Tag Archives: Italy

Italy: two Russian diplomats expelled

Italy expelled two Russian officials on Wednesday,March 31,2021, after an Italian navy captain was arrested for allegedly selling confidential documents for cash to a Russian military officer, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

According to Corriere della Sera newspaper the navy officer sold “top secret” NATO files, and some other sensitive Italian military dossiers to a Russian official.

Italian authorities became suspicious a few months ago, after Italy’s intelligence, began monitoring contact between the Italian navy captain and the Russian military officer. After close surveillance and assembled evidence, the police intervened last night, and moved in “during a clandestine meeting” between the Italian captain and Russian military official.

According to police, “The Italian official was taken into custody, while the position of the foreign national is still under consideration in relation to his diplomatic status.”

“We regret the expulsion from Rome of two employees of the Russian embassy. We are investigating the circumstances of the decision. We will make a further announcement on our possible next steps in relation to this measure, which does not correspond to the level of bilateral relations” Russia’s foreign ministry reacted.

“We do not currently have information about the reasons and circumstances of this detention. But in any case, we hope that the very positive and constructive nature of Russian-Italian relations will continue and will continue,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has underlined.

Following the arrests, this morning Italy’s foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Razov.

This comes weeks after Russian military intelligence GRU operation was uncovered in Bulgaria leading to expulsion of Russian diplomats and arrest of six officers.

EU tourism: 6M jobs at risk

Tito Livio Mongelli, Vice President of Skal Roma and head of the Academy and who will be introducing the works and directing the seminar, underlined how “we must stop thinking that everything will return as before, because we will no longer be the same: our certainties, our priorities, and perhaps also our way of working will have changed.”

In the future, “we will have to consider that we will all feel vulnerable, the world will be smaller when we think about the speed of spread of diseases, but the distances will seem enormous when we decide where to go on vacation.”

Prof. Filippo Zagarella, psychologist and psychotherapist, focused on: “the vicious cycle we are falling into: not knowing how to react to an invisible danger; we are in constant stress that depresses us, and we are getting worse and worse. In the face of danger, we automatically feel suffering, fear, and anger.

“Not being able to unload our anger against a concrete enemy, we have to find other escape ways: deny the danger or see something else as an enemy or repress our emotions or exacerbate the rules to fight this invisible enemy.

“However, we live under constant stress, and this stress compromises our immune defenses and makes also us feel badly physically. Not to mention the increased risk of getting sick precisely from the disease whose presence stresses us.”

Prof. Filippo Zagarella suggests “adopting the 4C model: knowing, being aware, training in new roles, and accepting change.

Create our “fantastic escape” to reduce stress: let’s put our mind on vacation and, as soon as possible, also our body! We will need holidays, as soon as possible!”

Prof. Matteo Colleoni, professor at UniBicocca University Milan, on the consequences of the pandemic on the demand for general and tourist mobility and on the changes taking place, highlighted how “tourism is a complex” eco-systemic sector “that includes several actors (producers, distributors, consumers, and supports), therefore, a plurality of economic activities are weakly, partially, or strongly associated with the tourism system: over ten million workers in Europe are in this business.

In the world, in the last two decades, the flow of international arrivals has more than doubled and it is a flow that largely travel by road (72% in Europe and 59% in Italy), despite the important value of air travel for business tourism and long holidays.

The consequences of the pandemic in some European regions, the high dependence of local economies on the tourism sector, e.g., in Italy we talk about Valle d’Aosta, Trentino and Alto Adige, Liguria, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche, “has made them very vulnerable to shocks au-par of health care.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global impact of the pandemic crisis on tourism is 5 times worse than that of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The European Commission estimates a risk of loss of 6 million jobs with a strong impact on seasonal workers, young people, women, and foreigners, who are already weak at work.

The flows of tourist mobility are strongly associated with pandemic flows: tourism is at the same time the cause (in terms of diffusion) and consequence (in worsening terms) of the spread of the virus.

According to various survey results on tourist mobility choices, risk reduction has become the first factor in choosing the means of transport.

What are the possible policies and interventions for the management of the pandemic crisis in the tourism system?

Optimize the use of the policies currently in use (and their level of integration); guide and modify the preferences associated with tourist behavior and consumption; increase the resilience of the system through diversification interventions; and increase risk control levels (structural and technological surveillance interventions).

Interventions of integration of planning tools aimed at planning the activities of the sector in coherence with respect to the objectives of tourist mobility (considering the modal changes resulting from the restrictions in the transport system).
Promote less crowded destinations: in particular rural tourism and natural tourism, a way to promote sustainable tourism and meet the objectives of the SDGs “sustainable economic growth.”
Adoption of the “travel bubble” logic: possibility to move freely within certain areas (in particular in a sustainable and safe way) but prohibition of access from the outside (e.g., between Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) – increase in local tourism.

Reduce dependence on tourism demand (through the 4S policy: Sustainable, Smart, Specialization, Strategies). Rethink the entire system of mobility and transport (including tourism transport).
Speakers profiles
Prof. Filippo Zagarella is a psychologist, psychotherapist, Dean, and teacher of the training course in Humanistic Psychotherapy with a bioenergetic address and designer of psychoanimation workshops for children, teens, and adults.

Prof. Matteo Colleoni is Full Professor of Sociology of the Environment and Territory at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milan-Bicocca where he also holds the position of University Mobility Manager and President of the Degree Course in Tourism science.

Italy: Matarella proposes Draghi to lead government

The Italy head of state Sergio Matarella summoned Mario Draghi for talks on Wednesday, February 3, at noon (1100 GMT) after hearing that efforts to salvage the collapsed coalition of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had failed.
Mattarella looks set to ask former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to form a government of national unity to tackle the twin coronavirus and economic crises battering the country.

“I have a duty to appeal to all political forces (to support) a high-profile government,” Mattarella told reporters, ruling out the only other possibility, early elections, as ill-advised given the array of challenges facing Italy.

Draghi made no immediate comment on the presidential summons and it was not initially clear which parties in the deeply fractured parliament would support an administration he headed.

Mario Draghi is widely credited with pulling the euro zone back from the brink of collapse in 2012, pledging to do “whatever it takes” to save the single European currency.

Later the banker has largely vanished from the public eye since his ECB term ended in October 2019, but his name emerged as a potential premier in recent weeks as political turmoil combined with the health and economic emergencies to form a perfect storm. President Mattarella said one of the most important things the next administration had to do was to draw up rapidly plans for how to spend more than 200 billion euros ($243 billion) from a European Union fund designed to help overcome the economic slump.

Pompeii new discovery

Brussels 27.12.2020 The archaeologists said they had discovered a frescoed thermopolium or street-food counter in an exceptional state of preservation in Pompeii.

The ornate snack bar, decorated with polychrome patterns and frozen by volcanic ash, was partially exhumed last year but researches extended work on the site to reveal it in its full glory.

Pompeii was buried in ash and pumice when the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, killing between 2,000 and 15,000 people. However, nowadays archaeologists continue to make discoveries there.

The Thermopolium of Regio V at what was a busy intersection of Silver Wedding Street and Alley of Balconies was the Roman-era equivalent of a fast-food snack stall.

A fresco bearing an image of a Nereid nymph riding a seahorse and gladiators in combat had been unearthed previously (pictured).

COVI19: Italian military to control migrants

The Italian government will send soldiers to Sicily to stop recently arrived migrants leaving holding centers after a raft of breakouts in recent days, including some by people who had been quarantined to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The government ensured citizens and toursists none of the escapees had tested positive for the virus and that most had been caught soon after breaking out of the facilities.

But the breakouts are adding to unease over rising numbers of migrants who have made their way across the Mediterranean in recent weeks. Italy largely tamed the virus after one of the longest and strictest lockdowns among Western countries. Everyday life is returning to something approaching normalcy. A requirement to wear masks in enclosed places is one of the few hints the virus is still circulating.

So far in July, 5,583 migrants have arrived in Italy, almost five times as in the same month last year, though fewer than in the crush who came during the height of the European migrant crisis. So far this year, around 12,500 have arrived, compared with about 180,000 who came in 2016 alone.

The government now plans to make it all but impossible for new migrants to break free from their initial quarantine by confining them for two weeks on a large ship that will lie off the southern coast of Sicily before transferring them to migrant centers on land. It isn’t yet clear when the ship will be in place and, meanwhile, migrants centers have filled beyond their capacity in recent days. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has promised to transfer 500 migrants from Sicily to other parts of Italy by July 28.

The government has assigned soldiers to prevent migrants leaving the holding centers. The first soldiers were due to arrive in the area on Tuesday and their numbers will eventually reach about 400, according to an Interior Ministry official.

Italy eventually slowed the initial flow of migrants by striking an agreement with authorities in Libya, the main point of departure, to fund and train the Libyan coast guard along with the European Union.

From January to July this year, 4,537 Tunisians reached Italy, more than five times the number by the same timline last year.

Dutch Rutte is «not opitimistic»

«Hard work» lies ahead said the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the doorstep of the European Summit (#EUCO) on recovery and long-term budget. However he underlined that due to prepararty period the positions of everyone became clear, and it also became more visible where the «bridges can be built», but of paramount importance is the conducting reforms in the countries which are at utmost in need of the European subsides, to make sure that this kind of situation is the last one.

«If the [member-states in need] are willing to receve subsides above the borrowing, it is very important to be sure that the reforms are conducted there» Rutte has underlined.
Dutch head of government said that he is not «optimistic», but from the other hand «you never know», because nobody is interested to «come together again», but still there are very difficult issues to be agreed upon.

«Nobody is willing to bring to standstill Brussels traffic once again in two week time, however it is not about the speed but about the content», Rutte joked whiling continuing. “Yes” to solidarity, but everything should be done that the countries, which are suffering from the crisis the most, would be able to cope with it the next time. The answer lies in the reforms of the labour market, the pensions reforms, etc. Being against subsidies, the Dutch government sill finds they are possible step, in case there are reforms guarantees, which are crucial. Because the funds should go from the North to the South “in principle last time”.

The Prime Minister has also explained the significance of the consistency of his position on reforms as a condition for two major reasons: the profound need of the stability of Europe in the “unstable world”, with such authoritarian players as China, the U.S., the situation in the Middle East, and role Russia is playing, and the second reason is the EU internal market, which should recover. He also put the Netherlands as an example of a strong internal market, which allows the country the speedy recovery in crisis.

However, Rutte has underlined, that he does not consider the veto perspective, but the power of reasoning as his major advantage, making the point that he does not have any aces in the sleeves.

“We don’t believe in grants set system. It is crucial to maintain the rebates on the sufficient level, and we still need to negotiate what is the sufficient level, and we need the reforms. If the South is in need of help, in terms of coping with crisis we understand that, because they have limited scope of dealing with it financially themselves, it is reasonable for us to ask for the clear commitments to reforms. If the part of loans are converted to grants, then the reforms are absolutely crucial, and we need guarantees that they would take place” Rutte said at doorstep of the Summit. “The EU economies should come of the crisis more résiliant, we need a strong Europe in an unstable world” he said. “The countries who are lagging behind in terms of reforms should steep up” he added.

Rutte also rebuffed the rumours and insinuations, underlining that he works for “strong’ Europe, which is also in the interest of the Dutch citizens – the guarantees instead of “insurances”. Among issues significant for his country he named the rebates.

“A weak compromise will not take Europe further” Rutte said.

The first round of negotiation has started between Dutch Rutte and French President Macron.

Mark Rutte added that he had dinner with the Italian Prime Minister Conte in The Hague, and he is sure that under Conte leadership Italy will pursue further the way for reforms. He also underlined that the personal relationship between both politicians have been always marked by mutual respect.

COVID19: Europe gradually lifts restrictions

A number of European countries are further lifting their restrictions on May 25, Monday:

Gyms and swimming pools reopen in Italy, except in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy. The country has the third-highest recorded death toll from the virus worldwide.

Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, both move into phase one of the country’s 3-phase lockdown lifting plan. People can now gather in small groups, while bars and restaurants can serve customers outside. Other parts of the country move to phase two – meaning beaches, businesses and public areas can open more extensively.

Ferry services in Greece resume to all islands and ports, as the government hopes to boost domestic tourism. Cafes and restaurants are also reopening in the country from Monday.

Bars repent in the Czech Republic – the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world – as the country enters its final lockdown easing stage.

As well as restaurants, cafes and pubs, the doors are also reopening at primary schools, zoos and castles.

Vatican Museums reopen from June 1

The Vatican Museums reopening coincides with Italy’s gradual easing of the nearly 3-month lockdown, which allows many businesses and activities to restart.

The reopening of the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo and a new open-bus tour have also been announced.

Health and art:

Due to the current health emergency situation, the Vatican Museums are ensuring a very careful balance between safety and health needs and the dynamics of a museum visit, without compromising the essence of such a visit.
Hence, in keeping with the norms of hygiene and physical distance, visitors to the Museums will be subject to a body temperature check and will be allowed in only with a facemask.
A medical and health team from Italy’s Misericordie volunteer group and the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Department will ensure every need during the opening hours.
Other important requirements for the reopening of the museums will be revised from time to time as the current emergency situation evolves.

Online booking:

In order to restrict the number of entries, the Vatican Museums have limited ticket sales to only online booking from the official website http://www.museivaticani.va.

For this emergency period, the online booking fee of €4 will not apply.

There are also variations to the opening hours:
– Monday to Thursday: the Pontifical Collections will remain open from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., with the last entry at 6.00 p.m. (exit from the museum sectors starts at 7.30 p.m.)
– Friday and Saturday: from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., with the last entry at 8.00 p.m. (exit from the museum sectors at 9.30 p.m.).

Museums visits on Friday and Saturday are accompanied by the possibility to take part in an aperitif in the Pine Cone Courtyard to enjoy the sunset.
The usual free entry to the museums on the last Sunday of the month has been suspended.

COVID19: Viticulture counts on EU aid

Sales at British liquor stores leapt a third in March, while those for alcohol at U.S. retailers shot up more than 50% in the week after the country entered a state of national emergency.

But the drinks industry isn’t celebrating.

The surge in demand came as sales through bars, clubs and restaurants fell to zero as they were closed to contain the COVID-19 virus. And even as countries start to ease restrictions, these venues are likely to be re-opened in the very end of lock down.

There are various estimates that in Europe, the closure of this important distribution channel could lead to a 35% reduction in sales volume, which could reach more than 50% loss in sales value”, said Pau Roca, managing director of the International Wine Organization (OIV) during an audio conference.

Pau Roca estimated that the impact of these containment measures would not be the same in all regions and, for example, that the Mediterranean countries would be “probably more affected than the others”. He puts forward two reasons to support this forecast:

First, the highest incidence of bars, restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and second, the radical suppression of the highly developed tourism industry, which will be severely limited, even a once containment has ended ”.

The top three global wine producers in 2019, Italy, France and Spain, alone accounted for 25% of global wine consumption last year, according to data released at the press conference.

If the OIV mentions an increase in sales in grocery stores and supermarkets, “this good news does not compensate for all the losses caused” by the reduction in sales in hotels, cafes and restaurants, underlines Pau Roca. The characteristics of the retail commercial distribution channel “limit purchasing capacity”, he says, referring to an offer more geared “towards low and homogeneous prices”.

Finally, it plans to develop distance selling or electronic commerce offered by various virtual stores. “Via this third distribution channel, orders could not always be guaranteed” due to a saturation of logistics and delivery services, said the OIV manager.

Once this problem is resolved and the sector adapts to this new demand, direct home sales will certainly continue to increase in the future,” he adds. Nevertheless, “even if we are witnessing a spectacular transfer between the distribution channels, the overall balance expected is a reduction in consumption, a reduction in average prices and therefore an overall decrease in the total value of sales of turnover, margins and ultimately the profitability of producers, vineyards and in particular SMEs which are linked to traditional distribution channels and which are located outside supermarket networks, ”says Pau Roca.

After the taxes of Trump, who planted part of the wine companies, today with the closing of restaurants, the closing of lounges, the closing of cellars, the closing of sales on farms, French wine growers are in the process of to be completely suffocated, “said French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume on LCI TV Channel.

While Europe proposed new measures for other agricultural sectors in crisis, such as milk and meat, Pau Guillaume now hopes for a gesture for viticulture from the European Commission.

French, Italian and Spanish wine cooperatives, which claim a total of half of European production, asked the Commission “to open without delay a European crisis distillation of 10 million hectoliters with a budget exceptional European investment of 350 million euros ”.

A crucial measure to relieve producers, even if last year, world production fell by 12% compared to 2018, a record vintage, to 260 million hectoliters, according to the latest figures from the OIV.

While more than four out of ten bottles usually cross borders, “trade flows are and will continue to be seriously affected,” said Pau Roca. He believes that the two largest markets in the world, Europe and the United States, could reduce their imports, but hopes on the other hand that “other regions less affected by the pandemic or which could recover more quickly, such as the countries Asian ”, will provide“ short-term partial relief”.

Italy: 150 migrants landed at night

There were four migrant landings overnight at Lampedusa bringing a total to more than 150 migrants onto the island between Sicily and Libya, ANSA news agency reports. Migrant hotspot of the island has been already so full that the coronavirus checks were carried out on the harbour side.

In spite coronavirus pandemic the flows of migrant have not decreased, but started to grow following season opportunities in the calm sea. Monday May 4 arrivals were preceeded by the others in Italy and Spain, alltogether 300 migrant left Libyan coast last weekend to reach European coasts.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Lega party has claimed the operataions are conducted by Soros-backed NGO lawyers, who are helping migrants from North Africa to reach Europe, and claim asylum there.

Concerns are also growing among aid agencies and service providers about the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on displaced people in Africa. Africa hosts more than 25.2 million refugees and internally displaced people. Most African refugee appeals are chronically underfunded and most displaced people are hosted in poor countries with already under-resourced health systems.

Africa houses four of the world’s six largest refugee camps (in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia). These camps are vulnerable accommodations for transmission of the coronavirus. They are overcrowded and lack of basic sanitary facilities as water, hygiene facilities, and products.

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