Italian racist politician also sexist

This video says about itself:

19 December 2015

In her keynote address at WINConference in Rome, Italy, Speaker of the House, Laura Boldrini shares her illustrious career with the UNHCR fighting for refugees right up to being elected to the 2013 House of Representatives of the Italian Parliament and how these life experiences inform her public and private life.

From Reuters news agency:

Italian Party Leader Catches Heat For Likening Female Lawmaker To Sex Doll

“With this rally he has passed every limit of decency.”

07/26/2016 04:18 am 04:18:00

ROME ― The outspoken leader of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party drew a chorus of criticism on Monday for comparing the woman speaker of the lower house of parliament to an inflatable sex doll.

While Matteo Salvini addressed the crowd at a rally near the northern city of Cremona on Saturday, a blow-up doll was held up by supporters behind him.

“Boldrini’s clone is here on the stage,” Salvini said, referring to lower house speaker Laura Boldrini. He gave no explanation why he made the comparison. …

The Northern League leader often targets Boldrini, who comes from a small left-wing party, because of her appeals for humane treatment for immigrants. Before being elected to parliament, she was Italy’s spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). …

Maria Elena Boschi, minister for constitutional reforms, accused Salvini of “squalid sexism” which she said offended not only Boldrini but all Italian men and women.

More sexism in Italy. From ANSA news agency:

Naples, July 25 – Carabinieri police on Monday arrested 11 underage boys for the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in a small town near Naples. The victim reported the incident some weeks ago, saying she was blackmailed into submitting to the gang rape with a video of her having sex with her boyfriend, who is reportedly related to a local Camorra mafia boss.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

According to Italian media the Camorra has tried to cover the incident up. A news site which recently reported on the incident pulled the piece offline after the journalist was threatened.

14-YEAR-OLD KILLED IN INDIA IN DOUBLE RAPE ATTACK She’s the second woman of a lower caste to be brutally attacked by her former rapist this month. [CNN]

Berlusconi promotes Adolf Hitler in Italy

This video is called Nazi Concentration Camps – Film shown at Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Italian newspaper distributes Mein Kampf as its weekend supplement

Today, 11:47

An Italian newspaper has fallen into disrepute because it published Hitler‘s Mein Kampf as its supplement in the Saturday edition. The Jewish community in Italy and historians call the action of the newspaper “indecent” and “dangerous”.

The newspaper Il Giornale published the complete and original Italian edition of Mein Kampf from 1937

so, from a time when Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, was Hitler’s ally

today as part of a series of eight books about the Nazis. The controversial book by Hitler is first in the series.

Abyss of hatred

A spokesman for the Jewish community in Italy responded yesterday to the announcement of the publication. “It should be clearly stated: the action of Il Giornale is indecent,” said Renzo Gettegna. He calls the free distribution by the newspaper “a filthy act light years away from any single logic when it comes to studying the Holocaust.” According to him, it does not do justice to “the factors which made humanity sank into an abyss of infinite hate, death and violence.” …

Il Giornale is a conservative newspaper which has always supported former Prime Minister Berlusconi

being (partly) owned by Berlusconi

says correspondent Rop Zoutberg. “What critics find objectionable is that Il Giornale is trying to get its sales up by the publication of Mein Kampf.”

Earlier this week there was also in Germany a fuss over plans for a new publication of Mein Kampf by a right-wing conservative publishing house. The book is in stores in Germany since the beginning of this yea, but only in a version in which lies and inaccuracies are shown in Hitler’s argumentation. In the Netherlands the trade in a reprint of the book is banned.

See also here.

From the New York Times in the USA, 1 June 2016:

A German publisher of right-wing books has begun selling a reprint of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” originally issued in 1943 by the Nazi party’s central publishing house, a move that risks violating Germany’s law against the distribution of Nazi propaganda.

Now, state prosecutors in the German city of Leipzig, where the publisher, Der Schelm, is based, are investigating whether they can press charges. …

The house [Der Schelm] … also offers a reprinted edition of the German translation of Henry Ford’s “International Jew” …

The move comes as a new far-right political party, Alternative for Germany, has risen in popularity, in part, by appealing to fears linked to the arrival last year of a million migrants and by questioning many of the liberal policies and premises that have dominated public discourse in postwar Germany.

Giro d’Italia cycling, from Costa Rican to Dutch victory

This 20 May 2016 video in Spanish shows Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador winning the leader’s pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia cycling race.

Andrey Amador was the first Costa Rican ever, and the first Central American cyclist ever, to wear the pink jersey.

However, that was yesterday.

Today was a very difficult mountain stage.

When Amador had difficulty following other favourites on a steep slope, a woman waving a Costa Rican flag started running besides him, encouraging him.

By going downhill fast after the mountain top, Amador managed to catch up with other favourites again.

However, then came another mountain, and still another one …

Amador lost his pink jersey to Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk.

This April 2016 video is called Kruijswijk aiming high at the Giro d’Italia.

This is a Dutch interview with Kruijswijk after winning the pink jersey today.

Tomorrow, there will be time trial stage up a mountain. Kruijswijk now has 41 seconds advantage on number two, Italian favourite Nibali.

Who will win?

After Dutch museum, Ukrainian criminals rob Italian museum

Painting Vrouw Wereld, by Jacob Waben

This picture shows part of the painting Vrouw Wereld, made by Dutch painter Jacob Waben in 1622. One of 24 ancient paintings (including work by, eg Jan van Goyen) and much silver, stolen in 2005 from the Westfries Museum in the Netherlands.

Dutch NOS TV scheme of the Ukrainian culprits in the Westfries Museum art robbery

This Dutch NOS TV scheme shows the network of the Ukrainian culprits in the Westfries Museum art robbery; like Oleh Yaroslavovych Tyahnybok of the neo-nazi Svoboda party; Valentyn Oleksandrovych Nalyvaichenko, until recently the boss of the Ukrainian secret police, now a right-wing member of parliament; and Borys Humeniuk, commander of the OUN extreme right paramilitary gang. This OUN has the same name as an organisation collaborating with Hitler during the nazi occupation, led by Stepan Bandera.

The Westfries Museum and the Dutch government asked the Ukrainian government to return the stolen art and arrest the culprits. However, for a long time nothing happened, as the suspects were part of the political establishment in Ukraine. After much pressure, including the referendum on 6 April 2016, in which nearly two-thirds of Dutch voters rejected the European Union-Ukraine trade deal, suddenly something did happen: it was said four of the 24 stolen paintings would be returned to the Netherlands.

Now, it turns out something similar to what happened to the Westfries Museum happened to an Italian museum.

Sacra famiglia con una santa by Andrea Mantegna, one of the paintings stolen from the museum in Verona

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Stolen paintings from museum in Verona found in Ukraine

Today, 22:01

In Ukraine 17 paintings have been recovered that were a few months ago stolen from the Museo Castelvecchio in Verona. Among the paintings are works by Peter Paul Rubens and Jacopo Tintoretto.

The works have an estimated value of at least 15 million euros. They were found on an island in a river between Ukraine and Moldova. They were, eg, inside plastic bags.

How the police has been able to track the art is not clear, and as far as is known no one has been arrested.

Why is this so unclear, and why has not anyone been arrested?

Because maybe the suspects were once again Mr Oleh Yaroslavovych Tyahnybok of the Svoboda party, and ex-secret police boss Mr Valentyn Oleksandrovych Nalyvaichenko, or similar Ukrainian establishment people?

The paintings were stolen in November last year. Three armed and masked men entered then shortly after closing time invaded the museum and overpowered the guard and a cashier who were still in the building.

… The police soon after the robbery suspected that the perpetrators had acted on the instructions of higher-ups and that the paintings were smuggled to Eastern Europe.

Another painting stolen from the museum in Verona

Ortolan buntings, new study

This is an ortolan bunting video from Belarus.

From Bird Study:

A territory scale analysis of habitat preferences of the declining Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana

02 Feb 2016


Capsule: Ortolan Bunting occurrence is associated with bare ground, lucerne, shrub cover and hedgerows/tree rows.

Aims: To assess the habitat features selected by Ortolan Buntings at the territory level in semi-open landscapes, in the northern Apennines of Italy.

Methods: We mapped territories in ten different plots and built a habitat selection model comparing 52 occupied cells with 52 unoccupied ones (cell size: 1 ha). We built multivariate adaptive regression splines models based on ground-measured variables.

Results: The model revealed an association with intermediate Lucerne cover (50% of the cell), high shrub cover, bare ground (≥5%) and hedgerows/tree rows (≥25 m/ha). The most important driver of occurrence was bare ground (optimum at 5–20%).

Conclusion: The maintenance of the mosaic and low-intensity farmed landscape, the promotion of lucerne and the conservation/restoration of hedgerows/tree rows, may be promoted through the Rural Development Programme. The conservation of bare soil, grassland and shrubs at optimum amount at fine-scale could be the object of an agri-environment scheme targeted specifically at the Ortolan Bunting.

Can the European Commission save the Ortolan Bunting? Here.

Film Fire at Sea about refugees

This video says about itself:

Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) 2016 Film Trailer

8 February 2016

The documentary captures life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis. Situated some 200km off Italy’s southern coast, Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe.

Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea.

By Bernd Reinhardt in Germany:

66th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2:

A critique of Europe’s refugee policy: On the Berlinale’s Golden Bear for Fire at Sea

By Bernd Reinhardt

27 February 2016

This is the second in a series of articles on the recent Berlin international film festival, the Berlinale, held February 11-20, 2016. Part 1 was posted February 22.

The Golden Bear award at this year’s Berlinale went to Fuocoammare (Fire At Sea). For the first time in 60 years, a documentary film secured the top award in the competition. The jury thereby not only selected an artistically outstanding film, but also took a highly political decision, since the documentary deals with the refugee crisis on Lampedusa, an issue which is currently engaging millions of people and threatening to tear apart the European Union.

Fire At Sea is the title of an Italian hit song from the 1950s, based on the Second World War and the dangerous conditions for fishermen who went to sea during artillery fire.

Italian director Gianfranco Rosi focuses on a current war front: Europe’s border with the war-torn countries of the Middle East and North Africa—a region thousands of people flee from, and risk the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

The Mediterranean island of Lampedusa has long been their point of arrival. Previously, the boats landed on the coast. But now the unsafe craft and smuggling boats are intercepted by the EU border protection agency Frontex at sea, and the refugees are isolated from the local population. Rosi’s film depicts two separate worlds living alongside each other.

He sensitively observes daily life on the island. Rosi spent a year on location to prepare his film. Can there be any normalcy at all on this island? The main protagonist is 12-year-old Samuele, a fisherman’s son. At first glance, his life appears undisturbed by the refugee crisis. He goes to school, does homework and wanders the island with his friends.

Samuele is bright and curious. He grows up with the sea, learning to row by rowing between two moored boats in the harbour. Most of all, he enjoys playing war games with his friend; they shoot with slingshots at birds or cacti in which they have carved faces, before carefully putting them back together with black tape. “Let’s stop,” his friend says. “You have already killed them all.”

From the coastal rocks, Samuele sees patrol boats going around the island to intercept refugee boats. Radio news broadcasts also report about them, and about the deaths. “Poor devils,” murmurs Maria, Samuele’s aunt, as she peels potatoes. She knows what it means to be at the mercy of the sea. Her husband, a fisherman, is like many others frequently at sea for long periods of time.

The camera shifts to a request show on a radio broadcaster. Maria has requested the song “Fuocoammare”. She dedicates it to her old father. She tells Samuele of his grandfather’s fear of fishing at night. It was the Second World War, and sometimes the sea was red.

Rosi experiences the other side of daily life when he goes offshore with the rescue boats. “What is your position?” is the typical question on the boat’s radio with which the film opens. On the other end of the line, a panicked voice can be heard, “Please help.” A refugee boat, full of women and children, is in the process of sinking.

The camera takes in a rescue scene as sick refugees are loaded into a patrol boat, including a completely dehydrated young man who will perhaps not make it. The others get on board a navy ship. Men with masks and rubber gloves indicate one direction, and push people in another. They cry, “Mali here,” “Chad,” “Syria there.” They are registered, sorted, numbered and photographed, as if they are dealing with freight. A boy can no longer speak or hear, and his body shows signs of beatings. “Are you from Syria?” Frontex officials demand repeatedly from him. He is unable to answer.

Brought on land, men, women and children wait in the dark for first aid and further transportation. They are wrapped in shiny foil, the face of one fearful and apathetic, the other with a glimmer of hope. A group of Africans strike up a rap song telling of the trials and tribulations they have come through: hunger, waterless desert, sea, sickness and death. The loud singing is painful to the ear. At another point, they relax playing football: Eritrea against Syria.

In contrast, there are the humiliating searches by police officers, who complain about the smell of diesel emanating from the refugees. A lit match would set us on fire, complains one of the police officers.

Refugees have to refill the fuel during the journey, explains the island doctor Pietro Bartolo. This results in dangerous injuries, because the diesel and sea water becomes a corrosive substance when mixed. He shows Rosi the shocking picture of a 14-year-old, whose body shows signs of chemical burns in several places.

The doctor, who cares for the locals, including Samuele, as well as the refugees, is a link between the island’s inhabitants and the refugees. The camera is present as he examines a woman bearing twins with an ultrasound scan. Bartolo is alarmed when he cannot find the head of one twin. He remarks, “Everything is all over the place here, legs, arms, head—no wonder with all they had to go through.”

It is particularly difficult for the doctor to examine the many bodies: dead children or dead pregnant women, or women who die on the boat immediately after giving birth. Colleagues believe he is used to it now, Bartolo says. But that is impossible. At the awards ceremony in Berlin he sharply criticised the EU’s refugee policy.

The director also indicated his shock over his experiences with the rescue missions. He said in an interview, “We are currently experiencing a human tsunami, around 60 million people are fleeing around the world from war, hunger and misery. They cannot be contained with fences and walls. … Europe cannot barricade itself off.”

At the conclusion of the film, he directs the camera to dozens of intertwined dead bodies on the bottom of a refugee boat. “After that I could not continue to film,” said Rosi. With this picture, he wanted to document what happened. “What would it have been like if cameras were present during the Holocaust?”

The life of young Samuele is only seemingly separate from those of the refugees. The director noted in an interview that much became “a regular metaphor for mine, for our perception of the refugees.” An example is the glasses with which the doctor instructs the young boy to cover his right eye. He has to train his “lazy” left eye, Bartolo says. This refers to those who, confronted with the refugee tragedy, remain blind in one eye, according to the director.

When Samuele develops a stomach bug and is sick during a boat trip with his father, the father advises his son to train his stomach by standing on the swaying jetty. The doctor’s diagnosis is that it was fear. Samuele begins to become aware of his environment, the director explained. “For me, that was a good picture of our relationship to the current situation.”

The end of the film shows Samuele on a swaying jetty, with an imaginary machine gun firing wildly in the air. This conclusion, and the film as a whole, is fulfilling. It is not only a criticism of the EU’s inhumane policies on the borders, but it also raises the issue of the causes for this drama. Without referring to the wars in Syria and North Africa by name, they are present.

But here, the film remains vague and avoids taking a position. The European powers are exploiting the refugee crisis to intervene militarily themselves in the name of “combatting causes of flight”. They are not concerned with “human rights”, but in participating in the scramble for raw materials and strategic advantage. The refugee tragedy threatens to expand into a global war and a catastrophe for humanity as a whole.

The frenetic applause from German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the awards ceremony for Fuocoammare, and Italian Prime Minister Renzi’s announcement that he would distribute a DVD of the film at the next EU refugee conference, should be taken as warnings.