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  • Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns following referendum defeat
    Within hours of losing the constitutional referendum Dec. 4, Matteo Renzi submitted his resignation as Premier, one of the few in Italian postwar history whose government lasted over 1,000 days. The huge turnout and the massive 60% vote against the referendum caught pundits by surprise.
  • Movimento Cinque Stelle leader Beppe Grillo during the demonstration in Rome last week
    When Beppe Grillo, Movimento Cinque Stelle leader, took a tumble into one of the myriad Roman potholes, the sarcastic chortles of his opponents echoed all over Italy. Why? Because the mayor, who is expected to fix up Rome and its streets, is from his party.
  • Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally
    Donald Trump’s electoral victory created much clamor in Italy as elsewhere. Two subjects seem to be particularly relevant to the Italian public opinion as reflected by the country’s major media outlets: the populist revolt against the establishment and the disconnection of pundits and opinion makers from the true feelings of “the ordinary people.” A cursory look at these first reactions shows both the differences and some striking similarities between the US and Italian political debates.
  • Change comes slowly in Italian politics -- consider the postwar decades of Christian Democratic stasis while it faced off the old Communist party. But hints of change are now in the wind, and forthcoming city administrative elections this Spring will be the political equivalent of the American primaries.
  • Approaching his ninetieth birthday, President Giorgio Napolitano will neither confirm nor deny reports that he will announce his resignation by the end of the year. But even without confirmation his resignation is being taken for granted, and the fallout is already having a tremendous effect upon the entire political scene.
  • May 23 marks the 21st anniversary of the murder of the anti-Mafia Judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca Morvillo and their three bodyguards, blown up by 500 kilos of dynamite on the highway between the airport at Puna Raisi and the city of Palermo. Most of those considered responsible are in prison. But what is believed to lie behind his murder, and that months later of his fellow magistrate Paolo Borsellino, is still being analyzed by Palermo magistrates investigating allegations that an illegal secret pact had been forged between the government and the Mafia. In the words of Palermo's chief prosecutor, Roberto Scarpinato, "We must take cognizance that the Mafia evil is not outside of us, but also among us."
  • The first solo exhibition of Italian fashion photographer Dawidh Orlando, on view at Three Square Studio Gallery until the end of June, ranges from cheeky tableau to documentary photography, without excluding all the beautiful people and celebrities out there.
  • Right and left in Italy agree on the gravity of the problem. "The house is on fire," thundered Angelino Alfano, titular secretary of the rightist Freedom Party (PdL). "Italy is starting to be frightened - yes, frightened," intoned the moderate leftist professor Ernesto Galli della Loggia, writing in Corriere della Sera. Both lament the politicians' failure to move toward formation of a new government. But there agreement ends, and the impasse over what to do to avoid a dangerous power vacuum continues. Fighting to gain time as the end of his mandate approaches, President Giorgio Napolitano has appointed a 10-man committee of "sages" to try to excogitate points of convergence on reforms.
  • Workaday Milan was thrown into a small tizzy Wednesday morning when a hundred or so mostly middle-aged men and women blocked the sidewalk in front of the city courthouse and began to sing the Italian national anthem, "Fratelli d'Italia." All MPs and senators of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's Freedom party (PdL), they were protesting what they consider the magistrates' persecution of their maximum leader. This new clash typifies the problems the country is addressing in its gravest political crisis in over a half century.
  • New York City and Italy have a great deal in common, starting and ending with self-destructive electorates; voters who are intent on putting into office people who, in one way or another, hold them in contempt. In both democracies, The People are generally too ignorant and self-absorbed to notice that the pain they feel is self-inflicted. How does this happen?

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