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Weekly News – June 06, 2019

Ancient Marble Head Discovered

A white marble head unearthed during excavations at the Roman Forum is believed to represent a male deity, most likely Dionysus, according to Rome archaeologists. Initially it was thought that the head, with its feminine features and thick wavy hair represented a female goddess. However, thanks to a band around its head decorated with a “typically Dionysian flower, the corymb and ivy,” it is now believed to be Dionysus, explained the director of Rome’s archaeological museums Claudio Parisi Presicce. The slightly larger-than-life head has been dated to the Imperial Age, which corresponds from to first century BC to the fifth century AD and is described as being in an excellent state of perseveration. It was dug up on Via Alessandrina and was embedded in a wall dating from the Middle Ages.

Winning Isn’t Everything

In a country as soccer-crazed as Italy, it takes a different kind of attitude to provide all players, regardless of ability, the same amount of playing time. That is exactly the philosophy of Excelsior Bolzano. Their fair-play methods have not translated into a winning record. In fact, during the past 18 seasons the team is 3 – 350 – 5. No, that is not a misprint. Bolzano is in fact the most losing team in Italian sports. The semi-professionals have managed only three wins during that span, but on a brighter note, the team has won the Discipline Cup, given to the most respectful team 13 times in the 17 seasons that the award has been presented.

Election Results

Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League party was the big winner in Italy in the European elections, garneing around 34% of the vote. Support for fellow Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio’s 5-Star Movement (M5S) dropped to about 17%, around half the level it registered in last year’s general election. The opposition center-left Democratic Party (PD), which slumped to its worst-ever showing in the 2018 general election, came second with over 22% of the vote. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia was under the 10% mark with around 8.7% of the vote. The rightwing Brothers of Italy (FDI) party got over 6% and was the only other group to cross the 5% threshold to win representation in the new European Parliament. Salvini said that he was in favor of holding a meeting of senior government figures to set the agenda after the European elections.

Prada to Go Fur-free

The Milanese fashion house Prada is the latest major designer to announce that it is foregoing the use of fur in its fashions. The decision to go fur-free will begin with the spring/summer 2020 women’s collections. The decision was announced along with the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), which has groups over 50 organizations in more than 40 countries. Prada said the decision was “the fruit of a positive dialogue between the Group, the FFA and the Humane Society of the United States. Miuccia Prada said it was an important milestone, commenting, “The research and development of alternative materials will enable the company to explore new frontiers of creativity and respond, at the same time, to the demands of more responsible products.” No longer will the shopping public be able to buy such iconic fashion statements as the fur helmet (pictured); alas, life goes on. Other Italian designers who have excluded the use of natural fur include Giorgio Armani, Versace and Gucci.

Top Woman Innovator

Italy’s Michela Puddu is one of the four winners of the European Union prize for Women Innovators, funded by the EU Horizons program. She is the co-founder and CEO of Haelixa, a company using intelligent DNA-based tracing solutions to ensure ethical industry practices. Born and raised in Rome, Dr. Puddu graduated with honors from the University of Tor Vergata in Rome and earned her PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Zurich. She has developed a system of anti-fraud labels made of DNA that can be adapted to any production sector, from textiles to agriculture. One of the uses of her labels is the detection of the origin of the olive oil, helping to unmask fraud in that area. Dr. Puddu received 50,000 euros as an emerging innovator in the under 35 age category.

Salvini Proposes Flat Tax

Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has announced that his League party is proposing a flat tax that would require 30 billion euros of budget coverage. He said the proposal would bring down taxes for companies and families earning up to 50,000 euros per year. Boosted by the League’s victory in the recent European elections, Salvini is pressing hard for Premier Giuseppe Conte’s party to accelerate with a pledge to bring in a two-tier flat tax and to approve a new decree of security measures. Premier Conte said that he did not feel demoted, amid talk that the Deputy Premier has taken over the real reins of government after his League party triumphed in the European elections. “Salvini has always been part of my government’s strength,” Conte said, as he arrived in Brussels for an EU summit. He added that he was optimistic about Italy having a big influence in the nominations of the top EU jobs.