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18-Sep-18 14:58. By Milan correspondent | Comments (0)

Starbucks has opened in Italy

Starbucks has finally opened in Italy. Is this symbol of American gastronomic imperialism a threat to Italian coffee? The Milan’s Starbucks shop is a huge roastery, the first in Europe after others in Seattle and Shanghai. The shop is located in piazza Cardusio near the Duomo, and is meant as a full “experience”. This means it offers coffee and food and also illustrates Starbucks’s roasting process.

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18-Sep-18 14:49. By Giulia Lombardo | Comments (0)

Former Parliamentarians face cuts in pensions

The Five Star Movement (M5S), now ruling the Italian government in a coalition with the northern league, has long called for cutting the pensions of many former parliamentarians. The measure was now approved and is set to go into effect in January next year. The cuts to former MPs' retirement benefits represent a historic victory for the M5S. Indeed, the party was born almost 10 years ago backing protests against the privileges of the so-called political “castes”. According to the new rule, the pensions of 1,240 former parliamentarians must be recalculated using the contributory method instead of the remunerative one. The lower house speaker Roberto Fico, from 5-Star, estimates it will save the state some 40 million euros per year. Lawmakers’ pensions are governed by parliament’s own internal rules, so the change could be made by a simple directive without the need for a new law.

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10-Jul-18 17:08. By Giulia Lombardo | Comments (1)

Fines up to €7,000 for buying counterfeit goods from beach vendors?

From this summer tourists who pay for massages, tattoos, hair braids and counterfeit products from unauthorised vendors could run the risk of a fine up to €7,000. According to the ruling called Safe Beaches wanted by Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, vendors caught selling counterfeit products could face fines of between €2,500 and €15,500 and have their merchandise confiscated. Harsh fines also apply to customers. The proposed ruling which is expected to be rolled out this summer aims to tackle vendors who sell fake brands and evade tax, damaging legitimate businesses. Laws relating to the illegal trade in counterfeit goods are already on the statute book. The new decree against vendors and those who choose to buy from them will be enforced by Local police, Carabinieri and the Tax police.

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10-Jul-18 17:04. By Giulia Lombardo | Comments (0)

Italy and migration - the latest news

Italy has started a new hard-line policy against migration flows from North, West and the Horn of Africa which saw a dramatic increase in the last five years. Matteo Salvini, the new deputy prime minister, and head of the far-right League party, has announced the closure of all Italian ports to NGOs rescuing migrants at sea, for the entire summer. The ban would concern not only access to ports but also the furnishing of fuel to the NGOs, accused of helping people smugglers.

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10-Jul-18 17:02. By Giulia Lombardo | Comments (0)

AS Roma Soccer Stadium Scandal

A new corruption scandal has hit the Italian capital. This time under the spotlight there is the AS Roma soccer team stadium which has caused the arrest of nine people for alleged corruption involving bureaucratic aspects of the long-delayed stadium. The range of charges include a criminal conspiracy to corrupt public officials. Among those detained there is the main constructor of the stadium, Luca Parnassi. Also arrested was Adriano Palozzi, vice-president of the Lazio region, regional councillor Michele Civita and Luca Lanzalone, the head of municipal electricity company ACEA, who has worked closely with Rome mayor Virginia Raggi in the ongoing approval process.

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07-Jun-18 16:43. By Giulia Lombardo | Comments (4)

Chris Froome - the first Brit to win Giro d'Italia

Chris Froome became the first British man to win the Giro d'Italia. The 33-year-old Team Sky had his third successive triumph in the final stage in Rome which completed his set of Grand Tour victories. In the general classification, Chris Froome beat the 2017 Giro champion, Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, by finishing 46 seconds clear of him. Froome is the third man in history to hold simultaneously the Grand Tour title, Tour de France win and maiden La Vuelta victory (after Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault). All these victories were achieved in the space of 10 months.

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07-Jun-18 16:37. By | Comments (1)

We have a new government!

After months of political drama which had worried financial markets and Italy's EU partners, Italy has finally a new government. Just when fresh elections seemed inevitable, on Thursday, President Sergio Mattarella named Giuseppe Conte prime minister for the second time in less than a fortnight (he had formally rejected a mandate to form a new government, after his choice of anti-Europe Paolo Savona as Economy Minister was vetoed by President Sergio Mattarella). This time Mattarella approved Conte’s revised government made up of the nationalist League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement.

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30-May-18 14:51. By | Comments (1)

Italy's 66th government since the end of WW2?

Will Italy succeed in forming its 66th government since the end of the second world war? the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement were almost on the way to forming a coalition led by the newly appointed prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who was in charge of putting together the full list of names that would have formed his cabinet. On the contrary, he has formally rejected a mandate to form a new government. This happened after his choice of Paolo Savona as Economy Minister was vetoed by President Sergio Mattarella. Paolo Savona is an 81-year-old former industry minister who opposed the signing of the Maastricht treaty and is a fierce anti-Europe supporter. Mattarella refused to approve Conte’s choice in order to avoid alarming Italian and foreign markets and investors.

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30-May-18 14:48. By | Comments (0)

Italy's Elections Updates

Almost three months have passed since the inconclusive elections which left Italy without a clear majority. Five Star Movement and the Northern League, the two parties which gained more than 50% of the vote between them in the elections on 4 March, have finally reached an agreement. 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini completed their review of the programme drawn up by party officials, which will be presented to President Sergio Mattarella.

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15-May-18 16:52. By | Comments (3)

Parma Ham Animal Cruelty Allegations

What is ham made out of? Pigs, of course! But are they treated like animals or like meat machines? Activists for pig welfare have often released videos of pigs kept in filthy and barren conditions. This time one of the most famous Italian ham producers: Parma Ham consortium was involved in animal cruelty accusations, as an undercover investigation found pigs kept in dire conditions at some of the farms that supply meat for Parma ham. Parma ham is one of Italy's most famous foods in Italy and abroad, with more than €1 billion euros of sales each year, producing about nine million legs of Parma ham a year and employing 50,000 people. This famous ham bears the EU's prestigious "protected designation of origin" label, which certifies food and drink that comes from a particular geographical area and is made according to long-established production techniques.

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Lucia Jordan

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