Tag Archives: Italy

What’s that on the dam wall?

dam1

This is the Cingino Dam in Piedmont, Italy.

Can you see the little dots on the wall ?

You’ll never guess what they are….

dam2You’ve got to be kidding !

dam3dam4dam5

They are Alpine ibex and they like to eat the moss and lichen growing on the wall, as well as lick the salt off the stone.

Isn’t it incredible they can stand at that angle?

H/t my friend Sol !

~Eowyn

Confiscation of bank deposits: Can it happen in America?

Cyprus rally

Three days ago, on Saturday, March 16, 2013, the people of Cyprus were told by the grand poobahs of the eurozone that as much as 10% of the deposits in their personal bank accounts would be “levied” confiscated, in exchange for a $13 billion (€10 billion) bail-out of their heavily indebted country to avoid default and a banking collapse.

Cyprus is a small island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to the east of Greece, and a member of the European Union (EU). The eurozone is an economic and monetary union of 17 EU member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender.

The 10% levy figure is now undergoing furious negotiations. Most likely, Cyprus and the eurozone will settle on a “progressive” levy, wherein small savers will be spared or “levied” a small percentage, while those with 6-figures or more bank deposits will have a larger percentage of their money confiscated. Whatever the confiscation formula, what the eurozone wants is that Cyprus raise €5.8 billion to secure its bailout.

Although the Cypriot parliament must vote to approve the eurozone’s levy — and the latest news is that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades thinks parliament will reject the bill — that the levy was proposed at all is stunning. As the Financial Times‘ Wolfgang Münchau puts it: “the eurozone has effectively defaulted on a deposit insurance guarantee for bank deposits” given in 2008 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers to assure depositers “that all savings are safe.”

Analysts including Münchau, Phoenix Capital Research, and ZeroHedge’s Tyler Durden all expect that there will be bank runs, not just in Cyprus but elsewhere in Europe, especially in financially-troubled heavily-indebted countries like Italy and Spain. (Interestingly, Greece isn’t mentioned, perhaps because Greeks have no more money to even do a bank run.)

As Durden puts it: “the bottom line is that the Rubicon has been crossed, and deposits have now been forcefully confiscated in what Europe promises to be a standalone case. What is certain, is that nobody will wait to find out how long it takes before Europe’s class of increasingly more desperate and ill-meaning despots is found to have lied once more (as it has about everything else since the start of the European crisis).”

To prevent bank runs, Cypriot banks will remain closed till this Thursday. Customers can still use their banks’ ATMs but, as in the United States, they are limited as to how much money they can withdraw from the machines — reportedly, up to €500 a day. And as of yesterday, there have been no reports of bank runs in Spain or Italy.

Cyprus ATMPeople lining up to withdraw money from ATMS at the Bank of Cyprus, March 19, 2013. (Photo from Reuters)

How might the Great Cyprus Bank Robbery of 2013 affect Americans?

1. If you have a bank account in Cyprus, your deposits may be “levied” at a percentage depending on how much you have in your account(s).

2. If the levy is approved by Cyprus’ parliament, Americans will contribute toward the $13 billion bailout of Cyprus, thereby adding to our already gargatuan $16+ trillion national debt. Why? Because International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde already said she would ask the IMF board in Washington to contribute to the bailout.

With 16.2% of the IMF shares, the United States is the largest shareholder or contributor among the 187 nations who belong to the fund—even though its managing director has always been a European. In addition to America’s 16.2% “share” (i.e., “contribution”) in the IMF, in 2009, Obama proposed and Congress approved a $100 billion U.S. loan to the IMF.

Even before Cyprus, the IMF has joined with the European Union to sculpt bailout packages for Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.  Coupled with loans from the EU, the price tags on the bailout packages came to $157 billion for Greece, $122 billion for Ireland, and most recently, $116 billion for Portugal. Alarmed about this, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R.-Wash.), the premier congressional foe of spending U.S. tax dollars on IMF bailouts, points out that “The Portugal bailout is half that country’s GDP—$116 billion out of $233 billion. The IMF has refused to provide a reliable number but, given America’s contribution to the bailout, we estimate that our support of the package is equal to writing a check worth $600 for every man, woman, and child in Portugal.” She added that this ratio “was nearly identical for Greece and Ireland bailouts. (See John Gizzi, “Why Is the U.S. Bankrolling IMF’s Bailouts in Europe?,” Human Events, May 2, 2011.)

3. If bank runs occur in Europe, leading to a systemic collapse of European banks and the euro currency, that in turn will trigger a worldwide financial-economic crisis of an unimaginable scale.

4. Can it happen here? Will we wake up one day to be told that our bank deposits are also confiscated? Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge writes that the key thing about what happened to Cyprus is that “the Rubicon has been crossed,” that is, the until-now taboo subject of the forceful “levy” of citizens’ private bank accounts has been broached. As Durden puts it: “the topic of ‘wealth taxation’ is now front and center, and it stars not only Europe, but the US as well. The question then becomes … is there any possibility of Cyprus ‘wealth tax’ recurring on the other side of the Atlantic.”

Durden points out that in the US, other financial assets, namely the stock market, account for a far greater proportion of household net worth than bank deposits. It is therefore quite possible that instead of confiscating our bank deposits, thereby voiding the FDIC guarantee, the government may instead choose to tax 30% of all of your stock holdings, and achieve the same “wealth transfer” result.

Will Congress do this?

Obviously, nobody can answer that question now. However, it was “absolutely certain” as recently as three days ago that the safety of Cypriots’ bank deposits was protected.

Then things changed rapidly.

What is the lesson we should take away from the Great Cyprus Bank Robbery?

Answer: There are no longer any rules, and any assets, any “wealth” saved, stored, and hidden is now fair game.

See also:

Update: Cyprus parliament rejected the levy.

~Eowyn

The cat who brings gifts to his person’s tomb

Toldo2Toldo, the faithful cat

Italian companion animals appear to be a spiritually-evolved breed. :D

Last Sunday, I posted about Tommy the dog who attends daily Mass in Santa Maria Assunta Church, San Donaci, in memory of his beloved departed person, Maria Margherita Lochi.

Today, I bring you the story of Toldo, a cat in Montagnana, in northern Italy, who daily brings little presents to his late master’s grave.

montagnana-from_castello_san_zenoTown of Montagnana as viewed from Castello di San Zeno

As reported by Agence France-Presse on January 4, 2013, the story of a cat named Toldo who visits his master’s tomb and brings him little presents on an almost daily basis a year after the man’s death has moved the inhabitants of Montagnana, a mountain village in Italy.

Renzo Iozzelli’s widow Ada told AFP on Friday from Montagnana that Toldo “brings little twigs, leaves, toothpicks, plastic cups. A bit of everything really. Sometimes he comes with me and sometimes he goes on his own. The whole town knows about him now!”

Toldo, a grey-and-white three-year-old tomcat, followed Iozzelli’s funeral procession last year and has continued going to the cemetery ever since, a habit usually ascribed to dogs.

Ada said: “He loved my husband. It was something else! Now it’s just me, my daughter and my son-in-law and he’s very affectionate with us too.” But the journey to and from the cemetery each day had tired Toldo out in the cold winter weather. “He’s not going out so much these days. He’s caught a bit of bronchitis so he’s sleeping next to me.”

ToldoToldo

According to the Corriere Fiorentino, Iozzelli Renzo had died on September 22, 2011, aged 71. At his funeral, Toldo followed the coffin from the house to the cemetery.

The next morning, Ada went to the grave again: “We went to the cemetery with my daughter and found a sprig of acacia on the grave. I immediately thought that it was the cat, but my daughter was convinced that I was just in a very emotional state at that moment.”

That night, however, Renzo’s son returned to the cemetery and found Toldo standing guard at the grave, reported Dreuz.info.

Ada says that her late husband shared a particularly strong bond with Toldo, having adopted Toldo from a stray cat colony when he was just 3 months old. “My husband was very affectionate with him. Renzo loved animals. It’s almost as if Toldo would be grateful. He is a special cat, one can not help liking him. “

But not everyone believes in the sanctity of the relationship between Toldo and his owner. Ada told La Nazione that people often try to shoo the cat away: “There are insensitive people who send him away with stones or other things, convinced that the presence of an animal in the cemetery is almost a desecration.”

Still, Toldo remains undaunted and continues to visit the grave everyday.

~Eowyn

Be careful what you say in an Italian courtroom!

Italian Supreme Court: saying a man  has ‘no balls’ is a crime

No mention of hand  gestures, but it’s no laughing matter in Italy. Now a civil court will determine  just how much the insult will cost.

New York Daily News: Size might not matter, but Italy’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that it is a  crime to insult a man by saying he has “no balls.”

The decision arose out of a rather contentious courtroom argument between  two cousins, a justice of the peace named only as Alberto G. who handed the  insult to Vittorio G., a lawyer, in the southern Italian city of Potenza,  Italy’s ANSA news service reports.

“Apart from the vulgarity of the term used, the expression definitely also  has an injurious quality,” read the ruling of Maurizio Fumo, according to the  agency.

“It refers not only to the target’s lack of virility but also to his  weakness of character, lack of determination, competence and coherence – virtues  that, rightly or wrongly, are still identified as pertaining to the male  gender,” the agency quoted.

All this, despite what the court called a “popularization” of the  expression.

Now, a civil court will decide on how much Vittorio must be paid by his  cousin.

I guess the Italians don’t tolerate bad language in court!

DCG

Catholic Church in Italy Loses Tax Exempt Status

Italy plans to tax Vatican on  commercial properties

The Vatican owns about 20% of Italy's properties 

The Vatican owns about 20% of Italy’s properties

Italy’s Catholic Church faces an annual multi-million euro bill over government plans to strip it of its tax-exempt status.

Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced the Vatican must pay taxes on non-religious property, from which it previously enjoyed an exemption.

The annual cost could be up to 720m euros ($945m; £598m) according to municipal government bodies.

Italy’s Catholic Church has 110,000 properties, worth about 9bn euros.

It includes shopping centres and a range of residential property.

In December, the government reintroduced a tax paid by anyone who owns land or property in Italy – which the Church does not pay.

But a growing wave of Italians are opposed to what they see as special privileges in the face of a tightening economy.

Following their government’s latest austerity measure package, more than 130,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Church’s tax exempt status to be revoked.    Full Story

H/T Kelleigh

LTG

Global Animal Die-Offs

It started on New Year’s Eve.

At around 11:30 pm, residents of the small town of Beebee, Arkansas, watched in horror as 3,000 dead blackbirds rained down on roofs, cars, and roads in a one-mile stretch.

Two days later, some 125 miles away, an estimated 100,000 drum fish were found dead along a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River. Authorities blame the deaths on disease.

In Canada, at around the same time, tens of thousands of birds died in a mega icestorm in Manitoba.

In New Jersey, hundreds of dead birds were also found in Franklin Township. A woman said she found one at her front door and saw dead birds all around her house, “as far as the eyes could see.” Authorities said the USDA had put poison in bird seed to control the European starling population.

Dead birds were also found in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.

In Louisiana, some 450 red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, grackles and starlings were found strewn along a highway in Baton Rouge, after apparently hitting overhead power lines.

In Florida, thousands of fish were discovered rotting and floating in Spruce Creek. Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the two recent cold snaps are to blame for the fish kill.

In Texas, 200 American Coots were found dead on a highway bridge crossing Lake O’ the Pines in Big Cypress Creek. They are believed to have been hit by passing vehicles while walking or apparently trying to roost on the bridge.

In Maryland, 2 million dead fish were found to have washed up on shores in Chesapeake Bay. Authorities say it’s stress caused by unusually cold water and overbreeding among spot fish. A statement by the Maryland Department of the Environment said: “Cold water stress exacerbated by a large population of the affected species (juvenile spot fish) appears to be the cause of the kill. An increased juvenile population and limited deep water habitat would likely compound the effects of cold water stress.”

Dead fish in Chesapeake Bay

In the UK, the recent cold snap was blamed for the deaths of 40,000 Velvet swimming “devil crabs” found littering beaches in Thanet, Kent. 

In Sweden, 50 jackdaws were found dead on a street of Falkoping. Swedish experts blamed the shock of New Year fireworks for the unexplained deaths. Many of the birds are believed to have died from stress or as a result of being run over while disoriented.

In New Zealand, hundreds of snapper fish were found dead.

In Brazil, masses of dead fish were found in Paranaguá, Antonina and Guaraqueçaba Pontal do Paraná, leaving thousands of Brazilian fishermen struggling to make ends meet after the sale of seafood was temporarily suspended.

Last Sunday, January 2, in Texas, groups of dead grackles were found scattered in a parking lot and a nearby street in Plainview. Wildlife officials said the bird deaths during the weekend were likely caused by strong winds.

In South Carolina, last Wednesday, January 5, thousands of dead Menhaden fish washed up on Folly Beach. Mark Williams with the Department of Health and Environmental Control says this appears to be a temperature-related fish kill as fish can die when the water gets too cold. Charleston County Park officials said the water temperature was about 48-51 degrees. Williams says the fact that no other species of fish or other sea animal were impacted appears to rule out other causes.

In Tennessee, hundreds of dead birds were found this week in Nashville and nearby counties. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says they had deteriorated so badly that a lab could not determine the cause of death.

Yesterday, the Daily Mail reports that thousands of dead turtle doves rained down on roofs and cars in the Italian town of Faenza. A witness told http://www.examiner.com: “all of a sudden the doves just started falling one-by-one then in groups of 10s and 20s.” Residents described the birds falling to the ground like ‘little Christmas balls’ with strange blue stains on their beaks. Initial tests on up to 8,000 of the doves indicated that the blue stain could have been caused by poisoning or hypoxia. Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, is known to cause confusion and illness in animals. It is also a common precursor to altitude sickness. Experts said results from tests on the doves will not be available for at least a week. They said that cold weather could have caused the birds’ deaths as the flock was swept into a high-altitude wind storm before falling to the earth.

Experts in local-federal government have speculated that New Year fireworks, thunderstorms, cold weather, parasites and even poisoning may be behind the deaths. Tests are being carried out on the dead birds and fish, but results are not expected for several weeks.

On the net, speculations run rife.

Some say it’s the New Madrid Fault – a major seismic zone and a prolific source of intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) in the southern and midwestern United States, stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri. The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the 1811–1812 New Madrid earthquakes and may have the potential to produce large earthquakes in the future.

But the New Madrid Fault cannot account for animal die-offs outside of the United States.

More ominously still, some think it’s the Magnetic North Pole that scientists say is shifting toward Russia at an average of around 25 miles a year. Inbuilt navigation systems in birds and fish is believed to be affected by magnetism. With birds and fish relying on it to travel to breeding grounds and warmed climes, there are fears that the shifting pole could be confusing the animals which means they do not migrate in time to avoid cold weather. Writing for Times Square Chronicle on Jan 7, Brett Lipton explains:

 Over the past century The Magnetic North Pole has been shifting toward Russia at a steady pace, in fact, at an average of 25 miles per year, an alarming rate considering how many systems are dependent on its location. Compass needles in Africa, for instance, are drifting about 1 degree per decade. And globally the magnetic field has weakened 10% since the 19th century. Another factor to consider is that the Earth’s Magnetic Poles Flip Regularly. In the past 330,000,000 years the poles have juxtaposed 400 times, or on an average of once every 825,000 years, the last such time was approximately 780,000+/- years ago, making us statistically within one standard deviation of an upcoming Magnetic Pole Reversal. Considering that these reversals take appromiately 1,000 years to complete and the massive move and reduction in strength, we may be within a handful of generations away for such a Magnetic North Pole Reversal.

Still others say secret U.S. government experiments are behind the die-offs. Then there are those claiming all this is a sign of a looming Armageddon at the end of the Mayan calendar next year.

For the 10 leading theories on the global animal die-offs, CLICK HERE.

Whatever the explanation, it will have to satisfy this one criterion: The explanation must be sufficiently expansive as to account for animal die-offs not just in the New Madrid seismic zone, not just in the United States, not just in North America, not just in the American continents, but across the Atlantic in Europe and across the Pacific in New Zealand. Thinking off the top of my head, explanations that could meet this criterion are:

  • A global seismic line/ring;
  • Some global weather phenomenon(na), whether natural or the result of human experimentation;
  • Shift in the Magnetic North Pole; and
  • The End Times of biblical propecy. YIKES!

For a Google map of animal deaths across the world, CLICK HERE.

~Eowyn

Europe In Riots

Maybe it’s because the United States is a continental-size country. Whatever the reason, Americans are famously insular in our outlook, lacking interest and, often, knowledge about the rest of the world. Surveys regularly show our school children being woefully ignorant about foreign affairs and world geography.

Europe is ablaze in demonstrations and riots. Further down the road of socialism than America, the countries of west Europe are struggling with debt and insolvency (like America). Governments are undertaking much-needed austerity measures to cut spending and entitlements. In reaction, enraged Europeans are taking to the streets and clashing with police armed to the teeth in riot gear.

It’s one thing to read about the riots, it’s another to see them in action. Here are some examples. I can’t help but wonder if and when they’ll break out in the streets of urban America….

In Athens, Greece, on December 15, 2010, rioters clash with police and attack a former government minister and now an opposition MP, Kostis Hatzidakis, bloodying his nose and head:

In France, riots against austerity measures and raising retirement age from 60 to 62, in October 2010:

In Dublin, Ireland, students rioters clash with police, November 2010:

In London, UK, tens of thousands of students demonstrate and riot against tuition increase, November 10, 2010:

In London, rioters attack the car carrying Prince Charles and his wife skank, Camilla, December 9, 2010:

In Rome, Italy, rioters clash with police, December 14, 2010:

~Eowyn