Cronaca – July 6, 2017

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Subway digging uncovers ‘Pompeii-like scene’ in Rome

While excavating for Rome’s new subway, the charred ruins of a centuries old building were found, along with the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a crouching dog that apparently perished in the same blaze that collapsed the structure. In this dig, items found included a leg of a stool or table, two tables, a wooden railing, frescoed wall fragments and black-and-white mosaic floor tiles on the upper story. They offered clues to how Romans lived, as well as how they constructed their buildings during the mid-Imperial period of the Roman Empire. The archaeologists said the fire hardened the artifacts, giving them a quality of preservation that is rarely found.


Italy Moves to Protect Grain

The Italian Agricultural Ministry has announced plans intended to curb the import of foreign durum wheat. New regulations will require greater transparency related to where the wheat in products originates. About 30% of the country’s 3.2 million tons of pasta produced each year comes from foreign sources. The move should strengthen the position of Italian farmers who produce over four million tons of the wheat annually and adhere to stringent EU rules regarding the use of pesticides. The biggest worry? Canada’s second largest buyer of Durum wheat is Italy, with annual sales of $180 million.

WhatsApp for You?

The popular phone messaging service WhatsApp has been slapped with a $3.3 million fine in Italy for violating the country’s antitrust laws. According to Italian authorities, the phone app is overly generous in the sharing of personal data as one of its terms of usage. In a ruling last week, the Italian competition watchdog said WhatsApp had led its users to believe they would not be able to continue with the service unless they agreed to give their personal information to Facebook. Italian regulators launched an investigation into the issue last year. It concluded that an excessive emphasis had been put on the need to agree to new terms and conditions, which included consent to share data with Facebook as part of an in-app upgrade. The wording of its agreement permits the sharing of information across apps, making its parent company – Facebook to apply unfair tactics, unexplained service interruptions and permitting only the provider to cancel services. The fine was lower than the maximum €5m penalty.

It Could Have Gone Better…

Italy’s somewhat right of center ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is celebrating the recent success of local elections. Mr. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia won 16 of 22 cities. The biggest defeats for the Democratic Party were in traditional strongholds including Genoa, La Spezia and L’Aquila. The center-right also won in other provincial capitals including Monza, Piacenza and Pistoia. The gains made in local elections allow the remarkably vigorous Berlusconi, at 80 years old, to lay claim to the start of yet another political comeback. He may have already set his sights on the next general election due in 2018. Standing in the way is his current ban from holding political office until 2019. The results of the election were a setback for Matteo Renzi, the former somewhat left of center Prime Minister who is seeking to return to power as head of the Democratic Party. In the understatement of the week, Renzi said “It could have gone better.”


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