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  • M. C. Escher, Hand with reflecting sphere
    Facts & Stories
    Roberta Cutillo(May 15, 2019)
    A new book by the President of the Italian branch of leading research and analysis agency IPSOS, Nando Pagnoncelli, warns against the risks of governing through polls and reveals that Italians share a collective misperception of the country’s situation, particularly regarding economics, migration, and crime rates.
  • Italy has never had a woman president, but women here are taking giant political steps. Among the most visible are Laura Boldrini, president of the Chamber of Deputies; Federica Mogherini, foreign affairs minister for the European Union (EU), Emma Bonino, former Italian foreign affairs minister; and two big-city mayors, Virginia Raggi of Rome and Chiara Appendino of Turin.
  • Traditionalism is among the delights of Italy, where family and social customs that date back centuries continue to be honored. But even the most traditional society changes over time, and in 2016 Italy shows signs of coming of age in many respects, from civil unions to migrants and mascara.
  • As the daily outpouring showing the extent of corruption shows, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” In the case of Italy, that ill wind is the troubled economy. Without the lingering recession that began in 2008, much that is unacceptable might have remained under the carpet. If so, we can be grateful. But now what?
  • Spring is busting out all over Italy, but the political climate remains deep winter. Premier Matteo Renzi, whose popularity had been robust at almost 40% in January, is watching his once firm grip on politics slip to today’s 33%. Meanwhile the stormy problems facing his government – public works, migrants, election rules – would challenge any leader anywhere.
  • In addition to his proposals for education and judiciary reform, Premier Matteo Renzi must address revision of labor legislation. This may be his toughest job, for it pits the government against the trade unions which in theory support Renzi’s Partito Democratico. At the heart of the problem is the “Workers’ Bill of Rights,” adopted in 1970. Can it be changed to make the work force more flexible? Industry hopes so; the unions disagree.
  • Giorgio Napolitano has pitted the weight of his presidency and his prestige against the delaying tactics that currently tie the Senate into knots. The introduction of 7,800 amendments to the government’s proposals for constitutional reform is already causing “serious damage” to Italy, said Napolitano Wednesday. Meanwhile, former Premier Silvio Berlusconi once again became a major player after an appeals court overturned his seven- year conviction for alleged relations with a minor accused of prostitution.
  • Federica Mogherini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, meets mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall. The New York mayor clearly proclaims his Italian-ness in an open and proud manner by kicking off the meeting speaking Italian. Minister Mogherini underscore responds: " Italy is a superpower in terms of presence around the world, and we need to empower this huge resource we have. Building bridges with a strong leader like you in this part of the world is part of that process"
  • Who could have guessed that, on the very day Berlusconi was given a light sentence to nine months of occasional social service work, he would be upstaged by his former right-hand man, former Senator Marcello Dell'Utri? Dell'Utri, 72, has been Silvio Berlusconi's good friend and business associate ever since he helped build Berlusconi's TV empire and then his Sicilian political organization back in 1992. But today Dell'Utri seems to have slipped away from Italian justice.

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