Other recent articles
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Sites reopened at Pompeii
Sari's e-book on sale this weekend at Amazon
Alitalia’s fate hangs in the balance.
Berlusconi cannot leave Italy (for now)
Keep an eye on (or rather, in) your bill fold.


COMMENT: Alitalia, an ideological war
Sep 20, 2008 at 09:46 PM

Pilots and flight attendants cheer offer withdrawal
                                                                                                                                                           The Alitalia saga looks like it may go down as the first real defeat for Silvio Berlusconi since reconquering the post of prime minister last April. The failure to convince Italy's unions to accept the offer for Alitalia (and the smaller Italian airline, Air One) will - unless there are some new developments - tarnish the image of a politician who last spring convinced an overwhelming majority of Italian voters that he could do most anything he set out to do.

Alitalia. And now what?
Sep 19, 2008 at 06:59 PM
ImageAfter more than a week of unsuccessful haggling and arguing with Italy's unions, the new Italian airline consortium, CAI (pronounced KAI) has withdrawn it's offer to takeover Alitalia and rescue it from looming bankruptcy. The Compagnia Aerea Italiana backed off from the project after six of Italy's nine air transport unions refused to ratify the offer, saying the new salary packages were inadequate and criticizing the industrial plan's significant downsizing of the airline, the ration of pilots to aircraft, its planes and its destinations.

Alitalia talks go into overtime
Sep 14, 2008 at 12:33 PM
Alitalia pilots
The Italian government has stepped into the negotiations between CAI, the new Compagnia Aerea Italiana and Italy's nine airline unions in a last-ditch attempt to avoid the total dismantling of Alitalia, the country's failing flagship airline. The mediation attempt came after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi yesterday said he would personally get involved, blaming political opponents on the left for encouraging the unions to scuttle the agreement.

Alitalia trembles on the brink. Really!
Sep 13, 2008 at 03:33 PM
ImageWell, it could be that I won't get to New York for Christmas this year after all. I've got a Business Class frequent flyer ticket on Alitalia but the way this weekend's negotiations to save the failing airline (by replacing it with a smaller, refinanced one) are going, it may well be that as of next week the Italian flagship airline may be no more. Of course, the Italians are masters at pulling rabbits out of hats, but this time it's really going to be tough. The airline is running so low on money that, it is said, it shortly will be unable to buy sufficient fuel to keep its planes in the air.
Italy preparing to punish prostitutes and their clients
Sep 13, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Mara Carfagna
The Italian government is preparing to ban prostitution on streets and in parks, making both prostitutes (female or male) and their clients subject to fines and short jail sentences and, in some cases, to deportation if they are unregistered foreigners. Last week the Italian cabinet approved a draft law presented by Mara Carfagna, the minister for Equal Opportunity. It will be voted on by parliament in this fall's legislative session.

Eluana's travail likely to continue
Sep 04, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Eluana Englaro, when truly alive
Eluana Englaro, to whom I have already referred as Italy's Terry Schiavo, is unlikely to find peace anytime soon, unless her loving father Beppino has got some plan up his sleeve to free her from her 16 years of non-life in a hospital bed where she has lain all this time in what doctors agree is a "permanent and persistent" vegetative state. Not only has the Italian parliament interfered, but the Lombardy Region, the region in which Eluana is hospitalized, has now decided that it will not allow her feeding tube to be removed.

Rome: Fighting over past and present
Sep 05, 2008 at 08:48 PM
Valadier's fountains
Here we go again. Now that the bitter acrimony over architect Richard Meier's modern covering for the first century B.C. Ara Pacis has (almost) died down, Roman environmentalists, city planners, celebrities, intellectuals, archaeologists and just plain old antiquity lovers are once again at war, this time over the municipality's plan to build a seven-floor, 700-car underground garage under the Pincio Hill that on one side overlooks Piazza del Popolo and on the other connects to the Villa Borghese park.
Zero tolerance for Italian soccer hooligans
Sep 04, 2008 at 07:11 PM
ImageAfter thousands of Neapolitan football ultras more or less commandeered a train and ran amok through the railway stations of both Naples and Rome, Interior minister Roberto Maroni is putting his foot down. Those responsible will be charged with criminal association, forbidden to attend games for two years, and organized out-of-town trips for Neapolitan tifosi, or fans, will be banned for the rest of the Italian soccer championship which began on Sunday, August 31.

Time running out for Italy's "fannulloni"!
Aug 08, 2008 at 10:19 PM
Renato Brunetta
Almost three months ago, directly after taking office, Renato Brunetta, an economist turned politician, made it known that one of his first acts as Italy's Ministro della Funzione Pubblica (the minister of the Civil Service) would be to get rid of laggards and slackers, the people Italians call "fannulloni", those who do nothing. And, lo and behold, something seems to have happened. An in-house survey conducted on a sample of 70 different public offices with a total of 210,000 employees has come up with some astonishing results. In July, there were 37 % fewer work absences, supposedly for health reasons, than there were the year before. This is twice the improvement registered in June (-22.4%) and four times the immediate drop of -10% noticed in May itself.
COMMENTO: Percezioni. Un'ottica diversa.
Aug 08, 2008 at 06:58 PM
        Per qualche giorno, all'inizio di agosto, si è parlato moltissimo dell'arrivo in strada dell'esercito italiano, circa 3000 soldati dispersi intorno a obbiettivi sensibili e qualche volta a fare delle ronde insieme a polizia e/o carabinieri. A leggere i giornali e vedere i telegiornali, la maggior parte degli italiani è a favore di questa disposizione dell'atuale governo, dicendo di sentirsi più sicuri. E per la stessa ragione, penso, un sondaggio (non-scientifico) fatto da Sky 24 Tv mostra favorevole oltre il 75% dei votanti alla decisione di armare i vigili di Roma per la prima volta in 35 anni.
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