Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stories and News No.28: Berlusconi, Noemi is mine!

The Story:

My name is Ciro and I write from Naples.
I never sent a letter to a newspaper, but tonight I couldn’t resist.
Sunday was Noemi’s birthday, a beautiful girl of my school.
I confess here, on this page: I love her.
The fact is that I wanted to open my heart just that evening, on her birthday.
I crazily worked to buy a new dress. Then I went to Pasquale, he is my father’s barber, and I told him: “Pasquale, I am in your hands: make me gorgeous!"
I know that I am not beautiful, but I am a little brave. Not so much, but enough to put the brilliantine on my hair and go to the party, to conquer her heart.
I perfectly know that Noemi has very important friends. I know that she has a lot of suitors, but I am stubborn. Capa tosta*, my mother says in Neapolitan dialect. So, I entered the nightclub and I started to look for her eyes. Then I saw her in the middle of the disco, beautiful like a star. A step, another one, I was almost arrived and I was trying to remember what I wanted to say: “Noemi, my name is Ciro and I love you.” This is simple and direct, as I like. I was living my dream when three gorillas arrived, large as cabinets and they gave me a push, making me fall into the ground.
They were Berlusconi’s bodyguards!
Well, I couldn’t reach her anymore; she ever stayed with that old short man, with that ridicule wig on head! Silvio, now I am talking to you! Aren’t you ashamed? You have everything, the government, the TV channels; you have villas, Kak√† and Ronaldinho! But with so many beautiful girls in the world you have to follow my Noemi too?
Being honest... I have nothing. I have just a little of bravery.
Well, now I am loosing that too…

*Strong head

The News:

From Daily Mail, 29 April 2009: 'Shameless' Berlusconi attacked by wife in public again... for lining up a team of beautiful female MEPs
The wife of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has publicly attacked her husband's idea to make a list of attractive models and TV stars MEPs.
Veronica Lario, 52, sent an email to Italy's national news agency ANSA, saying the idea was 'shameless rubbish' and was simply 'in the name of power.' It is the second time that Veronica has made a public statement on the antics of her gaffe prone politician husband. Two years ago she demanded - and got a public apology - after he told one actress that he would marry her if he wasn't already married and then told another he would run away with her. Veronica saw red after Berlusconi revealed that for June's European elections he wanted 'youthful new faces' as candidates and he named four leggy TV stars and models as candidates. The four - who have no political experience - are soap actress Camilla Ferranti, 30, TV star Eleonora Gaggiolo, 29, ex-Big Brother contestant Angela Sozio, 31, and former Miss Italy candidate Barbera Matera, 28. In her email Veronica wrote:'Someone wrote that all this is to sustain the enjoyment of the Emperor. I agree with this what has emerged is shameful trash, all in the name of power. 'I want it to be made clear that my children and I are victims of this situation and do not agree with it, we have to put up with it and suffer with it. 'Fortunately for some time now we have had women in politics and business - in the past we had (Margaret) Thatcher and now we have (Angela) Merkel that is to say women can be involved in politics. 'Women today are and can be beautiful and the fact that there are beautiful women in politics is not a merit or a demerit. 'But what emerges today through the curves and feminine beauty is the lack of the retention of power that offends the credibility of all this and goes against women especially those who have been in the front line defending their rights.' Her attack on her husband came just hours after a think tank called Farefutoro within his own party also called for an end to 'TV showgirls' being put forward as candidates simply because of their good looks. In her email Veronica also attacked her husband after it emerged that Berlusconi had been the surprise guest of honour at the 18th birthday party of Noemi Letizia, daughter of a Naples business friend.
She stormed: 'That really surprised me because he has never come to the 18th birthday parties of any of our (three) children despite being invited.'

Stories and News: “invented” Stories, fruit of my imagination, inspired by “true” media News.

The importance of the Centre of gravity: in Italy the Extreme-Right has the power.

For many reasons we are used to see Italian Parliament, particularly the Chamber of Deputies, represented in this way:

Centre-Left on one side and Centre-Right on the other, divided by the Centre, or more precisely by the Centre of gravity, indicated by the black dot in the middle.
If we want to describe the parties that are no more represented too, we can imagine it like this:

In an ideal world, especially created by our imagination, the Centre of gravity coincides exactly with the geometric centre.
In Physics this happens if the body (the Parliament) has uniform density.
The density directly influences the weight. Applying all to the Chamber of Deputies, we can deduce that the centre of gravity corresponds to the geometric centre in proportion to the weight uniformity of the parliamentary groups themselves, according to the actual results of recent elections.
In other words, the Chamber has a uniform balance in relation to the wishes expressed by Italian people in 2008 if each elected party has a power of influence over the others based on the true number of parliamentarians.
The reality of recent years, despite what the newspapers and television stations tell us, is very different from what we prefer to believe.
In the real world there is a party that since it is on the political scene it affects the rest of the Parliament, no matter how many deputies it has.
This is the reason why in the Italian Parliament the Centre of gravity is far from the geometric centre but has significantly shifted towards the point with greater density, weight and power: the extreme right.
So the true representation of our Parliament is the following:

Basing on this picture, the tragic period that Italy is going through during these years is explained much better...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Stories and News No. 27: Swine flu, first case in Italy?

The Story:

I don’t want to worry anyone.
It’s not my intention to create highly inappropriate psychosis.
I am not an irresponsible as a researcher in the Abruzzo region, which has lead to unnecessarily panic...
It’s not my fault if in Mexico over a hundred people died for the swine flu!
Yes, I agree, in India from 2001 to 2007 12 million new cases of leprosy came out.
Only in Sub Saharan Africa there are 28 million people affected by HIV.
Each year 2 million people die of tuberculosis worldwide.
I don’t want talk about the SARS flu, which nobody longer speaks of, but yes, let’s talk about: the World Health Organization warns that in the coming years there will be an increase in the spread of the virus.
Why no one says anything?
And what happened to the mad cow? Who may assure us that we are in danger no more?
About me, for my safety, since 2001 I no longer eat beef.
Since 2005 I stop eating Chinese food and generally not Italian cooking.
I don’t need to go into the street eating kebab...
Honestly, I do not leave home since sixteen years.
Do I need? I have a plasma TV and the digital decoder. I have everything I necessitate to stay safe.
I'm ready, I have always been ready.
Yet, this morning I woke up coughing and sneezing, with nausea and... and yes, last night I ate the soppressata.
My wife says that my symptoms are due to my seasonal allergies to pollen and asthma.
She also said that the nausea was provoked by the wine that I drunk before collapsing in bed.
Women… they want always take it easy, they are hopelessly optimistic.
But I know, this time I am really sick.
Quiet, I don’t go out of the house.
I never go out.
I will die in my bed and none will know it.
By the way, the TV never shows the truth.
That’s because they love us, so they don’t want to frighten us...

The News:

From the CNN, 27 April 2009: Answers to swine flu questions.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the swine flu virus has spread from person to person in Mexico and the United States, triggering global concerns as governments scramble to find ways to prevent further outbreak.

Q. What is swine flu?
A. Swine influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs. It is caused by a type-A influenza virus. Outbreaks in pigs occur year-round.
The most common version is H1N1. The current strain is a new variation of an H1N1 virus, which is a mix of human and animal versions.

Q. Does swine flu affect humans?
A. While the virus causes regular outbreaks in pigs, people usually are not struck by swine flu. However, there have been instances of the virus spreading to people -- and then from one person to another. The only difference is, says the CDC, transmission in the past did not spread beyond three people -- as it has done this time.

Q. What is behind the spread of the virus this time?
A. Researchers do not know yet know. People usually get swine flu from infected pigs. For example, farmers handling infected pigs can contract the virus. However, some human cases have occurred without contact with pigs or places they inhabited.

Q. What are the symptoms of swine flu?
A. The symptoms are similar to the common flu. They include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Q. How does the virus spread?
A. The virus spreads the same way the seasonal flu does. When an infected person coughs or sneezes around another person, the latter is put at risk. People can become infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. An infected person can pass the virus to another before any symptoms even develop. Video Watch advice on avoiding the swine flu »

Q. Why is this spread troubling?
A. Scientists are concerned whenever a new virus is able to jump from an animal to a person -- and then spread from person to person. When the flu spreads person to person, it can continue to mutate, making it harder to treat or fight off.
The World Health Organization has said the current outbreak has "pandemic potential," and has urged governments to take precautions to prevent its spread. If the virus continues to mutate, drug makers won't be able to come up with vaccines fast enough.

Q. Can swine flu be fatal?
A. Just like the regular flu, swine flu worsens pre-existing medical conditions in people. So people with already compromised immune systems can die after contracting it.

Q. But doesn't the common flu kill more people?
A. Yes, common seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people every year. But what worries officials is that a new strain of the flu virus can spread fast because people do not have natural immunity and vaccines can take months to develop.

Q. Have there been swine flu outbreaks in the past?
A. From 2005 to January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the United States, without deaths occurring, the CDC said. In September 1988, a healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died a week later. And in 1976, a swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey, caused more than 200 illnesses and one death.

Q. What does the World Health Organization mean when it says swine flu has "pandemic potential"?
A. If the virus spreads over a wide geographic area and affects a large segment of the population, it is upgraded from an "epidemic" to a "pandemic."

Q. How deadly have pandemics been in the past?
A. In 1968, a "Hong Kong" flu pandemic killed about 1 million people worldwide. And in 1918, a "Spanish" flu pandemic killed as many as 100 million people.

Q. How can one keep from getting swine flu?
A. There are no vaccines available. But several everyday steps can help prevent the spread of germs: Washing hands frequently; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and avoiding touching surfaces that might be contaminated.

Stories and News: “invented” Stories, fruit of my imagination, inspired by “true” media News.
If media reports are often false, we have the stories to discover some truth...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stories and News No. 26: "I have cloned 14 embryos too," an Italian scientist responds.

The Story:

Our country has almost ever followed the United States in a blindly way.
The recent prove is that the previous Berlusconi government was fully agree with Bush opinions on environmental issues and, despite Obama has a radically different point of view, the new Silvio’s government is still in perfect sync with Uncle Sam.
So, very soon, after the sensational announcement by an American researcher on the cloning of 14 embryos, here is an Italian scientist ready to go after the important ally: "Here in Italy I have cloned 14 embryos too. Precisely it happened in Milan, the capital of the north and soon also of the rest of the country. I don’t need to say from whom I have taken the basic cells for the experiment. I chose the best that our country has today. I am talking about a man who every day represents all of us, showing a considerable temperament and a bit goliardic attitude, which hardly fails, despite what his detractors say. The reason for this futuristic project is evident. It meets the needs that are here in our nation, more than ever today.
In Italy we face difficult times and we have great problems, mostly due to the failures of others, of course. On one hand we have the European Union and on the other the hordes of immigrants who arrive each day on our shores.
I don’t want to talk about ‘totally random’ tragedies like the earthquake in Abruzzo, but you will easy understand why at this moment we need to stay compact.
We need that everyone has the same vision of the world.
We need that everybody shares the same values.
We need that each one of us pursues the same dreams: success in the job, living in a big house and drive a nice car, to say a few.
We need that no one contests the truth because we need to stay compact, with the same vision of the world, the same values, etc…
We need simplification, because life can be very short and it is better to have a downhill behind us.
We need that everyone praises the government, because we need to stay compact, with the same vision of the world, the same values, etc…
We need to be as one, as sixty million embryos identical to him...
We need an arrogant, ignorant, superficial, manner less, authoritarian people but all with a great, very great sense of humour.

The News:

From Abc News, April 23, 2009: Fertility Doctor Claims to Clone, Implant Human Embryos
A controversial fertility doctor claims to have cloned human embryos and implanted them into four women's wombs. And while none of 11 embryos he claims to have cloned resulted in a viable pregnancy, Dr. Paniyiotis Zavos said he'll continue trying to clone a human embryo.
Fertility doctor claims to have cloned and implanted human embryos.
"We managed to write chapter one. Chapter two, we will have a child a parent can take home and raise as a cloned child," Zavos said.
His hope is that the birth of the first human clone is just a few years away.
On the Brink of Cloning Humans?
Zavos story may sound like a science fiction tale, but he claims it's all true. Zavos said he cloned 14 embryos, but only implanted 11. The procedures were recorded for a documentary that aired Wednesday on the Discovery Channel in Britain.
Scientists have cloned human embryos in test tubes in order to harvest stem cells, but Zavos has done what is considered taboo -- actually implanting the embryos.
Both the pope and President Obama have denounced human cloning.

Stories and News: “invented” Stories, fruit of my imagination, inspired by “true” media News.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stories and News No. 25: Clandestine escapes and calls Italian television!

The Story:

Here is the transcription of the phone call:

My name is...
No, I don’t tell you my name. After all, it doesn’t matter to you…
I am an illegal immigrant, for you I am just an illegal immigrant.
I haven’t your citizenship and your law says that I have no right to put my feet on your country.
I have just the licence to stay here, in this CPT (Centro di Permanenza Temporanea), this Temporary Residency Centre, where illegal people are collected before to be deported.
Indeed, they are now called CIE, Centre for Identification and Expulsion.
Left or Right style, the substance doesn’t change.
I have not much time; they will soon notice that I have stolen a mobile phone to a guard. He was distracted watching the Big Brother. Fortunately the TV transmits this boring shit.
So, this is my request: could I remain here? Please, don’t let me out!
Here I live in a kind of container. I'm not complaining. Containers are what Abruzzo quake’s people dream as replacing of the tents.
The hygienic conditions are poor, the food date is expired and bed linen is dirty, but in my country I risk a certain death. I am here seeking asylum, because my government persecuted me for my political views, but I share my room with former prisoners.
I have no objection on this too, because I know that your Parliament members sit near persons already condemned. I understand this is normal in Italy.
The medical care is inadequate, but fortunately I have good health. If I were sick outside, I would be deported. Here the doctors cannot accuse me. I am already behind bars.
Here I don’t risk to be burned alive because I sleep on a bench.
Here people cannot stop me because I have an old car and hit me, depriving me of an eye.
Here I don’t need to spend the nights praying the police to do the DNA examination and prove my innocence.
Here I cannot delude myself pretending to be considered first and foremost as a human being, before than a clandestine, a foreigner, a different one.
Here it’s more secure.
From here I cannot get out, but mostly no one can enter...
Well, I hope so.

The News:

From The Telegraph, 15 April 2009: A Guantanamo inmate captured in Afghanistan at the age of 14 has become the first to give an interview from inside the camp, claiming he was beaten by his jailors.
Mohammed al-Gharani, who has spent seven years in the camp, said that he had been hit with batons until his teeth broke and tear-gassed after refusing to leave his cell. The mistreatment started 20 days before Barack Obama became the American president, he said.
"Since then I've been subjected to it almost every day," he said. "Since Obama took charge he has not shown us that anything will change."
Mr Guarani, whose family is from Chad but who grew up in Saudi Arabia, is one of a number of Guantanamo prisoners whose release has been ordered by an American judge. Evidence that he had fought with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was found to be "unreliable".
Such prisoners have been allowed to make phone calls to members of their families, but Mr Guarani spoke to a former Guantanamo inmate who works for al-Jazeera, the international Arabic television channel, instead.
Mr Guarani said he had refused to leave his cell because he "not been granted his rights", such as to interact with other inmates and eat "normal food".
A group of six soldiers wearing protective gear and helmets came into the cell, he said.
"They had a thick rubber or plastic baton they beat me with," he said.
"They emptied out about two canisters of tear gas on me.
"After I stopped talking, and tears were flowing from my eyes, I could hardly see or breathe.
"They then beat me again to the ground. One of them held my head and beat it against the ground. I started screaming to his senior 'See what he's doing, see what he's doing' [but] his senior started laughing and said 'He's doing his job'.
"He broke one of my front teeth. Of course they didn't film the blood, they filmed my back so it doesn't show."
Journalists who visit the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba have to sign a document agreeing not to speak to the prisoners.
The camp's closure was ordered by Mr Obama immediately after he took office, but there remains uncertainty about what will happen to its inmates.
Mr Guarani was ordered to be freed a week beforehand at a hearing in front of a district judge in Washington. He is likely to return either to Chad or to Saudi Arabia.
Judge Richard Leon said that the charges he faced, that he had stayed at an al-Qaeda guest house in Afghanistan, fought in the battle for Tora Bora in late 2001, and served as a courier for senior al-Qaeda leaders, were a "mosaic of allegations" from other captives whose reliability was in doubt.
He is currently being held in Camp Iguana, a transitional camp for those whose release has been ordered where they are given greater privileges, including the telephone calls.
Amnesty International says that at least four Guantanamo captives were under 18 when they were captured, and some were as young as 13.
It alleges that Mr Guarani, who was captured while praying in a mosque by Pakistani police before being handed over to American forces, was repeatedly beaten before becoming one of the camp’s first inmates in early 2002.
A spokesman for the camp, Lt Cmdr Brook DeWalt, told the Miami Herald newspaper there was “no evidence to substantiate these claims and all credible allegations are fully investigated”.
He said that Mr Guarani had called a “pre-vetted number” but that it had been answered by the al-Jazeera journalist, Sami al-Hajj, rather than his relative, believed to be an uncle.

Stories and News: “invented” Stories, fruit of my imagination, inspired by “true” media News.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stories and News No. 24: My name is Rashida and I have beautiful legs

The Story:

From Rashida Kirimova’s diary, the evening before her death:

My dear Diary,
I perfectly know that I am old enough to stop writing here...
However, when you have nobody to talk about something important, when no one seems to think like you, when you desperately want to believe that you are not alone seeing like that, the only solution is to put it on paper, black on white.
The vantage is that you can always read it and discover that, at least there, it doesn’t seem so bad.
Indeed, it’s the contrary. For this reason, I will write it here, now: I have beautiful legs.
It’s not enough, I don’t need to be modest facing the truth: I have wonderful legs.
The line is perfect, the skin is smooth and velvety, the knees are undoubtedly proportional and my ankles, well, and my ankles seem those of a valuable sculpture.
I could talk about the legs but I don’t necessitate: if this is the prelude…
Mom never told me, but she thinks so. I just look at her eyes to believe, or at least I wish.
The problem is not my mother. The problem has never been my mother. The fact is that my father cannot love me just as Rashida; I am a daughter, more than all. And is an unequal struggle, because being a daughter means a billion things while Rashida is just me...
Sometimes, when he is another time angry with me for how I dress, I think that probably he does because he loves me and he wants to protect me.
However, these are only few moments, when I find myself believing in what hurts me less.
The reality is completely different.
The Beauty doesn’t need to be protected but shown.
The right to show her should be defended.
The Beauty should be known by everybody, because she’s the one that inspires art.
And men, without art, are like a rose without water.
The Beauty, when she is free, becomes even more beautiful than she is.
We don’t have to fear the Beauty, because she’s the only weapon we have against the running clock.
We only have to remember her.
There are those who paint her, there are those who sing her with verses, there are those who transform her into musical notes, but there are also those who marry her, who embraces her every day in the morning, who gives her a kiss before going to bed.
What about me?
I will stop her here for ever: my name is Rashida and I have beautiful legs.
It’s never enough: wonderful legs...

The News:

From MOSNEWS - Apr 13, 2009: Muslim father orders daughter killed over short skirt.
A Muslim resident of Russia’s St. Petersburg has hired killers to rid him of a daughter who disrespected Islamic laws by wearing short skirts.
The police detained Gafar Kerimov, 46, after he reported that his daughter went missing, but blurted out that the girl was dead already, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported Monday.
The family, ethnic Azerbaijanis, used to have frequent arguments about how the daughter should dress and behave.
Rashida Kirimova, 21, studied medicine at a St. Petersburg school and waved away her father’s criticism when he said her clothes weren't modest enough and unfit for a Muslim girl.
During winter, Rashida wore high-necked sweaters and long trousers, causing no problems in the neighbourhood, but when spring came, she put on a skirt that left her knees exposed.
The father’s Muslim friends again started reproaching him for being negligent and allowing his daughter to walk around dressed like a fallen woman. They said the insult could only be washed away by blood, and introduced Gafar to a killer, who agreed to help him for around $3000.
The killer, Kadyr Suleymanov, seized the girl on April 8th as she was hurrying to classes. He and two accomplices drove her out of the city to a suburban dump, shot her dead and covered her body with garbage.
The body was found by the police after the father confessed he had ordered the killing. Two of three criminals have been detained.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

In Italy bureaucracy kills more people than earthquake

It’s not time for polemics, someone wrote. This is the moment for solidarity, someone else has said. I agree. I worked in the world of solidarity for fifteen years and I learned something. If we want to help people who are suffering because of a tragic event, two things make the difference: quality and time.
Quality of help we offer, in other words, an aid that must match people needs, which must arise from them and not the contrary, for example.
Time is not less important, time that we really choose to sacrifice for the tragedy, remaining close to people, especially when all forget them...

The Italian earthquakes* and the day after we don’t want:

The earthquake in Molise (2002):
The 2002 Molise earthquake was a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that hit the Italian regions of Molise and Puglia on October 31, 2002 at 10:32:58 (UTC). The depth of the earthquake was 10.0 km (6.2 miles).
Most of the victims of the earthquake suffered when a school collapsed in the town of San Giuliano di Puglia. 26 of the 51 pupils there died, together with one of their teachers. In particular, none of the 9 boys of the 4th class (born in 1996) survived.

The day after:
In 2007, a website of Termoli ( claims mismanagement by President Iorio of amounts of money that have arrived. In particular, they were used only minimally for areas of the crater; the rest were for other projects, some of which very little relevant to the emergency. Many media resume the dispute.
In June 2008 a new debate came out about the destination of the funds. Their end was advanced of six months by Giulio Tremonti, Minister of the Berlusconi government No. 4, to support the abolition of municipal property tax on the first house.
The first of January 2009 the 13 Mayors of the Molise municipalities that were affected by the earthquake of 2002, with a letter to the Prefect of Campobasso, have resigned. Their intention was to protest against the failure in Parliament on a decision about the taxes and contributions suspended after the earthquake six years ago, that the government want it back.

The earthquake of Saint Lucia, in Sicily (1990):
The earthquake of Saint Lucia was a seismic event of high intensity in the middle of the night of 13 December 1990, which interested a large part of south-eastern Sicily.
It was so called because it occurred during the festivity of the patron saint of Siracusa, Saint Lucia, which is celebrated the 13th of December.
The intensity was about the eighth-grade of the Mercalli scale and classified as a magnitude of 5.1 on the Richter scale.

The day after:
The earthquake involved part of the heritage buildings of historic and artistic Val di Noto, sites included in UNESCO richness. The majority part of damage has not yet been repaired. The earthquake was controversially called the "Series B Earthquake" because after the initial outcry it was soon forgotten by the mass media and also by the national politics of the time (just think that some victims had not received compensation for ten years).

The earthquake in Irpinia (1980):
The 1980 “Irpinia earthquake” took place in the Irpinia region in southern Italy on Sunday, November 23, 1980. Measuring 6.89on the Richter Scale, the quake, centered on the village of Conza, killed 2,914 people, injured more than 10,000 and left 300,000 homeless.

The day after:
The Italian government spent 59 billion lire on reconstruction, while other nations sent contributions. Germany contributed 32 million United States dollars (USD) and the United States 70 million USD.
However, in the early nineties a major corruption scandal emerged of the billions of lire that actually disappeared from the earthquake reconstruction funds in the 1980s. Of the $40 billion (or 40 thousand million) spent on earthquake reconstruction, an estimated $20 billion (or 20 thousand million) went to create an entirely new social class of millionaires in the region, $6.4 billion (or 6,400 million) went to the Camorra, whereas another $4 billion (or 4,000 million) went to politicians in bribes. Only the remaining $9.6 billion (or 9,600 million), a quarter of the total amount, was actually spent on people's needs.
Italian novelist Alberto Moravia declared: "Suddenly, the brutal truth recovers the connection between me and reality. These smashed up wasp nests are houses, residences...actually, they were."

The earthquake of Belice, Sicily (1968)
The Belice Earthquake had a magnitude 6.4° on the Richter scale. In the night between 14 and 15 January 1968 struck a wide area of western Sicily in the Province of Agrigento, Trapani and Palermo. Most of the hit municipalities were part of the area commonly known as Valle del Belice.

The day after:
Among the 14 towns affected by the earthquake there were countries that were completely destroyed: Gibellina, Poggioreale, Salaparuta, Montevago. The victims were 370, a thousand injured and around 70,000 homeless. There are other countries and cities which have suffered extensive damage: Menfi, Partanna, Camporeale, Chiusa Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Sciacca, Santa Ninfa, Salemi, Vita, Calatafimi, Santa Margherita di Belice.
The earthquake of 1968 dramatically showed the state of backwardness in which those areas of western Sicily lived. The people of those countries were composed mostly by old people, women and children, as young men had long emigrated in search of work. This figure represented the social unease that the politicians knew and disregarded, as well as they neglect the consequences of the earthquake, which represented, in terms of natural disasters, one of the first and sadly famous Italian case in the history of the postwar period: the initial inertia of the government, the delay in rebuilding, the people forced to emigrate, the squalor of the slums for those who remained. The subsequent appropriations for economic reconstruction gave rise to often unnecessary works, as the city of Gibellina, a “spot” of reconstruction, planned by famous architects and artists but poorly designed confronted to the most important factor: the employment for the people and the reconstructing of places of socialization for the population.
The Palermo-Mazara del Vallo highway was financed and built, which was nicknamed by many as the “desert highway”, rather than deal with the reconstruction of roads linking the villages, more essential and urgent.
Here is one of the phrases written on the walls of the ruins: "Bureaucracy kills more people than earthquake".

I stop here…

Now it’s particularly time for solidarity, but also for memory...

*Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stories and News No. 23: The idea of inviting to the G20 also an Italian clown to make everyone laugh was truly beautiful!

The Story:

Peter was nine years old.
Together with other students of his school he was chosen to participate in the G20, having the honour to attend the world leaders meeting.
When he returned from the visit, he received the task of writing a composition to tell to his school companions about his experience

My day at the G20 was very beautiful.
There were many people, from all over the world, of every colour. Everybody was smiling and shaking hands, talking and giving packs on shoulders.
It’s nice to know that the world presidents get together to solve problems of all.
My mother has been fired, but my father still has a job and this makes us lucky.
This my dad told to my brother and me while we were at dinner, but I think he was talking to mom.
The most beautiful moment was when I met the leaders.
It was just before the group photo.
I had never seen the Queen so closely. She seems only an old woman. She is an elegant lady, but just an old woman.
Our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was the only one with eyes socket. I think he was late the evening before.
Obama is tall. He has a beautiful smile too. It’s clear that he is happy to be a president.
The German president, Angela Merkel, is identical to my aunt Elisabeth, just a little fatter. I told her and she said thank you. If she could know that aunt Liz is in prison for theft...
My aunt is not a criminal. The fact is that today it’s difficult to be honest. This is what my mother, that’s her sister, tells me almost every day.
When I gave my hand to President Sarkozy I made a laugh and he asked me why, but I could not tell him the truth. The fact is that I have thought about what dad always says when he sees Carla Bruni and him on TV: How is it possible that a very beautiful girl is married to an ugly man like him?!
My mother once told him that Sarkozy is very rich and my father replied: did she need money?
What struck me most was the Russian President, Medvedev, because I did not know who he was.
I was convinced that Putin was the Russia president...
However, I must make my compliments to those who organized this meeting.
The idea of inviting to the G20 also an Italian clown to make everyone laugh was truly beautiful.
Even if I don’t understand what he says, that Berlusconi is very funny!
He should work on TV…

The News:

From the Telegraph (By Nick Squires), 04 Apr 2009: Silvio Berlusconi's top 10 gaffes and pranks.
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister, prides himself on his ability to connect with ordinary people. But he has developed a reputation after making a string of gaffes on the world stage. After his latest mis-step at the G20 conference in London, which earned him a rebuke from the Queen, we count down our favourite Berlusconi moments.
1. April 2009
Silvio Berlusconi missed a symbolic Nato photo and a ceremony for fallen soldiers because he was too busy talking on his mobile phone.
2 April 2009
Days earlier, he was accused of embarrassing his country by yelling a greeting at US President Barack Obama and earning a rebuke from the Queen during an official G20 photo shoot in London.
Footage of the Italian prime minister becomes a YouTube hit in Italy, with one clip posted on the website titled “Bothersome Berlusconi, reproached by the Queen.”
3 March 2009
The 72-year-old self-made billionaire said his response to the global economic crisis was different to that of President Obama because “I’m paler”.
“I’m paler because it’s been so long since I went sunbathing. He’s more handsome, younger and taller,” said the media mogul.
Also accused of being racist, or at least gauche, in November 2008 when he hailed then President-elect Obama as “handsome, young and also suntanned”.
Mr Berlusconi accused his critics of lacking a sense of humour, and a few days later repeated the observation about Mr Obama’s mixed-race skin tone.
4 January 2009
Mr Berlusconi caused outrage by saying that although he was considering deploying 30,000 troops to Italy’s cities, there would never be enough soldiers to protect Italy’s many “beautiful girls” from rape.
5 January 2007
Mr Berlusconi said to a former showgirl and men’s magazine model, Mara Carfagna: “I’d go anywhere with you, even to a desert island. If I weren’t already married, I would marry you straight away.”
His wife, Veronica Lario, reacted by writing a letter published on the front page of La Repubblica newspaper calling for a public apology. She duly received one. Mr Berlusconi later made Miss Carfagna his equal opportunities minister.
6 July 2003
Caused a political row at the start of Italy’s EU presidency by referring to a German MEP, Martin Schulz, who criticised him for his alleged links to the mafia, as a “concentration camp guard”.
He told the German: “I know that in Italy there is a man producing a film on Nazi concentration camps - I shall put you forward for the role of Kapo (a guard chosen from among the prisoners) - you would be perfect.”
He later claimed he had been joking and had been thinking of a character from the popular TV series Hogan’s Heroes, set in a Second World War POW camp.
7 2006
Offended China by declaring: “Read the black book of Communism and you will discover that in the China of Mao, they did not eat children, but had them boiled to fertilise the fields.”
Later conceded: “It was questionable irony ... because this joke is questionable.”
8 Boasted that he had had to “dust off my playboy charms” to convince Finland’s female prime minister to set up the EU Food Safety Authority in Parma, Italy, rather than in Finland. Added the observation that: “Parma is synonymous with good cuisine. The Finns don’t even know what prosciutto is.”
9 He advised investors in New York to relocate to Italy because the secretaries were better looking than their American counterparts.
“Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries... superb girls.”
He also told the New York stock exchange: “Italy is now a great country to invest in... today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one.”
10 During a group photo of EU leaders in 2002 he made the Italian horned “cuckold” gesture with his hand behind the head of the Spanish foreign minister, suggesting he was being cuckolded. Mr Berlusconi said he was “just joking” and was trying to amuse a group of boy scouts who were nearby, but the gesture was felt to be out of place at an international summit.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stories and News No. 22: Here you can do from behind too!

The Story:

Somewhere, after the death:

Jesse took the newspaper for his usual read. Well, yes, they read the newspaper too. Besides, they have time...
The news was on the front page!
The man did not believe in his eyes. Yeah, eyes. The whole body goes there. You might ask: “What about the soul?” No soul, that's an invention of the living.
Jesse was breathless when his brain realized how many dollars the Philip Norris would have to pay to his wife...
Inevitably a tear flew away from his right eye, the one with the tic.
Yes, there you will loose all your infirmities, stay calm, but the tics remain. They are the trade mark, as your favourite football team and your secret vices.
Suddenly a voice called him behind his shoulders: “Mr William? Is everything fine?”
Jesse turned his head and saw the angel.
“It’s okay,” he said, “I feel good. I'm just happy...”
“I’m glad to hear it," the other said, putting on him his dark eyes.
Another surprise, I imagine. The angels are not blond and with blue eyes, but they have brown skin and with very long beards. It’s logic. First, being so close to the sun they are tanned since the beginning of time. Second, cutting objects are not allowed there, so they cannot shave. There, you can’t cut the steak too, but that is irrelevant now.
Jesse sighed, and, despite he passed in 1997, he knew a little more than nothing of that place. Then he asked something he had never dared to do: “Hey ... forgive me, but it's stronger than me. Could I smoke a cigarette? A little one…”
“Sure,” the angel replied, opening his bag and immersing one hand in it. “Mr William, you spend too much time reading newspapers and watching TV. Do you prefer light cigarettes, don’t you?"
Jesse had his eyes out of the orbits: “What? Can we smoke here?”
“Certainly, here you can do everything you want. Ops, not everything… The sharp objects...”
“I know. I know this. But can we smoke?”
“I said yes, Mr. William! Here there are no prohibitions. And how can we prevent something? We cannot make you scared about what will happen after. You’re already dead...”
“Cool! What about stealing?”
“Well, why do you want to steal something if you can do everything?”
"Yeah, it's true. What about the sins? What happens to me if I commit impure acts?”
“What do impure acts mean?”
“Don’t you know?! What kind of angel are you? Impure acts, like the sodomy, for example...”
“Sodomy? What is it? A disease?”
“No... sodomy, the anal sex...”
“Are you saying… from behind?”
“Mr William, I don’t know how can I make you understand. Here you can do that from behind, above and below, each position you like. How you prefer to feel good it’s your business and you will never be disturbed, because everyone is doing the same, so all people have no time to think about the others. You can smoke; here you can do whatever you want with your body, because you’re already dead. Except fart when you’re not alone. Did you see the notices?”
“Yes, of course. Wow. If I had known it when I was alive, I would have lived with less feelings of guilt...”
“I see. As we say, while death exists, there is hope...”

The News:

From Dailymail, 01st April 2009: Smoker's widow wins $155m compensation after ten-year battle with tobacco giant.

A widow whose husband died of lung cancer has won a $155million court battle with cigarette maker Philip Morris - ten years and a day after a jury first awarded her damages.
Mayola Williams stands to collect between $60 million and $65 million from a pot that has grown to more than $155 million because of accrued interest.
The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the tobacco firm's appeal, frustrating business interests that had hoped the court would set constitutional limits on damages awarded by juries.
The case has bounced around appellate courts since shortly after Williams prevailed, on March 30, 1999, in the claims of fraud she pursued on behalf of her late husband, Jesse, a long time smoker.
Jesse Williams was a janitor in Portland who started smoking during the 1950s and died in 1997, six months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.