mercoledì 3 settembre 2014

'Italy needs anonymous donor fertility law' says Lorenzin

Health minister to launch nat'l plan to combat low birth rate

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Regions do well to agree on anonymous donor fertility treatment rules, but Italy needs a law on the matter, Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Wednesday.

Legislation is needed on issues such as donor security, capping the number of times sperm or eggs from a single donor should be used, and setting up a national anonymous donor registry, the minister explained. There is currently "no authorized center" for this kind of fertility treatment, said Lorenzin, adding that she has sent a draft decree to parliament.

As well, the minister announced the launch of a new fertility plan for Italy. "Italy has had low or zero birth rate for years, and if it goes on like this, our economy will be at risk," said Lorenzin. 

EU backs Italy justice reform

'Very brave' moves says Reicherts

(ANSA) - Brussels, September 3 - Justice Minister Andrea Orlando on Wednesay got EU support for the government's justice reform. New European Justice Commissioner Martine Reicherts called the reform "the fruit of good sense and very brave, able to push Italy along the path of growth and simplification". Premier Matteo Renzi last week launched Orlando's justice reform measures designed to halve the backlog of civil cases now clogging Italy's courts and driving investors away.

The measures will also make civil judges liable for negligence or malfeasance. As well, Renzi promised action on a controversial justice measure - making false financial statements once again a full-blown crime rather than merely a misdemeanour that doesn't earn a jail term. The law had previously been changed by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. 

Pordenone showcases Lewitt, Boetti and Bonalumi

1960s, '70s art movements to star Sep 6-Nov 9

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - A broad survey of the work of Conceptual artists Sol LeWitt, Alighiero Boetti and Agostino Bonalumi will be showcased at an exhibit opening on September 6 in the northern Italian city of Pordenone. The show will wrap up on November 9. Art movements from the 1960s and 1970s will star at the Sagittaria Gallery of the city's Centro Iniziative Culturali with 140 lithographs and silk-screen prints by the three leading artists, selected from the over 1,200 graphic artworks which are part of the permanent collection of the Museo Casabianca in Malo, near Vicenza. The show ''LeWitt Bonalumi Boetti. Edizioni di grafica del Museo Casabianca di Malo'' also gives an interesting insight into the history and activity of the museum which debuted in 1978, when art collector Giobatta Meneguzzo decided to open his vast collection to the public and the Morandi Bonacossi family offered their 18th century home as location.

The museum hosts one of Italy's most important collections of art from the 1960s through the 1990s with over 1,200 works by 700 leading artists including Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Christo, Mario Schifano, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini and Michelangelo Pistoletto. Only about 200 works are on display at the museum while the rest of the permanent collection is available for loans aimed at divulging conceptual art and its emphasis on ideas - also through the narrative of serial projects - over a physical product.

The exhibit opening in Pordenone in particular showcases key productions selected by Meneguzzo with 42 works by LeWitt, 16 by Bonalumi and 83 by Boetti. US artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) helped establish Conceptualism and Minimalism as dominant movements of the post-war era. His deceptively simple geometric sculptures and drawings, his boldly coloured wall paintings and graphic art established him as a leading modern American artist.

LeWitt turned art into basic shapes - quadrilaterals, spheres and triangles - a few colours - blue, black, yellow and red - and different types of lines organized according to specific ideas and projects which followed or defied logic. His mural-sized works sometimes took a number of people to execute and the artist always granted his team leeway in the belief that the input provided by others was part of art, enabling people to participate in the creative process. The work of Italian painter and sculptor Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013), a fixture of Milan's art scene from the 1950s, is represented by the graphic edition Italian Diary 1970 and 16 silk-screen prints. This gives an insight into the production of the artist known for his idea of ''painting-objects'', three-dimensional works in-between canvases and sculptures characterized by a minimalist aesthetic.

Another Italian artist, Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994) - originally a member of the group of Italian experimental artists gathered under the name Arte Povera - is present with lithographs which are part of the Insecure Nonchalant 1966-1975 anthology of works carried out during that key decade for Italian and European art. Initially drawn to the Arte Povera movement in the mid-1960s, Boetti later backed away describing their work as too ''baroque'' and commercially ambitious.

The artist, whose influences included Marcel Duchamp and industrial culture, broke away from group work to focus on extensive travels that would take him to East and Central Asia, Africa, Latin America and the US, turning him into a prototype of the globetrotting artist. His work vied to cut through cultural differences and pit order and disorder against one another. 

Mantua Literature Festival boasts 350 guests

Including Rifkin and Fellowes, Enquist can't for health reasons

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - For five days this month, the Festivaletteratura literary fest of Mantua will host 340 events and bring 350 guests to the city in northern Italy, including Jeremy Rifkin, Francesco De Gregori, and Julian Fellowes No political figure has yet announced an official presence.

House Speaker Laura Boldrini will be there on an unofficial visit. Per Olov Enquist, considered the 'critical conscience' of Sweden's Social Democrats, will not be able to attend due to health problems. He had been scheduled to be in Mantua for his 80th birthday on September 26 and the release in Italy of his autobiographical novel 'Il Libro delle Parole' (Iperborea). An event on the widely acclaimed author will be held on September 4 with Bruno Gambarotta and Emilia Lodigiani in Piazza Sordello. Andrei Kurkov, one of the most important contemporary Ukrainian authors writing in Russian, will be at the festival to present 'Diari Ucraini' (Keller), a first-hand account of what happened in Kiev's main square from November 21, 2013, until late April 2014. The philosopher Nuccio Ordine will be at the inauguration, speaking of culture as heritage to be protected, while Michael Cunningham will be the highlight of the closing on September 7 with his highly original novel 'La Regina delle Nevi' (Bompiani). In its 18th year, the festival draws crowds with big name authors but also actively seeks out new ones like Tommy Wieringa, who has been compared with J.D. Salinger and Paul Auster, with 'Questi Sono i Nomi (Iperborea), the Brazilian Adriana Lisboa, whose 'Hanoi'(La Nuova Frontiera) will be released during the festival, the Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 with her debut novel 'Abbiamo Bisogno di Nuovi Nomi' (Bompiani), which will be in bookstores on September 5. In the centenary year for the outbreak of WWI, the sound installation 'Caro Padre, Vidirò' at the Cripta di San Sebastiano will give a voice to the many Italians who were called on to take up weapons. As memory is the unifying threat of this year's edition, the lives of relatives and ancestors who took part in the war will be able to be reconstructed at the sacristy of the state archives, with special IT stations set up for the purpose of consulting state records. One of the previews with be Chicca Gagliardo's new book, 'Il Poeta dell'Aria'(Hacca), a novel in 33 flight lessons slated for release on September 17, on the basis of notes, verses and art by Emily Dickinson, Marina Cvetaeva, Bruno Munari, and Yves Klein.

Other guests include Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize winner with 'Olive Kitteridge' (Fazi), which has become a 4-episode miniseries set to go on air in the US in November on HBO and on Sky Cinema in Italy in January 2015. The poet Pierluigi Cappello will also be present for the first time, whose first book of children's poems 'Ogni Goccia Balla il Tango' (Rizzoli) will come out in September. Another household name in Italy, Caludio Magris, will speak about different levels in literature, how an author can keep their narrative distinct, and about private writing and correspondence. 

More art, computers, work-study under Renzi school reforms

Govt to use EU funds, woo private sector to bankroll programs

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - The government's school reform plan unveiled Wednesday would entail far-reaching changes for students as well as staff.

The novelties begin in primary school, where kids would get musical and physical education classes, while mandatory foreign-language classes would begin in elementary school, and high schoolers would see beefed-up art history, computer science, and economics courses. As well, the government would introduce mandatory work-study programs in technical institutes, upping the budget for such programs from 11 million euros this year to 100 million euros going forward. Another innovation will be apprenticeships in traditional crafts that are at risk of being forgotten, and the roll-out of an experimental internship program in the last two years of high school.

The package would partially rely on some 800 million euros in European funds for the 2014-2020 period, but the government also plans to woo the private sector. Measures would include school bonuses for businesses and foundations, a so-called School Guarantee program for firms that headhunt in technical institutes, and a crowd-funding program, with the State to match every euro donated by a private citizen to the public school system. 

Temp work not a springboard but 'trap' says OECD

Report warns of continued high levels of unemployment

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Temporary contracts are not often a springboard to permanent work but can instead be a trap, particularly for the very high numbers of unemployed youth, who reached levels of more than 40% last year in Italy, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Wednesday. In a report on the employment outlook in major economies, the Paris-based agency noted about 40% of young people under the age of 25 in Italy were unemployed last year - nearly double the rate of 20.3% in 2007. The statistics have steadily worsened since then, with a youth jobless rate in July, the latest available figures, of 42.9%, according to Italian national statistical agency ISTAT.

In Europe overall, said the OECD, less than half of temporary workers in a given year had full-time permanent contracts three years later. The OECD study also noted that almost one in two young Italians under age 25 was in a precarious employment position last year and urged action to address what it called a gap in employment protection between permanent and temporary workers. It also urged governments to devote more resources to skills training and retraining of workers to prepare them for a world that is rapidly and continually changing. The extremely high rate of unemployment in Italy and in many other European countries has been a serious and lingering problem, with policy makers pledging to take action to open up employment for youth.

The OECD reported that in Italy, about 36.3% of employed young workers had had a job for less than one year in 2013 when about 52.5% of young people in Italy had temporary jobs. That is marginally down from 2012 when 52.9% had "precarious" jobs without solid contracts, but is still far higher than before the recession that hit in 2007 when 42.3% of young people were in what was considered precarious employment. It was also double the percentage of 26.2% in the year 2000, said the OECD report.

The agency also warned that unemployment is a significant problem across the world's major economies, and calculated that the numbers of long-term unemployed have almost doubled since the financial crisis. And unemployment will remain well above pre-crisis levels in 2015 in most OECD countries, it added. The agency said that in the first quarter of this year, more than 16 million people in the 34 member countries of the OECD were jobless and looking for work for more than one year. That is up from about 8.7 million before the financial meltdown began, said the agency, which added that as many as 45 million people were unemployed across the OECD.

That was about 12 million more than before the crisis and raises concerns about social unrest and divisions between a growing number of have-nots compared with the haves, said the OECD. Making matters worse, real wages - adjusted for inflation - have not grown across the OECD member states since 2009, it said. 

Puglia 'Bollywood' wedding fuels anger over marines' plight

Mayor shrugs off grumbling over Indian mega wedding

(ANSA) Brindisi, September 3 - Hundreds of Italians have written to the mayor of the Puglian town of Fasano protesting the lavish wedding that was starting Wednesday of Indian iron magnate Pramod Agarwal's daughter in the home region of the two Italian marines awaiting trial in India. "Let them marry anywhere but not in Puglia," the emails said, including one from Admiral Giuseppe Nardini, pointing out that marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, who are locked in a long-running international dispute over charges they shot and killed an Indian fisherman, hail from the southern region.

The Bollywood-style, three-day extravaganza climaxing the marriage of Agarwal's daughter Ritika and bridegroom Rohan Meta was beginning Wednesday evening and will feature at least two elephants and 800 guests "representing 20% of Indian GDP between them," the mayor, Lello Di Bari, explained. "These controversies are absurd," Di Lello said, "a mayor can't stop a wedding". The mayor said he will wear a yellow ribbon to recall the plight of the marines languishing in the Italian Embassy in Delhi but he added "such wedding parties only bring positive publicity, they are good for our area". By Wednesday afternoon the bride and groom were ensconsed in one of two enormous structures that have been especially built, and local English-speaking girls have been hired to shower the bridal party with flower petals.

The couple was due to move later to the local district of Pettolecchia where the fairytale wedding ceremony was due to be held in a sprawling villa belonging to a Swiss banker. Agarwal's daughter Vineeta in 2011 tied the knot at the Venice San Clemente Palace Hotel during a 72-hour celebration that took six months of planning and a staff of 500 and featured 50 flower-entwined Murano glass chandeliers, two golden elephant statues, and a blimp. Security has been beefed up for the latest wedding against possible protests, the town hall said, but the main threat to the extravaganza evidently was unseasonal bad weather. 

Italy to start delivering arms to Iraqi Kurds

'By Sep 10,' says Pinotti

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Italy will probably start arming Iraqi Kurds against ISIS militants late next week, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said Wednesday. Speaking to a joint session of the House and Senate foreign and defence committees, Pinotti said deliveries would start "within the first 10 days of September".

Italy's parliament on August 20 backed Premier Matteo Renzi's move to send military aid to Iraqi Kurds fighting the offensive by fundamentalist Islamic State (ISIS) militia in the country's north as the premier himself met with Iraqi and Kurdish leaders as well as refugees in Baghdad and Erbil. Weapons including anti-tank rockets, automatic weapons, machine guns and ammunition will be sent to Kurdish forces. 

Italians remain 'food, techno maniacs' despite crisis

Average income has dropped 2,700 euros since 2007 says Coop

(ANSA) - Milan, September 3 - Italians have continued to spend money on quality food and technology products despite the huge impact the global economic crisis has had on consumer spending, according to a study released Wednesday by the country's Coop Italia consortium of consumer cooperatives. Italy is currently in its third recession since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008.

The study by the Coop, which runs a big chain of supermarkets, said that the average Italian income had fallen by 2,700 euros since 2007. It said that this had led to consumer spending "generally reaching a standstill", while stressing retail sales patterns showed Italian people were "food maniacs on one hand and technology maniacs on the other". The report said that technology and the health, fairtrade, ethnic, organic and vegan foods segments were the only categories in which retail sales had grown. The Coop said that 2014 will not be the year of a new start, but the one in which the country pulled back from the brink, while predicting that the recessionary trend will be reversed in 2015. At the presentation of the report, Coop Italia President Marco Pedroni called on the authorities to take action to fight price deflation, which experts say could make recovery even harder, after Italy's annual inflation rate dropped to -0.1% in August. "Deflation is a nasty beast," said Pedroni. "If it isn't attacked with power and determination, it could induce families to cut spending even further". 

Venice applauds Guzzanti's La Trattativa (The Negotiation)

Chilling satire about alleged State-Mafia negotiation

(ANSA) - Venice, September 3 - Screening out of competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival on Wednesday, La Trattativa (The Negotiation) by satirist Sabina Guzzanti got an enthusiastic reception with its mix of fiction and documentary, telling a chilling tale of corruption at the highest levels of the Italian State.

The movie purports to be a reconstruction of alleged secret negotiations the State entered into with the Sicilian Mob in a bid to stop a bombing campaign in the early 1990s that claimed the lives of crusading anti-Mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, among many others. A trial into the alleged negotiation is ongoing in Sicily. An actress, writer and director, Guzzanti in the past endeared herself to critics of Silvio Berlusconi by lampooning the former premier, who in turn successfully sued her and allegedly got her thrown off the air in 2003. 

'Vast deposits of gold' in Monte Rosa, says scholar

Last gold mine in area closed in 1961

(ANSA) - Turin, September 3 - Vast deposits of gold "as large as those in South Africa" are to be found in the Monte Rosa mountain in Italy's northern Verbania province, the scholar Rita Mabel Schiavo claimed Wednesday.

Schiavo said the last gold mine in the area was closed in 1961 following an accident in which four people died, adding that she will prospect for the gold in Monte Rosa during Italy's "Planet Earth Week," which is a series of "Geo-events" being held on the peninsula from October 12 to October 19. 

Alitalia unveils new routes after Etihad deal

Rome-Marrakesh from Wednesday, then Marseilles and others

(ANSA) - Fiumicino, September 3 - Italian flag-carrier Alitalia on Wednesday unveiled its first new routes from is main Fiumicino hub after this summer's lifesaving deal with Etihad Airlines. From Wednesday a biweekly link with Marrakesh is starting and from October 26 there will be a new Roma-Marseilles service.

Furthermore, according to Alitalia's Network Director Massimo Iraci, "many other new intercontinental and international links will be opened in the next few months, according to the AZ/Etihad development plan, especially from Fiumicino". 

Up to 70% of new hires on temporary contracts, OECD says

Jobless rate higher among young women than young men

(ANSA) - Paris, September 3 - Up to 70% of new hires in Italy were employed last year under temporary contracts - one of the highest levels among OECD countries, the body said Wednesday. In its latest Employment Outlook, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noted that almost one in two young Italians under age 25 was in a precarious employment position last year. It also said that about 36.3% of employed young workers had had a job for less than one year.

About 40% of young people under the age of 25 in Italy were unemployed last year, nearly double the rate of 20.3% in 2007, said the OECD. The jobless rate was higher among young women at 41.4% compared to young men at 39%, according to the OECD. Italian statistics showed a youth jobless rate in July of 42.9%.

In addition, as many as 52.5% of young people in Italy had temporary jobs, the employment outlook said, basing its statistics on figures for 2013. That is marginally down from 2012 when 52.9% had "precarious" jobs without solid contracts, but is still far higher than before the recession in 2007 when 42.3% of young people were in precarious employment. It was also double the percentage of 26.2% in the year 2000, said the OECD report. It added that as many as 45 million people were unemployed in the area the agency covers. 

Renzi denounces 'genocide' in Iraq, Syria before NATO meets

Italian premier to join world leaders in Wales

(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Premier Matteo Renzi said Wednesday that NATO leaders will discuss ways to deal with the "genocide" occurring in Syria and Iraq at an upcoming summit. Renzi will be among 60 world leaders at the summit that begins Thursday in Wales. The situation in Ukraine is also high on the agenda and officials say leaders will discuss plans for training and deployments in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and other Eastern European nations.

A NATO exercise involving nine countries including Italy started Tuesday in Poland, Germany and the Baltic nations of Estonia and Lithuania. The large-scale multinational exercise named Steadfast Javelin II aimed at reassuring eastern European countries will end next Monday, NATO sources said. It involves hundreds of vehicles, aircraft, and forces from nine different countries including the United States and Canada, NATO command sources said.

martedì 2 settembre 2014

Italian scientists find breast cancer metastasis key

Discovery of osteopontin's action 'could help find a cure'

(ANSA) - Milan, September 2 - Researchers at Milan's National Cancer Institute have identified the mechanism responsible for metastasis in breast cancer, an article in Cancer Research medical journal reported Tuesday.

This mechanism is "of vital importance" in understanding how cancer spreads, and can aid in the search for an effective cure, experts said. The mechanism is based on a protein called osteopontin, which normally regulates processes related to cell survival, but which takes on a double role when found within a tumor. "When produced by a cancerous cell, osteopontin helps ensure its survival in a hostile world," researchers explained. "When produced by cancer cells that are in the process of metastasizing, or spreading to other organs, osteopontin protects them from the immune system". The study was conducted firs on animals and then on patients whose breast cancer spread to the lungs. "This discovery will help develop new medication that can fight the multiple actions of osteopontin in the development of mestastasis," the researchers said.  

Pauselli third italian ever at Paris's Crazy Horse

Dancer training six hours a day for Oct 7 debut

(ANSA) - Paris, August 29 - Giulia Pauselli has become the third Italian ever at the legendary Crazy Horse in the French capital. Prior to her, the only dancers from Italy to be granted a place were Rosa Fumetto in the 1970s and Gloria di Parma (stage name used by Deborah Lettieri) in 2012. "Getting into the Crazy Horse was my dream, and I had already auditioned for a place three years ago in Paris. In June I tried again, showing up for the casting call during the 'Forever Crazy' tour at Milan's Teatro Nuovo, and was selected," Pauselli, 23, told ANSA.

Born in Florence, she has in the past been a competitor on Maria De Filippi's talent show 'Amici'. For the past few weeks she has been in Paris, getting the training necessary to become a true 'Crazy Girl' in terms of posture, physical shape, and choreography. Pauselli's debut is slated for October 7, when she will be given a stage name that befits her personality and origins and will be used for her entire career in the renowned Paris cabaret of nude, seductive dancing created by Alain Bernardin in 1951. "When I was a a little girl, every December 31 I always used to watch the Crazy Horse show on TV with my parents," the she said, smiling, her hair worn in a black bob and with red lipstick, stiletto heels and a t-shirt on. "These topless dancers on their toes have always fascinated me. I have always aspired to their sensuality." "This is the first time that I will be performing nude, but it doesn't bother me," she said. "We are very protected and it is not a striptease. The dancers are clothed in the projections of colored lights. The show is a celebration of women, never vulgar." At age 14 Giulia moved to Milan to study at La Scala, dreaming of becoming a star ballet dancer at the famous opera house.

"But I am too curvy, and it would have been too difficult," she said. "So I sought out another way to keep dancing with a smile on my face. The Amici school helped me a lot." For the Crazy Horse, Pauselli - who recently appeared in the theater tour 'Cinecittà' with Christian De Sica - gave up a chance to take part in the new dance team of 'Sogno o Son Desto', a TV show with Massimo Ranieri that will go on air starting September 13 on state broadcaster RAI. "I put Crazy Horse in front of all else," she said. "The Crazy Horse is a brand name, it marks you for life." Her favorite choreography is called 'Rougir de Desir', a solo number. Though the rehearsals are tiring - requiring up to six hours a day of training - she is "happy". "I try to separate my work from my life," she said. "Inside I am a Crazy Horse dancer and outside I have my own identity. My place is here. I will never go back."

Tsukamoto's Fires on the Plain screens at Venice Fest

Stranded by war, soldiers turn to cannibalism

(ANSA) - Venice, September 2 - Award-winning Japanese actor and director Shinya Tsukamoto revisits World War II and a platoon stranded on a Filipino island with no supplies whose members resort to cannibalism in his film Fires on the Plain, which screened Tuesday in competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival.

The movie is based on Ooka Shohei's 1951 novel by the same title, which explores the degradation and isolation of one man, Private Tamura, as he loses first his hope and then his sanity as he slowly starves in the jungle. "I can sense the seventy-year-old horror and screams of those who decayed in the jungle. I pick it up on a radar that's directly connected to my spine, and I injected those sensations into every frame," Tsukamoto, who has been dubbed Japan's David Lynch, said in his director's statement. 

Controversy in Turin over LGBT art show poster

Image called sacrilegious by critics of exhibition

(ANSA) - Turin, September 2 - Controversy has erupted in northern Italy over a poster used to promote an art exhibition organized by Turin's gay community and bearing an image some say is sacrilegious. The poster for the show, sponsored by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community (LGBT), is decorated with a photo of an art work depicting a large naked woman with one foot propped on a religious image.

The exhibition is called the International Art Exhibition LGBTE (The Great Battle To find Results) and with the inscription 'Saligia', a likely reference to 14th century art that often used the mnemonic acronym based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins. 

EU project for Mediterranean lighthouses, 57 in Sardinia

Cagliari, San'Antioco, Asinara sustainable tourism pilot sites

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 2 - EU-funded MED-PHARES aims to promote and restore lighthouses in the Mediterranean to foster sustainable tourism. An estimated 57 active and inactive lighthouses are along the coasts of Sardinia alone, and - led by the Sardinia region's Conservatory of the Coasts - the project focuses on three pilot sites: the Sant'Elia lighthouse and semaphore in Cagliari; the Mangiabarche lighthouse and the Capo Sperone semaphore station on Sant'Antioco island; and the Punta Scorno lighthouse and semaphore station on Asinara island.

The project calls for a technical analysis and implementation of a plan to manage and promote the cultural value of nine pilot sites in Italy, France, Lebanon, and Tunisia, focusing on history, architecture, state of conservation, geological and geotechnical characteristics, and the socio-economic and cultural context. Promotional activities include the creation of an smartphone application and an e-book.

MED-PHARES will also conduct a census of all lighthouses and coastal buildings used for maritime signalling in the Italian regions Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Puglia, Sicily, and Tuscany. The EU project, in collaboration with French, Lebanese, and Tunisian partners, is an extension to the international level of one by the Sardinia Conservatory of the Coasts and involves 15 areas of coastal conservation owned by regional governments. The total budget of MED-PHARES, which will end in December 2015, is almost two million euros, including 89% (1,770,460) in EU funds earmarked for cooperation projects with partner nations in the southern Mediterranean (ENPI).

Visitors to Italy's museums up in August

Upturn due to new tariff structure, opening times

(ANSA) - Rome, September 2 - Visitor numbers at Italy's museums and monuments rose by 10% and takings by 11% in August over the same month in 2013, the culture ministry said Tuesday. The upturn was partly the result of new opening times and ticket prices introduced by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini with effect from July 1, the ministry said. "Large and small museums are benefitting from the new tariff structure, extended opening hours on Fridays and free entry on the first Sunday of the month," read a statement.

This "is more than compensating for the elimination of free entry for people over 65", the statement added. Rome's Colosseum saw a 16% rise in visitors over August 2013, translating into 94,000 additional entries. The archeological area at Pompeii registered a 12% upturn in visitors (+38,000) and the Florence museums circuit 18% (+14,000 visitors).

Alfano says Germany supporting Frontex Plus

Interior minister says it is 'an important day'

(ANSA) - Berlin, September 2 - Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday that Germany has thrown its support behind a beefed-up version of the Frontex border agency, dubbed 'Frontex Plus' to handle the migrant crisis that to date has fallen mostly on Italian shoulders. He spoke after a meeting with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere. "This is an important day," said Alfano. "After the support of France, we also have the agreement of Germany," he added.

Frontex Plus, the EU-led migrant search-and-rescue programme, is to replace Italy's Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) operation in November. Mare Nostrum was established almost one year ago after the deaths of 400 migrants in two boat disasters in the seas off southern Italy. Hundreds of thousands of desperate people fleeing war in Africa and the Middle East have been attempting the dangerous crossing to Europe with Italy usually their first stop. 

2014 'good year' for Italian wine if sun shines

Grape harvest employs 1.25 mln people, generates 9.5 bn euros

(ANSA) - Turin, September 2 - 2014 could be a good year for Italian wine - providing the sun shines in September after the wettest summer in decades, farmers' association Coldiretti said Tuesday. In the event of fine weather this month, vintners can expect a good harvest from Italy's 650,000 hectares of vineyards even though the country has seen the wettest summer since the 1960s, the organisation said.

The annual grape harvest employs 1.25 million people with a turnover of around 9.5 billion euros. Last year, Italy produced 49 million hectolitres of wine compared to 46.4 million hectolitres produced in France, Coldiretti said. 

Russia, Iraq on agenda as Mogherini moves into EU work

US President Obama, Merkel congratulate Italian minister on post

(ANSA) - Rome, September 2 - Work on identifying new sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine has begun, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said Tuesday in some of her first comments as she prepares for her new role as the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs.

Mogherini was speaking in Brussels to the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament where she talked about possible sanctions in the financial sector, weapons and technology. She also spoke of priorities in dealing with the crisis in Iraq created by the powerful Islamic militant group ISIS, as part of several meetings planned this week on European issues for Mogherini. Following her appointment last Saturday, she is expected to officially take on the new role on November 1 but is already beginning to move into the position.

United States President Barack Obama congratulated both Mogherini on her appointment as well as Donald Tusk, who takes over as president of the European Council. Her appointment has been greeted warmly by European leaders including German Chancellor Merkel, who "was glad" to see Mogherini in the top foreign affairs post, said spokesman Steffen Seibert.

Premier Matteo Renzi noted that her work will be important as Italy continues in the rotating presidency of the EU until the end of this year. Meanwhile Italian president Giorgio Napolitano said that "Italy has gained significant recognition and, in particular, has made a positive contribution," to the EU through Mogherini and through the country's work in the rotating presidency.

Mogherini pledged to work hard for the EU as a whole and dismissed critics who have said she is too young and inexperienced for the post. "All my work, my energy and my devotion will be dedicated to serve the interest of all member States and all European citizens," she said. "I am 41 years old, not young," added Mogherini. "What gives me comfort is that the Premier Renzi is younger than me (at 39), other European ministers are (younger) as well, there is a new generation of European leaders and this is very positive". 

Paris and Berlin call on Rome to respect EU migration norms

'Migrants must be processed in first port of entry'

(ANSA) - Berlin, September 1 - The interior ministers of Germany and France on Monday called on Italy to respect EU regulations on asylum seekers. "Many of the refugees disembarking in Italy are headed to north European countries," the interior ministers said in a joint note after a bilateral meeting on Sunday. EU regulations say "migrants must be processed in the first European port of entry," the ministers pointed out.

The EU last week agreed to replace Italy's Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) migrant search-and-rescue operation in the Mediterranean with an expanded version of European border agency Frontex. While applauding Italy's efforts to save the lives of people fleeing wars in Africa and the Middle East, it has criticized the fact that Italian authorities do not process the newcomers, leaving them to languish in migrant reception centers for months on end, officials said. 

From 'normcore' to 1960s, fall fashion offers options

With bold silhouettes, bright patterns and plain knits

(ANSA) - Rome, September 1 - It takes a firm hand to work the wealth of inspirations defining this fall and winter's fashion styles. The new hype around 'normcore', an anti-style defined by timeless clothes and accessories, found designers warming up to chunky knits, oversized coats and fleecy shearling combined with fastidiously simple accessories such as white sneakers. Yet resonant ideas in this upcoming season of fevered extremes will include bold optic prints and a fling with the 1960s. Overall, architecture is a compelling theme for fall's silhouettes with a number of designers experimenting with shape and structure to craft clothes defined alternatively by rigour or romance.

Architecture makes a bold statement at Marni, where oversized silhouettes compound the strength of clothes that represent an edit of the label's essence - avant-garde sportiness, a daring use of different fabrics, and couture-like attention to cut and craftsmanship. Bold volumes reconcile Marni's two souls - art gallery-worthy sophistication and all things tribal - with striking pieces including skirts in military felt mixed with bodices in natural canvas and cocoon-shaped tops worn over straight or flounced skirts with statement accessories such as ethnic necklaces.

Outfits are complemented by outstanding zips, another quintessentially Marni element. The cerebral quality of more futuristic looks destined to hit the street as soon as temperatures cool will be complemented this upcoming season by more romantic, at times sylvan, themes. Dolce & Gabbana's collection features swans, squirrels and owls, decorating tunics and jackets. Alberta Ferretti's trademark femininity is inspired this season by the forest outside her country house with pieces garnished with feathers - a key part of her collection - handcrafted in Florence.

Outstanding numbers include dresses in alpaca decorated with homespun fringes and loden coats with flashes of sequins. The ethereal mood takes a step further at Valentino where Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli worked butterflies, roses and birds over sheer eveningwear which shines with couture-like quality. The creative duo have also worked their magic on the 1960s Italian Pop art theme that shaped the bold patterns and silhouettes of daywear. Bold polka dots and optic flowers inspired by the work of artists including Giosetta Fioroni and Carol Rama are a stark departure from the operatic old-style romance of previous collections.

However, the 1960s flavour shaping the clothes is pure Valentino with the duo's outstanding shirt-collar dresses, capes and embroidered tulle gowns a key part of the collection. And along with bold sartorial silhouettes, striking prints and a touch of romance, no season like this fall season has embraced the concept of standing out by blending in with comfy knits, timeless suits and understated accessories. 'Normcore' hit a haute note at Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo and Max Mara, as these Italian fashion houses translated the hype around this new fashion frontier into impeccably cut, luxuriously simple basics in neutral shades.

In accessory land, the new mania for sneakers, mixed and matched to suit any occasion, is the tip of the 'normcore' iceberg operated by top fashion houses in Italy and across the Alps, from Valentino to Céline, openly bowing to all-time classics seen on the street for decades. Fantasy-driven flings will be complemented by staples - from tailored coats and jackets to warm knits and the increasingly popular slip on shoes. And these deftly cut and detail-free pieces will be wardrobe basics for seasons to come. 

Torrential rains, heavy winds pelt Italy

One dead as floods, landslides wreak havoc

(ANSA) - Rome, September 1 - Unseasonably inclement weather struck throughout Italy between Sunday and Monday, causing damage and leaving at least one person dead. Snow fell above 2,000 meters in the northern Friuli Venezia Giulia region, where volunteer firefighting chief Alexander Mayr, 39, lost his life when a landslide swept him into a torrent.

In Genoa, winds of over 30 knots forced a Lufthansa flight from Munich to be rerouted to Turin. Passengers were taken to Genoa by bus. Operations slowed down in Genoa port due to heavy winds, and fire fighters were called to remove fallen trees and signs, and to secure roofs that were in danger of being blown away. In the Campania region south of Rome, emergency services were working Monday to remove mud and debris from an overflowing river that covered a section of highway linking the cities of Salerno and Avellino. A creek overflowed in a town near Avellino, carrying off eight parked cars, flooding basements, and causing landslides.

In the Naples area, 18 firefighting units are deployed in aid of stranded motorists and to empty out flooded basements after a rainstorm pelted several towns around the provincial capital. In Rome, strong winds tore through one of the city's largest open-air markets, making off with stalls and damaging the merchandise beyond repair. Near the nation's capital, residents of the seaside town of Civitavecchia witnessed a tornado gathering out at sea.  

Ghanaian boy soccer ace fights for life after train accident

Locomotive hit AC Milan juniors' striker while cycling

(ANSA) Milan, Sept. 1 - A 15-year-old Ghanaian soccer hopeful from AC Milan's junior team, Isaac Akuetteh, was fighting for his life Monday after being hit by a train while riding a bicycle.

Doctors at the Sant'Anna Hospital in San Fermo della Battaglia said Akuetteh was in a pharmalogically-induced coma but his condition was improving after undergoing two operations to reduce brain haemorrhaging. There was cautious optimism and probably on Wednesday doctors will start procedures to waken the teenage striker from the coma, hospital sources said.

Akuetteh was listening to music on headphones while riding along a road next to the railway at Cadorago in the province of Como. Although he has grown up as a prodigy for Milan, the Ghanaian forward was on loan to the Varese club when the accident happened.

Expo looks to Rimini on how to marshal 10,000 volunteers

5 million tickets sold, 1 million in China

(ANSA) - Rimini, September 1 - Milan Expo 2015 is looking to a 34-year-old Catholic conference in Rimini as a model for organizing the army of volunteers required by the food-themed world fair taking place May to October in Milan next year. The Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, organized by the Catholic group Communione e Liberazione (CL), marshals roughly 3,000 volunteers for its conference in late August each year.

"We need 10,000 volunteers (for Expo), because shifting volunteers every 15 days means about 450 per day," Expo Commissioner Giuseppe Sala said at the Rimini event last week. "Nine months from opening, we have received 7,700 applications from 85 countries" by "young" volunteers who "speak 25 languages", Sala added. Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni said the northern Italian region hosting Expo aims to ensure future employment to the volunteers "even after Expo". Sala called the question of volunteers for Expo "a very delicate, but also interesting subject", a comment that garnered the appreciation of Piero Fassino, Turin mayor and president of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI).

Sala said he came to the Rimini conference "first of all to learn, starting from the organization of the volunteers in this event, which constitutes a best practice, but also for its organizational and promotion capacity". Meanwhile, the event's promotion is going well - so far five million Expo tickets have been sold to tour operators, and of these about a million have been sold in China alone. Expo speakers at Rimini also broadcast that with 20 million visits expected over six months, Expo will be a great event for promoting Italy throughout the world, especially in emerging countries, but that the collective effort of Italy is needed, and can not be overshadowed by judicial investigations. Sala assured that within 15 days a solution would be found for the Tree of Life, a 35-metre tall wood and steel sculpture planned for the Italy pavillion inspired by a 16th century drawing by Michelangelo for Rome's Capitoline Hill.

Sala called for "clarity" as soon as possible on the presence - or absence - of the Riace Bronzes in Milan. Otherwise, it "is better to focus on other" things, he said, expressing appreciation for the work of Anti-Corruption Commissioner Raffaele Cantone.

Fassino said the Expo construction corruption probe should not overshadow the extraordinary nature of the event. "We can not have criminal investigations as the only interpretation of Expo. It is a great event and we must ensure that it is appreciated and not demeaned by judicial inquiries," thundered Fassino, who also hoped for significant returns from the world fair for his city of Turin. 

Financial Times see difficulties in Italy, France reform

Says leaders know problems, but little actual progress made

(ANSA) - London, September 1 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and French President Francois Hollande "have identified the problems" regarding reforms, "but their attempts to push through reform have made little headway against special interests and inertia," said The Financial Times in an editorial on Monday.

The editorial cited the notoriously slow and bureaucracy-laden Italian judicial system and France's complicated notary system as two obstacles stifling economic growth, as well as a labour system that divides into two classes: protected full-time workers and lower-paid temporary workers. According to the editorial, the solution is to "orient" labour protection and worker representation to create "as many secure and high-wage jobs as possible, not just for a privileged elite". 

Mogherini eyes moves as new EU foreign policy chief

Italian FM says she intends to 'play a political role'

(ANSA) - Rome, September 1 -Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said in a newspaper interview Monday, about her appointment as EU foreign policy chief on Saturday, "I'm the highest level socialist on the Commission and I intend to play a political role". In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Mogherini said that a diplomatic and not military solution in the Ukraine crisis "is in the best interests of Ukraine, of Europe, and of Russia".

"Putin wasted the opportunity to turn things around, using his influence on the separatists, during the Malaysian airlines crash," Mogherini said. "There's no alternative to diplomacy and sanctions are one of the tools available. But they have to be part of a comprehensive strategy, one that perhaps at times has been missing," Mogherini said. Mogherini, 41, has been Italy's foreign minister since February, and her EU candidacy was strongly supported by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Born and raised in Rome, Mogherini attended La Sapienza University and graduated with a degree in political science. Prior to her election to Renzi's cabinet, she headed up European Relations for Italy's Democratic Party (PD), led by Renzi. Responding to doubts regarding her inexperience for the EU role, Mogherini said that her contacts are made up "not of ex-ministers and ex-prime ministers, but possibly future prime ministers" and that she has familiar, informal relationships with several current ministers and prime ministers which she maintains through daily contact and text messages. 

Renzi says Italy must change, launching 1,000-day plan

Premier urges Italians to choose 'courage, not fear'

(ANSA) - Rome, September 1 - Premier Matteo Renzi said Monday that Italians must "choose courage, not fear" and accept his "radical" and fundamental changes to the country's institutions. Renzi said his reform plans would free the country from excessive bureaucracy and finally bring about long-promised changes. "We must go on the attack, not the defence," he said shortly before he was expected to outline his 1,000-day reform plan.

He added that Italy cannot "hold back" or allow itself to remain in the thrall of special interests, and all sectors of the country must be ready to change. The country must prove that it can reform, with no exceptions for sectors or programs that may have been thought exempt in the past, Renzi said in a post on the website for his 1,000-day program of change. "At the end of this period, we will have a country more courageous, more simple, more competitive. And then, more credible policies," said Renzi. After a cabinet meeting last Friday, the premier announced a series of reforms aimed at boosting economic growth including changes to streamline civil justice processes and major investments in infrastructure projects including roads and railways. The reforms come as Italy remains mired in its third recession in six years. 

Leopardi biopic applauded by press in Venice

'The Fabulous Young Man' competing for Golden Lion

(ANSA) - Venice, September 1 - A biopic about Italy's second-greatest poet after Dante, Giacomo Leopardi, earned warm applause from the press at the Venice Film Festival Monday.

Mario Martone's Il Giovane Favoloso (The Fabulous Young Man), starring Elio Germano as the famously pessimistic Romantic poet and thinker, is one of the favourites to get the Golden Lion on September 6.