With Italy’s unemployment at an all-time high of 12.5% and youth unemployment at a dismal 40.4%, young Italians might well think that now would be a good time to go back to school.
They might well be wrong.
A college or advanced degree may actually put young Italians at a higher risk of unemployment, according to economic data gathered by the European Union’s statistical agency, Eurostat.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will not grant Silvio Berlusconi a pardon, the office of the head of state said Sunday, three days before a Senate vote on the former prime minister’s expulsion.
Italy’s upper chamber is expected to kick out Berlusconi, because of a law that excludes convicted members from Parliament. The conservative leader has been found guilty of tax fraud and is due to serve one year of community service.
Napolitano’s press office told the ANSA news agency that “conditions have not arisen” to grant Berlusconi a pardon. It also criticized the scandal-prone politician’s inflammatory remarks from a day earlier.
Nicola Gratteri, who has battled Calabria’s shadowy ‘Ndrangheta mafia, said on Wednesday that Francis’s attempt to bring transparency to the Vatican was making the white collar mobsters who do business with corrupt prelates “nervous and agitated”.
He told the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano: “Pope Francis is dismantling centres of economic power in the Vatican.
“If the bosses could trip him up they wouldn’t hesitate. I don’t know if organised criminals are in a position to do something, but they are certainly thinking about it. They could be dangerous.”
The German, French, Spanish and Swedish intelligence services have all developed methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic over the past five years in close partnership with Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency.
The bulk monitoring is carried out through direct taps into fibre optic cables and the development of covert relationships with telecommunications companies. A loose but growing eavesdropping alliance has allowed intelligence agencies from one country to cultivate ties with corporations from another to facilitate the trawling of the web, according to GCHQ documents leaked by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
The files also make clear that GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies.
- NSA chief Keith Alexander blames diplomats for surveillance requests (Guardian)
- US envoy to Germany says no laws broken in spy affair (AFP)
- US surveillance has gone too far, John Kerry admits (Guardian)
- Spy chief Clapper: We’ve been snooping on our friends for years (NBC)
- U.S. tells U.N. it won’t spy on world body (Reuters)
- Rand Paul: NSA may spy on Obama (The Hill)
- Finland says it was target of “massive” digital spying (AFP)
- Report: French and Spanish intelligence aided NSA spying (RT)
- Spain announces inquiry into alleged surveillance of citizens by NSA (Guardian)
- U.S. spying on Europeans a symptom of a paranoid government, Germans say (McClatchy)
- NSA Official: Obama Was Informed of Spying on Merkel’s Cellphone, Let It Continue (FDL)
- Rep. Mike Rogers: France should be ‘popping champagne’ over NSA spying (AFP)
- US ‘used its Yorkshire base to spy on Merkel’ claims whistleblower (Daily Mail)
- UK signs EU statement rapping US spying activities (Press TV)
The U.S. deployment of 200 Marines to a naval base in Sicily for possible operations in Libya, a short hop across the Mediterranean, underlines how the Americans have been building a network of bases in Italy as launch pads for military interventions in Africa and the Mideast.
The signs are that 20 years after the American military’s first, and costly, encounter with Muslim militants in Mogadishu, Somalia, U.S. operations in Africa are growing as the Islamist threat expands.
Another key factor is U.S. President Barack Obama‘s switch in his counter-terror strategy from drone strikes against al-Qaida to pinpoint raids by small Special Forces teams, as seen in Somalia and Libya Oct. 5.
Italian centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi pulled his ministers out of the ruling coalition on Saturday, effectively bringing down the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta and leaving Europe‘s third-largest economy in chaos.
The announcement, which will likely lead either to new elections or the formation of a new coalition, came a day after Letta challenged Berlusconi’s party to support him in a confidence vote in parliament following weeks of tension.
Late on Friday, the cabinet failed to agree vital fiscal measures to bring the budget deficit within European Union limits, leaving the fragile coalition of traditional rivals from the left and right near total breakdown.
[...] The recent Report on Global Rights 2013 found that financially related suicides increased by 40 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the same period in 2012. Half of those deaths were attributed to the “precarious” economic situation in the country, and 28 percent because of loss of employment.
The figures mirror a worsening economic situation across the country: According to Italy’s National Institute for Statistics (Istat), in 2012 a quarter of Italians lived in “deprived families”, up from 16 percent in 2010. The unemployment rate also reached 12.2 percent in May – a record high for the country.
Financial hardship is having a tangible impact on people’s mental state, says Maurizio Pompili, director of the Suicide Prevention Centre at the Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome.
#1 The unemployment rate in Italy has risen to 12.2 percent. That is the highest that it has been in more than 35 years.
#3 An average of 134 retail outlets are shutting down in Italy every single day. Overall, approximately 224,000 retail establishments have closed since 2008.
#4 Italy’s economy has now been contracting for seven quarters in a row.
#5 It is being projected that Italy’s GDP will shrink by 1.8 percent this year.
#6 Industrial production in Italy has declined for 15 months in a row. It has now fallen to its lowest level in about 25 years.
#7 Overall, factory output in Italy has fallen by about one-fourthsince 2008.
#8 In May, automobile sales in Italy were down 8 percent compared to one year earlier.
#9 The number of people that are considered to be “seriously deprived” in Italy has doubled over the past two years.
#10 Italy now has a debt to GDP ratio of 130 percent.
#11 It is being projected that Italy will need a major EU bailout within six months.
- Italy’s central bank sees even steeper decline for economy (CNBC)
- Italy’s credit rating has been downgraded by S&P (BBC)
- Silvio Berlusconi supporters take to the streets of Rome (Guardian)
- Silvio Berlusconi asks for reform of Italian justice (Channel 4)
- Italy’s fragile coalition bickers over Berlusconi conviction (Reuters)
- Sicily’s first openly gay governor wins support with anti-mafia crusade (Washington Post)
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy‘s longest-serving postwar prime minister, has been handed his first definitive criminal conviction in more than 20 years of legal battles but the country’s supreme court spared him the immediate prospect of being barred from public office.
In a long-anticipated ruling, the five judges of the court of cassation emerged from more than seven hours of deliberations to issue a verdict confirming a four-year jail term for the leader of the Freedom People party (PdL), a vital part of Italy’s coalition government.
That sentence had already been cut to one year according to a 2006 amnesty, and, owing to Berlusconi’s age – he will be 77 in September – it will be served through house arrest or community service.
Some of Italy’s top politicians on Saturday rallied behind the country’s first black minister, a target of racist slurs since her appointment in April, after a spectator threw bananas at her while she was making a speech.
Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who is originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, was appearing at a political rally in Cervia in central Italy on Friday, when someone in the audience threw bananas towards the stage, narrowly missing it.
Kyenge has faced almost daily racial slurs and threats since joining the government. Earlier this month a senator from the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan and only apologized after a storm of criticism.
Last month, a local Northern League councilor said Kyenge should be raped so she understands how victims of crimes committed by immigrants feel. The councilor has received a suspended jail sentence and a temporary ban from public office.
Shortly before Friday’s incident, members of the far-right Forza Nuova group left mannequins covered in fake blood near the site of the Democratic Party rally in protest against Kyenge’s proposal to make anyone born on Italian soil a citizen.
SEE ALSO: Blowback (Matthew Cole)
SEE ALSO: Ex-CIA station chief in Milan detained in Panama (RT)
A former CIA base chief convicted in the 2003 abduction of a terror suspect from an Italian street has been detained in Panama after Italy requested his arrest in one of the most notorious episodes of the U.S. program known as extraordinary rendition, Italian and Panamanian officials said Thursday.
Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA chief in Milan, entered Panama, crossed the border into Costa Rica and was sent back to Panama where he was detained, according to an Italian official familiar with Italy’s investigation of the rendition of Cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the case.
A Panamanian National Police official said Lady, 59, had been detained Wednesday on the Costa Rica-Panama border. The official also spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorization to discuss the matter.
The government of Panama, which maintains one of the region’s closest relationships with the U.S., was officially silent on the case. Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino told The Associated Press that he was unaware of Lady’s detention and the press office of the National Police — which works with Interpol, the international police agency — said it had no information. The CIA also declined to comment.
Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was hustled into a car in February 2003 on a street in Milan, where he preached, and transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being flown to Egypt. He alleged he was tortured in Egypt before being released.
Italy conducted an aggressive investigation and charged 26 CIA and other U.S. government employees despite objections from Washington. All left Italy before charges were filed in the first trial in the world involving the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, under which terror suspects were abducted and transferred to third countries where many were subjected to torture.
All the U.S. suspects were eventually convicted but only Lady received a sentence — nine years in prison — that merited an extradition request under Italian legal guidelines. Two former Italian spy chiefs were also convicted this year for their role in the cleric’s kidnapping.
Italy will resume public spending cuts to find resources for tax cuts to kick start growth, Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni told daily Corriere della Sera on Saturday.
He warned, however, that cuts could spark social unrest in the euro zone’s third largest economy, where lobbies have so far resisted previous government attempts to reduce state spending.
“We aim to support economic growth through a reduction of taxes on labor and companies,” said Saccomanni, former deputy governor at the Bank of Italy.
“We can’t do it by raising public debt, so we have to cut public spending,” he said in an interview with the Italian daily.
by Tyler Durden
Everyone knows Europe is insolvent; the only question is “when” will Europe be forced to finally admit this truism. The long overdue house of cards may start toppling in as little as 6 months, as The Telegraph reports,Mediobanca’s ‘index of solvency risk’ suggests “time is running out fast” for Italy. With the breakdown in Eurozone talks on a banking union and the Fed’s shift in policy, Europe “has become a dangerous place,” warns RBS. Unless Italy can count on low borrowing costs and a broad recovery, it will “inevitably end up in an EU bailout.” The current situation is as bad as when the country was blown out of the ERM in 1992 as “the Italian macro situation has not improved…rather the contrary; with 160 large corporates in Italy now in special crisis administration.” If the ECB doesn’t act, one analyst warns (pleads) it could see all the gains of the past nine months vanish in two weeks. Mediobanca said the trigger for a blow-up in Italy could be a bail-out crisis for Slovenia or an ugly turn of events in Argentina, which has close links to Italian business. “Argentina in particular worries us, as a new default seems likely.”
Josefa Idem from the center-left Democratic Party handed in her resignation on Monday and it was accepted, a statement from Premier Enrico Letta’s office said.
by Silvia Aloisi and Sara Rossi
Silvio Berlusconi was handed a seven-year jail sentence on Monday for abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor, adding to the complications facing Italy’s fragile left-right government.
The former prime minister will not have to serve any jail time before he has exhausted an appeals process that could take years, but the conviction angered members of his centre-right party who questioned whether he should continue to support the coalition.
The 76-year-old media tycoon expressed outrage at the verdict which he said was politically motivated.
Thousands of workers and unemployed people marched in Rome on Saturday to protest against record unemployment and call on Enrico Letta‘s two-month-old government to deliver more than empty rhetoric on the issue.
The rally, organised by the country’s three largest unions was the first major protest since Letta’s broad, left-right coalition took office following an inconclusive election in February.
Italian unemployment rose to 12% in April, the highest level on record, and joblessness among people under 24 is at an all-time high above 40%.
Union chiefs, speaking before a flag-waving crowd estimated at more than 100,000 by the organisers, criticised Letta for what they called a lack of action on an urgent problem.
Italy’s public debt reached a new high of 2.0413 trillion euros in April, an Increase of 6.5 billion euros from March, and 88.3 billion euros from April last year, the central bank said on Friday.
The April Increase in Italy’s massive public debt load owed Principally to a 0.5 billion euro rise in the cost of the public sector in the first four months of the year Compared with the same period of 2012, the Bank of Italy said.
The public debt of recession-hit Spain soared to a new record in the first quarter, hitting nearly 923 billion euros (1.2 trillion dollars), or 88.2 per cent of gross domestic product, the Bank of Spain said Friday.
That is up 19.09 per cent from the first quarter of 2012.
PRIME Minister Enrico Letta on Sunday issued an apology to the young Italians who have found themselves forced to leave the recession-hit country in the face of record-high youth unemployment.
Mr Letta who heads Italy’s first grand coalition right-left cabinet since the Second World War – said he was apologising “on behalf of a political class that for a very long time pretended not to understand that through its words, actions and omissions, it was letting passion, sacrifice and competence go to waste”.
“The biggest debt that we are accumulating, by repeating the mistakes of the previous generations, is towards the young people, which is an unforgivable mistake,” Mr Letta wrote in a letter published in La Stampa newspaper.
The unemployment rate in the eurozone’s third largest economy reached a new record of 12 per cent in April, official data showed on Friday.
Youth unemployment, which will be a key focus for European leaders at a summit in Brussels later this month, rose to 40.5 per cent with an estimated 656,000 Italians aged 15 to 24 looking for a job.
by DEREK THOMPSON
Europe’s job market is a historic disaster.
The EU unemployment rate set a new all-time high of 12.2 percent, according to today’s estimates. But it’s the youth unemployment crisis that’s truly terrifying. In Spain, unemployment surged past 56 percent, and Greece now leads the rich world with an astonishing 62.5 percent of its youth workforce out of a job (graph via James Plunket).
‘Swathes of refugees turned up in Italy after war broke out in Libya and, according to a letter from Germany’s Interior Ministry seen by Die Welt newspaper, thousands of them recently received €500 each from the Italian government to leave the country.
“Refugees were slipped the money under the advice that they would go to Germany,” the letter, addressed to refugee advisors, said. In Italy they were offered temporary accommodation, the EU funding for which has since dried up.
Around 300 of these refugees have set up home behind the Bismarck monument in Hamburg, where there is no shelter and, according to refugee rights activists Karawane, cold, wet weather has left lots of them ill.
“They have no legal right to accommodation or state support and it would be irresponsible to give them false hope,” Hamburg Social Affairs Minister Detlef Scheele, told Die Welt. “There is no alternative other than for them to go where they can work and have the legal right to reside, be it Italy or their home country” he added.
The city has offered its new residents free train tickets back to Italy, but to little success.’
‘The prosecutor in former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s sex trial has received a series of anonymous letters of threats, including one with two bullets, Milan’s chief prosecutor said on Thursday.
The letters against Ilda Boccassini have become more frequent since she requested a six-year jail sentence and a lifetime ban on holding public office for Berlusconi, Edmondo Bruti Liberati said.
“In the last few weeks there has been a crescendo of anonymous letters containing serious threats against Boccassini, including one yesterday containing two bullets,” Bruti Liberati said in a statement.’
Italy’s New Government Approval Rating Plummets From 43% To 34% In Three Weeks, Protests Return ~ Zero Hedge
by Tyler Durden
It was less than a month ago that the new Italian government of the pseudo-technocrat Letta, of Bilderberg 2012 and Aspen Institute fame, was voted in by a majority of the PD and the PDL parties (the latter agreeing so Berlusconi would get an extension of his much needed political immunity from assorted prison sentences). It may not last too long. As Reuters reports, it took just 20 days for Letta’s approval rating to plunge by 25%, dropping from 43% at the start of the month to 34%, according to an SWG institute poll. It would appear the Italian people (unlike their Japanese peers who at least according to government-controlled media data could not be happier with PM Abe, supposedly because of the bubblelicious 50% rise in the Nikkei225 year to date, even though under 20% are actually invested in the stock market making one wonder just how credible polling, and all other data in Japan actually is) don’t have Mrs. Watanabe’s childish fascination wth soaring stock bubbles, sexy bonds, mini skirts and 2% inflation bras, and instead demand real economic results. Which also means the protests are once again back.
by Silvia Aloisi and Sara Rossi
‘Italian prosecutors called on Monday for a six-year jail sentence and a lifetime ban on holding public office for centre-right leader and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is charged with abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor.
The 76-year-old billionaire media tycoon and senator is accused of paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, better known by her stage name “Ruby the Heartstealer”, when she was under 18, during the now notorious “bunga bunga” parties at his villa at Arcore near Milan in 2010.
However, prosecutors considered by far the more serious charge was that he abused the powers of his office during a separate incident by arranging for her to be released from police custody where she was being held on theft charges.
They requested five years imprisonment for that and a year for paying for sex with a minor. The verdict is expected on June 24. But no final verdict will be enforced in either case until the appeals process, which can last for years, is exhausted.’
‘Almost one in four young Italians were unemployed in March, central statistics office Istat said on Tuesday.
A total of 635,000 or 38.4 percent of 15-24-year-old were jobless, according to Istat’s seasonally adjusted provisional data.
Italy is mired in its most protracted worst recession in 20 years, and young people have been especially hard it by the lack of growth and jobs.’
‘Italian police have arrested four men suspected of belonging to an Islamist militant cell believed to be planning terror attacks in the US, Israel and Italy. Two other suspects have reportedly fled the country.
The men allegedly sought to train militants in order to send them for operations abroad and have been accused of conspiracy to commit international terrorism and inciting racial hatred.
Hosni Hachemi Ben Hassen, the Tunisian leader of the cell- once an Imam at a mosque in the southern Italian city of Andria- was arrested in Belgium. Two more Tunisians were arrested in the Sicilian province of Catania, while another was arrested in Milan.’
A day after Italy’s president was re-elected to an unprecedented second term, the leader of an anti-establishment movement says citizens’ patience with traditional parties is wearing thin.
Beppe Grillo, a comic who heads the Five Star Movement, has dismissed President Giorgio Napolitano’s re-election as a bid by doomed parties to hang onto power.
Grillo, whose party is the No. 3 bloc in Parliament, predicted in Rome on Sunday that traditional parties would “last a year.”
The mainstream blocs are still bickering over how to form the next government two months after inconclusive national elections. Napolitano was re-elected Saturday after Parliament’s mainstream parties couldn’t agree on a new personality. Napolitano could tap someone to try to form a governing coalition this week.
In a book published in early January, La Repubblica delle stragi impunite (The Republic of the Unpunished Massacres. The unpublished papers of the bloody events that have shaken our country), Italian Judge Ferdinando Imposimato places the blame on NATO for organizing the bloody attacks that ripped through Italy during the 1980’s.
Honorable Imposimato presided over several terrorism-related cases, including the kidnapping and ultimate assassination of President Aldo Moro and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. He was a leading anti-Mafia and is currently honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies (Parliament) under the label of the Democratic Party of the Left and subsequently to the Senate.
The book comprises, in particular, a 1967 document pointing to the involvement of the Bilderberg Group, a club that brings together the most influential people to defend the interests of NATO.
by Paul Joseph Watson
Honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy and former Senior Investigative Judge Ferdinando Imposimato, the man who prosecuted the case involving the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II, has sensationally accused the Bilderberg Group of being behind terrorist attacks in Europe.
In an interview with the ArticoloTre website, Imposimato, who was also involved in the case involving the kidnapping and murder of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro, said that he “found a document that left me appalled” implicating the Bilderberg Group in conspiring with the far right organization Ordine Nuovo to commit terror attacks.
Speaking of unsolved murders in Italy and the document in his possession, Imposimato stated, “When it comes to slaughter it also speaks of the Bilderberg Group. I believe this document. I did some tests and I can say that behind the strategy of tension and the slaughters there is also the Bilderberg group, a sort of Big Brother is over, maneuvering, using terrorists and Masons. “
The “strategy of tension” refers to a policy under the auspices of Operation Gladio, a NATO cold war “stay behind” project that sought to create an expedient political climate in Europe by having its agents carry out terror attacks which were then blamed on both far left and far right political groups.
Gladio was designed to demonize political opposition and “force the public to turn to the state to ask for greater security,” according to the testimony of former Gladio agent Vincenzo Vinciguerra. In 2000, an Italian parliamentary investigation found that the 1980 Bologna train bombing, which killed 85 people, was carried out by “men inside Italian state institutions and … men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.”
“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game,” Vinciguerra explained in sworn testimony.
“The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened,” he added.
Imposimato stated that he was given the document by a former Ordine Nuovo terrorist. Members of Ordine Nuovo (Italian for “New Order”) participated in numerous deadly terrorist attacks, including the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, the 1970 Rome-Messina train attack, the 1974 Piazza della Loggia bombing in Brescia, and the Italicus Express bombing in 1974.
The Bilderberg Group is an annual confab of around 120 of the most influential power brokers on the planet from the world of politics, business, banking, academia, media, and even royalty. The organization’s yearly meeting is held in a plush hotel resort in either Europe, Canada or America, but despite a plethora of heavy hitters in attendance, the mainstream media affords the event scant coverage, labeling it a mere talking shop despite former NATO Secretary-General and Bilderberg member Willy Claes’ 2010 admission that Bilderberg attendees are mandated to implement policy decisions that are formulated during the meeting.
There are innumerable other examples of how Bilderberg has influenced major global events ahead of time, picking Presidents and Prime Ministers on a regular basis with total contempt for the democratic process.
In 2009, Bilderberg chairman Étienne Davignon even bragged about how the Euro single currency was a brainchild of the Bilderberg Group.
Imposimato’s broadside against Bilderberg follows in the footsteps of his compatriot Alfonso Luigi Marra, a prominent lawyer who recently requested that the Public Prosecutor of Rome investigate the Bilderberg Group for criminal activity, questioning whether the elitist organization’s 2011 meeting in Switzerland led to the selection of Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy.
Labeling the group a “unique, illegal brotherhood” of elitists who consider themselves to be “above the law,” Marra pointed the finger at Bilderberg for engineering wars, economic collapses, and arming dictators, activities which, “constitute an obvious, blatant violation, to say the least, of the articles of the Criminal Code.”
The precise date and location of the 2013 Bilderberg meeting is yet to be confirmed, although speculation has centered around the confab taking place somewhere near London in early June.
At least 10 gangsters armed with Kalshnikov rifles held up two armoured security vans on a motorway outside Como and escaped with €10m (£8.5m) in gold and cash.
In what Italian media described as a “paramilitary action”, robbers blocked in the Gruppo Battistolli security vans by sealing off both ends of a stretch of the A9 highway between Saronno and Turate with two abandoned lorries. The A9 connects Milan to the Swiss city of Chiasso.
Armed with Kalashnikov rifles, gang members opened fire on the vans and the security escort fired back but the occupants of one vehicle were forced out on to the roadside by a smoke bomb.
Robbers broke open the vehicle with a shovel that was later found at the scene. Investigators also found at least 50 bullet casings although there were no injuries.
The gang set one of the blockade trucks on fire and threw nails across the road to slow down police as they drove off towards Switzerland in three cars.