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  • 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.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(February 26, 2013)
    In a globalized world, the gigantic wave laps on distant shores, and never have Italian voters generated so much outside interest as during the two days of national general elections Feb. 24-25. For their part, Italian commentators have borrowed the phrase "Tsunami Tour", as actor-politician Beppe Grillo dubbed his campaign, as a larger metaphor for the stunning results.
  • The five-evening pop-song competition was a success; it captured an average audience of more than 11.9 million viewers, the best achieved since 2001. High praise for hosts Fabio Fazio and comedian Luciana Littizzetto (despite pre-fest fears they might impinge on the election campaign), the participating singers and special guests who gave a unique touch of quality to an otherwise stale format.
  • Op-Eds
    Judith Harris(October 28, 2012)
    Berlusconi, who has dominated Italian politics for over seventeen years, is not leaving the political scene just yet. What happened?
  • Senator Stefano Pedica posted on his Facebook page a list of the 100 Italian members of the Parliament who have been in office for the longest time. The politicians in the list, as Pedica stated, “have witnessed the growth of Italy’s public debt to EUR 2,000 billion.” A signature gathering to limit the eligibility of MPs after 3 terms of being in service was announced yesterday.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(August 13, 2012)
    Ferragosto – the name derives from the original Feriae Augusti summer festival proclaimed by the Emperor Augustus – is a major holiday celebrated on August 15 when all of Italy shuts down, and streets are deserted. This peak of summer holidays is what the media pros call “the silly season,” when reporters are allowed a long leash for gossip in the absence of hard news.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(July 27, 2012)
    The upward surge of the spread to today's 506.48 for 10-year bonds (but 519 at the opening of the markets) has reignited interest in holding elections this November, six months ahead of schedule. The emergency premier Mario Monti reportedly told President Giorgio Napolitano Wednesday that, "My government has done what it could." Whether or not these were Monti's precise words, they definitely express a darkening mood.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(April 13, 2012)
    Umberto Bossi, founding father of the Northern League, resigned as head of his party last week. After 30 years of blaming Rome of robbing, it turns out that some in Bossi's entourage were themselves stealing from the till, and on the grand scale. Bossi's son Renzo, who purchased a university degree with public funds, was no exception.

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