ITALY


  • After Greece and Cyprus, they prepare to attack Italy
  • Italy being crippled by an ambiguous tax system (We have personally spoken in the last few days to a man who left Italy for those very reasons and could no longer run his business because he was crippled by draconian tax laws)
  • Italian government (mafia) is run like a protection racket
  • Mafia is Italy's biggest business
  • Italy ranks as the second-worst overall tax system in the OECD, behind only France


  • Large crowd marches in Rome against same-sex unions VIDEO
    Car starts melting in Italian heatwave VIDEO
    Eviction Resistance: Milan cops hit by barrage of Molotov cocktails in clash with protesters VIDEO


    A massive protest has broken out on the streets on Milan afteer the police evicted two squats on the south of the city.Some 150 left-wing activists were throwing molotov coctails and firecrakers to the officers, who responded with tear gas.
    Italy's anti-austerity protest turns violent VIDEO
    CCTV: Gunmen on scooter shoot at shop workers in Italy VIDEO
    Outcry over video of naked refugees being disinfected in public in Italy VIDEO
    VENICE SUBMERGED IN NEAR - RECORD TIDES VIDEO
    VENICE WANTS INDEPENDENCE FROM ROME VIDEO


    The Republic of Venice is planning for a glorious comeback. Supporters of Venetian independence from Italy are gathering for a rally to demand the region goes it alone, tired of being saddled with Rome's austerity. It's the latest in a number of European regions to consider independence, including Scotland and Catalonia. Professor Lodovico Pizzati is the chairman of the separatist Indipendenza Veneta party, who has organised the rally.
    ITALIAN RIOT COPS CLASH WITH STUDENT PROTEST OVER SCHOOL CUTS VIDEO


    Hundreds of students in Milan clashed with police during protests against cuts to education in Italy. Students carrying shields and wearing motorcycle helmets threw eggs and oranges at police in riot gear. At one point, dozens of riot police charged the protesters, hitting them repeatedly with batons and forcing them away from regional government offices. Protesters also gathered in Rome on Friday to voice their anger at the Italian government and European Union austerity measures, which they claim are affecting the right to education, and impoverishing public schools.
    ITALIAN MINER SLITS WRIST ON LIVE TV TO PROTEST AT MINE SHUTDOWN VIDEO


    A Sardinian miner has slashed his wrist in a live TV address, in protest against the closing of a local facility. Some 100 workers barricaded themselves in front of the mine, which is packed with almost 700 kilograms of explosives
    AUSTERITY HITS 'ITALY'S DUBAI' VIDEO


    The world's oldest bank has become the latest victim of Italy's money woes.

    The Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472, though still in operation, has found itself in serious financial trouble as investments fell from $300 million in 2008 to 25 million last year. The institution also helps to fund Siena' cultural life.
    MILLIONAIRE YACHT OWNERS FLEE ITALY TO ESCAPE TAX EVASION CRACKDOWN
    Millionaire's playground: Italy's Costa Smeralda is lined with million pound yachts

    Italian ports become no-go areas for super rich yachters as taxman tries to take his share

    Thousands of wealthy yacht owners are fleeing Italian shores to escape a tax evasion crackdown. Prime Minister Mario Monti launched a campaign six months ago against suspected tax evaders targeting upmarket ski-resorts in the Alps and the Dolomites. But now he has waged war on the country's marinas by hunting down owners of luxury yachts in an attempt to tackle Italy's 1.9 trillion debt crisis.

    It means as many as 30,000 yachts have fled to safer shores in the hope they will not be caught including Corsica, Cote d'Azur, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Greece. Owners of expensive boats are notoriously known to declare only a small income, or none at all. But Assomarinas, the Italian Association of Marinas, says the mass exodus has cost the industry 200 million in lost revenue.

    Roberto Perocchio, president of Assomarinas, told The Telegraph: 'We've lost 10 to 15 per cent of our regular customers. 'This is the worst crisis in Italian boating history. The authorities are using scare tactics and creating a climate of fear.' A new tax of up to 700 a day on large yachts in Italian ports was introduced in December.

    However, the government backed off slightly in March by deciding to exclude foreign-owned boats. Plans for more yacht berths around the country have since been put on hold as people opt to moor their boats elsewhere. Marinas, which should be enjoying their peak season, are also experiencing a downturn in trade compared with last summer.

    Mr Perocchio said tax evaders should be caught but it was not fair to label all yacht owners as tax dodgers. He described the authorities as obsessive and the reason why people are leaving Italy's coastlines. In April, inspectors raided a marina in Bari and discovered a 1m yacht whose owner had never filled out a tax return.

    Out of 963 yachts in Bari's harbour, officers found that 286 had owners with low tax returns, or none at all. Police video footage showing officers raiding a multi-million pound yacht belonging to Formula One tycoon Flavio Briatore, shocked the yachting community, in May 2010. Briatore was exonerated and there was no arrests but the raid was a wake up call for Italy's boating elite.

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  • WEIRD WEATHER AS TORNADO HITS VENICE VIDEO
    EARTHQUAKE IN ITALY FIRST IMAGES VIDEO
    SHOCKED CONCORDIA PASSENGERS ESCAPE FROM SINKING LINER VIDEO
    'OCCUPY ROME' TURNS VIOLENT VIDEO
    ITALY'S 2400 TONS OF GOLD:: REAL TARGET OF IMF TERRORISTS? VIDEO
    RIOTS IN ITALY OVER CONTINUED BERLUSCONI REIGN VIDEO

    FULL SCREEN
    PROPOSED WEB VIDEO RESTRICTIONS CAUSE OUTRAGE IN ITALY
    New rules to be introduced by government decree will require people who upload videos onto the Internet to obtain authorization from the Communications Ministry similar to that required by television broadcasters, drastically reducing freedom to communicate over the Web, opposition lawmakers have warned.

    The decree is ostensibly an enactment of a European Union (EU) directive on product placement and is due to go into effect at the end of January after being subjected to a nonbinding appraisal by parliament. On Thursday opposition lawmakers held a press conference in parliament to denounce the new rules -- which require government authorization for the uploading of videos, give individuals who claim to have been defamed a right of reply and prevent the replay of copyright material -- as a threat to freedom of expression. "The decree subjects the transmission of images on the Web to rules typical of television and requires prior ministerial authorization, with an incredible limitation on the way the Internet currently functions," opposition Democratic Party lawmaker Paolo Gentiloni told the press conference.

    Article 4 of the decree specifies that the dissemination over the Internet "of moving pictures, whether or not accompanied by sound," requires ministerial authorization. Critics say it will therefore apply to the Web sites of newspapers, to IPTV and to mobile TV, obliging them to take on the same status as television broadcasters. "Italy joins the club of the censors, together with China, Iran and North Korea," said Gentiloni's party colleague Vincenzo Vita. The decree was also condemned by Articolo 21, an organization dedicated to the defense of freedom of speech as enshrined in article 21 of the Italian constitution. The group said the measures resembled an earlier government attempt to crack down on bloggers by imposing on them the same obligations and responsibilities as newspapers.

    The group launched an appeal Friday entitled "Hands Off the Net," saying the restrictive measures would mark "the end of freedom of expression on the Web." The restrictions would prevent the recounting of the life of the Italians in moving pictures on the Internet, it said. The decree was also criticized by Nicola D'Angelo, a commissioner in the Communications Authority, which would be likely to play a role in policing copyright violations under the new rules. The decree ran contrary to the spirit of the EU directive by extending the rules of television to online video material, D'Angelo said in a radio interview. He also expressed concern at the requirement for government authorization for the uploading of videos to Internet. "Italy will be the only Western country in which it is necessary to have prior government permission to operate this kind of service," he said. "This aspect reveals a democratic risk, regardless of who happens to be in power."

    Other critics described the decree as an expression of the conflict of interests of Silvio Berlusconi, who exercises political control over the state broadcaster RAI in his role as prime minister and is also the owner of Italy's largest private broadcaster, Mediaset. They said the new copyright regulations would prevent Internet users from sharing snippets of popular TV shows or goals from the Italian soccer league, currently viewed online by millions of people. Mediaset has successfully sued YouTube to obtain the removal of its copyright material, in particular video from the reality show "Big Brother," from the online video-sharing platform. A judge in a Rome civil court ordered the removal of the material last month, and the new decree is seen as providing further protection for Mediaset's online commercial interests.

    Alessandro Gilioli, who writes a blog on the Web site of the weekly magazine L'Espresso, said the decree was intended to squelch future competition for Mediaset, which was planning to move into IPTV and therefore had an interest in reducing the number of independent videos circulating on the Web. "It's the Berlusconi method: Kill your potential enemies while they are small. That's why anyone doing Web TV -- even from their attic at home -- must get ministerial approval and fulfill a host of other bureaucratic obligations," Gilioli wrote. He said the government was also keen to restrict the uncontrollable circulation of information over the Internet to preserve its monopoly over television news. Paolo Romani, the deputy minister responsible for drafting the decree, insisted the text simply adopted the recommendations of the EU directive but said the government was prepared to discuss modifications. The decree did not intend to restrict freedom of information "or the possibility of expressing one's ideas and opinions through blogs and social networks," Romani told the ANSA news agency.

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