Category Archives: Italy

Italian Far-Right Activists Almost Drown Attempting To Prove How ‘Easy’ Illegal Immigration Is

Jessica Elgot reports for The Huffington Post:

lega nordItalian right-wing activists have reportedly had to be rescued from drowning, after a stunt attempting to show how easy it is to cross between Italy and Tunisia went embarrassingly awry.

Last week, seven hapless members of the anti-immigration party Lega Nord attempted to make a point about the volume of asylum seekers coming from Africa to Europe, by sailing a rubber dinghy from Italy to Tunisia, flying the party’s flag.

But just off the cost of Malta, the dighy’s motor caught fire and the men were forced to call for assistance, according to Malta’s Independent newspaper.

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Secessionism on the March in Europe

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

Several thousand protesters from across the continent turned out today [March 30th] in the European Union capital city of Brussels. Several nations were represented, none of them currently recognized, and all had the same message: secession now.

Officials like to portray secession as a fringe tactic that comes up only in places like Crimea, and then only at the behest of a foreign power hoping to capitalize on it. That’s less and less the case, as secession grows in appeal across Europe.

Scotland aims to separate from Britain, and Catalan hopes to leave Spain. Even Brussels itself is in the midst of a major secession fight, as Flanders hopes to reassert itself as an independent nation, with Brussels as its presumptive capital.

Italy is the king of secessionist movements though, with three distinct major movements going on at once. Venice has already held a referendum on resuming its independence, while Tyrol is mulling a similar division, and Sardinia hopes to go the route of Crimea, ditching Italy in favor of Switzerland.

At the core of all these movements is a single question: is there an inherent right to self-determination, or is secession only acceptable when the major world powers feel it is convenient. It’s an argument that officials are likely to continue to bicker about, but which the secessionist movements see as obvious.

Pope Francis tells mafia to repent or ‘end up in hell’

Lizzy Davies reports for The Guardian:

Pope Francis  has made his strongest attack to date on the mafia, telling organised crime bosses they will end up in hell if they do not “convert” and give up their lives of “bloodstained money [and] blood-stained power”. In an echo of John Paul II’s appeal to mafia dons to renounce their “culture of death”, the Argentinian urged mafiosi to “stop doing evil” as he held an unprecedented meeting with hundreds of victims’ relatives in Rome.

“I feel that I cannot conclude without saying a word to the protagonists who are absent today – the men and women mafiosi,” he said, quietly but forcefully. “Please change your lives. Convert yourselves. Stop doing evil.”

The meeting in a church near Vatican City was the first time a pontiff had taken part in events tied to a day of commemoration held annually by the anti-mafia organisation, Libera. During a prayer vigil, the names of 842 victims were read aloud.

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Venice votes on whether to secede from Italy

From The Week:

An online referendum is being held in Venice this week on whether the city and its surrounding region should separate from Italy.  Over two-thirds of the area’s four million voters favour independence, according to recent polls. The non-binding referendum was organised by local politicians and activists who want to break from Rome, the BBC reports. Prior to its conquest by Napoleon in 1797, Venice was an autonomous power for more than 1,000 years. Campaigners have been inspired by Scotland’s vote on independence, the Daily Telegraph says. Analysts say that those in favour of separation hope to distance themselves from the more profligate south of the country.

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Italian police investigate Skype use for ‘porno blackmail’

Philip Willan reports for IDG News Service:

Italian police in Genoa have opened an investigation into the use of Skype to trap victims into online sexual indiscretions, which are recorded and used as a pretext for extortion. A first complaint was lodged with the police last September by a Genoese businessman, said Alessandra Belardini, a deputy police chief with the postal and communications police. Magistrates in the northwestern port city of Genoa are now investigating a total of 11 examples of a growing worldwide phenomenon that is rarely reported to the authorities.

The Genoa case involves four attractive young women who allegedly struck up online friendships using social media, such as Facebook, Badoo and Chatroulette, and then enticed their victims into increasingly explicit sexual behavior to be recorded by webcam on Skype. Police are investigating the possibility that the scam was organized by a male resident in another European country.

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Near-Bankrupt Rome Bailed Out As Italy Unemployment Rises To All Time High, Grows By Most On Record In 2013

From Zero Hedge:

A few days ago, we reported that, seemingly out of the blue, the city of Rome was on the verge of a “Detroit-style bankruptcy.” In the article, Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, was quoted as saying “It’s time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome’s default.” Of course, that would be unthinkable: we said that if “if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami. So it is safe to assume that the tricks will continue. Especially when one considers that as Mirko Coratti, head of Rome’s city council said on Wednesday, “A default of Italy’s capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy.” Well we can’t have that, especially not with everyone in Europe living with their head stuck in the sand of universal denial, assisted by the soothing lies of Mario Draghi and all the other European spin masters.” And just as expected, yesterday Rome was bailed out.

As Reuters reported, Matteo Renzi’s new Italian government on Friday approved an emergency decree to bail out Rome city council whose mayor had warned the capital would have to halt essential services unless it got financial help.

The decree transfers 570 million euros ($787 million) to the city to pay the salaries of municipal workers and ensure services such as public transport and garbage collection. Renzi, under pressure from critics who say Rome is getting favorable treatment, attached conditions to the bailout.

Rome must spell out how it will rein in its debt, justify its current levels of staff, seek more efficient ways of running its public services and sell off some of its real estate, the government decree said. Rome’s finances have been in a parlous state for years and it has debts of almost 14 billion euros which it plans to pay off gradually by 2048.

The city has around 25,000 employees of its own with another 30,000 or so working for some 20 municipal companies providing services running from electricity to garbage collection. ATAC, which runs the city’s loss-making buses and metros, employs more than 12,000 staff, almost as many as national airline Alitalia. Rome’s administrators say it needs help with extra costs associated with housing the central government, such as ensuring public order for political demonstrations, and to provide services for millions of tourists.

Here is the punchline, about Rome’s viability, not to mention Italy’s and Europe’s solvency:

The city of some 2.6 million people has been bailed out by the central government each year since 2008.

What is certain is that this year will not be the last one Rome is bailed out either. In fact, it will continue getting rescued for years to come because contrary to the propaganda, the Italian economy continues to get worse with every passing month, yields on Italian bonds notwithstanding.

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Pepe Escobar: Reliving Machiavelli in Florence

Pepe Escobar writes for Asia Times:

2014 has barely dawned, and I’m standing in a cold, rainy evening at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, staring at the round plaque on the floor – ignored by the throngs of Chinese tourists – celebrating the hanging and burning of the monk Savonarola in May 23, 1498, accused of conspiring against the Florentine Republic.

Yet I’m thinking – how could I not – of Machiavelli. He was only 29 on that fateful day. He was standing only a few feet away from where I am. What was he thinking?

He had seen how Savonarola, a popular Dominican preacher, had been hailed as the savior of the republic. Savonarola rewrote the constitution to empower the lower middle class; talk about a risky (populist) move. He allied Florence with France. But he had no counterpunch when the pro-Spanish pope Alexander VI imposed harsh economic sanctions that badly hurt Florence’s merchant class (a centuries-old anticipation of US sanctions on Iranian bazaaris).

Savonarola had also conducted the original bonfire of the vanities, whose flaming pyramid included wigs, pots of rouge, perfumes, books with poems by Ovid, Boccaccio and Petrarch, busts and paintings of “profane” subjects (even – horror of horrors – some by Botticelli), lutes, violas, flutes, sculptures of naked women, figures of Greek gods and on top of it all, a hideous effigy of Satan.

In the end, Florentines were fed up with Savonarola’s hardcore puritan antics – and a murky papal Inquisition sentence sealed the deal. I could picture Machiavelli exhibiting his famous wry smile – as the bonfire had burned exactly one year before at the very same place where Savonarola was now in flames. The verdict: realpolitik had no place for a “democracy” directed by God. God, for that matter, didn’t even care. It was only human nature that is able to condition which way the wind blows; towards freedom or towards servitude.

So this is what happened in that day at the Piazza della Signoria in 1498 – in the same year Lorenzo the Magnificent died and Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic on his third voyage to “discover” the New World; no less than the birth of Western political theory in the mind of young Niccolo.

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Enrico Letta steps down as prime minister of Italy

Italian flag and euro banknotesFrom The Guardian:

Enrico Letta has stepped down as Italy‘s prime minister after the leadership of his centre-left party deserted him for Matteo Renzi, a telegenic and smooth-talking rival who cites Tony Blair as a role model and now looks likely to become the country’s youngest premier in modern history. At the conclusion of a power struggle between the two Democratic party (PD) heavyweights, Letta tendered his resignation to the president, Giorgio Napolitano, on Friday at the Quirinale palace. A statement from the head of state’s office said Letta’s resignation had been “irrevocable” and that Napolitano would begin consulting parties on the next government on Friday afternoon.

The PD’s national committee voted on Thursday to back a motion put forward by Renzi, the party leader and mayor of Florence, calling for a new government capable of opening “a new phase” of reform and pulling the eurozone’s third-largest economy “out of the quagmire”. While it did not directly refer to Renzi, there was no doubt who the party would be backing as Letta’s successor. Although the outcome is not certain, Renzi, 39, is now expected to be asked by 88-year-old Napolitano to form a new government without Italy returning to the polls for the second time in as many years.

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Disposal of big bomb will force 45,000 from northern Italy homes

From Stars & Stripes:

A 4,000-pound British bomb is to be defused, hauled away and blown up in the springtime, officials say.

According to Italian news accounts, the bomb, discovered in October, was dropped in November 1944 on what was then Dal Molin Airport. Defusing and removing it will require moving some 45,000 people from the area at a cost of about 1.5 million euros, Italian media have reported.

The all-Italian effort, called “Operation Old Lady,” apparently because the bomb has been in the ground for 69 years,is to be carried out by the 2nd Regiment of the Julia Alpine Engineers.

Operation Old Lady is expected to last for several hours. The plan is for citizens within 3 kilometers of the site, and soldiers from Del Din, home of the 173rd Infantry Combat Brigade Team (Airborne), which is adjacent to the site, to leave their abodes starting at 6 a.m. on a yet to be determined Sunday morning. Everyone is expected to be able to return to the area by the afternoon.

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Italian protester’s kiss was ‘sexual violence’

Protester Nina De Chiffre has been detained for kissing a police officer’s helmet. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

From The Local:

The woman who kissed a riot policeman during protests near the northern Italian city of Turin in November has been detained for “sexual violence” and “offence to a public official”.

Franco Maccari, the Secretary General of Coisp, the Italian police officers’ union, said during an interview on Radio24 that he had pressed charges against the demonstrator who kissed an officer’s helmet. The kiss took place during a protest march against controversial plans for a new high-speed TAV train line.

He explained that if it had happened the other way round, with a police officer kissing a protestor, “World War Three would have broken out.”

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The end of Bunga Bunga man: Berlusconi expelled from Italy’s senate

It’s harder to get a job in Italy with a college degree than without one

From Quartz:

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.

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Italy’s president rules out pardon for Berlusconi

From The Sacramento Bee:

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.

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Pope Francis ‘is mafia target after campaigning against corruption’

Pope FrancisFrom The Guardian:

Pope Francis‘s crusade against corruption has made him a target for Italy‘s all-powerful mafia clans, a leading anti-mob prosecutor has warned.

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.”

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GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance

BND NSA GCHQ DGSEFrom The Guardian:

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.

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U.S. builds up military bases in Italy for African ops

From UPI:

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.

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Berlusconi ministers resign and leave Italian economy in chaos

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pulls ministers out of ruling coalitionFrom The Guaridan:

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.

Tensions between the two sides had been rising for weeks following moves to expel Berlusconi from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud last month.

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Suicides rise as Italy’s economy slumps

From Al Jazeera:

[...] 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.

From ETF Daily News: 11 Signs Italy’s Economy Is Deteriorating:

#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.

#2 The youth unemployment rate in Italy is sitting at 38.5 percent, and in southern Italy it recently hit the 50 percent mark.

#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.

SEE ALSO:

 

Berlusconi’s prison sentence upheld by Italian supreme court

Silvio BerlusconiFrom The Guardian:

Silvio BerlusconiItaly‘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.

Bananas thrown at Italy’s first black minister

REUTERS DO NOT REUSEFrom Reuters:

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:

Panama holds ex-CIA Milan officer in case of kidnapping, torture of Muslim cleric ~ AP

SEE ALSO: Blowback (Matthew Cole)
SEE ALSO: Ex-CIA station chief in Milan detained in Panama (RT)

Associated Press

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.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE WASHINGTON POST

 

Economic Minister: Italy to resume public spending cuts, could spark social unrest ~ Reuters

New Italian Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni attends at the Lower house of the parliament in Rome, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/ Alessandro BianchiReuters

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.

FULL ARTICLE @ REUTERS

“Time Is Running Out Fast” For Italy ~ Zero Hedge

by Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge

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.”

FULL ARTICLE @ ZERO HDEGE

Italian sport minister resigns over tax dodging allegations ~ Press TV

Press TV

The Italian minister for sports and equal opportunities has resigned over tax dodging allegations but defended herself by saying she was a victim of “aggressive and violent accusations.”

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.

FULL ARTICLE @ PRESS TV

Italy court convicts Berlusconi on sex charges ~ Reuters

A combo shows file photos of Karima El Mahroug of Morocco posing during a photocall at the Karma disco in Milan November 14, 2010 and Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waving as he arrives for a meeting of the European People's Party in Brussels June 28, 2012. REUTERS-Stringer (L) and Sebastien Pirlet-Filesby Silvia Aloisi and Sara Rossi
Reuters

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.

FULL ARTICLE @ REUTERS

Italy’s workforce march on Rome to demand end to high unemployment ~ Reuters

Italy Prime Minister Enrico LettaReuters

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.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE GUARDIAN

Italian and Spanish Public Debt Hits New High

From Adnkronos:

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.

From Europe Online:

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.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta apologises for young brain drain ~ News.au

LETTA-VAN ROMPUYNews.com.au

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.

FULL ARTICLE @ NEWS.AU.COM

Europe’s Record Youth Unemployment: The Scariest Graph in the World Just Got Scarier ~ The Atlantic

SEE ALSO: Eurozone Jobless Rate Hits New High (VOA)

by 
The Atlantic

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).

youth unemployment 2013.png

FULL ARTICLE @ THE ATLANTIC

Italy paid refugees €500 to leave for Germany ~ The Local

Photo: DPAThe Local

‘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.’

FULL ARTICLE @ THE LOCAL