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90 Year Old Drives Up the Ski Slopes for a Shortcut

Police in northern Italy intercepted an elderly man spotted driving his car up a ski slope, who reportedly told them he was trying to get to the ski lodge for lunch. Skiers were startled to spot a Jeep driving up the slopes of Col Rodella, a resort in the Trento province. The driver, a local man in his early 90s, had apparently attempted to take a shortcut to the restaurant at the top of the slope, which most people access by lift. His scenic drive was interrupted by the Carabinieri on a snowmobile, who escorted him safely off the slope. He received a fine for his exploits of €30. Under Italy’s highway code, drivers over 70 must renew their license every three years and for over-80s, it’s every two years with a doctor’s certificate to show they’re fit to be on the road (and preferably not the slopes).

Tops as Organ Donors

The Italian National Transplant Center released a report indicating that Italian women are the highest percentage of registered organ donors in Europe. Seventy percent of women in Italy are organ donors, while the European Union’s average is 58%. The statistics also indicated that Italian women far exceed the donation level when compared to Italian men, with roughly double the amount of donations. In the United States, where 95% of adults support organ donation, only 54 percent are actual registered donors.

New Rankings for Italian Universities

The performance of Italian universities has improved in this year’s newly released edition of the QS World University Rankings, which focuses on leading institutions by region and subject. Italy came in fourth in Europe and seventh in the world. Rome’s La Sapienza University ranked number one in the world for classical studies and ancient history. The Polytechnic in Milan was the only Italian university to rank among the top 10 in three subjects. Bocconi University, also in Milan, ranked eighth for business and management, gaining two positions compared to last year. The areas of life sciences and medicine of Italian universities are the most frequently represented in the world ranking. High rankings for individual subjects included physics, astronomy, medicine, economics and econometrics. The Polytechnic in Turin made it into the ranking for the first time in minerals engineering for which it gained 24th place. Other debuts included the University of Bologna in dentistry (44th place) and the University of Pisa in library studies (50th place). Italian cities with the highest number of ranked institutions were Milan with seven, Rome with four and Pisa with three. A total of 18 Italian universities were ranked among the top 100 in 36 different subjects. Additionally, the University of Turin’s Luigi Einaudi Campus (pictured) has been named among the ten most beautiful university buildings in the world.

New Advances at Brembo

The world’s leader in automotive brakes, Brembo has introduced a new lightweight brake disc designed for ultra-high-performing vehicles. The new system is intended for use as an alternative to (extremely expensive) composite discs. The patented technology of the rotor uses a different form of ventilation allowing for better heat dissipation and a longer life of the component. The disc combines both cast iron and steel in a process called co-casting to reduce weight by 15%. The new light brake disc concept will also reduce fuel consumption, although the type of cars that the brakes will initially be fitted to are not known for economy runs. The technology will likely benefit cars in all sectors within a decade. Brembo is headquartered in the town of Curno, near Bergamo, in the Lombardy region.

Election Funding Controversy

Italian opposition ministers have demanded an explanation from the ruling League party after allegations surfaced that its leader had struck a funding deal with Russia. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (pictured) has denied claims that the League party was offered funding by the Kremlin. Russia allegedly offered Italy’s League party millions of euros to help fund campaigning ahead of the European Parliament (EP) elections in May. Salvini was reported to be in talks with Russian businesspeople close to the Kremlin to fund a deal where diesel fuel would be sold by the Russians to an Italian company, with the profits diverted to the League. The meeting reportedly took place shortly after Salvini met with Russian energy policy minister Dmitry Kozak. The League has been developing ties with Russia since 2013 and signed a cooperation deal with the ruling United Russia party two years ago.

New Bridge to be on Time

Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte recently pledged that the viaduct in Genoa that will replace the Morandi Bridge, will be ready on time. The former structure tragically had a portion collapse last August that claimed 43 lives. “The image of that bridge should not be just one of pain, but also of reconstruction,” said Conte at the inauguration of a new ‘Fincantieri Infrastructure’ plant in the province of Verona. “I can say that we won’t fail to keep our promises. We will deliver the project on schedule.” The authorities have said the new viaduct will be ready early in 2020. State-controlled shipbuilding giant Fincantieri is the lead player in the construction of the new bridge, even though infrastructure is not its normal field. “Fincantieri is a world-class Italian firm that the government is proud of,” Conte said.