- The Premier Italian American Newspaper Since 1931 -

Weekly News – May 09, 2019

Amazon Under Investigation

Italy’s competition authority has announced that it has opened an investigation into Amazon for possible abuse of its dominant position in online commerce and logistics. The authority said it suspects that the retail giant has been giving preferential exposure to third-party vendors on its platform only if they subscribed to Amazon’s logistics service. “These practices would have allowed Amazon to profit unfairly from its dominant position in online commerce platforms in order to significantly curtail competition,” said the Italian antitrust competition authority. The investigation is likely to last a year. The Italian case follows probes by authorities in other countries into practices by Amazon, as well as other tech giants, including Google, Apple and Facebook. In June 2017, the EU Commission hit Google with a fine of €2.42 billion for abuse of its dominant market position, the first such sanction for the company in Europe.

One Man’s Trash…

There seems to be two type of people out there – those who find that scratch-off lottery tickets are exciting and those that find them to be so complex that they are not even sure whether they have won or lost after scratching the squares. Recently, a lottery ticket in the region of Puglia revealed both types of players in the case of one card. An unemployed former fisherman found a winning 100,000-euro scratch off card after spotting in it the trash in his home town of Mola di Bari. The 50-year-old found the card in a service station convenience store area. It was apparently thrown away by a man who had not scratched it properly. One can only imagine that he had no idea that he won, proving rather that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Another Pilfering Tourist

When will tourists learn that taking souvenirs from historic monuments is a quick way to a lot of trouble? The latest incident involves a 21-year-old British woman who removed ancient Roman tiles from a mosaic at Pompeii. The visitor crossed over a protective railing and was seen using a tool to dislodge the tiles called tesserae, from the floor mosaic in the House of the Anchor. The incident caused some €3,000 worth of damage. Pompeii has long struggled with unscrupulous visitors who pocket relics as holiday souvenirs or even to sell them for profit. Last year, a French tourist was apprehended after he tried to leave Pompeii with a backpack stuffed with ancient artifacts. Sometimes, however, the thieves try to make amends, such as the Canadian tourist who returned stolen booty that she had taken 50 years earlier from Pompeii’s amphitheater. More than one thief has returned their ‘treasures’ claiming that the relics were cursed and that bad luck had followed them since they had removed them.

Bowling on the Upswing

In a country where the sport of bocce is a revered pastime for young and old alike, it is bowling that is experiencing an upswing in the nation. Experts point to the 2018 World Bowling Men’s Championships, where in December, Italy staged one of biggest and most stunning upsets in the history of the series. The team captured the title by defeating two bowling powerhouses to win its first gold medal in World Championships history. The only previous medal Italy has ever won at the World Championships was a bronze medal 47 years ago. In the semifinal, Italy faced Canada, with Italy winning the best of three, 2-1. The big upset came in the final against the United States, which was the defending champ and winner of four of the last six championships. The pride in the accomplishment has translated into new leagues forming at bowling alleys throughout Italy.

Nutella Girl Scout Cookies?

Kellogg is getting out of the cookie business and Ferraro SpA, headquartered in Alba in the Piedmont region is purchasing the business. The $1.3 billion sale includes such well-known brands as Keebler and Famous Amos cookies, as well as Little Brownie Bakers, one of only two bakeries that produce Girl Scout cookies. The plant that Ferraro acquired produces the Samoas, Thin Mints and Trefoil cookies, totaling roughly 100 million boxes per year. The overall Girl Scout cookie sales are nearly a $1 billion dollars per year. Ferrero, founded in 1946, is known for products such as Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella hazelnut spread and Tic Tacs. It is the third largest chocolate-confectionary company in the world.Could a Nutella Girl Scout cookie be next?

Books Ahoy!

A Venice bookshop has come up with a novel method of protecting its inventory against the floods that all too frequently have damaged its volumes. The somewhat ironically named Liberia Acqua Alto (High-Water Books) has taken to displaying its books in waterproof containers, including bathtubs and even a full-sized gondola. Now when the shop floods, most of the contents simply float around the shop and the high-water does nothing to dampen the spirits of the shop’s owners.