sabato 12 aprile 2014

An Exshibition on Pasolini's history in Rome

Three European capitals - Barcelona, Paris and Berlin - are to join with Rome in developing an innovative project designed to celebrate the figure of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the 20th century thinker who succeeded better than anyone in forging a new, poetic take on the image of the city of Rome.

Rome, for Pasolini, was more than simply a stage set for his films or the city he lived in. His relationship with the city was passionate, a true love-hate relationship, with times when he adored it and times when he loathed and rejected it, times when all he could think of was escaping from its clutches and times when he yearned to get back. The difficult circumstances surrounding his arrival in Rome threw him head-first into a world and a language that didn't belong to him, that belonged to the down-and-outs in the suburbs where his precarious financial situation forced him to dwell. His discovery of this totally new world was to prove a powerful source of inspiration for him, and it was there that he found the subject matter for his first novels and films without even really having to look. Later on in the career of this public figure, this tireless analyst of the direction in which Italian society was heading, Rome was to become a priority vantage point, a permanent field of study, thought and action. It was also to be the setting for the persecution visited on him from all quarters of the establishment, and for the harrassment he was to suffer at the hands of the media as they turned him into a scapegoat, into the man who had to be destroyed at all costs because he was so different and because he held such radical views on Italian society.
The exhibition is broken down into six chronological sections, starting with Pasolini's arrival in Rome in 1950 and ending with the night of his tragic death in Ostia in November 1975. Moving from one section to the next, visitors are invited to discover the thread linking the various stages in his incredibly vibrant and creative career that lasted over a quarter of a century: the places in which he lived, in which he set his novels and his films, his poetry, his cinema, his friends, his loves, his persecution, his struggles and his commitment on the city's behalf. Or his drawings and paintings, and his self-portraits, but also an ideal gallery of the work of those contemporary painters whom he described with such accuracy in a poem: Morandi, Mafai, De Pisis, Rosai and Guttuso. No exhibition devoted to Pasolini has ever been so rich in exhibits of all kinds (many of which are on public display for the very first time) illustrating every aspect of his multifaceted genius. Visitors will feel that it is Pasolini himself speaking to them, guiding them through the exhibition to join with him in discovering his erratic and unpredictable career that was constantly open to new encounters, to doubt, to U-turn and volte-face, and to new beginnings. Visitors will discover a man at once both extraordinary in terms of his creative strength, his incredible vitality, his constant struggle and the passion he put into everything he did, and yet so very ordinary, with his moments of exultation, of faith, of enthusiasm and of joy, but also of doubt and anguish in the face of the mysterious nature of life and the tragic nature of history.

Italian Renaissance Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection at Metropolitan Museum

Exhibition Location: Robert Lehman Wing, Court Level, Gallery 964 and 965 by may 13 to september 1, 2014

Featuring masterpieces of Central and Southern Italian drawings spanning the 15th and 16th centuries, Italian Renaissance Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection will be on view in the Robert Lehman Wing beginning May 13, 2014. The installation will explore varying ways that Renaissance artists employed drawing through the illustration of different stages of composition as well as through sheets bearing marks or annotations that attest to their use in the workshop and in transferring designs to other surfaces. Among the 42 works on view, Florentine drawings will be well represented by celebrated Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Antonio del Pollaiuolo, while the Southern Italian examples will include a rare sheet attributed to Antonello da Messina. The installation will highlight a period which witnessed a major transformation in the role of drawings, from the perception that they served solely as workshop tools to their increasing value as expressions of artistic genius, prized by collectors.

The exhibition will include works that explore the human form through figure studies and portraits, as well as expansive compositional sketches for biblical and mythological narratives, covering a wide spectrum of drawing types and subjects, both sacred and secular. Among the figural studies will be sheets that reveal artists’ increasing interest in exploring the anatomy of the nude human form through sketches of Christ, male saints, and ancient gods. Leonardo da Vinci’s keen study of anatomy and his tireless observation of the natural world will be represented by his delicately executed metal point
Study of a Bear Walking, probably drawn from life and aided by his dissection of bears. Other figural studies, such as two sheets portraying female allegories—one attributed to the circle of Lorenzo Monaco and the other to Fra Angelico—reveal the artists’ concern with the interplay of drapery and the effect of light upon it. Other sheets will be dedicated to artists’ exploration of the interrelationship among figures and portray complex groupings and compositional arrangements, the majority of which date to the 16th century and include highly dynamic, intertwined Mannerist poses, inspired by classical reliefs.

Sheets representing varying stages of the design process will illustrate the diverse functions of drawing for Renaissance artists. These range from rapid preliminary sketches to more refined detailed studies, compositional designs, and cartoons (full-scale drawings that enable the transfer of the design to another surface), as well as highly polished drawings intended for patrons. As demonstrations of the artist’s working process, numerous sheets will represent vivid illustrations of the practical and very active role drawings played in the workshop, as well as the variety of ways in which they functioned in the creation of other media. While the role of drawings as preliminary studies for paintings is well known, Pollaiuolo’s study for a bronze monument will be one of various sheets in the exhibition that will illustrate the primacy of drawing as preparatory for works of art in a broad range of other media, such as sculpture, textiles, and engravings.

Several drawings bear physical evidence of their use as implements employed by artists to transfer designs to other surfaces or to enlarge their compositioned size. Examples will include Antonio del Pollaiuolo’s celebrated design for the equestrian monument to the Milanese duke, Francesco Sforza, which bears tell–tale holes along the outlines of the horse and rider. Another fascinating use of drawing—as a tool to study perspective—is Luca Signorelli’s drawing of a male head in profile, bearing pricked outlines, stylus ruling, and letter annotations; it served as a diagram for foreshortening the human head, following the method described and illustrated by his master Piero della Francesco in his treatise on perspective.

Giorgio Vasari, the 16th-century artist and biographer, was the most significant early collector of drawings and assembled an album of works by artists whose biographies were included in his “Lives of the Artists” (1550, 1568). Several drawings to be featured in the exhibition, including one by Pollaiuolo, have been identified as possibly having belonged in this album. Vasari’s writings played an important role in advocating for the primacy of drawing or
disegno, a term signifying both the formulation of the idea in the artist’s mind (design) as well as its expression on paper (drawing), where hand and intellect met. Vasari also elevated the status of drawing by establishing the Accademia del Disegno in Florence in 1563, which was founded on the premise that the various arts had a common origin in disegno and included painters, sculptors, and architects trained in drawing. The fundamental role of drawing in the realization of painting, sculpture, and architecture had been recognized since antiquity and was described by early Renaissance writers. Illustrating the relationship between theory and practice, the drawings on view will be considered in the context of 15th- and 16th-century treatises such as Vasari’s.

Related Programs

Additional information about the exhibition and its accompanying programs is available on the Museum’s website at:

Alfano says European Union must defend its southern borders

Italy alone can't help waves of migrants heading for Europe

(ANSA) - Rome, April 11 - The European Union must take more responsibility for defending its southern sea borders rather than leave all of the work to Italy, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Friday. He spoke the same day that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the Italian navy had rescued as many as 6,000 migrants attempting a dangerous sea crossing to Europe over the past four days, and should have more assistance from the rest of the EU.

Alfano said that EU treaties have lowered borders among member states, but it still has a southern boundary to defend in the area of Italy's island of Lampedusa, where tens of thousands of migrants first make landfall. "The sea in front of Lampedusa is not an Italian border but the European Union (border) and Europe must assume the burden of defending it," said Alfano.

A spokeswoman for the UNHCR said earlier that the Mediterranean is one of the busiest seas in the world, and poses a "dangerous border...for many asylum seekers who seek salvation in Europe". She urged European Union members to work together on solutions to the migrant situation, which is expected to worsen, including improving legal channels for immigrants to Europe. Practical refugee aid, including additional shelters, is also needed, she added. 

Berlusconi risks house arrest if he 'defames' judges

Ruling expected in 5-15 days, community service expected

(ANSA) - Milan, April 11 - The prosecutor who asked a Milan court to let Silvio Berlusconi serve a 10-month sentence for tax fraud doing community service has warned that the ex-premier will be put under house arrest instead if he defames magistrates, reports said Friday. The ruling on what kind of punishment the center-right leader will receive, which is expected within the next two weeks, will be key in determining what role Berlusconi will play in the coming year. If he has to do house arrest, it would seriously curb his ability to lead his center-right opposition Forza Italia (FI) party ahead of May 25 European elections, a key test for it.

The choice is between house arrest or community service as the charismatic 77-year-old is too old to go to jail under standard Italian legal practice. The media magnate has repeatedly blasted judges in the past. He says the tax-fraud ruling, which led to him being ejected from the Senate in November, is part of a two-decade campaign by left-wing elements in the judiciary to sweep him out of Italy's public life. On Wednesday he complained that the left had used its "judicial arm" to stop him running in the European elections. Lamanna reportedly told the court that, under standing legislation, community service "can be revoked" if the three-time premier defames "individual judges".

If Berlusconi is allowed to do community service, he would likely be free to be out and about from 8 am until 11 pm, judicial sources said Friday. The sources said that in "standard" cases in which a convict is ordered to serve a sentence doing community service, judges give few limits to freedom of movement and action and Berlusconi would probably only need to seek permission to leave the Lombardy region around Milan or neighboring regions. Berlusconi has already had his passport confiscated.

On Thursday Berlusconi's defence team asked the court for him to be able to campaign for FI for the European elections, which he cannot vote in as a result of the conviction. Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison in the tax-fraud case, but only 10 months of that remain to be served as the rest was covered by amnesties.

venerdì 11 aprile 2014

Adventure Awards Days 2014 at Livigno

From 22 - 27 July 2014 at Livigno, Italy, the second edition ofAdventure Awards Days, a festival dedicated to adventure: to live, tell and share.

Adventure Awards is a festival that offers a possibility to everyone to live their own experience, by doing or just narrating it; it's a place where anyone can put themselves in the game and share their own emotions. Livigno, the italian capital of the outdoors, greets another event dedicated to action and adventures. What is adventure for the Adventure Awards?
It's a way to look at the world, an attitude towards life. It's a different way to look at things: for a great athlete is a goal to reach, for someone curious is a motivation to try, for an outdoor lover is a way to live an emotion, for a storyteller or an explorer is an occasion to share. It's the human being that is behind every adventure.
The adventure will be first of all in an auditorium: the first two days will be dedicated to the selection of the best movies and documentaries from all around the world. There will be around 40 films in program and they will be awarded with 2 Awards; the Best Movie, a money prize for the most beautiful and emotional movie , and the Green Award, for the movie that best talks about the value for the safeguard of the environment.
Many appointments in a program which is being developed and it will be announced with details in May. Training camp of trail running with great national and international athletes,climbing, trekking and mountain bike stages, preparation for the race, advices and the possibility to live an experience together with your heroes.

There will be an evening dedicated to the ultra running with great names such as Stefano Gregoretti (winner of the Gobi Desert and the Yukon Arctic Ultra) and the Canadian Ray Zahab( this year, together with Gregoretti, was the first man to cross the Island of Buffin running in winter), that will hold a training camp dedicated to the motivation and training techniques. Gregoretti and Zahab will bring in Italy, during the festival days, the USA format Impossible2Possible, that will take a group of young people to run on the Lombardy Alps, leaving and returning to Livigno.

For the experts, but not only, will be presented photo and video workshops with important photographers and video makers including the Alpine photo workshop with Riky Felderer. Meanwhile, in the middle of a lake, a man will live independently on a raft for five days to announce his next big challenge. It is Alex Bellini, the mountaineer who crossed two oceans on a rowing boat and that on May 2015 will leave for his Adrift adventure: he will live on an iceberg documenting all stages of life.

And more: exhibitions, special events, curiosities. In occasion of the gala, the following prizes will be awarded: the Golden Beard (symbol of the adventurer, designed each year by a different artist), the Best Adventurer and the Best Storyteller: the two souls of the festival.

Adventure Awards Days is a cultural moment, an occasion to discuss, live and share the love for the outdoors, to deepen the connection with nature and the environment, and to spend beautiful and special days in contact with the protagonists of the greatest adventurers.

Smog-eating sculpture makes Milan Expo sneak peek

Light-sensitive, marble-like cement to be used in Italy pavilion

(By Emily Backus) (ANSA) - Rome, April 11 - A six-metre sculptural installation made from a new, biodynamic "smog-eating" cement at the University of Milan this week gave viewers a glimpse of the Italy pavilion planned for the landmark centrepiece of Milan Expo 2015, the food-themed Universal Exposition that will take place in Milan next year.

The sculpture 'ENtreePIC' is a synthesis of 15th-century Milanese Renaissance architecture and contemporary design, evoking a branching plant-like system. It was created with vanguard materials and technology developed by Italcementi and Styl-Comp Group, who are partners in the construction of Milan Expo 2015's Italy pavilion with Nemesi & Partners.

ENtreePIC is one of the hundreds of exhibits and events that make up the FuoriSalone, or unofficial furniture fair that is taking place throughout the city of Milan April 8-13 to coincide with the 53rd annual Salone del Mobile, or international furniture fair in Milan's Rho Pero fairgrounds. The material developed and produced by Italian construction company Italcementi will cover the outside of the mosaic, branched forest-like edifice of the Italy pavilion for Milan Expo 2015. The entire external surface and part of the interiors of the Italy pavilion designed by Nemesi & Partners will be made up of the light-reactive cement that has the appearance and touch of marble, but is made with 80% recycled materials. Italcementi's patented active ingredient Tx Active reacts with sunlight to allow the capture of various air pollutants, helping to rid the air of smog.

The material is also fluid enough to permit the creation of complex forms like the panels required to erect the Italy pavilion. Expo 2015 will be an opportunity to "test" biodynamic cement, just as Italcementi's "transparent cement" called i.light, with its special system of tiny holes to let natural light infiltrate walls, was put to the test as part of the Italian pavilion in Shanghai Expo 2010, said Enrico Borgarello, director of research and innovation at Italcementi, at a Milan presentation of EntreePIC. Borgarello added that 5.3% of its 2013 turnover of 4.8 billion euros comes from innovative products, a figure likely to grow. "The tradition of research and innovation of the group is such that we have moved in recent years to increase the sales of innovative products and we aim to grow again," said Borgarello. "The i.light conquered a niche market for premium architecture in markets like Arab (countries)," Borgarello explained, adding that biodynamic cement "could have a superior development to i.light because it is easier to use". The Universal Exposition, which takes place next year from May 31 to October 31, is themed "Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life", tackling issues such as food security, hunger, and promoting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable global food-production practices.

Italy Pavilion Commissioner Diane Bracco called Milan Expo 2015 "a great opportunity for relaunching Italy, which will allow our country to make the most of our large number of manufacturing points of strength".

So far there are a total of 147 countries and other participants set to put their best on display at the World's Fair, which will cover an area of more than 100 hectares near Milan's massive Rho Pero trade fair exhibition centre.

The fair is also set to animate the city with related events and initiatives modeled after the FuoriSalone of the highly successful international furniture fair, which attracted more than 300,000 visitors to Milan last year. 

Italian castle, convent, Venetian island up for sale

State agency says plan to raise money, boost development

(ANSA) - Venice, April 11 - One of Italy's historic castles, a convent, and a Venetian island are among the "jewels" which are being offered for sale by the national government to encourage development and raise some much-needed cash. The State Demanio, or property agency, has said that hundreds of properties with a combined value of tens of millions of euros will be listed in a series of sales beginning Friday and likely to close on May 6.

Already, negotiations are underway for the purchase of the entire village of Cittadella di Alessandria, set near an ancient fortress in the northwestern region of Piedmont. "It's a detailed sales plan, and not just to make money but to promote the development of the regions," said Paolo Maranca, central manager of State real estate assets. One of the first steps is the sale of five valuable properties each worth more than 400,000 euros that will be conducted online but not through an auction, he said.

That includes a 14th century castle in Gradisca d'Isonzo in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a 24,000-square-metre building in the centre of the city of Trieste, and the former 16th century convent of San Domenico Maggiore in Monteoliveto in the southern Taranto province. A 99-year-lease is being offered for the surface rights of the island of Poveglia near Venice, a property that actually includes three small islands, two of which are connected by a bridge. The property lies opposite the Lido and near the inlet of Malamocco.

Other properties on offer, with a total value of about 9.4 million euros, include 148 small assets scattered around the country from Fruili to the Veneto in northern Italy, across to Lombardy and down to Puglia and Basilicata. The sale does not end there. The agency said that another 208 properties will go on the market at a later date, likely in September, including castles, monasteries, villages and lighthouses.

Police seize Camorra stores and assets in Rome worth 7 mn

Apartments and firm in Naples and Reggio Calabria hit too

(ANSA) - Rome, April 11 - Italian police in Rome have seized stores, restaurants, apartments and assets worth seven million euros from three Neapolitan entrepreneurs allegedly linked to the Campania-based Camorra crime syndicate, investigators said Friday.

The operation follows the arrest in January of the three businessmen - brothers Luigi, Antonio and Salvatore Righi - and the seizure of several pizza outlets and restaurants they owned in downtown Rome.

The Righi brothers are accused of money laundering on behalf of the Contini Camorra clan. The new operation has led to the shutdown of an ice cream parlor on the central Via del Tritone street and three bars and pizza outlets in the famous Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna squares. Police also seized apartments in Naples and a company in Reggio Calabria. 

Some 500 sign up for EU Youth Guarantee program in Turin

Piedmont first to enact new jobs program, which kicks off May 1

(ANSA) - Turin, April 11 - Piedmont is the first among Italy's regions to enact a new European Union youth jobs program, and some 500 young people have already signed up, regional authorities said Friday. The regional website will attract an estimated 16-17,000 job seekers a year, and will be integrated with the national government website, according to Piedmont Employment Agency Director Franco Chiaramonte.

EU countries endorsed the program, called Youth Guarantee, in April 2013. It officially kicks off throughout Europe on May 1, including in Italy. The idea is to make sure that every young person in Europe is offered a good-quality job, further education or work-focused training within four months after leaving education or after becoming unemployed.

In Italy, this means that as of May 1, unemployed people aged 25-29 can sign up on the labor ministry website or with regional authorities, and they will be contacted with a job offer within four months. The Youth Guarantee program has funding of 1.513 billion euros for two years, with 1.134 billion euros from the EU and the rest financed by Rome. 

Ex-Berlusconi aide linked to Mafia declared fugitive

'International manhunt' for Dell'Utri, missing since mid-March

(ANSA) - Rome, April 11 - The manhunt intensified Friday for former Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, once a close aide to centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, who has apparently skipped the country to avoid an arrest warrant on Mafia charges. Italy's anti-Mafia investigative directorate, DIA, said the 72-year-old Dell'Utri, who was facing the possibility of a jail sentence on Tuesday if definitively convicted of helping the Sicilian Mafia, had been missing since mid-March. Italian authorities have started the procedures to ask Interpol to help them to track down the wanted man.

Investigators said they had been monitoring Dell'Utri for weeks and had tried without success to arrest him, after judges deemed Dell'Utri to be a flight risk on April 8. Rumours suggested he had fled to Lebanon, possibly using a passport issued in the tiny nation of San Marino, where the co-founder of Berlusconi's Forza Italia political party has extensive business interests.

And prosecutors in Palermo noted that he had been in Beirut earlier this month. But in a statement to ANSA Friday, Dell'Utri said that he was having medical tests after heart surgery, did not intend to evade authorities, and would appear next week for the supreme court final decision on his seven-year conviction for Mafia links. Dell'Utri had appealed to the supreme Court of Cassation the seven-year sentence imposed in March, with the final decision set for Tuesday. "I would like to clarify that I do not intend to evade the judicial result of the upcoming sentence of the Court of Cassation; and, finding myself in precarious health - for which I had to have an angioplasty a few weeks ago - I am undergoing further tests and check-ups," Dell'Utri said in a statement.

Milan’s Museo delle Culture to open in October

According to The Art Newspaper, Milan’s Museo delle Culture, a museum for non-European art, is forecast to open in October 2014. It is a project which has so far cost the city €60 million, and has been in the pipeline since 1999.
The museum, designed by the British architect Sir David Chipperfield, serves as a collaboration between public and private spheres. The city of Milan is to oversee the museum’s permanent collection, whilst a private company is to be in control of the institution’s commercial enterprises, education programme and the organisation of two annual temporary exhibitions.
When the museum does open its doors to the public, it is to house 780m2 of permanent exhibition space and 1,500m2 of temporary exhibition space, enabling it to showcase a great variety of non-European works ranging in origin from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art. The museum’s permanent collection is to draw from the city’s extensive resources and is to be overseen by Marina Pugliese, the Director of Milan’s Museum for Italian Modern Art.
The museum’s opening temporary show is to be dedicated to the many international exhibitions held in Milan between 1850 and 1950, which introduced non-European art and ideas to the city.

Alitalia heads off to Prague, Tokyo Narita and Tunis

Alitalia, having started just one route last week at the start of S14 season, chose this week to launch three new airport pairs. First up on 1 April was the Italian flag carrier’s new link betweenMilan Malpensa (MXP) and Tunis (TUN). The twice-weekly service (Tuesdays and Saturdays) was previously operated by the airline until May 2010. The 983-kilometre sector will be flown by a variety of equipment, and will operate in direct competition against Tunisair’s 11 times weekly service. Launched the same day from the city’s downtown airport of Milan Linate (LIN), the SkyTeam carrier began a thrice-weekly service to the Czech capital, Prague (PRG). The route will again be flown by several aircraft types, but will face no direct competition. However, both easyJet (double-daily) and Czech Airlines (12 times weekly) will compete indirectly on the Milan-Prague city pair, both operating from Milan Malpensa. The airport pair, a seasonal service which will operate until 25 October, was previously flown by Alitalia until October 1998. Finally, on 2 April, Alitalia improved its regional long-haul credentials by starting a twice-weekly (Thursdays and Saturdays)Venice Marco Polo (VCE) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) service. The 293-seat, 777-200-operated route will encounter no direct competition.

China's pavilion for Milan 2015 expo to feature wavy roof and indoor crop field

New York firm Studio Link-Arc and a team from Tsinghua University have revealed their competition-winning design for a pavilion with an undulating roof to represent China at the World Expo 2015 in Milan.

Studio Link-Arc, which is led by Chinese architects Yichen Lu and Qinwen Cai, and Virginia native Kenneth Namkung, collaborated with researchers from Tsinghua University to develop its vision for "a cloud hovering over a land of hope". This includes a field of crops and a wave-like roof overhead.

The designers plan to use large bamboo panels to create a series of shingles across the roof, reminiscent of the terracotta tiles used in traditional Chinese constructions. These will be fixed onto arching wooden frames, giving the building its distinctive profile.

"The pavilion's floating roof is designed as a timber structure that references the 'raised-beam' system found in traditional Chinese architecture, but is adapted to accommodate modern construction technology," said the architects.

Beneath the roof, a field of wheat designed to reference China's agrarian past will merge into a interactive installation where LED lights are hooked up to electronic stalks.

This will lead to a series of exhibitions and cultural programs dotted around a sheltered plaza. A staircase will allow visitors to access rooftop viewing platforms, offering aerial views of both the field and the pavilion's surroundings.

"The pavilion's full exhibition and cultural offerings are experienced as a sequence of spaces, beginning with an exterior waiting area in the landscape, leading to a themed exhibition space with interactive installations and cultural offerings from 40 Chinese provinces," explained the designers.

China is one of 145 nations participating in the Milan 2015 expo, which takes place from May to October. Other proposals unveiled so far include a pavilion with a field and tractors on its roof, for agricultural company New Holland.

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Formafantasma and Martino Gamper among speakers announced for Milan FOMO talks

Milan 2014: a series of talks will launch yesterday afternoon in Nike's Aero-static dome at Palazzo Clerici, forming part of the FOMO algorithmic publishing project organised by Joseph Grima with Dezeen.
Three afternoons of talks called On The Fly will kick off today withClemens Weisshaar, Atelier Bow Wow, Folder, Linda Fregni and Bart Hess discussing the theme of weightlessness in design.
The talks will take place at Palazzo Clerici inside a dome created by Arthur Huang, founder of MINIWIZ, which uses Nike's Flyknit technology to create a temporary events space.
They are free to attend and each afternoon the speakers will tackle a different theme related to design practice, presenting a minimum of two images to accompany their talk.
During the talks a real-time publishing algorithm – developed by Joseph Grima's design research group Space Caviar and called Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – will automatically create written articles from live speech and social media streams using the #OnTheFlyMilan hashtag.

These will be collated in a PDF that will then be printed and saddle-stitched on the spot from the FOMObile – a roving publishing press with its own built-in power generator and solar-powered wi-fi hotspot. The resulting publication will be distributed for free in Milan and made available on the Dezeen website.
The On The Fly talks will be FOMO's first test in a real-world environment. Anyone, anywhere will be able to take part by using the #OnTheFlyMilan hashtag on social media on Wednesday 9, Thursday 10, and Friday 11 April between 5.00 and 7.30pm CET.
Today's event will be moderated by Joseph Grima, founder of Space Caviar and the former editor of Domus.
Talks on Thursday will be hosted by Gianluigi Ricuperati and will include Ianthe Roach, Pier Nucleo and Italo Rota, who will all discuss the theme "seamlessness". On Friday, Marco Velardi will host Formafantasma, Martino Gamper and Anna Meroni talking about sustainability in design.

Alitalia-Etihad deal 'close' after Renzi meets Hogan

Announcement expected 'in coming hours'

(ANSA) - Rome, April 11 - A deal giving Etihad Airlines a big stake in troubled Italian flag carrier Alitalia is "close", sources said after Italian Premier Matteo Renzi met the CEO of the Abu Dhabi-based airline in Rome. "They're getting down to the nitty-gritty, and there may be an announcement in the coming hours," sources at the premier's office said after Renzi's talks with James Hogan. The major stumbling block, they said, is the number of redundancies the deal would entail.

Earlier this week Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said Etihad Airlines had finished its "due diligence" in examining Alitalia's accounts. Etihad is mulling a 40% stake in the cash-strapped Italian carrier, which would inject about 300 million euros in capital in Alitalia. 

Turin woman dies after taking 'abortion pill'

Expert denies first Italian death linked to mifepristone

(ANSA) - Turin, April 11 - A Turin woman has become the first Italian fatality possibly linked to the emergency contraceptive mifepristone, the so-called 'abortion pill'. The woman, 37, died at Turin's Martini Hospital after an abortion brought on by the pill, known in Italy by its former name, RU486. An autopsy has been ordered.

The hospital linked the death to a reaction to the pill but Italy's top expert on abortions, Turin gynecologist Silvio Viale, said the death was probably caused by sedatives which have been known to trigger cardiac arrest. Viale claimed there was only one fatality due to RU486, in France in 1991, but in that case too it was caused by complications "rather than the drug itself". "I feel obliged to warn against any instrumental exploitation of this death," said Viale, head of Italy's largest abortion ward at Turin's Sant'Anna hospital. Since its introduction in several countries more than 25 years ago there have been a handful of deaths allegedly linked to the pill, including eight cases of "lethal intolerance" in the United States.

Mifepristone has long had a symbolic significance transcending its medical use. When it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000, advocacy groups insisted that it would change the nature of abortions, taking them out of clinics, where women might face harassment by abortion opponents, and into the privacy of a doctor's office. Abortion opponents said it was dangerous and would lead to suffering and deaths.

Neither turned out to be right as almost 90% of abortions continued to be carried out in clinics while the drug was judged "safe and effective" by US medical authorities. In Italy, where many doctors and pharmacists are Catholic conscientious objectors to abortion, women have often found it hard to get mifepristone even on a prescription. The pill was first administered in Italy on April 7, 2010, at a hospital in the southern city of Bari, as a group of pro-life activists protested outside. From 2006 to 2009 Italian hospitals ran some 200 tests using the RU486 pill, importing it from France. The April 2010 case was the first time that the so-called abortion pill had been purchased directly from its Italian distributors.

According to Italian law the RU486 pill - not to be confused with the morning-after pill that has been in use in Italy since 2000 - can be taken by women up until the 49th day of pregnancy under medical supervision in hospital, offering an alternative to surgical abortion. During the three-year experimental phase the pill was administered to day-hospital patients. RU486 was first introduced in France in 1988 and is now used in most European countries including Greece, Spain, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Its introduction in Italy met with stiff opposition from the Catholic Church as well as pro-life politicians and activists. Responding to ethical and health concerns, the health ministry set up a standing committee to monitor the use of the pill in Italian hospitals.

Ministry officials expressed concern that regional governments could issue different protocols for the drug, creating confusion and raising the likelihood of improper use. Italy's National Pharmaceutical Agency AIFA first approved the RU486 pill in July 2009 but its use was put on hold during a Senate inquiry into concerns over its safety and compatibility with Italian abortion laws.

The inquiry gave way to a bitter debate inside and outside parliament, with Catholic Church officials threatening excommunication for anyone who took or prescribed the new drug. The rate of abortions in Italy has been falling over recent years and is one of the lowest in the West. According to the latest figures, for 2012, the number of abortions performed in Italy has been decreasing while the number of doctors who are conscientious objectors to the procedure has been on the rise. In 2012, 105,968 abortions were performed, a decrease of 4.9% compared to the previous year, the report said.

The report also found that the number of abortions dropped dramatically " by almost 55% - compared with the figures for 30 years ago, while the percentage of doctors refusing to do them rose by 17.3% between 1982 and 2012. The report said that the number of abortions peaked at 234,801 in 1982. An estimated 15,000 illegal abortions are also carried out each year. Pro-choice activists have complained that a growing number of pro-life medical practitioners are making it tougher for women to obtain abortions. Under Italian law, doctors can refuse to perform an abortion if it runs counter to their principles.

Recent health ministry figures suggest that 70% of all Italian gynaecologists are now 'conscientious objectors' compared to 58.7% in 2003 while 50.4% of anaesthetists are opposed to abortion, compared to 45.7% in 2003. 

Italy rescues 800 migrants off Libya

Latest in string of pick-ups as fair-weather influx continues

(ANSA) - April 11 - The Italian navy rescued 800 North African immigrants off the coast of Libya Thursday night in the latest in a string of pick-ups off rickety boats that have been launched like flotillas during the recent spell of warm weather. The migrants were on board seven rust-buckets and latge dinghies that were intercepted by four Navy frigates and a Finance Guard motorboat about 70 nautical miles south of the stepping-stone Italian island of Lampedusa, which is closer to Libya than to Sicily. The asylum seekers were transferred to the large Italian cruiser San Giorgio which is expected to dock in a Sicilian port later Friday. Earlier this week Italy issued a fresh call for help from the European Union after rescuing more than 4,000 migrants in 48 hours.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said in a radio interview Wednesday that "with the fine weather, the next six months are going to be extremely tough". He said most migrants now disembarking on Italy's shores are political asylum seekers, and Europe must give Italy a bigger hand in processing and relocating them. "Hundreds of thousands are in Libya waiting to get on a boat", Alfano told Sole 24 Ore financial paper's Radio24. "It is of the essence that the international community set up refugee camps as well as bilateral control over coasts and departures". The minister's comments followed news that Italian authorities rescued some 4,000 migrants off several unseaworthy boats in the past 48 hours.

Every year, tens of thousands of migrants arrive in Italy, which is the first landfall for those trying to reach Europe by boat from North Africa. Many die while attempting the hazardous crossing in rickety, overcrowded vessels after being charged exorbitant prices by human traffickers. After some 400 people drowned in two migrant-boat disasters within sight of Lampedusa in October 2013, Italy set up a surveillance and rescue operation called Mare Nostrum to prevent further deaths at sea. "We are rescuing thousands of migrants with our ships", Alfano continued. "We must speed up procedures to expel those who have no right to stay, and to receive those who have a right to asylum".

Some 15,000 migrants have landed on Italy's coasts since the beginning of the year, Alfano said. "Most asylum seekers don't even want to stay in Italy. Other countries must take these people in, because that's where they wanted to go in the first place", the minister explained. "Europe must understand that we can't take them all in. And the EU needs to boost our border defense system", said Alfano.

He went on to blast critics in the anti-immigration Northern League, which sponsored a law making illegal immigration a crime that was recently repealed. "I would remind them that the migrant influx peaked in 2011, just after illegal immigration was criminalized", the minister said. Also on Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate human rights commission rebuffed the minister's claims that Italy is under attack by a wave of migrants. "This is not an invasion. We've known for a long time that this was going to happen", said Senator Luigi Manconi of the ruling Democratic Party (PD) "We should take a serious look at ourselves and at the reasons why we failed to take the necessary steps to receive people we can easily take care of, without involving other European countries". "Italy must do its part, and on this matter our conscience is not as clear as it should be", he added.

The country must put its own house in order, both in terms of domestic policy and of international treaties it has signed on to but doesn't always respect, the PD Senator pointed out, echoing many previous calls. 

Italian salaries up 1.3% in 2013, OECD says

Tax wedge on single-income households with 2 kids down 0.5%

(ANSA) - Rome, April 11 - The average annual Italian salary increased 1.3% in 2013 on the previous year, from 29,315 to 29,704 euros, a report from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Friday.

The OECD's 'Taxing Wages' report on income tax paid by workers and social security contributions, found that wage growth lagged behind inflation at 1.4% in the same period. The organization also said the tax wedge - which is the difference between what a firm pays each worker and the worker's take-home salary - on single-income households with two children had dropped 0.5% to 38.2% in Italy.

Italy thus dropped one position to rank fifth in the 30-nation group from the previous year, behind Greece (44.5%), France (41.6%), Belgium (41.0%) and Austria (41%). However Italy continued to rank sixth in 2013 for the tax wedge on single, child-less households, estimated at 47.8%, after Belgium (55.8%), Germany (49.3%), Austria (49.1%), Hungary (49%) and France (48.9%). Both estimates were over the OECD average of 35.9% for singles without children and 26.4% for single-income families with two children.

giovedì 10 aprile 2014

Chaos erupts in Senate over suspending debate on bill

Lawmaker raises arm in Fascist salute to mock M5S

(ANSA) - Rome, April 10 - Chaos broke out in the Senate on Thursday after the deputy speaker suspended debate to force a vote on an anti-corruption bill, prompting one lawmaker to raise his hand in a Fascist salute. Members of the ant-establishment 5-Star Movement were incensed when Roberto Calderoli, along with members of the majority Democratic Party (PD) and the opposition Forza Italia (FI) party, agreed to "guillotine" debate on the bill, which had been bouncing back and forth between the House and Senate. The M5S, led by comic-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, was unhappy with the softened version of the bill, which makes it a crime for politicians or candidates to promise to buy or otherwise obtain Mafia-rigged votes.

"You don't deserve the title of honorable," yelled M5S Whip Vincenzo Maurizio Santangelo from the floor. "Go home!" Soon thereafter, a Senator from the right-wing GAL mixed group raised his hand in a Fascist salute toward the M5S and accused the anti-government movement of acting like Fascists for disrupting proceedings. In the succeeding shouting match, Deputy Speaker Linda Lanzillotta suspended the session. "This is against the values of the Constitution," she said.

The scene recalled the last time debate on a bill was suspended in parliament. During a House session in January, the M5S was furious when House Speaker Laura Boldrini interrupted a filibuster they were staging by using her so-called "guillotine" powers for the first time in history so that a decree could pass before a deadline timed it out.

In protest the following day, M5S MPs occupied the benches reserved for the government in the House and a brawl almost broke out as stewards tried to move them away and take away slogans written on banners in breach of the rules for the chamber. A female M5S MP complained she was slapped by a male lawmaker, who said he was trying to protect the Speaker. 

Property belonging to ex-Lombardy governor confiscated

Formigoni on trial for alleged graft in regional health sector

(ANSA) - Milan, April 10 - Police on Thursday confiscated assets including a Sardinia villa and bank accounts linked to former Lombardy governor Roberto Formigoni and his old friend Alberto Perego ahead of their trial for alleged graft in the region's health sector.

Formigoni, a Senator with the New Centre Right (NCD) party of Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, is accused of criminal association and corruption in the case relating to the Pavia-based Maugeri healthcare trust.

The confiscated assets have a total value of around 49 million euros, equivalent to the estimated material value of the graft of which the defendants are accused. Formigoni has always denied any wrongdoing. Eight other people have been indicted in the case, including businessman Pierangelo Dacco', another friend of Formigoni's. Last year Dacco' was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Milan appeals court for embezzling money through the San Raffaele hospital in Milan.

According to the court, Dacco' helped create the so-called "San Raffaele system", whereby entrepreneurs who worked under contract for the hospital would intentionally over-bill clients and give the difference to Dacco' who used the money for slush funds.

He was also found guilty of misappropriating assets and tax fraud. The Maugeri trial is due to start on May 6. Formigoni and the whole Lombardy government and parliament resigned at the end of 2012 after a wave of scandals. 

Florence Goldoni statue daubed with graffiti

City opposition accuses Renzi of inaction

(ANSA) - Florence, April 10 - A statue of 18th-century Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni was daubed with graffiti in Florence Wednesday night. Opposition members of the city council led by the Democratic Party (PD) claimed the incident "proves that the vows made by (PD leader, ex-Florence mayor and Premier Matteo) Renzi were empty".

They alleged that "nothing has been done" to foil 'writers' since the Tuscan capital's Piazza Savonarola was "disfigured" last month. Renzi was Florence mayor for five years until he became premier last month after ousting party colleague Enrico Letta. 

IMF chief calls on Italy to reform labour market

Unemployment among youth especially troubling, says Lagarde

(ANSA) - Washington, April 10 - Italy must reform its labour market with an eye to creating jobs for unemployed youth, Christine Lagarde, director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Thursday.

Italy, as well as other European countries including Spain, have a significant problem with youth unemployment, noted Lagarde in remarks ahead of the IMF's semi-annual meetings in Washington. The jobless rate in Italy for young people between ages 15 and 24 hit 42.3% in February, the latest available figures.

Increasing the participation rate of women in the work force is another key labour-market challenge that is important in countries ranging from Germany to Japan and Korea, said Lagarde. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has introduced labour reforms in his so-called Jobs Act that is now before the Senate. 

Frejus Tunnel closed after truck fire

One hurt as vehicles collide on French side

(ANSA) - Turin, April 10 - The Frejus Tunnel between Italy and France was closed Thursday after a crash left a truck in flames on the French side of the key road link. One person was hurt, but not seriously, rescue services said.

Three accidents, one fatal, have caused the tunnel to be shut three times in the last 10 years. On November 29, 2010 the link was closed after another lorry blaze, leading to the construction of a new, additional rescue tunnel completed a year later. However, no one was hurt or affected by smoke inhalation on that occasion. On January 9, 2007 the tunnel was briefly closed after a truck caught fire, also on the French side. The fire started after the brakes on the truck began overheating. Motorists and truck drivers behind the lorry were forced to abandon their vehicles and take refuge in the Alpine tunnel's security bays.

They were later escorted out by rescue workers. The 12.7-km-long tunnel remained closed for 90 minutes while the emergency was dealt with. In June 2005 a blaze broke out inside the Frejus tunnel which cost the lives of two people, both truck drivers. The fire started on a truck which was transporting tires and quickly spread to three other trucks.

Firemen said afterwards that they had battled temperatures which topped 1,000 degrees centigrade and it took them more than a day to put the blaze out. The tunnel was subsequently closed for two months for repairs.