Tag Archives | Italy

Italian Court Ups Sentences for 23 CIA Agents

Italy Kicks the CIAThe AFP reports, via Yahoo! News:

An Italian court on Wednesday upped the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia of abducting an Egyptian imam in one of the biggest cases against the US “extraordinary rendition” program.

The 23 CIA agents, originally sentenced in November 2009 to five to eight years in prison, had their sentences increased to seven to nine years on appeal in what one of the defence lawyers described as a “shocking blow” for the US.

They were also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros (2.0 million dollars) in damages to the imam and his wife for the 2003 abduction.

Washington has refused to extradite the agents, who all remain at liberty but now risk arrest if they travel to Europe.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, a radical Islamist opposition figure better known as Abu Omar, was snatched from a street in Milan in 2003 in an operation coordinated by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI.

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Prostitutes Sign Confuses Motorists

From the Telegraph:
A road sign warning of prostitutes is confusing motorists in an Italian town. The red-bordered triangular sign shows a scantily-clad woman, who is also carrying a handbag, in the city of Treviso in northern Italy. The sign states 'Attenzione Prostitute' - seemingly warning people of prostitutes in the area. Motorists and pedestrians have complained that the sign is 'confusing', saying they don't know if it means to watch out for crossing hookers or if it means prostitutes operate in the area.
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Vampire Exorcism Skull Found in Venice

Venice VampireMove over Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, looks like the Old World had their fair share of these abominations. Christine Dell’Amore reports on National Geographic:

Among the many medieval plague victims recently unearthed near Venice, Italy, one reportedly had never-before-seen evidence of an unusual affliction: being “undead.”

The partial body and skull of the woman showed her jaw forced open by a brick (above) — an exorcism technique used on suspected vampires.

It’s the first time that archaeological remains have been interpreted as belonging to a suspected vampire, team leader Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist at the University of Florence, told National Geographic News.

“I was lucky. I [didn't] expect to find a vampire during my excavations,” he said. Belief in vampires was rampant in the Middle Ages, mostly because the process of decomposition was not well understood.

For instance, as the human stomach decays, it releases a dark “purge fluid.” This bloodlike liquid can flow freely from a corpse’s nose and mouth, so it was apparently sometimes confused with traces of vampire victims’ blood.

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Want To Get Into A Recession-Busting Business? Join The Mafia

From Reuters:

Italy’s mafia crime syndicates bucked the recession in 2009 to raise ‘profits’ by almost 8 percent with the financial crisis making companies and even the stock market even more vulnerable to cash-flush mobsters.

“Mafia Inc. is reinforcing its position as the number one Italian company,” said a report published on Wednesday by a body whose members bear the brunt of mafia extortion and crimes, the small business and shopkeepers’ association Confesercenti.

It estimated that the impact on business equaled about 7 percent of Italy’s economic output, enjoying healthy growth in a year when the Italian economy shrank by almost 5 percent.

Experts had predicted when the crisis began that Calabria’s ‘Ndrangheta, with its huge slice of the global drugs trade, Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, Naples’ violent Camorra and Puglia’s Sacra Corona Unita would see more demand for loan-sharking.

But the report said mobsters had also been able to launder their earnings by buying up cheap assets and had found a cheap and willing workforce among the newly unemployed…

[continues at Reuters]

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Was Berlusconi Attack Faked? Conspiracy Theory YouTube Video Becomes Overnight Sensation

Now that the attack on Berlusconi seems to have made him more popular, achieving the opposite of what was assumed to be the assailant's goal, comes this conspiracy theory, reported in the Daily Mail:
A You Tube video which suggests the attack on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was faked has become an overnight sensation. Berlusconi, 73, was hit in the face with a souvenir marble and metal replica of Milan's famous Gothic cathedral following a political rally and suffered a fractured nose and two broken teeth. TV footage of the politician showing him bleeding profusely from cuts to his lips and gums went around the world in a matter of seconds and were seen by millions. However, today a video posted on You Tube suggesting the attack in Milan was faked had received almost 500,000 hits in just a matter of hours...
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Sleazy Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi Punched

Sure, violence should never be used to express political opinions, but in the case of notorious right-wing-a-hole Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, it somehow seems appropriate (from the New York Times):

An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally Sunday and leaving the stunned 73-year-old media mogul with a broken nose and bloodied mouth.

Berlusconi had just finished delivering a long, vigorous speech at the rally to thousands of applauding supporters from his Freedom People party in the square outside the cathedral at about 6:30 p.m.

The attack occurred at a time when Berlusconi, one of Italy’s wealthiest men, is embroiled in a sex scandal, a divorce case with his wife and public protests demanding his resignation.

On Dec. 5, tens of thousands of Italians fed up with the premier marched peacefully through Rome to demand [that Berlusconi step down].

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