Tag Archives: Italy

Italy’s Zombie Politicians Have Crossed The Atlantic


By Matthew Melchiorre – For nearly 50 years before the early 1990s, one-party rule in Italy meant huge concessions to special interests, especially unions and professional guilds, to keep the peace in Parliament and thus keep Italy’s sizeable Communist Party from exploiting partisan disagreement to gain support.

One of the guilds’ most glaring protectionist achievements is the scarcity of taxis in Italy’s capital. Rome has less than a third fewer taxis per resident than London or Paris, because the Italian taxi guild lobbies and strikes to keep taxi licenses to a minimum and competition non-existent. When Monti introduced modest liberalizations to Italy’s taxi sector in January, drivers protested by blocking roads all over the country. more> http://tinyurl.com/af54g7q

Euro zone factory slump deepens but Asia perks up


By Jonathan Cable and Kim Coghill – Euro zone factories sank deeper into recession in December as new orders tumbled, business surveys showed on Wednesday (Jan 2), a sharp contrast to continuing signs of revival in China.

“It’s pretty grim really,” said Jonathan Loynes at Capital Economics. “These surveys are pointing to a pretty deep recession. If the German industrial sector is contracting quite sharply it is pretty hard to see where growth across the euro zone as a whole is going to come from.”

Germany, Europe‘s largest economy, saw its crucial manufacturing sector shrink for the 10th straight month and at a faster pace, while French data showed a decline in all but one of the past 17 months. The slump in Spain deepened, while Italy’s index, although improved, remained below 50 for the 17th month. more> http://tinyurl.com/bkoxzz8

Italian political uncertainty sends markets into spin


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By Marc Jones – The euro slipped towards a two-week low on Monday while shares and Italian bond prices also fell after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti‘s decision to resign deepened euro zone uncertainty.

The competent economist has become an investor favorite over the last year for guiding through a string of reforms and the prospect of scandal-tainted former leader Silvio Berlusconi launching a bid to reclaim power rattled markets. more> http://tinyurl.com/ah4j8fk

Austerity-hit Italians avoid shops, sales drop


By Catherine Hornby – Italian retail sales fell for the fourth month running in July, data showed on Wednesday (Sep 26), highlighting how austerity measures and unemployment are discouraging shoppers and deepening a year-long recession.

With Italians buckling under the impact of a severe recession, tax hikes, falling disposable incomes and rising unemployment, the prospects for a rebound in consumer spending are looking increasingly bleak.

“The drop is generalized across all sectors,” said Paolo Mameli from Intesa Sanpaolo. “Before supermarkets and discount shops were holding up, but now they are also registering falls.” more> http://tinyurl.com/bol5dk7

Views from the Solar System (70)


The Italian Boot
NASA – This oblique, night time panorama of much of Europe was photographed by one of the Expedition 32 crew members aboard the International Space Station flying approximately 240 miles above the Mediterranean Sea on Aug. 18, 2012.

The country of Italy is visible running diagonally southward from the horizon across the center of the frame, with the night lights of Rome and Naples being visible on the coast near the center. Sardinia and Corsica are just above left center of the photo, and Sicily is at lower left. The Adriatic Sea is on the other side of Italy, and beyond it to the east and north can be seen parts of several other European nations.

Vending Machine Slings Pizza


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By Charles Murray – The Italian inventor Claudio Torghele spent six years perfecting the mechanized vendor, with the idea that it would do more than simply zap a frozen pizza with microwaves. His machine mechanically mixes the dough from bags of water and flour and then passes it through a series of shaping and pre-heating stations that create a flattened and partially baked pizza base. A conveying tray moves the preheated crust beneath metering devices that squirt on the tomato sauce. Other distribution components add cheese, sausage, ham, and fresh vegetables. The machine then moves its product to an infrared oven for about a minute before putting it in a cardboard container and sliding it through a slot in the front of the machine. more> http://tinyurl.com/bp4nx4e

Finland’s tough stance still shaping responses to euro-zone debt crisis


By Michael Stothard – The surge in anti-European sentiment before the election in Finland last year may have quieted down, but promises to limit the country’s exposure to weaker economies are continuing to have a big impact on how the euro zone tackles its sovereign debt crisis.

The government broke with mainstream European opinion again recently, proposing that Spain and Italy should start issuing covered bonds backed by state assets. “This is what Finland did in a difficult economic situation in the 1990s, and it is standard practice for banks today,” said Jyrki Katainen, the center-right prime minister. more> http://tinyurl.com/7c9wyjh