giovedì 11 settembre 2014

Pompeii to host opera festival

Culture minister weighs bringing contemporary art, music to site

(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 - The ancient Roman city of Pompeii is set to rock once more - this time to the strains of opera. Pompeii's newly reopened open-air theater, the scene of a landmark Pink Floyd concert more than 40 years ago, is soon to be the setting for the latest brainchild of the Italian culture ministry, the Pompeii Festival. Performances of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme and Georges Bizet's Carmen will light up the ancient arena on September 18 and 20 respectively. The festival is a test drive for a possible summer opera series at the famed archaeological site. "The two nights in Pompeii are part of a larger development project for one of the most beautiful and evocative archaeological sites in the world," Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told ANSA. "We would also like to bring contemporary art, theater, and music," said Franceschini, citing the 1972 Pink Floyd event, Live in Pompeii, as an inspiration.

In Franceschini's eyes, the Pompeii opera project aims to be the engine of wider tourism growth in the region of Campania around Naples, many of whose gems are under-exploited. The ministry said it was "pulling out all the stops" to enhance cultural tourism in Campania. Franceschini in July pledged to catch up on delays in restoring and revamping Pompeii under an ambitious 105-million-euro Great Pompeii Project safeguarding the unique site created when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, preserving the entire city in ash.

In April, heavy rains led to several reports of collapsed walls soon after UNESCO warnings that the miraculously preserved ancient city could "completely fall apart" and lose its world heritage status unless urgent action was taken. That triggered government pledges to speed up tendering for work on other new surveillance and protection measures for the site. There has been a long and worrying catalogue of bits of Pompeii falling off. For example, in November 2010 the House of the Gladiators came down, prompting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to say: "This is a disgrace for the whole of Italy". The opera project follows years of successful sound and light spectacles using the evocative ruins as backdrop. The shows, dubbed Pompeii Moons, run from the first weekend in May until the last weekend in October.

Italy's first 'son-et-lumiere' tours, they kicked off to immediate acclaim in 2002 and have proved a big hit ever since. The tours climax in the Forum with a dramatic video re-enactment of the catastrophic eruption that buried the city and its lesser-known but equally fascinating neighbour Herculaneum. 

More Italians buy organic, choose DIY cooking

Consumer survey notes 220% rise in organic food purchases

(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 - More Italians are choosing organic foods and are opting for "do-it-yourself" cooking, an Italian think tank announced on Wednesday. According to a consumer survey conducted by Nomisma consulting group, organic food sales rose 220% in less than 10 years, due to large-scale distribution as well as more consumer demand.

The report detailed that while 43% of households are busying food exclusively in promotion and sales, consumers are also focusing on the quality and healthiness of organic products. Nomisma also noted a return to "do-it-yourself" cooking, reporting that six million households are making bread, pizza, jam and preserves at home, while approximately four million Italians are amateur farmers, growing fruit and vegetables. 

Trial requested for former Rome mayor Alemanno

Prosecutors allege illegal party funding in 2010 elections

(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 - Italian prosecutors on Wednesday asked that former Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno, a one-time national cabinet minister under ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, be sent to trial on charges related to political party funding. Alemanno, along with eight others, was allegedly involved in illegal party funding related to regional elections in 2010.

At that time, Alemanno and former Lazio governor Renata Polverini, who was also under investigation, were members of Berlusconi's now-defunct People of Freedom party. They deny the allegations.

Police said the probe centres on a bogus 30,000-euro kitty set up with false invoices from the consulting firm Accenture to fund a fake survey on the quality of school services, ahead of regional elections Polverini won in March 2010. She quit in September 2012 after one of the many funding scandals that have hit local administrations of all political stripes across Italy in recent years. 

New era for Ferrari, Alitalia an option for Montezemolo

'End of an era' for iconic Italian carmaker

(ANSA) - Turin, September 10 - Ferrari embarked on a new era on Wednesday when Luca Cordero di Montezemolo announced he was stepping down as chairman after 23 years. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of parent company Fiat Chrysler (FCA), is to take over the helm after Montezemolo quit with Ferrari enduring the latest in a series of disappointing seasons in Formula One. Montezemolo said he was hopeful Ferrari could now embark on a "new cycle" of success and Marchionne was also hopeful the F1 team would regain competitiveness soon. "It's necessary to give Ferrari credibility on the track.

I'm obsessed with this," Marchionne said at a joint press conference with Montezemolo at at the company's Maranello base. "This would give support to the rest of Ferrari. "Winning on the track is not negotiable. We have to get back (to winning). "I don't think this is going to be a great season, let's accept that. But I believe in the sporting department of this company. The successes will come. "We met (Team Principal Marco) Mattiacci. It's a work in progress. There's a problem with the engine and there a lot of work for get on with". He added that he was as upset about the team's failure to deliver a competitive race car as the team's two former world champion drivers, Ferdinando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, were. "They're two world champions. Unfortunately we haven't been able to give them the means to win with. It bothers me and them," he said. Marchionne dismissed speculation that Ferrari could be merged into FCA or that the company would launch an initial public offering.

He also ruled out ruled out the possibility of any Ferrari production being moved from Italy. "Ferrari was born Italian and it will die Italian," Marchionne told reporters. "If something were produced outside this plant, it would be obscene - totally unthinkable. If it were not born here, it wouldn't be Ferrari any more". It became clear that Montezemolo's stint at Ferrari was close to ending on Sunday when Marchionne said he was "enormously annoyed" at the dry spell the team has encountered since it won the constructors' title in 2008. Montezemolo's departure from Ferrari may pave the way for him to take over Alitalia after its tie-up with UAE carrier Etihad. Montezemolo admitted this was an option on Wednesday. "It's a possibility," Montezemolo told reporters when asked about the Alitalia job. "But I'm extremely focused on here until mid October. Then we'll talk about it. Now it's premature".

Ferrari has thrived since Montezemolo took over as chairman in 1991 and, apart from the recent poor run, they performed well on the track too. Ferrari won 14 world titles under Montezemolo, eight constructors' championships and six drivers' championships. The majority of those came when Michael Schumacher won five consecutive drivers' titles and helped the Italian glamour team to clinch six constructors' championships between 1999 and 2004. 

Benigni may star in Ballaro' season opener

New host Giannini up against predecessor Floris, on LA7

(ANSA) - Rome, September 7 - The new season opener of Ballaro' talk show may well star Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni, sources close to the director said Wednesday. The sides are said to be in the process of working out a deal for the multi-award-winning actor, comedian, screenwriter and director to appear in an interview format at the heart of the one and a half hour program. If confirmed, this would be a coup for new host Massimo Giannini, who replaces Giovanni Floris on the long-running weekly talk show that has been on air on public broadcaster RAI 3 since 2002.

Floris quit after 12 years at the helm of the successful show, "defecting" to private channel LA7, which reportedly more than doubled his three-year RAI salary of 1.8 million euros. His new show Dimartedi' debuts on the same night in the same slot as Giannini's Ballaro', on Tuesday September 16. 

Juncker hails Mogherini as 'ultra competent'

EC chief surprised by negative comments on appointment

(ANSA) - Brussels, September 10 - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday hailed Italy's Federica Mogherini as "ultra competent" for her role as the EU's high representative for foreign affairs as he presented his new 28-strong EC team. He added that he was "not surprised" by the qualities of the 41-year-old Italian foreign minister, but he was surprised by some of the negative comments on her appointment, including claims she is inexperienced.

Mogherini took over as Italian foreign minister when Premier Matteo Renzi's government was sworn in in February. Juncker said he was proud of the number of women in the new EU executive, which will take office in November. "It was hard to obtain women commissioners (to be nominated by the member States)," Juncker told a press conference. "Now there are nine, include three (EC) vice presidents, and they all have key portfolios like competition, internal market, industry, labour and trade".

martedì 9 settembre 2014

Italian art stars in Brussels

With two exhibits at Centre for Fine Arts Bozar

(ANSA) - Brussels, September 9 - Italian art will be at the centre of two exhibits opening in Brussels this week to celebrate the semester of Italian EU presidency.

Paintings from Siena, Ars Narrandi in Europe's Gothic Age, which opened on Tuesday at the Centre for Fine Arts Bozar, showcases over 60 masterworks from the 13th to the 15th century including the Crucifixion by Pietro Lorenzetti and Madonna and Child by Simone Martini. The show wraps up on January 18, 2015. Another exhibit showcasing Italian contemporary art will also open at Bozar on Wednesday through January 18.

The Yellow Side of Sociality features work by contemporary artists from across Italy who have migrated to another European country and vies to showcase the complexity of the Italian identity through, among others, installations by Marinella Senatore and Micol Assael. 

MS stem-cell breakthrough led by Italians

'So far appears safe, without side effects'

(ANSA) - Boston, September 9 - Mesenchymal stem cell therapy to treat multiple sclerosis so far appears safe and without side effects, according to data released Tuesday and obtained through clinical trials on patients as part of the international Mesems project coordinated by University of Genoa neurologist Antonio Uccelli. The results were announced ahead of the World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis opening in Boston Wednesday through Saturday.

The Mesems project involves researchers from nine countries - Italy, Spain, France, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. It is the first large phase II international multicentre clinical trial to determine the safety of a consensus treatment protocol established by the International Mesenchymal Stem Cells Transplantation Study Group to obtain information on its effectiveness on multiple sclerosis patients. So far, 81 patients have been involved in the project - half of the 160 needed for the whole clinical trial.

About 73 - or 90% of those involved in blind testing - were given at least one injection with mesenchymal therapy or got a placebo while 51 - or 63% - were given both injections and 27 - 33% - completed the study. "The promising result is that so far none of these 27 people have suffered significant adverse events, which means that, so far, the treatment appears to be safe", said Uccelli. The neurologist warned that "caution is necessary" and that the effectiveness of the therapy can only be determined once the study is completed in 2016.

Uccelli however added that preliminary studies on animals have persuaded researchers that mesenchymal stem cells "can halt inflammation on the central nervous system and probably succeed in protecting nervous tissue, even repairing it where damage is minor". Out of the 81 patients recruited so far, "28 are Italian and 10 of them have completed the study", Uccelli said, adding that all patients over the past year did relatively well except for one who was treated with placebo.

The neurologist expressed the hope that "data in 2016 will give final confirmation that the therapy is effective so we can take the subsequent step with a larger phase III study aimed at demonstrating the role of stem cells as neurorepairers". Meanwhile Genoa's bioethics committee has approved a two-year extension of the project, which will be called Mesems Plus, "to verify, beyond the year of observation provided for by Mesems, the long-term safety of treatments in the study and the potential insurgence of adverse events in all those treated", said Uccelli. 

Italian scientists discover cells that help cancer spread

In lung cancer research led by Irccs Multimedica

(ANSA) - Milan, September 9 - A number of cells of the immune system help cancer spread, according to a study released Tuesday by a group of Italian researchers led by Douglas Noona and Adriana Albini from oncological institute Irccs Multimedica based in Sesto San Giovanni, Milan. The research was carried our together with the universities of Insubria and Messina and Varese's Ospedale di Circolo and published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In the study, which was funded by the Italian association for cancer research (Airc), scientists found a specific category of cells called 'Tink', which are part of the natural killer (NK) cells critical to the immune system. Their role is to recognize tumors and eliminate them but the study found that sometimes tumors and their microenvironments are able to "reprogram these cells so they can spread more easily, inducing the body to produce new blood vessels which nourish cancer and help it spread.

The research has so far focused on lung cancer, although studies are now being carried out also on cancer that develops in the tissue of the colon, breast cancer and multiple myeloma. The aim of scientists is to eventually "re-educate these natural killers, in order to restore their activity in fighting tumors with studies to evaluate how the combination of chemotherapy and natural substances could contribute to restore their regular function", said Albini. 

One in two consumers eats gelato year-round, survey shows

Gelato Festival tour garners insights into 11-bn euro market

(ANSA) - Florence, September 9 - The fifth annual Gelato Festival is drawing to a close after a tour that took its caravan of 130 ice-cream chefs to several Italian cities and as far as Nice and Amsterdam. The tour covering more than 10,000 kilometers ends September 12-14 in Florence, where 17 gelato auteur finalists will face off in competition to see who can create the most outstanding ice cream. Surveys conducted along the way yielded some insight into the minds and hearts of gelato lovers, who transcend borders and nationalities.

For example, ice cream is second only to pizza and pasta in the collective imagination of what Italian food stands for. As well, responses showed that both in Italy and abroad, a majority of ice cream lovers prefer to get their cone of delight at the ice cream parlor, preferably one that peddles artisanal wares. A small minority gets their ice cream at the bar or takes it home, while 50% of respondents said they eat it year-round and 50% said they only indulge in it in summer.

In Italy, the gelato market still flourishes in spite of recession, with 30,000 ice cream parlors spread evenly throughout the boot catering to a per-capita consumption of 15 kilos of gelato a year. Every year, 900,000 tonnes of gelato are produced and consumed in Italy in a market worth 11.25 billion euros a year. 

Suspect in Brunello fraud 'not expert', enologists say

Police confiscate 160,000 litres worth 5 mn

(ANSA) - Siena, September 9 - A man under investigation for fraud in relation to the confiscation of over 160,00 litres of fake Brunello is not a qualified wine expert, the Italian neologists' association said Tuesday. The suspect "does not appear to be a qualified enologist under law 129/91 and he is most certainly not a member of our national category association," said Associazione enologi enotecnici italiani of the unnamed man who worked as a consultant with a number of Montalcino wine producers and allegedly used his influence with them to perpetrate what investigators described as a "sensational" fraud. The confiscated bottles are from the years 2008-2013 and have an estimated retail value of 5 million euros. Some 2,350 official state labels authenticating the fine wines were also confiscated in the anti-fraud operation following investigations that began last year.

Around 10 small-scale producers are believed to have been victim of the fraud. "It is an extremely serious occurrence that could create considerable damage for Brunello di Montalcino, producers and the wine-growing area," said the president of the consortium of Brunello producers, Fabrizio Bindocci. "However as in this case fortunately the system has the strength and instruments to identify, isolate and successfully combat people who abuse Brunello's fame," he added. Meanwhile Tuscany regional governor Enrico Rossi said the region would bring a civil action in the case on behalf of defrauded producers and for alleged damage to the regional wine authority database as a result of false information supplied by the consultant concerning the grape harvest, stock value and amount of wine sold on tap. 

Italian wine could be hit by worst grape harvest since 1950

Bad weather to blame for drop in production in north and south

(ANSA) - Rome, September 9 - This year's grape harvest risks being the poorest since 1950 as a result of unseasonably bad weather across much of Italy's wine-producing territory, farmers' association Coldiretti said on Tuesday. The resulting wine production could be 41 million hectolitres, down 15% on 2013.

This compares to an anticipated 47 million hectolitres in rival producer France, the association said. However, it added that much depends on weather conditions in the coming weeks as around 80% of grapes have still not been harvested. The biggest fall in production is expected in the southern regions of Puglia and Sicily, where the harvest could be down by 30%. Production is also expected to be down in all the northern regions, while central regions buck the trend with an expected rise in production of around 10%.

Italy boasts 650,000 hectares of vineyards of which 480,000 produce DOCG, DOC or IGT appellation wines. There are over 200,000 wineries which together produce a turnover of almost 9.5 billion euros from wine sales alone. Roughly 1.25 million people are employed in the wine sector, Coldiretti said. 

Renzi wins German backing, tortellini pact hits papers

Schaeuble hails Renzi reforms as 'absolutely correct approach'

(ANSA) - Berlin, September 8 - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday that Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is on the right track with his far-reaching reform program. Renzi "is following an absolutely correct approach with regard to the deep structural reforms in his country," Schaeuble told Yahoo in an interview, adding he hoped the Italian leader would succeed. Renzi has been pushing for sweeping reforms including changes to the Italian labour market, justice system, and tax regulations in an effort to make the economy more efficient and to create employment.

The cabinet last month approved sweeping measures to revamp Italy's judicial, political and economic systems, including the government's so-called Unblock Italy decree designed to cut red tape, promote investments and lift the Italian economy out of recession, its third in six years. Renzi pledged 4.6 billion euros for five airport investments and 3.8 billion euros for projects "that are ready to be built", and confirmed the government will continue to offer his trademark 80-euro monthly tax bonus for some 11 million low-income Italians "for the next few years". The cabinet also approved spending of 10 billion euros over "the next 12 months" on public works in Italy's impoverished south.

Schaeuble's favorable assessment of Renzi stood in apparent contrast to his later remarks that State-run job creation programs in the eurozone are the wrong approach, and that the sustainable way forward is more efficient investment of private funds. As well, Renzi and his French counterpart, Manuel Valls, were on the front pages of leading French papers after they entered into a so-called "tortellini pact" on Sunday. The Italian premier invited fellow leftist European leaders to the Democratic Party (PD) Festa dell'Unità (Unity Feast) in the northern Italian city of Bologna on Sunday, where he called on them to enter into a pact to promote a socialist agenda in Europe in front of a plate of tortellini.

Spanish Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez, Party of European Socialists leader Achim Post and Dutch Labour Party MP Diederik Samson also participated in the tortellini pact, as Renzi dubbed it. 

Expert committee to vet Riace Bronzes travel to Expo 2015

Recommendation to be made by mid-October

(ANSA) - Rome, September 8 - Cultural Heritage Minister Dario Franceschini on Monday set up a committee of scientific experts to study what the impact would be if the ancient Riace bronze statues were moved north for Milan Expo 2015. The experts must deliver their verdict by the middle of October on whether it is safe for the statues to travel from Calabria in Italy’s deep South.

Head of the committee is Giuliano Volpe, a professor of archaeology at the university of Foggia. Last week, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said moving the ancient Greek warrior statues for next year's Expo makes no sense. "Why move them when I should be taking visitors from Milan to Reggio?" said Renzi while speaking to Italian radio Rtl.

The prime minister said he was not generally hostile to the idea of moving works of art. The debate over the possible temporary transfer of the rare 2,500 year-old statues has been raging for weeks.

Art critic, polemicist and Expo cultural envoy Vittorio Sgarbi recently said the bronzes, jealously guarded by the Italian region of Calabria, should be at Milan Expo 2015 despite long-stated local resistance. Regional authorities have allowed the famed bronzes to tour the country just once, in 1981, to sold-out venues in Rome, Venice, and Milan, a tour in which the statues were seen by over one million people overall. 

F1: Ferrari in turmoil after Monza disappointment

Montezemolo's future in doubt, Marchionne blasts recent record

(ANSA) - Rome, September 8 - Ferrari have been engulfed in turmoil after the team's dire form continued at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday and the recent record of Chairman Luca di Montezemolo was publicly criticised by the head of the parent company.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso failed to finish the race at Monza due to mechanical failure and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen came home a lowly ninth. That made for Ferrari's worst performance at their home grand prix since 2005, although at least on that occasion, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello did at least both manage to finish, in 10th and 12th place respectively. Just before Alonso retired, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said he was "enormously annoyed" at the dry spell the team has encountered since it won the constructors' title in 2008.

Marchionne also said that "no one was indispensable", fuelling speculation that Montezemolo could be on his way out after 23 years at the helm of Ferrari, even though the FCA chief said this was not on the agenda at the moment. "Seeing the team like this, not having won anything since 2008, even though we have the best drivers, an exceptional pit crew, great engineers, saddens me," Marchionne said. "The important thing for Ferrari is not just the economic results. Its heart is winning on the track in Formula One and we've been struggling for six years," Marchionne said.

Montezemolo had tried to deflate speculation he would leave Ferrari to take over Alitalia after the airline's tie-up with Etihad, saying he had recently told the company he was willing to stay on until 2016. Montezemolo replaced Stefano Domenicali with Marco Mattiacci as team principal following a poor start to this season and, after several senior engineers were sacked in recent years, some pundits have suggested the only head that can go now is the chairman's. Ferrari have won 14 world titles under Montezemolo, eight constructors' championships and five drivers' championship. The majority of those came when Michael Schumacher won five consecutive drivers' titles and helped the Italian glamour team to clinch six constructors' championships between 1999 and 2004. The situation is very different now.

Ferrari have not won a race since Fernando Alonso's victory in Spain over a year ago and they have notched just two podium finishes this season. Alonso is fifth in the drivers' table on 121 points, 117 behind leader Nico Rosberg, and the team have slipped to fourth in the constructors' championship on 162, 292 behind pacesetters Mercedes, with six of the season's 19 races to go. 

Unique albino Italian Trotter foal named Milky Way

Born in April at foot of Assisi's St Francis Basilica

(ANSA) - Assisi, September 8 - Europe's sole albino Italian Trotter foal, who was born in a stud farm at the foot of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, will be called Via Lattea (Milky Way), breeders announced Monday. The foal, who was born April 4, is unique in Europe, experts said.

Her color came as a total surprise to the vet and his helpers as she emerged, since her dam Melodias and sire Gruccione Jet are both reportedly "pitch-dark". Her name was chosen by Danilo Reverberi, a Franciscan friar and friend of owner Sergio Carfagna. "I named her after the constellation, because its stars are as white and shining as her coat," said Reverberi, who is in charge of naming all newcomers to Carfagna's farm. "Also it starts with a V, as per regulations for all racehorses born in 2014".

The Italian Trotter is a harness racing horse developed over the last century by crossing European trotters with American Standarbreds. Via Lattea is the only known white specimen of this breed in Europe, experts said. Her name was announced at the launch of a book titled La Scuderia dei Miracoli (The Miracle Stable), the proceeds of which will go to protect horses destined to be slaughtered. 

Ebola vaccine developed in Italy has 10-month effectiveness

First phase of human testing already announced

(ANSA) - Rome, September 8 - A vaccine against the Ebola virus developed in Italy has proven to be effective for up to ten months in monkeys, science journal Nature reported. The vaccine was developed by a team of American and Italian researchers at the IBRM Science Park in Pomezia, just south of Rome.

The first phase of human testing of the vaccine has already been announced, and the vaccine is one of two that the World Health Organization is relying on to help fight the current deadly outbreak in West Africa. 

French papers highlight Renzi-Valls 'tortellini pact'

After two premiers and other European leftists meet in Bologna

(ANSA) - Paris, September 8 - Premier Matteo Renzi and his French counterpart, Manuel Valls, were on the front pages of leading French papers Monday after they entered into a so-called "tortellini pact" on Sunday.

Renzi invited leftist European leaders to the Democratic Party (PD) Festa dell'Unità (Unity Feast) in the northern Italian city of Bologna on Sunday, where he called on them to enter into a pact to promote a socialist agenda in Europe in front of a plate of tortellini. "Under the Bologna sun, Manuel Valls put his entente with Matteo Renzi center stage," wrote daily Le Monde. "Manuel Valls shows himself in Italy at Matteo Renzi's side, Le Figaro newspaper headlined. "They share a will to reform, but with different methods".

Financial daily Les Echos said "Valls has become a Renzist" since the French left saw its approval ratings plummet after a string of scandals. "Valls has gone to Bologna in search of a glimmer of hope on Renzi's ground".

Spanish Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez, Party of European Socialists leader Achim Post and Dutch Labour Party MP Diederik Samson also participated in the tortellini pact, as Renzi dubbed it. 

Clooney to 'wed in Venice on September 26'

Superstar reportedly announces nuptials at charity event

(ANSA) - Venice, September 8 - Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney says he will marry his fiancé, British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, in Venice at the end of September, according to media reports Monday.

Clooney, a superstar actor, director and producer who has owned a home in Italy for years, said that the wedding will occur in a historic palazzo somewhere in Venice on September 26, according to newspaper Quotidiano Nazione Qn. Clooney reportedly said he would take "only three days for a honeymoon" before he would need to return to work. His revelation came while the couple was attending a gala Celebrity Fight Night in Italy for charity in Florence's 14th century Palazzo Vecchio.

Clooney signed dozens of autographs for members of a cheering crowd that greeted his arrival at the event before entering the historic city hall of Florence, holding hands with Alamuddin. She said that her wedding dress will be designed by American designer Oscar de la Renta. 

OECD says signs of slowing momentum in Italian economy

Superindex report finds positive signs changing

(ANSA) - Paris, September 8 - After months of positive economic signals, the Italian economy in July began showing "tentative signs of a loss of momentum in growth," the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday. In the latest report on its so-called 'superindex' of economic measures, the agency said that indicators from some countries, including France and eurozone overall, were stable but Italy and Germany both showed signs of a "slowdown".

Italy's statistical agency has reported that the economy returned to recession in the period between April and June. Globally, the OECD said that the world's largest economies have shown little change in recent months, suggesting international growth in 2014 will remain at current rates. 

Three Italian nuns killed in Burundi

Two reportedly found with throats slit

(ANSA) - Rome, September 8 - The foreign ministry in Rome on Monday said that three Italian nuns working as missionaries in Burundi had been killed. The three Xaverian nuns, named as Luci Pulici, Olga Raschietti and Bernardetta Boggian, were killed at their convent in the city of Kamenge. Two of the three Italian nuns were found with their throats slit, an anonymous police official was quoted as saying by media. Kamenge Mayor Damien Baseka said two nuns were killed "savagely". The bodies of Pulici and Raschietti, were found on Sunday afternoon, while Boggian's was found later in the day.

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini expressed condolences overnight, and said the killings brought "great pain". "We're once again witness to the sacrifices made by those who, with complete dedication, spend their entire lives relieving the overwhelming suffering that still exists in Africa," Mogherini said. Church sources said initial reports indicated that the killings could be the result of a robbery that went wrong.

India's top court delays decision on marine's return

Request Latorre be allowed to leave for medical treatment

(ANSA) - New Delhi, September 8 - The Supreme Court in New Delhi on Monday delayed a decision on whether to allow Italian marine Massimilian Latorre to return to Italy for three or four months to receive treatment after suffering a stroke-like attack. The court asked the Indian government for an opinion and adjourned proceedings until Friday. The move is the latest in a long series of delays in the Indian authorities' handling of the case of Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are are accused of killing two India fishermen during an anti-piracy mission and have been held in India since 2012. Latorre was released from hospital in New Delhi on Sunday, a week after suffering a minor transient ischemic attack (TIA).

The obligation for him to sign in each week at a police station in the Indian capital has been lifted for a fortnight. Latorre and Girone are accused of killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012. Rome has protested the many delays in the case, which has caused major diplomatic friction between the countries. It successfully fought to ensure New Delhi took the death penalty off the table and dropped the application of a severe anti-terrorism, anti-piracy law, which it said would have equated Italy with a terrorist state.

Rome argues the case is not in India's jurisdiction as the incident took place outside the country's territorial waters. It also says the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India, because they are servicemen who were working on an anti-piracy mission, and allowed to return home.