditionally take the days off either side as well in order to ''make a bridge'' until the weekend, which has drastic consequences on industrial output.
As well as the religious holidays around Christmas and Easter, Italy also celebrates the end of World War Two with Republic Day on June 2nd and Liberation Day on April 25th and May Day on May 1st - while individual cities such as Rome and Milan also have public days to mark their patron saint's days on June 29th and December 7th respectively.
Government officials, who are due to discuss the proposal next week, are said to be considering removing Boxing Day and the two military festivities from the public holiday calendar - much to the annoyance of the Church and veterans' groups as well as tourist board chiefs.
Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi also considered the idea before he stepped down from power last November but such was the outcry that he immediately dropped the proposal.
Mr Monti is a very different character and not so easily swayed as with his economics background he knows how important it is for the country to work in order to pull itself out of the economic crisis.
Sources say the Government will keep the ''main religious festivals such as Easter and Christmas'' but are looking at scrapping some of the secondary ones such as Boxing Day, Epiphany on January 6th and the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.
One idea drawn up by ministers Antonio Catricala and Antonio Polillo, from the Finance ministry, is to move them and the military holidays to the nearest Sunday so they will in effect still be celebrated but not on the specific date itself.
Polillo himself has said that by scrapping or moving five holidays production would increase by 1% and various key government ministries have been asked to look at the proposal and present their findings at a cabinet meeting next week.
He added:''I hope that this proposal is seriously considered because this would be one of the key ways of resolving the economic crisis.''
However an editorial in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian Catholic Bishops Conference, slammed the idea headlining its story on the proposal ''Don't touch our holidays.''
It added that the Government's proposal was ''in effect a steam roller powering through the calendar which for many Italians does not even contain Sundays any more,'' adding that ''civil and human richness in religious festivals was worth more than 1% of Gross Domestic Product'."
While the National Association of Italian Partisans said in a statement: ''We have no objection to citizens being asked to make sacrifices in what is a difficult time for the country but you cannot ask them to renounce history and the foundations of what our society is based on, that is too much.
''These holidays represent the best of our past, the values on which our Republic was founded on, they are in a word history and they should not be touched. You cannot tell us that there are no other ways of boosting productivity and increasing growth.
''The country should be left its history and it should be allowed to conserve its values, values that the majority of the country are fully supportive of, that is what we are asking the government to remember.''
Politicians from all parties were also against the idea with Armando Cirillo of the Democratic Left saying it was ''useless and dangerous'' as it would affect tourism and have a negative effect on the economy as a result.
While Alfredo Mantovano, from Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, said:''I really don't see how abolishing five holidays a year will resolve the situation in Italy. Besides, we are also talking about abolishing centuries of tradition.''
Forza Italia is heading back to the future with Silvio Berlusconi as its prime ministerial candidate. The Knight is “the only one who can stop Forza Italia from falling apart and attract to a new party those Centre-right voters who have yet to make their minds up or have drifted away, some of them to Grillo”. This sums up the roughly 3,000 pages of the survey coordinated by Alessandra Ghisleri which Euromedia Research has been carrying out on a weekly basis since February. The report is the key to Silvio Berlusconi’s decision to stand at the next election, as reported in yesterday’s Corriere della Sera.
Ms Ghisleri, could you explain the results revealed by the survey?
“The most significant results are in a table that sets out the three scenarios showing how much the People of Freedom (PDL) is ‘worth’ now and how much it could be worth in future. Obviously, these are voter catchment areas, not votes. They are possible scenarios”.
What are they?
“The first is a PDL with Angelino Alfano as party leader and Berlusconi off the political scene. In that case, the party wins a total of 8% to 12%. It’s not that Alfano’s candidature is weak but it would trigger personality-driven disruptions and the party would break up. The most pessimistic scenario would involve a proportional electoral law with a high election threshold”.
What’s the second case?
“Alfano as the prime ministerial candidate and Berlusconi as party chairman. This all but doubles the percentages with a spread ranging from 17% to 21%”.
But doesn’t the real surprise come in the third scenario?
“That’s right. A Berlusconi-Alfano ticket with a political project inspired by the origins of Forza Italia. The catchment here is more than 28%”.
So just under one in three Italians who cast a vote would still plump for the former PM?
“It means that Forza Italia represents a return to the future. There’s enthusiasm”.
How did you analyse the data?
“Several scenarios in relation to various possible electoral laws, and with other Centre-right parties in the frame”.
“Former National Alliance politicians, possible Santanchè, Stracquadanio and Brambilla-led groups and Cattaneo’s ‘Formatters’. Berlusconi is the only one who can prevent the party from fragmenting and would actually attract floating voters to the PDL”.
Are you absolutely sure of your figures?
“To use a Roman expression, ‘non do sòle’ [I don’t pull fast ones]”.
We all know that Mario Monti is not going to put himself forward to run in the next election, this could be because he doesn't want to be humiliated by the results or for other reasons who knows. But is Italy really ready for the return of Mr B? He will certainly have to maintain most of the austerity measures already in place and try to balance Italy's books....he will also need to give something back to the people....with nothing in the coffers this will be a hard thing to do.
Italy’s home sales may fall as much as 12 percent this year amid an economic recession and as prices fall for a fourth year, research institute Nomisma said.
Transactions may decrease this year to as low as 529,306, the lowest in at least 12 years, after dropping 20 percent in the first quarter, the Bologna-based institute said in a report today. Prices of new homes fell 1.8 percent in the first half and they are 11 percent lower than a 2008 peak, according to the study based on a survey of the 13 biggest cities in Italy.
“The deteriorating economic context, coupled with more selective borrowing conditions and the widespread expectations of a wider depreciation than already recorded are the main reasons for the new halt to the real estate market,” Nomisma said.
Recession-hit Italy may contract 2.4 percent this year amid rising unemployment and Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity measures weighing on consumer demand, employers’ lobby Confindustria forecasts. Home sales posted the biggest drop since data collection began in 2004 in the first quarter, a Finance Ministry agency said on June 19. A new property levy, marking the return of taxation on primary residences after four years, “won’t be an incentive for the market” in coming months, the Agenzia del Territorio said in that report.
I have seen a rapid rise in the amount of properties people are trying to offload as they feel the pinch from the austerity measures introduced by Mr Monti however it still seems to me that the prices are still fairly stable and its definitely a buyers market so if you are looking for a deal there are plenty of opportunities here for the would-be buyer.
Lending for homeowners in Italy plummeted 47 percent in the first quarter as banks raised rates and tightened credit standards, according to a July 9 study by credit bureau CRIF SpA, research group Prometeia and Assofin, a lenders’ association.
Even some leading employers are flinching at the human cost of the latest austerity measures of Mario Monti’s ‘technocratic’ government.
The country’s first UK-style spending review now heading for parliament will see big cuts to health expenditure and to the public-sector workforce as part of a 26 billion euros reduction in expenditure over the next three years.
Among the victims of Monti’s austerity madness will be 24,000 Italian civil servants who are set to lose their jobs.
And that’s on top of thousands more who could face the sack under labour market deregulation that makes it easier for companies to dismiss staff, in a country where already unemployment is over 10% and at over 30% among young people.
And then there’s the big increases in the cost of living and a decline in the quality of essential public services imposed through an austerity package of tax hikes and spending cuts in December.
Things are so bad that Italians, who rightly love their food, are cutting back on both the quantity and quality of what they eat and are being forced in increasing numbers to shop at discount supermarkets.
Now, whether its out of genuine brotherly feelings towards their fellow Italians, or more likely fears that these measures risk deepening and prolonging the country’s fourth recession since 2001, and thus undermining profits, the fact is Monti’s market fundamentalism is making some business leaders twitchy.
And that includes non other than the leader of industrial employers’ confederation Confindustria, Giorgio Squinzi. The prime minister, he said at a conference on Saturday, was running the risk of committing ‘social butchery’.
Some Confindustria members such as Ferrari Chairman and former Confindustria head Luca Cordero di Montezemolo have distanced themselves from Squinzi’s comments, perhaps because ‘social butchery’ is a phrase borrowed from Italy’s trade unions.
But such as the scale of the damage being inflicted on Italian society by the former European Commissioner that unions, in their bid to stop this austerity madness, may be increasingly finding themselves on the same side as their traditional industrial foes.
The extraordinary high temperatures recorded in recent days in southern Italy caused poor fruit production above all for tomatoes, particularly in the Puglia region. The crop could be reduced by 20-25%. Also water shortages could affect the campaign.
This was revealed by the president of Foggia’s Confcooperative Giorgio Mercuri, who explained: “The tomato is a plant with significant temperature requirements: a minimum temperature of 20 ° C is necessary for flowering, rising to 25-28C ° in the phases of fruit growth and development. In case of higher temperatures, the tomato plant continues to grow, but with less fruits”.
“The estimated damage is for a smaller crop by 20-25 percent”, Mercuri added. “Over the last ten days of June temperatures were much higher than the ideal ones, which resulted in a very poor fruit yield. If in the coming days temperatures were to reach even 40 degrees, the damage could even increase”.
Besides the heat emergency that is endangering the tomato crop, also water shortages due to the yields reduction in the soil aquifers are affecting the cultivations. “What should be a good campaign for tomatoes - Mercuri concludes - is turning out to be the less productive campaign for the Province of Foggia since long times”.
A NEW Waste Service?
The new local tax (RES) which is set to replace Tarsu and Tia will hit all owners for the service delivery of waste collection and other municipal services.
RES (Tributo Comunale sui rifiuti e sui servizi) will replace TARSU and TIA from 1st January 2013.
This is a new tax which will be levied by the local authorities, to cover the cost of the refuse collection and disposal, and other services provided to the general public on a local basis.
This tax will be payable by anyone in the relevant district (Comune), and will be applied on the surface area of the relevant property/building or area.
Local authorities are required to issue implementing regulations, to levy a charge in line with all the refuse collection and disposal costs from each property in the area, adding a further amount (0.30 Euro per sq. metre) to cover the costs of other “indivisible” services supplied to the local community in general.
A reduced refuse collection tax will be payable, in areas where there is no refuse collection as such.
A limited number of exemptions / reductions can be introduced under the new rules. It is clear that this legislation will result in a substantial increase of the current charges.
Under the "NEW" government guidelines they are empowering local comunes to fight hard against "tax evaders" and as an incentive are giving a percentage of whatever the comune retrieves back into their coffers.
There is also a new legislation coming through....the registration of farm buildings - All farm buildings whether used for residential accommodation or for other purposes, currently listed in the “farm land registry” (Catasto Terreni) will have to be re-registered in the new Land Registry (Catasto Edilizio Urbano) by 30th November 2012. This will result in anew land registry taxable values being assessed and determined.
There is clear indication that the Italian land registry (Catasto) is due for a complete revision and substantial reform. It was established in 1939 to assess taxable income of properties, it was later adapted to provide capital values of the same properties.
As we understand it the Government is going to CAP the amount local comunes are able to charge with discounts for families who do not have immediate access to local services for example, no street lights, no mains water, no refuse bins and no street sweepers.........
I have to say this is one of my pet hates......we live out in the countryside and have to drive at least 2.5km to dump our rubbish ....no street lights or any other services...I don't disagree to contributing to local services but it has to be proportional to the services you actually "enjoy".
William Hill are offering odds of 3/1 that the Euro will cease to exist as a currency by the end of 2012, having at one staged offered odds of 10/1 about that happening.
'It has been one way traffic in our market on whether the Euro will survive until 2013, with punters only wanting to bet on its demise' said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.
And Hills are betting on which will be the first country to pull out of the Euro, quoting Greece as hot favourites at 1/ 4, with Italy 7/2 favourites. 'If one country is going to start the domino effect we're betting it will be Greece' added Sharpe.
Meanwhile, Hills also believe that Nicola Sarkozy is unlikely to win the forthcoming French Presidential Election, making him 7/4 second favourite with rival Francois Hollande the 4/9 odds-on favourite.
Foreign worker living legally in Italy
Before you begin working for a new employer, the employer must make obligatory notification of hiring to the authorities. There are serious sanctions for failing to do this.
First of all, there is an administrative fine ranging from 200 to 500 Euros for failing to notify the authorities of the hiring, change in working conditions or termination of work relationship. This fine is imposed by the Provincial Labour Department.
In the recent years the government has increased sanctions against undeclared work. Law Number 248/2006 introduced a maxi-fine for the use of undeclared work. Under this law, the use of undeclared work is punishable by an administrative fine ranging from 1,500 to 12,000 Euros, which is increased by 150 Euros for each day of undeclared work ascertained.
On top of this, you have to add the fine of at least 3,000 Euros imposed by the Italian National Social Security Institute (INPS) regardless of the duration of the work relationship.
Let’s work out an example. If an employer has failed to notify the authorities that he has had a domestic worker for a year, working for five days a week, if he was caught, he may end up paying a fine of 42,000 Euros (150 Euros x 260 days = 39,000 Euros + 3,000 Euros).
Foreign worker in Italy illegally
A different rule applies in case the domestic worker is living in Italy illegally. The above fines are not applicable but the employer risks a criminal conviction.
According to Law 286/98, an employer of illegal immigrants risks a prison sentence ranging from six months to six years, and a fine of 5,000 Euros for each worker. This is applicable whether the foreign worker has been in Italy illegally throughout, had a permit which was cancelled, or expired but they failed to apply for its renewal.
OK, not at all to do with Puglia but a very interesting article just the same so I thought I would share this with you.......
Two Nigerians living in Luton who stole the identity of a dead British man have been jailed.
Finest Ifeanyi Arojie, 43, illegally entered the UK in 2005. The following year he obtained a copy of the birth certificate of a British man, James Samuel Walters, who died in New York in 1989.
In 2007 Arojie used the birth certificate to obtain a British passport in Mr. Walters' identity, stating that he had lost his previous passport. There was no record of Mr. Walters' death because it occurred outside the UK.
Arojie then used his fake British identity to gain employment as a forklift driver in Dunstable in July 2008.
In April 2009 Arojie sponsored the entry to the UK of a man claiming to be his 16-year-old son and calling himself Bright Walters. The pair lived at Old Bedford Road, Luton.
The scam started to unravel in December 2011 when UK Border Agency officers interviewed a woman who claimed that she had been approached about taking part in a sham marriage by an African man using the name James Samuel Walters.
The officers discovered that Walters was in Nigeria attempting to obtain visa for two children to reside in the UK. As a result of this investigation, both of these visas were refused.
On 16th December 2011, Arojie, who was travelling using the Walters’ passport, was stopped as he arrived at Heathrow airport.
On 11th January 2012 Bright Walters was arrested at his home address, where officers also found his British passport.
Bright Walters was charged with obtaining leave to enter or remain in the UK by deception and possession of a false identity document and remanded in custody.
Arojie was charged with seven offences including fraud and conspiracy to facilitate a breach of the UK's immigration laws.
Further investigations revealed that Bright Walters' real identity was Goodness Iroro Sokoh and that his true age was 24. Walters disputes this.
Arojie and Walters were convicted on 1st June 2012 following a week-long trial at Luton crown court. On 15th June, Arojie was sentenced to two years and eight months while Walters was jailed for 12 months.
The UK Border Agency said they’ll work to deport the fraudsters after they have served their sentences.
“Finest Arojie coldly took on the identity of a deceased British citizen to live and work illegally in the UK and to illicitly bring another man into the country,” Ian Williams, UK Border Agency said. “His callous crime showed no respect to the late Mr. Walters or his family. It was a cruel act motivated by pure self-interest and I am pleased that we have been able to bring him before the courts.”
Miss Mondo, vince la siciliana
È siciliana la nuova Miss Mondo Italia, si chiama Jessica Bellingheri, ha 23 anni ed È arrivata da Messina, anche se ha origini calabresi (infatti concorreva per la Calabria). A Gallipoli, sabato notte, È stata “incoronata” dal presidente della giuria Aldo Biscardi. Ancora una ragazza del sud, quindi, dopo Tania Bambaci. Jessica rappresenterà l’Italia a Miss World, in programma il prossimo 19 agosto, a Ordos in Cina.
La serata gallipolina che ha concluso la manifestazione governata dal patron Antonio Marzano, È stata condotta da Sofia Bruscoli e Marco Liorni: uno spettacolo ricco e vario, ideato dalla direttrice artistica Maria Rosaria De Simone con le coreografie di Lino Perrone, uno show che ha trovato una cornice perfetta nell’area portuale di Gallipoli “Bleu Salento”.
Oltre 5000 gli spettatori presenti, un centinaio i giornalisti accreditati provenienti da tutte le regioni italiane. Jessica Bellingheri È alta 178 centimetri, ha i capelli castani e gli occhi verdi. Laureanda all’Università di Messina, corso di laurea in Economia aziendale, fisico perfetto degno delle migliori top model, Jessica parla correttamente le lingue straniere, soprattutto inglese e francese. È una donna con le idee molto chiare. Nel tempo libero adora dipingere, leggere e suonare la chitarra classica. La sua passione della vita però È scrivere; tra i suoi sogni nel cassetto quello di pubblicare un manuale che racconti proprio la vita di una Miss. La sua scrittrice preferita È Margareth Mazzantini, ma anche lo sport. Giocava anche a calcio poi un infortunio l’ha bloccata. Quanto alla musica, il suo cantante preferito È Lorenzo Jovanotti, mentre a livello internazionale stravede per i Coldplay.
«Ringrazio tutti coloro che hanno creduto in me e nelle mie qualità - ha detto Jessica dopo la vittoria - soprattutto in quelle umane. Il mio grazie va a mia madre Emilia e papà Lillo oltre naturalmente al mio fidanzato Vincenzo».
Ben 130 ragazze provenienti da ogni angolo della penisola, hanno partecipato a Miss Mondo, facendo tappa nelle strutture della catena Caroli Hotels e pronte a riportare nelle loro regioni l’immagine bella del Salento.
Gremita in ogni ordine di posti la platea; presenti al gran completo autorità e vip e soprattutto parenti amici e fidanzati delle miss. In giuria immancabile, anche il senatore Vincenzo Barba. Nelle prime file il presidente della Provincia Antonio Gabellone, il consigliere regionale Rocco Palese e tante altre autorità civili e militari del Salento.
Bellissima, la conduttrice Sofia Bruscoli accompagnata da un bravo Marco Liorni. Una coppia di presentatori azzeccatissima dalla direzione nazionale che ha dato i giusti tempi allo spettacolo. Di prestigio la giuria di qualità con tanti nomi importanti della moda e dello spettacolo.
Le 52 finaliste
1 Valentina Nasso - Lombardia
2 Antonietta Delle Cave - Campania
3 Ornella Ferro - Basilicata
4 Valentina Serafin - Veneto
5 Eva Agrimi - Puglia
6 Margherita Marzocchini - Toscana
7 Esterina RumÈ - Sicilia
8 Elena Di Giacomo - Abruzzo
9 Ilenia Caminiti - Lombardia
10 Marzia Imbesi - Sicilia
11 Vanessa Zanardo - Veneto
12 Francesca Bartolini - Toscana
13 Francesca Faratro - Campania
14 Barbara Bruno - Sicilia
15 Martina Albani - Romagna
16 Eva Jlehia Vecchi - Toscana
17 Simona Casto - Puglia
18 Manuela Conigliaro - Sicilia
19 Giulia Facondini - Romagna
20 Melissa Magalini - Piemonte
21 Marica Gadaleta - Puglia
22 Jessica Amà - Piemonte
23 Marika Albertini - Lombardia
24 Alice Sberna - Sicilia
25 Valentina Guerrini - Romagna
26 Michela De Santes - Campania
27 Greta Di Leo - Calabria
28 Julia Giorgi - Lombardia
29 Antonina Benenati - Sicilia
30 Delia Maltese - Sicilia
31 Giorgia Podeschi - Lazio
32 Jessica Bellinghieri - Calabria
33 Marta Valigi - Umbria
34 Aurora Jellali - Piemonte
35 Rosa Fariello - Puglia
36 Maura Manocchio - Molise
37 Daniela Cavattoni - Veneto
38 Alessia Tassan - Friuli Venezia Giulia
39 Giulia Lupetti - Puglia
40 Lucrezia Gruppuso - Campania
41 Miriana Di Franco - Puglia
42 Rosangela Perrone - Trentino
43 Roberta Cantore - Piemonte
44 Marika La Mattina - Sicilia
45 Erika Alsuskaie - Abruzzo
46 Raffaella Cafagna - Puglia
47 Giulia Gammanossi - Toscana
48 Elisa Genovese - Piemonte
49 Anthea Lucà - Emilia
50 Rim Talib - Umbria
51 Federica Chianura - Puglia
52 Alessia Mancini - Lazio
GUARDA LE FOTO
Da 1 a 20
Da 21 a 40
Da 41 a 52
Giovedì 07 Giugno 2012 - 14:10 Ultimo aggiornamento: Lunedì 18 Giugno - 21:45
© RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA
FotoGallery <a class="grigio12b" href="http://www.quotidian...d_news=200882">Le aspiranti Miss Mondo/2
Le aspiranti Miss Mondo /1
http://www.quotidian...1_lombardia.jpg http://www.quotidian...lombardia__.jpg http://www.quotidian..._2_campania.jpg http://www.quotidian..._campania__.jpg Le aspiranti Miss Mondo/3
http://www.quotidian..._img_0087pp.jpg http://www.quotidian..._0101_copia.jpg http://www.quotidian..._0053_copia.jpg http://www.quotidian..._0057_copia.jpg
A man from the province of Lecce has been sentenced to 20 months in jail for stealing two crates of tomatoes worth 100 euros -, AKI news agency reported.
According to the Gazetta del Mezzogiorno newspaper, prosecutors in the southern city of Lecce asked for a prison term of four years for 30-year-old Daniele Carlino.
Carlino took two crates of tomatoes from a local farmer's van in a village called Racale village in July 2011 after threatening the farmer and then drove off with them but was later identified from descriptions by witnesses.
In a failed attempt to avoid prison, Carlino sent 100 euros to the farmer during the investigation that led to his trial and conviction.
A suspected gas leak has been the cause of a huge explosion in the historic centre of Conversano earlier today.
Early reports say that two adults, a child and his mother have been rescued from the rubble however it still isn't clear whether or not there are any other people buried in the rubble.
Apparently the explosion was so great that it shattered the windows of some shops in Via Matteotti.
Police have arrested a suspect in the bombing of a school in Brindisi last month, in which a 16-year-old girl was killed, local media says.
The Italian news agency Ansa said the suspect John Vantaggiato was a 68-year-old petrol pump attendant who may have a grudge against the principal of the school.
However, Agi news agency said the man had sought revenge against the justice system after failing to obtain damages in a trial for swindling. He had tried to hit the Brindisi courtroom but seeing that it was too heavily guarded he turned to the nearby Morvillo-Falcone school.
A remote-controlled bomb at the school gates went off as students arrived.
Melissa Bassi was killed and five others were wounded in the blast.
After initially suggesting there may be a link to the mafia, police later said the perpetrator was likely to be a lone attacker.
According to reports, the principal used to teach in the town the suspect comes from - Lecce, 30 minutes drive to the south.
Police said they had interviewed 1,400 people and carried out 32 searches during the investigation.
He has now confessed to the murder.....read it here
On the evening of May 26th a young man (21 years old) was gunned down in the square in Ceglie.
The shooting was captured on local CCTV and the police quickly arrested the offender.
Apparently the victim, (Luigi Boffo) well known to police, had stolen a car and demanded 1,000 euros to give it back.... Unfortunately for the victim the car belonged to somebody even better known to the police (Nicola Cardone) who arranged to meet him in the town square. The footage clearly shows what happened next.
At the moment Luigi is in a serious condition in hospital.
Interesting facts about Mount Marsili................
Until recently, Mount Marsili, located in the Tyherrian Sea southwest of Naples, was believed to be dormant- simply meaning it did not look to be actively exploding on a regular basis.
However, research and investigation has proved that Marsili is alive and active even though it has never erupted.
Marsili is rather large in comparison to other sea volcanoes as it tip is only 500 meters below the surface of the water. Marsili is approxamately 65 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide. Marsili rises approximately 3000 meters from the seabed.
According to volcanic researcher Michael Mariani new investigations have revealed that,
Geologic Significance: Mount Marsili, although it is one of several submarine volcanoes in the Tyrrhenian Seabelt, submarine volcanoes are rather few in number. It is believed that seamounts such as Marsili are former volcanoes and therefore should be taken rather seriously.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have recently updated their tourist information regarding travel to Italy in light of recent events.
"There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See Safety and Security - Terrorism".
They have not placed any travel restrictions or other warnings about Italy except regarding the earthquake situation further North.
In December 2010, parcel bombs exploded in the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, each injuring one embassy employee. An Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility. Also in December 2010, a parcel bomb was found at the Greek Embassy in Rome, but it did not explode.
In October 2009, a small device was detonated outside a military base in Milan, injuring several soldiers and the individual believed to be responsible for the attack.
Although the bombing on Saturday, murdering one young female, is horrific I still feel safer here in Puglia than I ever did travelling around the UK so I think the FCO may be being a bit alarmist but I guess they have to alert people to the potential risks of actions being carried out by extremists.
Two French citizens jailed since last year on suspicion of smuggling migrants were al-Qaeda propaganda point men in Europe and were heard talking about a possible attack on a Paris airport, Italian anti-terrorism investigators said Tuesday. But police stressed that investigators found no concrete plan of attack.
Italian police said Bassam Ayachi, 62, and Raphael Frederic Gendron, 33, were served warrants in jail on Tuesday accusing them of criminal association for international terrorism.
Prosecutor Roberto Rossi in Bari, where the pair have been jailed since November, said the two spoke explicitly in intercepted phone conversations about an attack in France, and that Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris was mentioned.
"These two are top-level point men on the ideological level" for propaganda for al-Qaeda in Europe, Italian anti-terrorism police official Claudio Galzerano said in a telephone interview.
A French judicial official said Tuesday that an investigation into a French and Belgian recruitment ring for Afghanistan turned up Ayachi's and Gendron's names. Evidence linked to the two men has been given to Italian authorities, the French official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with French judicial regulations.
French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie briefed Parliament about the arrests Tuesday, saying the two were "known in connection with propaganda and recruitment operations, as well as for belonging to networks." She said, "We don't have any evidence to seriously suggest a threat against Roissy," as Charles de Gaulle Airport is known. The ANSA news agency said other alleged planning involved unspecified targets in Britain. Quoting from excerpts of transcripts of the intercepted jail conversations, it said the two spoke of "a need to strike at the English."
It quoted Ayachi as referring to a plane, saying, "You don't need me to tell you what it means to have a French plane" and saying in other references "we'll kill by striking."
Galzerano said investigations have indicated that the risk of such an attack by these two men inconsequential.
The initial concern over possible planning for terrorist attacks was based on excerpts of intercepted telephone conversation, and fragmentary phrases, said Galzerano, from the national UCIGOS anti-terrorism police squad.
But nothing has been found to back up any concrete plan of an attack, he told The AP.
Police said the conversations revealed that the men had been planning to go to Afghanistan.
Both were Brussels residents, and Ayachi was the religious authority at an Islamic centre there.
Police said Ayachi was the uncle of a Tunisian extremist convicted in 1999 of supporting terrorist organisations. The Tunisian is believed to have died in a suicide attack against US-allied forces, police said without giving details of the attack.
The men have been held in Bari since November when they were arrested on suspicion of smuggling two Syrians and three Palestinians into Italy aboard a camping trailer, police said.
A bomb has exploded outside a school in Brindisi leaving one young girl dead and several injured.
The blast occurred on this morning at approximately 7.45am as students arrived at the Francesca Morvillo Falcone vocational school.
No-one has claimed responsibility.
An Italian official in the city, said: "Given the effect of the explosion, it appears that this was something quite powerful."
The school is named after the anti-mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone and his wife, who were killed by a mafia bomb in Sicily 20 years ago this weekend.
Authorities have said it is unclear if there was an organised crime link to the school blast.
In Brindisi, the local civil protection agency official Fabiano Amati said two female students have died of their wounds despite attempts to save them, and five other injured students had been admitted to hospital. Sky TG24 TV said one of the victims was a 16-year-old girl.
Officials initially said the device had been left in a bin outside the Morvillo Falcone school. But the Italian news agency Ansa, reporting from Brindisi, later said the device had been placed on a low wall that rings the school.
Public high schools in Italy hold classes on Saturday mornings.
One of the wounded students, a girl (Veronica Capodieci) who was walking alongside the victim outside the school in Brindisi, was reported in critical condition after surgery. Officials said at least six students were injured. Another four girls have been admitted to the plastic surgery and burns unit at the same hospital. Their condition is said to be serious but not, apparently, life-threatening.
Brindisi's Perrino hospital, where the wounded were taken, declined to give out information by phone.
Apparently the device, consisting of three cooking-gas canisters, a detonator and possibly a timer, had been placed on a low wall ringing the school. The wall was damaged and charred from the blast.
The bombing also follows a number of attacks against Italian officials and government buildings by a group of anarchists, which has prompted authorities to assign bodyguards for 550 individuals and deploy 16,000 law enforcement officers nationwide.
Austerity measures, spending cuts and new and higher taxes, all part of premier Mario Monti's plan to save Italy from succumbing to the debt crisis in Greece, have angered many citizens, and social tensions have increased.
Puglialife sends its deepest sympathies to the bereaved family and our prayers go out for the speedy recovery of those injured in the blast.
An Italian anarchist group that has claimed responsibility for shooting and wounding a nuclear industry executive, on Wednesday sent a note to a local newspaper threatening to target Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and others.
The group, calling itself the Olga Nucleus of the Informal Anarchist Federation-International Revolutionary Front, said Monti was among seven remaining targets.
In the note sent to the newsroom of the daily 'Calabria Ora', it said that attacks against tax enforcement agency Equitalia would continue, as long as the government continued with reforms aimed at balancing Italy's budget and averting a debt crisis.
The note said: "We say to Monti that he is one of the seven remaining targets and that people have no interest in staying in Europe, saving the banks and helping to balance accounts of a state that squandered money for its own interests.”
The note added that any suicide by an Italian citizen that could be connected to economic difficulties, would be viewed as a "murder by the state" and would be punished.
Last week a similar note was sent to the daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, claiming responsibility for the attack on Ansaldo Nucleare head Roberto Adinolfi, spreading fears of a return to 1970s political violence in crisis-hit Italy.
The Italian government launched an anti-poverty plan on Friday to stimulate growth and tackle "social fragilities" in southern regions.
According to the 2.3-billion-euro program, some 850 million euros would be invested in assisting the elderly and adding space for another 18,000 babies in southern Italy's nurseries.
Another 1.5 billion euros will be destined to stimulate growth and investments especially in the economically "vulnerable" southern regions of Calabria, Puglia, Campania and Sicily, Prime Minister Mario Monti told a press conference.
"The Italian society has asked for such measures for some time," Monti said, adding that the anti-poverty plan was part of the government's drive for growth. "Attention to equity and growth are part and parcel of some of the hardest things we have proposed in parliament," he pointed out.
The Italian premier, whose emergency cabinet of technocrats was appointed last November, is trying to revive stagnant economy in recession-hit Italy by implementing budget reforms and measures to revive growth.
Blowing hot air and trying to appease the Southern population is one thing......they have heard it all before ------ where is the detail.....what is this money actually going to do for the Southern economy....Mr Monti....cut all the red tape......get the cash into promoting Puglia, helping the aged and set up a training program for the unemployed - Encourage the youth to take up traditional skills that are rapidly being lost in this region - make sure that YOUR countrymen and women do NOT fall down the cracks of a bureaucratic Italy!!!!!
Left-wing and protest parties made strong gains in local elections and the centre-right party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi saw heavy losses as Italian voters joined other Europeans in venting anger over austerity policies.
The results on Monday, following the victory of French Socialist Francois Hollande and major losses for traditional big parties in Greece on Sunday, will add to pressure for European leaders to ease measures adopted to counter the financial crisis.
While the vote was not directly about Prime Minister Mario Monti's government, for the two main parties that support his technocrat government in parliament, the centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the vote was the biggest barometer of popular support for them ahead of national elections next year.
The 5 Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo, a shaggy-haired comedian who wants Italy to quit the euro and whose caustic invective against the established parties has gained increasing resonance in the wake of a spate of corruption scandals, made some spectacular advances.
In the northern city of Parma, it knocked Berlusconi's PDL which had previously ruled the city, into fifth place, winning a score of nearly 20 percent, while in Genoa, Grillo's hometown, it won 15 percent, knocking the PDL to fifth place, according to partial results.
At its first political test in 2010 the movement, which organises itself through the internet and social networks, won just 1.8 percent of the vote, rising to 3.4 percent at Milan's mayoral election the following year.
"Grillo has confirmed his political existence. He's the big winner," said Maurizio Pessato, vice president of polling company SWG. "The weakness of the PDL was confirmed, and perhaps it's the biggest loser of this vote."
PDL Secretary Angelino Alfano said: "There has been a defeat but this is not a catastrophe for the PDL."
More than 9 million people or some 20 percent of the electorate were eligible to vote in more than 900 towns and cities across Italy in the first significant election since Monti took office in November.
Painful tax hikes, pension cuts and unpopular labour reforms have fuelled mounting opposition to Monti since he came to power last year with a mandate to save Italy from a Greek-style debt emergency. He has placed increasing emphasis on reforms to promote growth in his recent public comments.
The election of mayors and city councillors will have no direct impact on his ability to press on with the structural reforms he has promised to revive Italy's sickly economy and control its enormous public debt.
But with national elections due in 2013 and a fragmented political landscape in which all of the main parties are in some form of trouble, Monti's ability to push ahead with unpopular reforms could be limited if the elections lead to waning support for his government.
The PDL, still struggling to re-establish its identity after the fall of its scandal-prone founder Berlusconi last year, is in particular trouble and could be tempted to rebel against unpopular measures such as a much-hated property tax.
"We support the Monti government but naturally we won't bind ourselves to vote for measures we don't agree with, that's absolutely logical," Berlusconi wrote on his Facebook page after the results.
The PD said the vote was "a real political revolution" because the centre-left was in pole position in almost all the large towns that voted.
"This is a real tsunami for the centre right," said Pier Luigi Bersani, the centre-left leader.
However, across the country, there were also big gains for opposition or protest candidates, while abstention levels were also up in a sign of growing disaffection with the political process and all the main parties.
In Verona, Flavio Tosi, the popular Northern League mayor of the city shrugged off a corruption scandal which has rocked his party, the biggest opposition group in parliament, to return to office without the need for a runoff ballot.
In Palermo, veteran anti-Mafia campaigner Leoluca Orlando, of the opposition Italy of Values party and backed by the hard-left Refounded Communist party, had a strong lead after the first round.
Palermo's voters had "rejected the disastrous social policies of Monti's government", Orlando said.
In Genoa, Marco Doria, supported by a leftist coalition including both the PD and Refounded Communism, was comfortably ahead.
In cities where the vote was not decided in the first round, there will be a runoff ballot on May 20-21.
The turnout fell to 67 percent from 74 percent from the previous round of local elections, the Interior Ministry said.
Six billion euros in unpaid taxes has been recovered by the Italian taxman in the first four months of this year, as the authorities crack down on what until now has been regarded as a national sport.
The recovered €6bn of revenue is the fruit of a campaign that began at Christmas and targeted businesses the length of the country, from the Alps to Sicily.
More than 2,100 people were caught by the Guardia di Finanza, trying to evade their taxes. Most had not filed a tax return for at least a year but were still found to be able to drive expensive cars, live in luxury villas and indulge in foreign holidays.
"The biggest peaks in evasion were in the wholesale and retail sector, the construction business, the manufacturing business... and housing and catering industries," a police statement said.
An upmarket bar in the ski resort of La Thuile, in the Val d'Aosta region of north-western Italy, had a turnover of €350,000 (£286,000) in the past five years but had never declared a penny to the taxman. The evasion was discovered after tax agents went through the bar's records and receipts.
Other culprits caught red-handed included a wedding photography company in Venice, a bowling centre in Rome, a cake shop in Calabria in the far south of Italy, and a hotel owner in Grado, on the Slovenian border, who claimed he "forgot" to pay his taxes.
As more pressure on the government to seek other methods of filling the coffers instead of punishing the hard working or impoverished families in Puglia it seems a refreshing to see the Guardia di Finanza targeting profitable businesses.
Indeed, their focus should be on the wealthy, people driving Ferrari's and living in luxury without paying their fair share of taxes.
As previously mentioned in other articles the Government need to take heed...the "average" people on the street will NOT put up with this for much longer. There is a crisis....maybe not for the rich but certainly for the average family........wake up Mr Monti and smell the coffee.....(espresso of course)
Think Italian shepherds are just a bunch of grey-haired old men strolling down the middle of rural Italian roads, whistling folk tunes and blocking traffic?
Well, you're mostly right. But not for long, according to a new study. The Italian agricultural body Coldiretti reports that about 3,000 young Italians under age 35 have recently entered the, ahem, field. Spurred by soaring unemployment, the new generation of sheep herders is largely comprised of aspiring lawyers and doctors with poor job prospects. The new recruits may be good for the industry, the report notes, as they bring with them new animal husbandry techniques.
Around 3,000 youths have followed their parents into the livestock shepherding business, said Coldiretti, an Italian agriculture trade group that conducted the study.
A recessionary economy sent up Italy's unemployment rate to 9.8 percent in March, the highest level since 2000, according to the country's national statistics agency Istat.
For workers aged 24 years and younger, the unemployment rate jumped to 36 percent.
Why should we be surprised Italy is falling apart? With dozens of languages and a hastily made union, it was barely a real country to begin with.
Italy is falling apart, both politically and economically. Italy's problems go deeper than Berlusconi's poor political performance before: Their roots lie in the country's fragile sense of a national identity in whose founding myths few Italians now believe.
Italy's hasty and heavy-handed 19th-century unification, followed in the 20th century by fascism and defeat in World War II, left the country bereft of a sense of nationhood. This might not have mattered if the post-fascist state had been more successful, not just as the overseer of the economy but as an entity with which its citizens could identify and rely on. Yet for the last 60 years, the Italian Republic has failed to provide functioning government, tackle corruption, safeguard the environment, or even protect its citizens from the oppression and violence of criminal gangs. Now, despite the country's intrinsic strengths, the Republic has shown itself incapable of running the economy.
It took four centuries for the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England to finally become one in the 10th, yet nearly all the territories of the seven states that made up 19th-century Italy were molded together in less than two years, between the summer of 1859 and the spring of 1861. The pope was stripped of most of his dominions, the Bourbon dynasty was exiled from Naples, the dukes of central Italy lost their thrones, and the kings of Piedmont became monarchs of Italy. At the time, the speed of Italian unification was regarded as a kind of miracle, a magnificent example of a patriotic people uniting and rising up to eject foreign oppressors and home-bred tyrants.
However, the patriotic movement that achieved Italian unification was numerically small -- consisting largely of young middle-class men from the north -- and would have had no chance of success without foreign help. A French army expelled the Austrians from Lombardy in 1859; a Prussian victory enabled the new Italian state to acquire Venice in 1866.
In the rest of Italy, the Risorgimento (or Resurgence) wars were not so much struggles of unity and liberation as a succession of civil wars. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had made his name as a soldier in South America, fought heroically with his red-shirted volunteers in Sicily and Naples in 1860, but their campaigns were in essence a conquest by northern Italians of southern Italians, followed by the imposition of northern laws on the southern state known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Yet the southern city of Naples did not feel liberated -- only 80 citizens of Italy's largest city volunteered to fight for Garibaldi -- and its people soon became embittered that the city had exchanged its role as the 600-year-old capital of an independent kingdom for the status of a provincial center. Today, its status remains reduced, and southern GDP is barely half what it is in the regions of the north.
United Italy skimmed through the normal painstaking process of nation-building and became a unitary state that made few concessions to local sentiment. Take Germany, by comparison: After the unification of 1871, the new Reich was ruled by a confederation that included four kingdoms and five grand duchies. The Italian peninsula, by contrast, had been conquered in the name of the Piedmontese King Victor Emmanuel II and remained an aggrandized version of the kingdom, boasting the same monarch, the same capital (Turin), and even the same constitution. The application of Piedmontese law over the peninsula made many of the kingdom's new inhabitants feel more like conquered subjects than a liberated people. Violent uprisings throughout the southern regions in the 1860s were savagely repressed.
Italian diversity has an ancient history that could not be suppressed in a few years. In the fifth century B.C., the ancient Greeks spoke the same language and thought of themselves as Greeks; Italy's population at the time spoke about 40 languages and had no common sense of identity.
The diversity became even more pronounced after the fall of the Roman Empire, when Italians lived for centuries in medieval communes, city-states, or Renaissance duchies. This communal spirit is still alive today: When you ask citizens of, for example, San Vito Dei Normanni how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Sanvitese, then as Pugliese, and only after as Italians or Europeans. As many Italians cheerfully admit, their sense of belonging to the same nation becomes apparent only during the World Cup, when the Azzurri, the members of the national soccer team, are playing well.
Language is another barometer of Italy's fractiousness. The distinguished Italian linguist Tullio De Mauro has estimated that at the time of unification, just 2.5 percent of the population spoke Italian -- that is, the Florentine vernacular that evolved from the works of Dante and Boccaccio. Even if that is an exaggeration and perhaps 10 percent understood the language, it still means 90 percent of Italy's inhabitants spoke languages or regional dialects incomprehensible to those elsewhere in the country. Even King Victor Emmanuel spoke in the Piedmontese dialect when he wasn't speaking his first language -- French.
In the euphoria of 1859 to 1861, few Italian politicians paused to consider the complications of uniting so diverse a collection of people. One who did was the Piedmontese statesman and painter Massimo d'Azeglio, who is reported to have said after unification, "Now we have made Italy, we must learn to make Italians."
Alas, the chief means chosen by the new government to achieve this aim was an effort to turn Italy into a great power -- one that could compete militarily with France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. This attempt, however, was bound to fail because the new nation was so much poorer than its rivals.
For 90 years, culminating in Mussolini's fall, Italy's leaders were determined to create a sense of nationhood by turning Italians into conquerors and colonialists. Vast sums of money were therefore spent on expeditions to Africa, often with disastrous results; at the Battle of Adowa in 1896, in which an army was wiped out by an Ethiopian force, more Italians were killed in a single day than in all the wars of the Risorgimento put together. Although the country had no enemies in Europe and no need to fight in either of the world wars, Italy joined the fighting in both global conflicts nine months after they had begun when the government thought it had identified the winner and extracted promises of territorial rewards.
Mussolini's miscalculation and subsequent downfall destroyed Italian militarism and at the same time punctured the idea of Italian nationhood. For 50 years after World War II, the country was dominated by the Christian Democrats and the Communists. These parties -- which took their cue from the Vatican and the Kremlin, respectively -- were not interested in instilling a new sense of national identity to replace the old one.
Postwar Italy was in many ways a great success. With one of the highest growth rates in the world, it became an innovator in such peaceful and productive fields as film, fashion, and industrial design. Yet the economic triumphs were uneven, and no administration was able to reduce the disparities between north and south.
The government's political and economic failures are not the only cause of the malaise that now threatens Italy's survival. Some flaws in the national structure were inherent in the circumstances of the country's creation. The Northern League -- Italy's third-largest political party, which suggested that the country's 150th birthday last March should have been a cause for mourning rather than celebration -- is not simply a bizarre aberration. Its attitude to the south, xenophobic and even racist as it sometimes is, demonstrates the truth that Italy has never felt itself to be a properly united country.
The great liberal politician Giustino Fortunato used to quote his father's view that "the unification of Italy was a sin against history and geography." He believed that the strengths and civilization of the peninsula had always been regional and that a centralized government would never work. Now he looks more prescient by the year. And if Italy has a future as a united nation after this crisis, it must accept the reality of its troubled birth and build a new political model that takes account of its intrinsic, millennial regionalism -- if not as a collection of republican communes, hilltop duchies and principalities once more, then at least as a federal state that reflects the essential features of its past.
original article published in foreign policy
Diga del Cingino
Do You Know What The Dots Are in The Picture
Album: Alex' Miscellaneous Pictures
Uploaded Today, 12:49
Go To The Bottom To SeeA Vertical Gathering Spot For Wild Goats
Located in a region of medieval elegance, fine wines and some of the best restaurants in Italy, the Diga del Cingino was made famous through some unique internet pictures which underlined an aspect of peculiar. The stone dam came to the public's attention not because of its size or function but because of the wild goats which climb its downstream face. The vertical dam lickers have been photographed standing on the sheer face, defying gravity and amazing with their climbing abilities.
49 Meters High Lollipop
The Diga del Cingino is a masonry dam constructed in 1925 and opened in 1930 in the Italian region Piedmont. About 7 kilometers (4 miles) South West of Antrona Schieranco, in the province named Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, the vertical barrier creates the Lago Cingino. The lake is part of the reservoir with the same name, an area of natural beauty covering approximately 10 square kilometers (4 square miles). Set over 2000 meters above sea level, the Cingino reservoir is part of the Valle Antrona hydroelectric complex supplying with the waters of the Antigine, Trocome and Banella the plant for power production. Like most masonry dams, the Diga del Cingino is built of stone and its maximal height reaches 49 meters (161 feet).
The goat which could climb this Italian dam and turn it into a site of extraordinary is called the Alpine Ibex (Capra Ibex). The gravity confronting species is a common one mainly in the European Alps, but its habitat is ranging through France, Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Bavaria, Austria or Slovenia. Choosing the rocky regions with rough terrain, the Alpine Ibex is an excellent climber.
Wondering why this herbivorous species climbs all the way up the 49 meters of dam to lick it? Even if half of their diet consists of grasses, the Alpine Ibex licks the sheer face of the Diga del Cingino because of the mineral salts contained in the stonework. More than that they feed on the moss and lichen which grows on the vertical dam exterior.
Album: Alex' Miscellaneous Pictures
Uploaded Today, 12:49
Sit Back With A Nice Glass of Wine In A Comfortable Chair And Enjoy
Equitalia is a public company responsible for collecting taxes in Italy (except Sicily). Based in Rome, it has a number of regional offices throughout the country employing some 8,000 people.
The company was formed through mergers of formerly private collection agencies (mostly banks) in the early 2000s. It's aims were to simplfy tax collection and help prevent tax evasion.
Some comunes employ Equitalia directly to handle its financial collections (tax, rubbish tax, etc) whilst others use alternative methods.
In the public eye, Equitalia is often spoken of as the "legalised mafia" due to its strong-arm tactics in taking payment.
One common criticism is the unfairness of its demands and methods: a small bill left unpaid will accrue high rates of interest or an individual's house may be seized and sold to pay off a relatively small sum owed to it. The state of the debtor is often disregarded and many small businesses have gone under just for owing a few hundred euro whilst at the same time major tax cheats with property, savings and investments abroad are not being targeted.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that house seizures and mortgages could only be made if the outstanding bill was for more than 8,000 euro; in several high profile cases Equitalia had seized a house for less than 1,000 euro.
Increasing public unrest has led to protests and legal challenges through class-action suites. This has led to government committments to change the way in which Equitalia works so that it will try to work with the public to recover taxes in an amicable and timely manner.
Blogs, Facebook groups and mobile apps are all being used to encourage Italians who have long turned a blind eye to rampant corruption to report shops, restaurants, doctors and dentists who are dodging taxes.
"We decided to help raise the level of integrity," said Edoardo Sera, a 27-year-old IT consultant, who along with some friends recently launched the website tassa.li, which translates as "tax.them", to report the fraudsters. The website pulls together the individual reports into a "tax evasion map" and calls for people to boycott businesses that are not pulling their weight.
The following are suggestions for dealing with Equitalia.
- Keep all bills, receipts and other paperwork. No matter how old, they should not be thrown away.
- If Equitalia send a bill which seems excessive, it is almost always worth employing a good tax consultant to look into the matter. Individuals will be wrapped up in red tape and Equitalian prevarication.
The first May day celebration in Italy took place in 1890. It started initially as an attempt to celebrate workers' achievements in their struggle for their rights and for better social and economic conditions. It was abolished under the Fascist Regime and immediately restored after the Second World War. (During the fascist period, a "Holiday of the Italian labour" (Festa del lavoro italiano) was celebrated on the 21st of April, the date of Natale di Roma (when ancient Rome was allegedly founded). Now, May Day is an important celebration in Italy.
Concerto del Primo Maggio ("1st May's Concert") is organized by Italian Labour Unions in Rome in Piazza San Giovanni. It is attended by more than 300,000 people every year and involves participation of many famous bands and songwriters. The concert is usually broadcasted live by Rai Tre.
Italian family sizes are shrinking but the population is still managing to grow thanks to immigration, the national statistics office said Friday, giving figures for 2011 compared with 2001.
The population stood at 59.464 million in October 2011, with 2.468 million more people than in 2001 - largely thanks to the number of foreigners in Italy, which grew three-fold over the last decade, rising to 3.769 million.
"The sharp rise in the number of foreign citizens contributed in a significant way to the rise in the total population" Istat said, while confirming that "the trend of stagnation of the Italian demographic continues."
The number of families in Italy rose from 21.810 million to 24.512 million but the average domestic unit reduced from 2.6 people per household to 2.4 people.
Rome was the most populated city, with 2.612 million residents, while Pedesina in the north of the country was the least populated with just 30 inhabitants, the data showed.
In February 2009 Istat had said the Italian population had broken through the 60 million threshold, but the figure was based on statistical forecasts rather than an actual census.
Italian real incomes experienced their lowest growth in 29 years, the national statistics institute Istat said in a statement on Tuesday.
In March, hourly wages were 1.2 percent higher than in the same month last year, the lowest growth since 1983, according to the agency.The annual inflation rate was 3.3 percent, which means the spending power of Italian households dropped by almost 2.1 percent in March, compared to the same month in 2011.
In order to stimulate growth in the recession-hit country, Italy should reduce the tax burden on workers and businesses, Bank of Italy Deputy Director-General Salvatore Rossi was quoted as saying by local media. “That the tax burden is very high in Italy both by historical and international standards is a situation that endangers the revival of growth, which is the main objective we must ask ourselves,”he said.
Rossi said Italy could balance its budget in 2013 by managing public assets better, and show growth by the end of the year if investor confidence comes back and taxes are lowered.
On Monday, Istat said the consumer confidence index fell to 89.0 points, the lowest level since the institute began calculating the statistics in 1996.
Despite a recent series of poor economic indicators for the Italian economy, Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed recently his confidence on the country’s economic fundamentals and budget balance prospects in 2013
In places like Africa and India, solar energy has long been hailed for its ability to raise standards of living and boost developing economies. For two established members of the European Union, it may have the power to restore international confidence.
Greece and Italy remain in deep fiscal trouble as both nations embark on uncertain paths to cut costs and rebuild struggling economies. Austerity measures pushed by leaders in both nations have created a fork in the road — should they invest in a burgeoning sector or should they abandon costly government programs?
The two countries have vastly different solar portfolios. In Greece, it’s an industry that has barely gotten off the ground, but one that offers huge promise. In Italy, it’s a market that has achieved enormous growth, yet one that has raised significant concerns over its stability. So they come at this bridge from different directions. But in both cases, they see the solar industry as a key component of an economic revival.
For Greece, this means investing in solar generation in a move that could make it a major energy player across Europe. For Italy, this will likely mean difficult cuts that could help it emerge as a long-term solar power rather than a boom-and-bust has-been.
For a country that has been teetering on economic disaster, the affirmation of a long-term commitment to renewable energy should be enough to keep the solar sector moving along, albeit at a much slower pace.
The country is looking to push its renewable energy target to 35 percent by 2020, a number well beyond the current 26 percent target. And falling solar module prices will continue to play an important role in hitting that number.
The recent concern over Italy’s solar market has been in its runaway speed. The country’s rise as the world’s second biggest solar market after Germany evolved out of very generous incentives and rather lax rules. The country has tried to address some of the boom-and-bust issues while creating a more sustainable framework.
Some analysts are predicting that the country will install as little as 2 GW of solar in 2012, well below its 2011 levels. According to Citi analyst Timothy Arcuri, there’s plenty to like about the discussions underway in Rome.
“Solar stocks were up significantly on the announcement that the two most influential Italian bureaucracies, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economic Development, have agreed on revisions to the current Renewable Energy Plan (Quattro Conto Energia). The two ministries have fought publicly over previous iterations of the Energy Plan, and the market found the new-found solidarity as a sign that government support for solar in Italy can be transformed from its boom and bust pattern to a more sustainable policy.
This event also marks the first revision to the Energy Policy under the new cabinet of Prime Minister Mario Monti and helps to alleviate fears that the Monti government may cut funding all together for solar subsidies. We expect final details of Quinto Conto Energia to be officially announced very soon.”
Here are some of the provisions likely to be included in Italy’s final plan: An annual subsidy limit of €200 million for solar projects over 6 kW; unlimited net metering for solar projects under 6 kW; and an adjusted Feed-in Tariff (FiT) of €0.17/kWh.
The cuts in FiT are in line with what was expected, and the continued drop in module prices should bolster the Italian market, which is considered by some to already be at grid parity. The cost considerations are key when considering how the nation will move forward with less generous subsidies. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Italy’s solar investments during the past five years have reached 21 billion euros, the highest in proportion to gross domestic product of any of the G20 nations. The organization has urged the country to craft long-term stable policy that would continue to attract investment, even “in times of fiscal austerity.”
Encyclopedia Britannica describes Italy as “less a single nation than a collection of culturally related points in an uncommonly pleasing setting.” However concise, this description provides a good starting point for the difficult job of defining Italy, a complex nation wrapped in as much myth and romance as its own long-documented history. The uncommonly pleasant setting is clear: the territory on a boot-shaped peninsula in the Mediterranean, both mountainous and blessed with 4,600 miles of coast. The culturally related points include many of the fountains of Western culture: the Roman Empire, the Catholic church, the Renaissance (not to mention pasta and pizza).
But Italy, united fully only in 1870, has long struggled not so much with its identity as with the concept of itself as a single unit working toward common goals. It has been central to the formation of the European Union, and after the destruction of World War II, built itself with uncommon energy to regain a place in the global economy. But distrustful of authority after centuries of decentralized and often arbitrary rule, Italians tend to feel loyalty locally: to region or town or, most commonly, to the family itself.
The fragmentation has revealed itself in politics. Since World War II, more than 60 governments have risen and fallen, and politicians have had little success in winning agreement on structural changes to make government work better and keep a once-robust economy growing.
Amid a marked economic slowdown in recent years, many Italians have described their frustration at the lack of change with no clear model in sight as a malaise. Still, Italy’s 58 million people enjoy one of the world’s highest standards of living, and the nation remains a gold standard for fashion, high-end cars and motorcycles, furniture, tourism, design and food.
Italy is also home to the Vatican city-state, the center of the Roman Catholic church for nearly 2,000 years. In 2005, after the death of the popular and long-serving Pope John Paul II, the German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI.
The Italians, unlike the Greeks, are born savers, and much of the Italian debt is owned by the Italians. That means that unlike Greece, which will be sending a sizable percentage of its G.D.P. to foreign creditors for a generation to come, Italy is basically in hock to its own citizens.
To understand why so much of Italy, is stagnant or worse, requires a bit of geopolitical history and a look at the highly idiosyncratic Italian business culture. It is defined, to a large degree, by deep-seated mistrust — not just of the government, but of anyone who isn’t part of the immediate family — as well as a widespread aversion to risk and to growth that to foreign eyes looks almost quaint.
It has economists worried not about a looming fiasco so much as a gradual, grinding decline of Italy’s economy.
Economists see a country with a service sector dominated by innumerable guilds, which don’t just overcharge but also raise the barriers to entry for the millions in ill-fated manufacturing jobs who might otherwise find work as, for instance, taxi drivers. They see a timid entrepreneur class. They see a political system in the thrall of the older voters who want to keep what they have, even if it dooms the nation to years of stasis.
They see a society whose best and brightest are leaving and not being replaced by immigrants, because Italy has so little upward mobility to offer.
Telecom Italia have said that it might sell one of its biggest assets — Italy’s largest fixed-line phone network — as it looked to reduce its debt burden and stem losses exacerbated by the country’s economic downturn.Franco Bernabe, the Telecom Italia chairman, said the sale of the network was one of several options the company was considering after it announced last week that it had lost €4.7 billion, or $6.2 billion, in 2011 after writing down the value of its domestic business by €7.3 billion.
In addition to the fixed-line network, Telecom Italia owns the country’s largest mobile carrier, Telecom Italia Mobile, or TIM. The company is controlled by a group that includes Telefónica, the Spanish telecommunications operator that is Europe’s largest, and two major Italian investors.
In an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr. Bernabe said the sale of Telecom Italia’s copper fixed-line network, which runs about 112 million kilometers, or 70 million miles, could generate as much as €4 billion. Telecom Italia is struggling under €30 billion in debt, the legacy of leveraged buyouts in 1999 and 2001.
Italy’s recent economic downturn has added to Telecom Italia’s distress. In 2011, the company’s revenue in Italy fell by 5.2 percent to €19 billion. The company had a pretax loss of €1.95 billion on its Italian business in 2011 after a pretax profit of €5.6 billion a year earlier.
Mr. Bernabe, in the newspaper interview, said one option might be for Telecom Italia to sell the landline phone grid to a state-run holding company, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
Referring to the potential sale, Mr. Bernabe said: “It is one of several studies we conduct to identify the best solutions to increase Telecom’s value.”
He did not specify other options the company might be considering. Telecom Italia confirmed the contents of the newspaper interview but declined further comment. Miguel A. Garzón, a spokesman for Telefónica, said the company had no comment.
Jacques de Greling, an analyst at Natixis, an investment bank in Paris, said the sale of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line business could be risky and complicated. For political reasons, he said, potential buyers would likely be limited to European or just Italian investors.
Telecom Italia last changed hands in 2007 when it was bought by a group led by Telefónica; Generali, the largest Italian insurer; and Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest domestic bank. The sale was crafted to appease political demands that the phone network, seen as a strategic national asset, remain at least partly under Italian ownership. At the time, AT&T had expressed interest in Telecom Italia but never made a bid, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The sale of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line network would have to be approved by the Italian regulator Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, known as Agcom.
It remains to be seen whether Telecom Italia’s rivals would be willing to buy into the Italian market at a time when consumer demand for fixed-line services is flagging. At the same time, European Union regulators are putting pressue on Telecom Italia and other former monopolies to lower their charges to spur competition. Lower regulated prices would diminish the resale value of the phone grid.
“There is a lot of risk to buying this network, both regulatory risk from Brussels and also there is very little cost-savings synergy possible for a competitor who wants to buy a landline network in Italy,” Mr. de Greling said.
Vodafone, the British operator that owns Italy’s No. 2 mobile carrier, Vodafone Italia, is paring its holdings. Last year it sold its stake in SFR, the French mobile operator, to Vivendi. It also sold a stake in Polkomtel, the Polish operator, to Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, a Polish billionaire. Italy’s other mobile operators — 3 Italia, a unit of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, and Wind, owned by the Russian group Vimpelcom — have only small market shares.