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Berlusconi immunity law overruled

Italy’s Constitutional Court has overturned a law that granted Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from being prosecuted. There are at least three court cases that can now proceed against him, including a corruption trial.

Silvio_BerlusconiThere had been speculation in the media that Berlusconi would resign if the law was struck down, but a spokesman said “Berlusconi, the government and the majority will continue to govern.”

The spokesman went on to call the decision “a political verdict,” and Berlusconi has commented he expected the result because of left-wing leanings by the judges.

The panel of fifteen judges took two days to reach their decision. There is no appeals process to try and save the law, which gave immunity to the Prime Minister, President and two parliamentary speakers for as long as they held office. Read More…

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On this day September 15, 1616

The first non-aristocratic, free public school in Europe is opened in Frascati, Italy.on the initiative of Saint Joseph Calasanz.

Frascati 1620

Frascati 1620

One year later, Pope Paul V approved the “Congregation of the Pious Schools,” the first religious institute dedicated essentially to teaching.

During the following years Calasanctius established Pious Schools in various parts of Europe.

As recognized by Ludwig Von Pastor, Joseph Calasanctius was the founder of the first free public school in modern Europe.

It was a revolutionary initiative, a radical break with the class privileges that kept the masses marginalized and in poverty.

In the history of education, Joseph Calasanctius is the great educator of the poor, offering education free of charge to all classes of society, without discrimination. Read More…

On this day August 24, 79

The volcano Mount Vesuvius, erupted, burying the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae in Italy, the eruption was preceded by smaller earthquakes started taking place on 20 August becoming more frequent over the next four days, but the warnings were not recognised and on the afternoon, a catastrophic eruption of the volcano started.

Herculaneum skeleton

Herculaneum skeleton

The eruption of Vesuvius unfolded in two phases: a Plinian eruption that lasted eighteen to twenty hours and produced a rain of pumice southward of the cone that built up to depths of 2.8 metres (9 ft 2 in) at Pompeii, followed by a pyroclastic flow or nuée ardente in the second, Peléan phase that reached as far as Misenum but was concentrated to the west and northwest.

Two pyroclastic flows engulfed Pompeii, burning and asphyxiating the stragglers who had remained behind. Oplontis and Herculaneum received the brunt of the flows and were buried in fine ash and pyroclastic deposits.

The only surviving reliable eyewitness account of the event was recorded by Pliny the Younger, who was 17 at the time of the eruption, in two letters to the historian Tacitus. Read More…

G8 set new global warming targets

The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) countries are meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, from July 8 to July 11. On Wednesday, the group announced that it had agreed to a cut in carbon emissions.Dmitry_Medvedev_at_the_G8_Summit_-_8_July_2009-9

The G8 agreed to a target to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, though interim targets were not defined.

“I believe we’ve made some important strides forward as we move towards Copenhagen,” said United States President Barack Obama. “I don’t think I have to emphasise that climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. The science is clear and conclusive and the impacts can no longer be ignored.” Read More…

Italy Seizes $135 Billion Of US Bonds

Italian police of the Guardia di Finanza have seized US$134 billion (€96 billion) of United States bearer bonds at the border with Switzerland at Chiasso.

Chiasso Custom

Chiasso Custom

The bonds include 249 Treasury bonds worth $500 million each, and ten $1 billion Kennedy Bonds. Bearer bonds are unregistered bonds that are redeemable by whoever is in possession.

The bonds were being transported by two men claiming Japanese citizenship arriving by train, and were undeclared. They were uncovered by inspectors beneath a false bottom in a suitcase. Read More…

Major earthquake strikes central Italy

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) a major moment magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck Central Italy at 3:32 a.m. local time with a 4.8 aftershock about an hour after. Earlier reports from the USGS had said the quake was a 6.7. Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics registered the quake at a Richter magnitude of 5.8.

Epicenter of the earthquake

Epicenter of the earthquake

The epicenter was registered 95 kilometres (60 miles) Northeast of Italy’s capital of Rome. It registered a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles).

At least nine aftershocks, with the highest being a magnitude 4.8, have shaken the area since the initial earthquake.

At least 150 people have been killed in the region and officials say the death toll is likely to rise. According to the RAI (Italian public broadcasting service) and press agencies, at least 1,500 people have been injured. Read More…

Italian police find 24 children living in Rome’s sewers

98 people, including 24 children, were found Saturday by Italian police in the sewer system of Rome.

The Afghan youths were reported to be between the ages of 10 and 15. According to the newspaper La Repubblica, the children had stowed away on trailer trucks traveling from Turkey and Greece. They had spent nights sleeping in a standing position in filthy sewer pipes after removing the manhole covers and some of them were found in a sickly condition. Read More…