31 December, 2007

Remember this?

Everyone will recall that Tessa Jowell, formerly a Blair Cabinet Minister and now minister for the Olympics found herself in a spot of bother two years ago with regard to her husband, David Mills, a tax lawyer working for Silvio Berlusconi. It seems that David had received $600,000 which he used to pay off a mortgage.

The money was used to pay off a joint mortgage David and Tessa had on their London home. David’s accountants referred the matter to the UK authorities as suspicious (they are legally obliged to do so) and it has been separately investigated by the Italian authorities investigating Silvio Berlusconi. The investigation has moved to London where it is being held in camera to shield it from public view (Why? I should like to know).

The Italian broadsheet Corriere della Sera claims to have a leaked report of the evidence, showing that the accountant Bob Drennan testified that David Mills wrote him a letter, backed up verbally, to Drennan, stating that he had ‘negotiated a few dangerous corners’ for Berlusconi and saved him from a sea of troubles which would have hit him had David Mills simply told the everything he knew. Mills reportedly said he had kept it quiet to shield his wife.

Now, here in Italy dodgy tax lawyers and attacks on Berlusconi by the largely left-wing magistrature are not really newsworthy items, but in England corruption allegations against a cabinet minister still (thankfully) are, so let’s concentrate on that.

One of the most common and straightforward forms of money laundering is, if you are especting money from a dodgy source, you remortgage a property for that sum (generating clean money from the bank) and repay the mortgage with the dirty money. Its disadvantage as a laundering system is that each step is discoverable: mortgages are registrable and therefore the information is a matter of public knowledge when they are made and again when the mortgage is released. With a joint mortgage both mortgagors have to sign the consent form, and of course are notified individually when the mortgage is satisfied.

There have been two mortgages.

First Ms Jowell said in a statement to reporters that she jointly owned the house in Warwickshire as well as that in London:

"What I did was sign a form that enabled the bank to take a charge on our house in order my husband could buy some investment he wanted. Both of our houses are in our joint names - it's as simple as that.
"I was perfectly happy in the division of our finances to sign the charge.
Later she says that the one in Warwickshire was solely in her husband’s name “My husband and I jointly own our family home in London. The house in Warwickshire belongs to my husband.

I have twice agreed to use our homes as security against a bank loan, and signed the relevant papers to do so.
On the first occasion, on 9th June 2000, my husband took out a loan using his Warwickshire house as security, to pay for home improvements and an investment made by him. Because the bank viewed me as a resident in the Warwickshire house, it required my formal agreement to this arrangement and I signed the relevant papers.
On the second occasion, 20th September 2000, my husband wanted to make an investment, and took out a loan using our London home as security. I signed the relevant papers. My husband has a number of investments and I knew there would be no difficulty in repaying the loan.
I knew nothing more about the nature of the investment.
I was not aware until recently that the loan had been repaid shortly after it was taken out, so our London home was no longer needed as security.”
Now, we are not talking about 75 years ago when the little woman at home could not be expected to understand anything as complex as banking or mortgages. This is an intelligent, educated woman – her website says she was educated at the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Goldsmith's, London. She is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.
And she was at the time a cabinet minister.
So we are asked to believe that this woman did not know whether she owned a valuable property in Warwickshire jointly with her husband or not, even after the bank had reminded her that she was signing the mortgage deed because she was living in the property not because she owned it. We are asked to believe that she knew there would be no difficulty repaying the loan, even though she knew the other house had been mortgaged just three months earlier, and that she happily signed a very large mortgage over her London home because hubby said he wanted to make an investment – no need to bother your pretty little head about man’s things. And we are asked to believe she sees nothing strange in her husband borrowing long term money and repaying it very shortly afterwards, not once but twice: she does not find this suspicious at all.
I’m sorry but I have an uphill struggle believing this. But now Ms Jowell, having demonstrated her keen attention to financial detail was then put in charge of Britain’s Olympics arrangements, the budget for which has risen from £2.5 billion to £9.3 billion plus a £2.2 billion contingency fund. ‘The budget is on track’ she said on 10th December.
Really, really, this won’t do. It won’t.

2008: the first good news?

In an interview in the Daily Mail, David Cameron appears to suggest - I think I can put it no stronger than that - that he would not be bound in government by the EU constitution signed by Gordon Brown. This is correct, of course - one government cannot bind its successor - but brave. It is the first time it has been suggested that the motion towards a politically united Europe is not on a ratchet, and can be reversed. Here's what he said:

“If we reach circumstances where the whole treaty has been not only ratified but implemented that is not a situation we would be content with.

"We wouldn't let matters rest there.

"We think the treaty is wrong because it passes too much power from Westminster to Brussels.

'We would address that issue at the time.”

He will be tested on this in 2008. In particular it will be suggested to him – and this may be right – that it will involve a complete renegotiation of our relationship with Europe. Let’s see how close he can stick to that text over the coming year. For me and countless others this is very encouraging however.

30 December, 2007

2008: eight wishes

A very happy new year to everyone. I am always optimistic at this time of year, although it tends not to last too long. Here are 8 things I'd like to see in 2008. I have excluded my winning the lottery, producing one of the greatest wines ever made and winning the Booker Prize for my novel. I don’t know why – these look equally far-fetched

1. At least one, better two, candidates in the US Presidential race that can be respected. Hillary looks dishonest, Obama lightweight, Huckabee and Romney mad, Giuliani shifty.

2. A new constitutional settlement involves HM The Queen abdicating in favour of Prince Charles, redefining our relationship with Europe, installing the referendum as the natural arbiter of constitutional change and disestablishment of the Church of England (a move initiated by the Church to distinguish it from the dross running the country)

3. Italy opts for a workable voting system which does not produce governments with different policies than the voters were presented with, and permits parliamentary majorities to implement them.

4. Australian independence to coincide with allowing one hand one bounce in cricket

5. Discussion of climate change turns to helping those people whose lives will be ruined by it, rather than persecuting those who drive cars and carry their shopping in plastic bags.

6. Further widening of the Freedom of Information Act. Why did I have to wait 30 years to learn Mrs Thatcher was locked in the lavatory in an American hotel?

7. The BBC is restricted to being a public service broadcaster. Jonathan Ross is knighted for resigning from the BBC in the public interest. Jamie Oliver knighted for services to chickens.

8. Belgium accepts the game is up, but cuts a deal where they throw in Luxembourg, the French get all the chocolate they can eat but Albert II becomes King of Greater France. Brussels becomes the independent Republic of Moules-Frites.

29 December, 2007

De Mortuis

Never speak ill of the dead, they say, although the Latin tag in fact means 'say nothing about them unless it is good' implying that those who usually speak and are silent have bad things to say. I don't agree that they are best left unsaid.

I have been critical of Benazir Bhutto since I first met her at university. Her death is a tragedy for her family, and for those who loved her, and difficult news for the West. But I maintain she was not the right person to run Pakistan. R.I.P.

27 December, 2007

The Journalist Militant

There are reports that a Sri Lankan minister has been kidnapped by journalists (yes, journalists) and had to be freed by police. It seems Labour Minister Mervin Silva went to Rupavahini television to complain that it had not covered a speech he gave on Wednesday.

"A henchman of the minister pulled the news director" (I think it means assaulted) "and all employees are protesting, demanding an apology," Rupavahini's director-general said. So they locked him in.

It makes you realise what tame morons our own TV journalists are. Just imagine if a minister gave the usual equivocal exculpatory drivel to Paxman and they simply locked him (or her) up until he came clean. I mean: improvement or what?

26 December, 2007

Italian News (9)

Four Italian families in 10 have abandoned the fixed line telephone and only use mobiles. In Italy there are 138.5 Sim cards per 100 inhabitants which suggests one third of people have at least two, both of which they use while driving.

Some 80 million bottles of spumante will be popped at the end of the year in Italy and 50 million bottles abroad, a 22% jump in value over last year. Almost half of the 300 million bottles of spumante produced in Italy every year are drunk between the middle of December and the middle of January.

Alitalia has sold lucrative take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow airport, some at record prices in order to bolster its balance sheet prior to takeover by AirFrance-KLM. Unions are concerned that the takeover will downgrade Malpensa, the airport near Como which RyanAir refers to as Milan, in favour of Rome.

4 people from Russia and eastern Europe have been sentenced to a year in prison for damaging the 'Barcaccia', the boat-like fountain in the Piazza Spagna, Rome

Roberto Benigni was voted by Italians as their Person of the Year. Benigni’s TV show ‘combines wicked satire with fervent Dante readings’. So that’s a ‘must watch’, then.

Second was Beppe Grillo, leader of the 'F*** off' rallies to eject MPs with criminal records. Silvio Berlusconi, an MP with....No,no,no.... was fourth, three ahead of possible general-election opponent Walter Veltroni.

The Catholic website Petrus said the Pope was drawing up plans to install exorcists in every diocese in the coming months so that 'possessed' people could get prompt treatment.

A decree has been approved allowing the expulsion of even legal immigrants from the EU who are deemed to pose a threat to society. A previous draft of the bill included deportation of gays but President Napolitano refused to sign it.

The website Wine News reports that unless there is a last-minute waiver, merrymakers this New Year will see a 2am curfew on alcohol sales in restaurants, night clubs and other places which offer entertainment. The ban on alcohol sales after 2am was imposed by a road safety law passed last October.

Firework-loving partygoers in Naples have named the latest addition to their New Year arsenal 'The Budget' because of its hard-hitting effect. ''It costs 250 euros and can blow up a whole building,'' said a doctor leading a prevention scheme in Italy's most firework-mad city. Other holiday crowd-pleasers like the Bin Laden, the Ratzinger and the Maradona Bomb, ''are full-blown explosives'', Dr. Mariano Marmo said

A 38-year-old Italian working at the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona has discovered a new comet currently passing through the solar system. The Government has already taken steps to deport it if it carries on after 2am, and the Vatican plans to exorcise it, but there are alternative reports that it is merely a Neapolitan Firework called the Mariano Marmo.

23 December, 2007

Er.. those discs?

The Observer's Andrew Rawnsley, who is well connected in Labour circles, has a good article on how it all went wrong for Gordon. Among the many disasters, he lists the loss of the discs containing 25 million personal records as 'probably the single most damaging episode'. Er.. can we be told what's going on now, over a month later?

The police have said they will call off the hunt by Christmas: 32 detectives were assigned to the case and it has reportedly cost £500,000. So are we to deduce that the discs are now in someone's hands, someone who doesn't want to hand them in? What are we to assume without information?

22 December, 2007

Italian News (8)

The news according to Italians.......

The Consumer association Codacons says that the price of one kilo of spaghetti, which had been stable from 2004 to 2006, jumped 27% this year. Pasta sales have fallen by 3.9%.

In a recent poll Italians came out the least happy people in Western Europe. Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome and Prime Ministerial hopeful said the country had ''lost a little of its will for the future. There is more fear than hope''.

Consumer confidence in Italy fell in December compared to November.

Prices are rising faster than at any time for the last three years

Petrol is the most expensive in Europe

It emerged this week that Spain has now overtaken Italy in terms of per capita GDP.

Now the good news…

The UN has changed the calculation of per capita GDP and Spain hasn’t overtaken Italy at all

The government has survived yet another vote of confidence, this time to get its budget approved. This will raise minimum pensions, improve road and rail infrastructure and give the poorest Italians a one-off 150-euro bonus. The cost of government will be cut and future administrations will only be allowed 12 ministers. Next year’s budget deficit will be 2.2%, in line with EU guidelines

There has been a surge in Italian exports which will cut the trade deficit from 18.6 billion euros in 2006 to 7.6 billion euros. Italy has exported more than the UK or Canada.

Italy's tax revenue from January to November 2007 was up 10.1% on the same period of the previous year, reaching 451.2 bln euros.

Italian researchers have found a way of using the Salmonella bacteria to treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Some six million Italians will be using their cars to travel during the Christmas and New Year's holidays which will translate into two million vehicles on the national highways (good news if you’re not one of them)

Italy’s fine. Just don’t ask an Italian.

20 December, 2007


Harriet Harman wants to make prostitution illegal. Her reason is that it is impossible to get rid of the traffic in girls while there is prostitution.

This in many ways encapsulates New Labour, without doubt the biggest threat to our liberties since the war. There are three glaring problems here. The first is that she cannot distinguish between legal and normal (woman, a free agent, is happy to have sex in return for money) and the illegal and immoral (girls being sold into and held in illegal incarceration where they are forced to have sex with the customers).

Second Harman does not see how this is a denial of freedom to sex workers as well as their clients. What else will they do for money?

Third, like the rest of New Labour (eg Tony Blair on 'handguns') she thinks she just has to pass a law and the problem will go away. Just as it became impossible to own a pistol and so the supply of pistols was driven underground (you can buy one for £50 in an inner-city pub, more than ten years after Tony's brilliant legislative stroke) so prostitution will be driven underground. It will still go on, just as people still have pistols, but since everyone involved will be a criminal, there will be little or no distinction between what we used to call 'working girls' and trafficked slaves. So it will get worse.

It seems incredible that this woman can't understand this. She is presumably hoping for a quick PR fix after she was exposed for accepting illegal donations; or ducking away from her responsibilities in stopping the illegal traffic in women.

Harman is hoping men will be too proud to defend prostitutes. I hope someone does.


Odd that the new LibDem leader should have to employ someone 20 years older than himself (Brian Eno) to advise on youth.

17 December, 2007


Bali seems a strange place for an environmental conference, given the vast Indonesian carbon footprint from ploughing up rainforest. But this was a conference about having a conference, so that’s OK. The world has turned up there to play the blame game, the developed world breast-beating over how much they have industrialised, the less developed countries saying they haven’t really got into this pollution thing and ought to be given a chance. I have two problems with all this.

The first is the absence of complete data. If a western country closes a smokestack industry and transfers it to a Less Developed Country, the recorded (guilt-based) figures for total emissions go down because the LDC is excluded from the calculations. But in fact it has not just stayed the same but gone up because we then ship the goods back to the West. And does anybody know what the leakages from Russia’s pipeline system are? One industry insider told me we don’t even know the percentage of pipeline that has been properly welded.

The second thing that troubles me is that while all this is going on the figures show that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people are going to lose their homes due to flooding. Why aren’t we having a conference about what we are going to do about that? We are all so busy blaming each other about the causes of all this (and we don’t really know) and trading carbon credits that we take our eye off the real problem: coping with global warming’s effect on mankind. Kyoto produced a system where we would reduce temperatures by half a degree centigrade for a cost that could have given the whole world clean drinking water. This next committee of ineffective self-righteousness looks set to be even worse.

15 December, 2007

Italian News (7)

No Italians will be surprised at the results of a poll, among 10,000 women of 50 different
nationalities, that they are the world’s best lovers. British men (11th) were ‘not in very good shape’, the Greeks ‘smelly’, Germans (last) ''too self-centered’ and the Scots ‘too noisy’.

The national truck strike is now over. The whole country experienced shortages of petrol, ice cream and noise.

In Venice, fines will be imposed on funerals which run more than 15 minutes late.

The State journalism exam (!!) will henceforth not insist on manual typewriters but permit laptops. The historic change appears to have been influenced by the shortage of the old machines.

According to Istat, lunch is the main meal of the day for nearly 70% of Italians, and nearly three quarters (84% in the south) eat it at home. 87% eat pasta or rice at least once a day, and 85% fruit and vegetables at least once a day. 28% of males and 16% of females smoke.

Singapore Airlines has made a last minute bid for Alitalia. The airline says it knows nothing about late arrivals, strikes and losing customers’ luggage and is eager to learn.

Comedian Beppe Grillo presented to parliament a petition with 350,000 signatures. The proposed law would ban from office anyone with a conviction. Around 10% of Italian MPs have been convicted of an imprisonable offence.

Mr Prodi denied reports in the New York Times that Italy was a depressed nation and President Napolitano said this was a ‘one-sided view’.

This year’s life-size crib at the Vatican will not show the Nativity in a stable but in Joseph’s house with a pub next to it. There are unconfirmed reports that the wise men will be Messrs Prodi and Napolitano. A spokesman said the perceived 33% cutback in wise men was ‘a one-sided view’.

13 December, 2007

The Treatitution

So, it's been signed. I've said before that we must keep this scandal on the front pages, so let's remember first that it is Milliband, a weak euro-groupy, who has signed it (just in case he has prime ministerial ambitions later).

As for Gordon Brown, someone (a Scotsman, natch, describing himself as Europe Minister) was trying to defend him on World at One and in answer to the question wasn't this a bit of a stitch up could only say he wasn't the PM's diary secretary. It is now clear that Brown didn't want to sign because he didn't want to be in THAT photograph, recorded for posterity. In response to criticism, particularly from the excellent Sun, he went to sign it but too late to be part of the ceremony. Someone from the select committee said they weren't too strict about dates if it was something important (and presumably a treaty giving away large areas of Britain's sovereignty is important). So Brown has bottled, bitten his fingernails and then half-bottled. What a weak man. At least Chamberlain was sincere; this must be the lowest standard of person we have ever had in the job (against some pretty stiff competition).


Plaudits for Vince Cable who completed his final public duty as stand-in leader at yesterday's PMQ's. I said at the time they should pick him as leader, being the only one who talks sense, and many MPs, looking at the tawdry shambles that is Clegg and Huehne are now beginning to think the same.

Isn't there still time?

11 December, 2007

The Treatitution

The news is that surreptitiously, it would appear, Germany, with the backing of France and several other countries, has amended the text at the last moment (it is due to be signed on Thursday) to put back in all the stuff about the flag (still with only 12 stars, curiously), the anthem (smashing piece of music ruined by association) and the Festival (9th May: Europe Day - Hurrah!). Followers of this sorry saga will recall that this was the stuff they took out so that it didn't look like a constitution, in order to get Britain to sign.

The disturbing thing here is not that it has happened - European negotiations have a history of sly, underhand goings on - it is that it has been done with such barefaced chutzpah. The European apparat feels able to ignore Gordon Brown, over the African summit with Mugabe and over this. The Sun's editorial has it right:

'Gordon Brown is being played like a sucker by Europe’s power brokers. Brown pretends otherwise. Because he cannot admit he’s been conned.'

Perhaps this is Gordon Brown's chance to look as if he is listening to the people (nearly three quarters of us want a referendum, according to a recent poll) and veto it. My guess is he won't: at this moment he'll be biting those nails concerned the Tories will betray him as only against the anthem bit, not a serious doubter and therefore just a vacillating politician.

Brown wants this Treaty signed so it will be forgotten and the problem go away. It is our job to make sure it stays on the front pages.

09 December, 2007

Funny Time

The absurd President Chavez of Venezuela has declared that Venezuelan Time will now be put back half an hour. Chavez is of course a figure of fun - it is supposed to differentiate Venezuela from the time the USA is on - but it reminds me of the silly position we are in ourselves and the half-witted debate that goes on whenever the subject is brought up.

The name - Daylight Saving Time - is not just a misnomer, it is designed to deceive. Not one second of daylight is saved by pompous asses talking drivel in parliament. The days are just as long (or short) as they would otherwise have been. What has happened is thickoes - you have to be pretty stupid for this but it seems to apply to a large section of the populace - unable to get up or go to bed at a different time, wake up on the morning the clocks have gone back and say 'Gosh, thanks to those brilliant people in parliament it is lighter at 8am than it was'. Why on earth do we organise ourselves around these people?

Are you a farmer who finds it is inconveniently dark when you go out at 7am? Go out at 8. Are you a Mother who doesn't want her children walking home in the dark? Organise with the PTA that the school starts earlier and finishes earlier.

Leave the rest of us with the time the good Lord gave us.

Labour grant

The papers are full of the story of how Labour got a £180,000 grant to help staff understand the new funding rules, Ha Ha Ha.

Why, though? I mean why did they get a grant? It is the duty of a private citizen to understand the law (ignorance is no excuse) however complicated it may be. Do companies get grants for understanding fraud rules, or reporting requirements? It is the duty of a political party to make sure its staff understand how they are permitted to behave. I see no reason why the taxpayer should fund that.

I expect they jump on any excuse to pay themselves more of our money, and there are many similar examples. The more they are exposed the cleaner political life will be.

EU Constitution

Can someone explain to me how Belgium can sign the EU Constitution - I refuse to call it anything else - without a legitimate government?

08 December, 2007

Italian News (6)

Naples policemen, having stopped a speeding dairy van, accepted bribes of mozzarella to let the driver off without a fine, internal affairs officers said.

A Greek temple has been found in the sea in front of Reggio Calabria's main railway station. Some reports say it is Reggio Calabria’s main railway station.

An Italian researcher has found a way to stop cancers spreading by starving them. An antibody can be used to block the molecule in bone marrow, Bv8, that helps tumours secure a blood supply to feed on

The media hype surrounding the murder of a British exchange student in Perugia has tarnished
the image of the city, local groups have complained. The normally quiet mediaeval city is among other things the centre of the chocolate industry.

Italy may be penalised by The European Commission for the amount of advertising on television. Unfortunately reducing the adverts will mean people have to watch the programmes.

A company in Prato has invented an illuminated umbrella, the ‘Lumino’. The handle lights up due to a high-tec diode, very useful for .. er.. something.

The Censis survey of Italian life says eight out of ten Italians have no faith in politics and 76% say no one worries about anything that happens to other people. No change there then. Over half of Italians are dissatisfied with the state. Or there. The report says TV quality is poor (not enough adverts).

Padua - An Italian priest mistakenly used a picture of Silvio Berlusconi's head on Pope John Paul II's body for a Christmas campaign on the importance of forgiving people. Viewers are advised to look very carefully at the smiling figure who gives the Christmas blessing from St Peters

The head of Italy's employers' federation Confindustria has announced that absenteeism in the public sector is costing the nation almost 1% of GDP a year. A union spokesman was unavailable for comment.

04 December, 2007


The threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions has been perhaps the most disturbing aspect of global politics for the past couple of years. Diplomacy, we said, should cool the situation, not just as regards the Iranians but to prevent Israel from making a preemptive strike; that would lead to war, perhaps not now if the Israeli strike was successful, but in the future, when we took our eye off the ball for a second and Iran succeeded in developing nuclear weapons, because they would feel justified (and almost be justified) in attacking a nation which had preemptively attacked theirs.

But the diplomacy didn't seem to be working. At least Israel has stayed its hand, but Iran thumbed its nose at delegations from Europe and the 'Quartet'. It seemed as though something would have to give.

At this point many anti-war people (myself included) began to think the unthinkable. If Iran continued to develoop the bomb, the free world (not just Israel) would have to destroy its bomb making factories, or we risked a world war.

We learn today, however, that a new study suggests Iran put on hold its nuclear activities some time ago. What are we to think? Did our political masters know of this and yet allow the rhetoric to harden - in short did they coax me into supporting a war which would have proved unnecessary? Why? It is a Dr Strangelove sort of mindset which I had hoped we had abandoned in the 60s and 70s. Perhaps the report really is new and a pleasant surprise to all its recipients.

What is perhaps most disturbing about all this is that despite this being the Age of Information, we know so little about what is going on and, as our fathers did, have to trust that our politicians are sensible, and right. Then we look at those politicians...... and yet we know if our politicans are no good we should change them ... and we look at the others...

It's the uncertainty isn't it? Bush, Brown, Sarkozy, Putin, the Chinese, the UN, none of them seem any good.

Ah well, keep low and keep moving.

01 December, 2007

Italian News (6)

The good news: after two days of stoppages which blocked central Rome on Wednesday and Thursday, Rome taxi drivers went back to work on Friday.

The bad news: everyone else to do with transport, trains, buses, planes even funeral drivers went on strike. The workers of Alitalia, their company collapsing around them, did not miss the opportunity to walk out as well. Ironically, at least for Alitalia which has received billions in subsidy over the years, the strikes were about underinvestment.

Letitia Moratti, mayor of Milan and Berlusconi crony, is being investigated for abuse of office, in connection with some highly paid management positions in the city.

Industry minister Pierluigi Bersani has said he plans to eliminate nepotism in the workplace. Apparently 89% of Italians think that knowing the right person is the most important factor in getting a job and perhaps 70% of jobs go to a candidate on ‘raccomandazione’. The person Bersani recommends for putting the plan in place is....

The Italian agricultural association, which with the nation’s love of acronyms is unhappily called the CIA, has said that foreign food masquerading as Italian is costing farmers 60 billion euros each year. In Germany there are three times as many fake Italian products as real ones, one of the major offending items being parmesan cheese.

In Bolzano a cock has been fined 200 euros for crowing. The bird's owner was taken to court by a woman neighbour who accused the farmer of noise pollution.

Attempts by the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino to produce electronic frescoes have been hindered by the realisation that the fifteenth century masters did not have to rely on ENEL for their output.

Rome’s third airport will be built at Viterbo, to be used when taxi drivers block Ciampino and Fiumicino again. Alitalia has asked for a map.

In a first for European Royalty, Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, the son of Italy's last king, has been cleared of peddling video poker games. He is continuing with his lawsuit claiming compensation for exile, citing what he might have done if allowed back into the country earlier.