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German is widely used in Bolzano Province, or South Tyrol part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region , which was ceded by Austria in ; under agreements reached between Italy and Austria in and , the latter oversees the treatment of these German-speakers, who continue to call for greater linguistic and cultural autonomy. Roman Catholicism , affirmed as the state religion under the Lateran Treaty of , lost that distinction under a concordat with the Vatican ratified in However, the Catholic Church continues to hold a privileged status with the state.

Jehovah 's Witnesses form the second-largest denomination among native-born Italian citizens, with about , adherents. However, if immigrants are counted, the second-largest religion is Islam , with an estimated one million followers. About , people are Scientologists, 60, are Buddhists, 30, are Waldensians a Calvinist sect , 30, are Jewish, and 20, are Mormons. The Orthodox and Protestant churches have small communities. Hinduism and Bahaism are also represented.

Italy's highway system, one of the world's best, in totaled , km , mi , all of which were paved, and included 6, km 4, mi of expressways. In , there were an estimated 34,, passenger cars and 4,, commercial vehicles. In , Italy maintained a total of 19, km 12, mi of standard and narrow gauge rail lines. Of that total, standard gauge accounts for 18, km 11, mi of which 11, km 7, mi are electrified, while km mi of narrow gauge lines are electrified.

The navigable inland waterway system, totaling about 2, km 1, mi , is mainly in the north and consists of the Po River, the Italian lakes, and the network of Venetian and Po River Valley canals. There is regular train-ferry and automobile-ferry service between Messina and other Sicilian ports. Freight and passengers are carried by ship from Palermo to Naples. Sardinia and the smaller islands are served by regular shipping.

Regular passenger service is provided by hydrofoil between Calabria and Sicily, and between Naples, Ischia, and Capri. Genoa and Savona on the northwest coast and Venice on the Adriatic handle the major share of traffic to and from the northern industrial centers. Naples, second only to Genoa, is the principal port for central and southern Italy, while Livorno is the natural outlet for Florence, Bologna, and Perugia.

Messina, Palermo, and Catania are the chief Sicilian ports, and Cagliari handles most Sardinian exports. In there were an estimated airports. As of , a total of 98 had paved runways, and there were also three heliports. Italy's one national airline, Alitalia, which is almost entirely government-owned, maintains an extensive domestic and international network of air routes. Rome's Fiumicino and Milan's Malpensa and Linate are among the most important airports, being served by nearly every major international air carrier. In , Italian civil aviation performed a total of 1, million freight ton-km and carried about The Italian patrimony, based on Roman antecedents — with a tradition that extends over 2, years — is the oldest in Europe, next to Greece 's.

The Ligurians, Sabines, and Umbrians were among the earliest-known inhabitants of Italy, but in the 9th century bc they were largely displaced in central Italy by the Etruscans, a seafaring people, probably from Asia Minor. Shortly thereafter there followed conquests in Sicily and southern Italy by the Phoenicians and the Greeks.

By bc, Italy was divided into ethnic areas: the Umbrians in the north, the Ligurians in the northwest, the Latins and Etruscans in the central regions, and the Greeks and Phoenicians in the south and Sicily. The Etruscan civilization , a great maritime, commercial, and artistic culture, reached its peak about the 7th century, but by bc, when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan monarchs, its control in Italy was on the wane. By bc, after a series of wars with both Greeks and Etruscans, the Latins, with Rome as their capital, gained the ascendancy, and by bc, they managed to unite the entire Italian peninsula.

This period of unification was followed by one of conquest in the Mediterranean, beginning with the First Punic War against Carthage — bc. In the course of the century-long struggle against Carthage, the Romans conquered Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica.

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Finally, in bc, at the conclusion of the Third Punic War, with Carthage completely destroyed and its inhabitants enslaved, Rome became the dominant power in the Mediterranean. From its inception, Rome was a republican city-state, but four famous civil conflicts destroyed the republic: Sulla against Marius and his son 88 — 82 bc , Julius Caesar against Pompey 49 — 45 bc , Brutus and Cassius against Mark Antony and Octavian 43 bc , and Mark Antony against Octavian. Octavian, the final victor 31 bc , was accorded the title of Augustus "exalted" by the Senate and thereby became the first Roman emperor.

Under imperial rule, Rome undertook a series of conquests that brought Roman law , Roman administration, and Pax Romana "Roman peace" to an area extending from the Atlantic to the Rhine , to the British Isles , to the Iberian Peninsula and large parts of North Africa, and to the Middle East as far as the Euphrates. After two centuries of successful rule, in the 3rd century ad, Rome was threatened by internal discord and menaced by Germanic and Asian invaders, commonly called barbarians from the Latin word barbari , "foreigners".

Emperor Diocletian 's administrative division of the empire into two parts in provided only temporary relief; it became permanent in In , Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity , and churches thereafter rose throughout the empire. However, he also moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople, greatly reducing the importance of the former. From the 4th to the 5th century, the Western Roman Empire disintegrated under the blows of barbarian invasions, finally falling in , and the unity of Italy came to an end. For a time, Italy was protected by the Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire, but a continuing conflict between the bishop of Rome, or pope, and the Byzantine emperor culminated in a schism during the first half of the 8th century.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and the reorganization of the peninsula, from the 6th to the 13th century, Italy suffered a variety of invaders and rulers: the Lombards in the 6th century, the Franks in the 8th century, the Saracens in the 9th, and the Germans in the 10th. The German emperors of the Holy Roman Empire , the popes, and the rising Italian city-states vied for power from the 10th to the 14th century, and Italy was divided into several, often hostile, territories: in the south, the Kingdom of Naples , under Norman and Angevin rule; in the central area, the Papal States ; and in the north, a welter of large and small city-states, such as Venice, Milan, Florence, and Bologna.

By the 13th century, the city-states had emerged as centers of commerce and of the arts and sciences. Venice, in particular, had become a major maritime power, and the city-states as a group acted as a conduit for goods and learning from the Byzantine and Islamic empires. In this capacity, they provided great impetus to the developing Renaissance , which between the 13th and 16th centuries led to an unparalleled flourishing of the arts, literature, music, and science.

However, the emergence of Portugal and Spain as great seagoing nations at the end of the 15th century undercut Italian prosperity. After the Italian Wars — , in which France tried unsuccessfully to extend its influence in Italy, Spain emerged as the dominant force in the region. Venice, Milan, and other city-states retained at least some of their former greatness during this period, as did Savoy-Piedmont, protected by the Alps and well defended by its vigorous rulers.

Economic hardship, waves of the plague, and religious unrest tormented the region throughout the 17th century and into the 18th. The French Revolution was brought to the Italian peninsula by Napoleon, and the concepts of nationalism and liberalism infiltrated everywhere. Short-lived republics and even a Kingdom of Italy under Napoleon's stepson Eugene were formed. But reaction set in with the Congress of Vienna , and many of the old rulers and systems were restored under Austrian domination.

The concept of nationalism continued strong, however, and sporadic outbreaks led by such inveterate reformers as Giuseppe Mazzini occurred in several parts of the peninsula down to — This Risorgimento "resurgence" movement was brought to a successful conclusion under the able guidance of Count Camillo Cavour, prime minister of Piedmont. Giuseppe Garibaldi , the popular republican hero of Italy, contributed much to this achievement and to the subsequent incorporation of the Papal States under the Italian monarch. Italian troops occupied Rome in , and in July , it formally became the capital of the kingdom.

Pope Pius IX , a longtime rival of Italian kings, considered himself a "prisoner" of the Vatican and refused to cooperate with the royal administration. The new monarchy aspired to great-power status but was severely handicapped by domestic social and economic conditions, particularly in the south. Political and social reforms introduced by Premier Giovanni Giolitti in the first decade of the 20th century improved Italy's status among Western powers but failed to overcome such basic problems as poverty and illiteracy. Giolitti resigned in March and was succeeded by Antonia Salandra.

During World War I , Italy, previously an ally of the Central Powers , declared itself neutral in and a year later, in April , joined the British and French in exchange for advantages offered by the secret Treaty of London. At the Versailles Peace Conference, Italy, which had suffered heavy losses on the Alpine front and felt slighted by its Western allies, failed to obtain all of the territories that it claimed. This disappointment, coupled with the severe economic depression of the postwar period, created great social unrest and led eventually to the rise of Benito Mussolini , who, after leading his Fascist followers in a mass march on Rome, became premier in He established a Fascist dictatorship, a corporate state, which scored early successes in social welfare , employment, and transportation; in , he negotiated the Lateran Treaties, under which the Holy See became sovereign within the newly constituted Vatican City State and Roman Catholicism was reaffirmed as Italy's official religion the latter provision was abolished in The military conquest of Ethiopia — 36 added to Italy's colonial strength and exposed the inability of the League of Nations to punish aggression or keep the peace.

Soon Italy was divided into two warring zones, one controlled by the Allies in the south and the other including Rome held by the Germans, who had quickly moved in, rescued Mussolini, and established him as head of the puppet "Italian Social Republic. The conclusion of the war left Italy poverty-stricken and politically disunited. In , Italy became a republic by plebiscite; in the following year, a new constitution was drafted, which went into effect in By this time, the Italian economy, initially disorganized by Mussolini's dream of national self-sufficiency and later physically devastated by the war, was in a state of near collapse.

From this point, the Italian economy experienced unprecedented development through the s and s. Politically, postwar Italy has been marked by a pattern of accelerating instability, with 48 different coalition governments through 15 March In May , the coalition of Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani was brought down after it was learned that many government officials, including three cabinet ministers, were members of a secret Masonic lodge, Propaganda Due P-2 , that had reportedly been involved in illegal right-wing activities.

Left-wing terrorism, notably by the Red Brigades Brigate Rosse , also plagued Italy in the s and early s. In January , 23 Red Brigade members were sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Prime Minister Aldo Moro in ; another 36 members received sentences of varying lengths for other crimes, including 11 murders and 11 attempted murders, committed between and By the mids, the Mafia actively engaged in extortion, government corruption, and violent crime, as well as a central role in global heroin trafficking.

By , however, internal security had improved. A major effort against organized crime was under way in the mids; over 1, suspects were tried and the majority convicted in trials that took place in Naples beginning in February and in Sicily beginning in February Revelations of corruption and scandals involving senior politicians, members of the government administration, and business leaders rocked Italy in the early s. Hundreds of politicians, party leaders, and industrialists were either under arrest or under investigation. The scandals discredited the major parties that had governed Italy since , and the instability gave impetus to new reformist groups.

In August , Italy made significant changes in its electoral system. Three-fourths of the seats in both the Chamber and the Senate would be filled by simple majority voting. The first elections under the new system in March resulted in a simplification of electoral alliances and brought a center-right government to power. Berlusconi, a successful Italian businessman, was a newcomer to Italian politics. Berlusconi's government, however, became victim to charges of government corruption and on 22 December he was forced to resign in the face of a revolt by the Northern League, one of the parties in his ruling coalition.

Three weeks after Berlusconi's resignation, his treasury minister, Lamberto Dini was named prime minister. He formed a government of technocrats and set about to enact fiscal and electoral reforms. Pragmatism and a lack of viable alternatives kept him in power until supporters of his main political rival, Silvio Berlusconi , presented a motion that he step down. When Dini learned that two splinter groups in his center-left coalition the Greens and the Communist Refounding party would not vote in his favor, he resigned on 11 January rather than face a no-confidence vote.

The elections, held on 21 April , saw a center-left coalition, dominated by the former communists DS , take control of the country for the first time in 50 years. Romano Prodi , an economics professor with little political experience, was chosen to serve as prime minister on 16 May. His coalition government collapsed after it failed to win a vote of no-confidence over the budget. His cabinet retained the same members from the left and center as before. This government also continued to pursue fiscal consolidation to join European economic and monetary union in Prodi left for Brussels to take up the presidency of the European Commission in May D'Alema reshuffl ed his cabinet in but it finally fell in April The immediate cause was the dismal performance in regional elections.

The center-left won 7 out of 15 regions while the right, under the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi, took 8 regions. The coalition of 12 discordant political blocs backed the Treasury Minister, Giuliano Amato, to become the new prime minister appointed by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, in office since May Prior to the fall of the D'Alema administration, the government had scheduled an important referendum to scrap the last remaining vestiges of direct proportional representation in the electoral system. Only one-third of the electorate bothered to vote on 21 May , not enough to validate the referendum outcome.

Berlusconi's House of Liberties coalition, led by Go Italy, secured seats in the Chamber of Deputies in the May parliamentary elections, to the Olive Tree coalition's seats. The House of Liberties coalition also won a majority in the Senate. After becoming Italy's 59th postwar prime minister, Berlusconi faced long-standing charges of criminal wrongdoing, including bribery; he became the first sitting Italian prime minister to appear at his own trial.

It was not until December that Berlusconi was cleared of all charges. Italy offered the use of its airspace and military bases to the US-led coalition in its war with Iraq, which began on 19 March , although Italy did not send troops to the region and did not allow coalition forces to launch a direct attack on Iraq from Italy. In a plebiscite on 2 June , the Italian people voted 12,, to 10,, to end the constitutional monarchy, which had existed since , and establish a republic. At the same time, a constituent assembly was elected, which proceeded to draft and approve a new constitution; it came into force on 2 January Under this constitution, as amended, the head of the Italian Republic is the president, who is elected for a seven-year term by an electoral college consisting of both houses of parliament and 58 regional representatives.

Elections for a new president must be held 30 days before the end of the presidential term. Presidential powers and duties include nomination of the prime minister referred to as president of the Council of Ministers who, in turn, chooses a Council of Ministers cabinet with the approval of the president; the power to dissolve parliament, except during the last six months of the presidential term of office; representation of the state on important occasions; ratification of treaties after parliamentary authorization; and the power to grant pardons and commute penalties.

Although the constitution limits presidential powers, a strong president can play an important political as well as ceremonial role. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Members of the seat lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, must be at least 25 years old and are elected for five-year terms. The elective members of the Senate must be at least 40 years old and are elected for five-year terms. Former presidents of the republic are automatically life senators, and the president may also appoint as life senators persons who have performed meritorious service.

Citizens must be at least 25 years of age to vote for senators; otherwise, those over the age of 18 may vote in all other elections. The constitution gives the people the right to hold referenda to abrogate laws passed by the parliament; a referendum requires at least , signatures. Four referenda had been held by against the legalization of divorce in , against increased police powers and state financing of the political parties in , and against government cuts in wage indexation in , and in all of them, the voters approved the parliamentary decisions.

Although this coalition government was the longest running in Italy's postwar history, after a low showing in regional elections, Berlusconi was forced to resign and form a new government in April Italy's 60th government since liberation was formed on 23 April Italy has a complex system of political alignments in which the parties, their congresses, and their leaders often appear to wield more power than parliament or the other constitutional branches of government. Basic party policy is decided at the party congresses — generally held every second year — which are attended by locally elected party leaders.

At the same time, the national party leadership is selected. The most important political party traditionally had been the Christian Democratic Party Partito Democrazia Cristiana — DC , which stood about midway in the political spectrum. In the national elections, the DC commanded From until , the prime minister of Italy was consistently drawn from the ranks of the DC, whose religious and anti-class base constitutes both its strength and its weakness.

Its relationship with the Church gave it added strength but also opened it to criticism, as did its popular association with the Mafia. In , massive investigations uncovered widespread corruption, leading to many arrests and resignations of senior government officials. As a result of these scandals and corruption charges, the DC disbanded in The PCI had been second in power and influence only to the DC, but in the s, its electoral base declined, despite the fact that it effectively severed its ties with both the former USSR and Marxism-Leninism.

However, the s saw the demise, creation, and restructuring of many Italian political parties. As of , only the PRI and the Greens parties exist. Partly due to the end of the Cold War , in part due to the Mafia crackdown in the s, and primarily due to the related corruption scandals that involved most of the major parties, the overhaul of the political party system was so significant that, although there has been little actual constitutional change, the post period is often referred to as the "Second Republic.

With the rise in political parties, government functioning was dominated by coalition party formations. The April election saw a resurgence of the left as the Olive Tree coalition, anchored by former communists calling themselves the Party of the Democratic Left PDS , gained seats in the seat Chamber of Deputies and seats in the seat Senate.

The Refounded Communists won 35 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the separatist Northern League 59, the center-right Freedom Alliance , and others 6. The elections of April failed to resolve Italy's political and economic problems. The election of March under new voting rules resulted in the following distribution of seats in the Chamber lower house : Alliance for Freedom, This coalition won seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and in the Senate. Under the terms of the constitution, Italy is divided into 20 regions.

Five of these regions Sicily, Sardinia, Trentino — Alto Adige, Friuli — Venezia Giulia, and the Valle d'Aosta have been granted semiautonomous status, although the powers of self-government delegated from Rome have not been sufficient to satisfy the militant separatists, especially in Alto Adige. Legislation passed in granted the remaining 15 regions an even more limited degree of autonomy. All the regions elect a regional council. The councils and president are elected by universal franchise under a proportional system analogous to that of the parliament at Rome.

The regions are subdivided into a total of 94 provinces, which elect their own council and president, and each region is in turn subdivided into communes — townships, cities, and towns — that constitute the basic units of local administration. Communes are governed by councils elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. The council elects a mayor and a board of aldermen to administer the commune. A commissioner in each region represents the federal government. Minor legal matters may be brought before conciliators, while civil cases and lesser criminal cases are tried before judges called pretori.

There are tribunals, each with jurisdiction over its own district; 90 assize courts, where cases are heard by juries; and 26 assize courts of appeal. The Court of Cassation in Rome acts as the last instance of appeal in all cases except those involving constitutional matters, which are brought before the special Constitutional Court consisting of 15 judges. For many years, the number of civil and criminal cases has been increasing more rapidly than the judicial resources to deal with them. The Italian legal system is based on Roman law , although much is also derived from the French Napoleonic model.

The law assuring criminal defendants a fair and public trial is largely observed in practice. The amendments to the criminal procedure law both streamlined the process and provide for a more adversarial as opposed to inquisitorial system along the American model. By law the judiciary is autonomous and independent of the executive branch. In practice, there has been a perception that magistrates were subject to political pressures and that political bias of individual magistrates could affect outcomes.

Since the start of "clean hands" investigations of the government, including the judiciary, in for kickbacks and corruption, magistrates have taken steps to distance themselves from political parties and other pressure groups. The total strength in was , active personnel, with reserves numbering 56, Army personnel numbered ,, and whose equipment included main battle tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, armored infantry fighting vehicles, 2, armored personnel carriers, 14 amphibious assault vehicles, and 1, artillery pieces.

Navy personnel in totaled 33,, including 2, Marines. The navy also operated six tactical submarines. The air force had a total strength of 44, personnel with combat capable aircraft, in addition to various electronic warfare, antiair defense, transport and training aircraft. In , Italy also had a paramilitary force of , active personnel, of which , were Carabinieri.

Italian armed forces were deployed among 19 countries or regions in various peacekeeping, training or active military missions. Italy held the EU presidency from July to December Italy is a guest in the Nonaligned Movement. The country has supplied troops for UN operations and missions in Kosovo est.

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As the Italian economy, the world's sixth-largest, has expanded since the s, its structure has changed markedly. Agriculture's contribution to the GDP further declined to 8. Conversely, the importance of industry has increased dramatically. Industrial output almost tripled between and and generally showed steady growth during the s; in , industry including fuel, power, and construction contributed Precision machinery and motor vehicles have led the growth in manufacturing, and Italy has generally been a leader in European industrial design and fashion.

Services in accounted for However, apart from tourism and design, Italy is not internationally competitive in most service sectors. Despite this economic achievement, a number of basic problems remain. Natural resources are limited, landholdings often are poor and invariably too small, industrial enterprises are of minimal size and productivity, and industrial growth has not been translated into general prosperity. The rise in petroleum prices during the mids found Italy especially vulnerable, since the country is almost totally dependent on energy imports. In addition, because economic activity is centered predominately in the north, Italians living in the northern part of the country enjoy a substantially higher standard of living than those living in the south.

Inflation was brought down to The inflation rate was estimated at 2. Between and , GDP growth averaged 1. It was quite low in , at 0. The GDP growth rate stood at an estimated 1. Economic growth was expected to pick up to a still disappointing 1 — 1. Italy's large public debt , public sector deficit, low productivity growth, and burdensome and complex tax system, are generally blamed for the poor state of the economy. A rigid labor market and generous pension system are also seen as responsible for a sluggish economy.

The Silvio Berlusconi administration by had abolished an inheritance tax, a move which was popular among affluent Italians. The budget included substantial tax cuts and a reduction in the number of tax rates from five to four. Berlusconi also attempted to loosen labor laws to increase temporary work contracts and to ease hiring and firing practices. The government in the early s was geared toward implementing spending cuts to spur consumer spending and corporate research and development. Pension reform, called a "financial time bomb" by economists, was proposed by the government and resulted in strikes in parts of Italy in mid In , Italy raised the minimum age for state pensions from 57 to 60, but only beginning in One of Italy's strengths is the thriving state of its small firms, which are often family owned.

In , the average number of workers per enterprise was just over four, the second-lowest figure in the EU. These small businesses are able to succeed in niche markets. This causes Italy to experience a loss of competitiveness, and sluggish growth. In , the economy grew by less than the euro-area average for the eighth time in nine years. Many Italian firms are still in traditional manufacturing areas that should have been abandoned when competition from Southeast Asia and China grew in the s.

Italians spend more than other Europeans on clothes and shoes, and are second only to Spaniards in spending in bars, restaurants, and hotels. Because many Italians rent their living spaces, expenditure on housing is low. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity PPP rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The average inflation rate in was 1. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2.

Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period to household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 1. Italy's labor force in was estimated at In the occupational breakdown had 4. The estimated unemployment rate in was 7. The law provides the right to form and join unions, and many workers exercise this right. The right to strike is constitutionally protected, and workers engage in collective bargaining. Employers may not discriminate against those engaged in union activity.

As of , the legal workweek was set at 40 hours, with overtime not to exceed two hours per day or an average of 12 hours per week. However, in the industrial sector, maximum overtime was set at no more than 80 hours per quarter and hours annually, unless limited by a collective bargaining agreement. Minimum wages in Italy are not set by law, but through collective labor contracts, which establish wages and salaries in every major field.

In most industries these minimum rates offered a worker and family a decent standard of living. Labor contracts may also call for additional compulsory bonuses, and basic wages and salaries are adjusted quarterly to compensate for increases in the cost of living. With some limited exceptions, children under age 15 are prohibited by law from employment. Of Italy's total land area of Small, individually owned farms predominate, with the majority three hectares 7. Despite government efforts, the agricultural sector has shown little growth in recent decades.

Italy has to import about half of its meat. The land is well suited for raising fruits and vegetables, both early and late crops, and these are the principal agricultural exports. Although yields per hectare in sugar beets, tomatoes, and other vegetable crops have increased significantly, both plantings and production of wheat declined between and Thus, although Italy remains a major cereal-producing country, wheat must be imported.

The government controls the supply of domestic wheat and the import of foreign wheat. Production of major agricultural products in in thousands of tons included sugar beets, 10,; wheat, 8,; corn, 10,; tomatoes, 7,; oranges, 2,; potatoes, 1,; apples, 2,; barley, 1,; and rice, 1, In , Italy produced 8,, tons of grapes, and 4,, tons of olives, and , tons of olive oil. In , Italy had 1,, tractors third in the world and 37, harvester-threshers. Some 4,, hectares 10,, acres are meadows and pastures.

Both a growing need for fodder and insufficient domestic production compel Italy to import large amounts of corn. In , the country had 6,, head of cattle, 9,, hogs, 8,, sheep, 1,, goats, , horses, and an estimated million chickens. That year, total meat production from hogs, cattle, sheep, and goats was 4,, tons. Meat production falls short of domestic requirements, and about half of all meat consumed must be imported. Although Italy produced Both dairy and beef cattle are raised mainly in the north.

Italy's geography provides abundant access to marine fishing. Peninsular Italy and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia together have over 8, km 4, mi of coastline and over landing ports equipped for fishing boats. There are also 1, sq km sq mi of lagoons and 1, sq km sq mi of marine ponds. Although coastal and deep-sea fishing in the Mediterranean engage over 50, fishermen, the fishing industry is unable to meet domestic needs. As of there were 15, Italian fishing vessels with a fishing capacity gross tonnage of , tons.

Since the extension of the mile limit zones and the consequent drop in the total catch, Italy's fishing industry has declined because their deep-sea vessels were not suited to Mediterranean fishing. In , Italy produced 89, tons of canned tuna and 20, tons of canned anchovies. Anchovy, rainbow trout, sardine, and European hake are the main finfish species caught. Sponges and coral are also commercially important. The major portion of the 10 million hectares Italy has more softwood than hardwood growth and extensive coppice thicket and small shrub stands.

The only species that are commercially important are chestnut, beech, oak, and poplar. Poplar is the only species grown using managed forestry practices. Italian wood output in consisted of 9 million cu m million cu ft. The diversity in species composition, ownership patterns, topographic constraints, and conflicting resource management strategies have all contributed to limiting the productivity of Italian forest resources.

Italy is a major importer of hardwood and softwood lumber, since its rugged terrain and disjointed forestland restrict domestic production. Although Italy was relatively poor in mineral resources, it was, nevertheless, a major producer of feldspar, pumice and related materials, as well as of crude steel, cement second-largest in the EU , and a leading producer of dimension stone and marble.

The country also continued to supply a significant portion of its own need for some minerals. Industrial mineral production in , including construction materials, was the most important sector of the economy. Italy has been a significant processor of imported raw materials, and a significant consumer and exporter of mineral and metal semi-manufactured and finished products. Production totals for the leading minerals in were: feldspar, estimated at 2, metric tons; barite, estimated at 30, metric tons, unchanged from ; fluorspar acid-grade and metallurgical-grade , estimated at 45, tons; hydraulic cement, estimated at 40 million tons; pumice and pumiceous lapilli, estimated at , tons from Lipari Island, off the northern coast of Sicily ; and pozzolan, estimated at 4 million tons from Lipari.

Alumina production calcined basis in was estimated at , metric tons. In addition, Italy produced antimony oxides, gold from Sardinia , mine lead, mine manganese, bromine, crude clays including bentonite, refractory, fuller's earth, kaolin, and kaolinitic earth , diatomite, gypsum, lime, nitrogen, perlite, mineral pigments, salt marine, rock, and brine , sand and gravel including volcanic and silica sands , soda ash, sodium sulfate , stone alabaster, dolomite, granite, limestone, marble, marl, quartz, quartzite, sandstone, serpentine, and slate , sulfur, and talc and related materials.

Marble and travertine quarrying from the famous mines in the Massa and Carrara areas was still significant. Marble was quarried at hundreds of locations from the Alps to Sicily. The most important white-marble-producing area was in the Apuan Alps, near Carrara, and accounted for one-third of the country's , tons of white marble. Reserves of several types were considered to be unlimited; half of the country's output was in block form and half was exported.

Italy's proven oil and natural gas reserves are each the fourth-largest in the European Union EU. The country has completely stopped the production of coal. Still, Italy must rely heavily on foreign sources to meet its energy needs. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Italy has proven oil reserves estimated at million barrels, as of 1 January However, domestic demand far outstrips production, with consumption in estimated at 1. Net imports for that year are estimated at 1. Development of the Tempa Rossa field, with an estimated million barrels of oil, is being led by France's Total, and is expected to enter production by with a peak output of 50, barrels per day.

Oil has been partly replaced by natural gas, whose consumption is expected to continue rising in the future, driven largely by the construction of combined-cycle, gas-fired turbines. Italy has proven natural gas reserves of 8. Natural gas production in , according to Eurostat totaled billion cu ft. Combined with declining field output, Italy's reliance on natural gas imports has increased. In , Italy completely closed down its domestic coal production industry, when it shuttered its last production facility. In , coal met only 6. In that year, demand for coal amounted to Italy's total electric generating capacity was estimated at In , it was estimated that output totaled billion kWh, with consumption totaling an estimated billion kWh, and net imports totaling an estimated 32 billion kWh.

Characterized both by a few large industrial concerns controlling the greater part of industrial output and by thousands of small shops engaged in artisan-type production, Italian industry expanded rapidly in the postwar period. Industrial production almost tripled between and and has generally showed continued growth, although the global recession that began in slowed industrial production and the economy as a whole.

The lack of domestic raw materials and fuels represents a serious drag on industrial expansion. Industry accounted for EFIM controlled armaments and metallurgy industries. Major private companies are the Fiat automobile company; the Olivetti company office computers and telecommunications ; the Montedison chemical firm; and the Pirelli rubber company. The bulk of heavy industry is concentrated in the northwest, in the Milan-Turin-Genoa industrial triangle.

The government has made concerted efforts to attract industry to the underdeveloped southeast. With the drive toward greater European integration in full gear, Italy, along with its fellow EU member-states, is liberalizing its economic and commercial legislation. These promise a marked change in the Italian business scene as mergers and foreign investment increase. In early , Olivetti mounted a successful hostile takeover for Telecom Italia. Italy has become known for niche products, including fashion eye-wear, specialized machine tools, packaging, stylish furniture, kitchen equipment, and other products featuring high design.

The "made in Italy" stamp is associated with quality and style. Traditional industries are iron and steel, machinery, chemicals, food processing including olive oil , wine, and cheese , textiles, clothing, footwear, motor vehicles, and ceramics. The construction industry stands to gain in importance in the early s, as Italy's less-developed regions are slated for infrastructure development. Tutti gli itinerari hanno una certa consistenza essendo lunghi, tranne le due "Vie Normali" partendo dai Rifugi Chabod ed Emanuele, ma anche questi assumono spessore se la salita avviene in giornata senza punto di appoggio agli stessi.

La caratteristica principale della roccia consiste in un bel granito detto del Gran Paradiso, evidenziandone la differenza, ad esempio, da quello del Monte Bianco; in genere la roccia risulta essere spezzata, ma solida offrendo all'arrampicata appoggi ed appigli sicuri. Besides the winter attendance is not so rare anymore, particularly thanks to the colons of support offered by the Huts Emanuele and Chabod with their winter places, always open.

The same also constitute in this season, conditions of snow allowing, incentive for beautiful excursions with the snow rackets snowshoes. Well other the feasible discourse for the slope of the Valley of Cogne; already very little frequented in the beautiful season because long and such to ask for a best alpine experience, it becomes not frequentabile in Winter, where and when they can enter only you the best mountain climber looking for some exploits for the truth a great deal scarce as i number.

The same considerations are worth and in greater way for the Piedmontese slope of Noaschetta, which, already rarely run in the summer, it falls completely in the forgetfulness with the ugly season. Rare the slopes from East and almost exclusively the E Crest through of the Roc and relative final crossing, while the beautiful and glacial Wall E it is fallen enough in disuse with the end of the Sixties, you want for the length of the approaches people love less and less the drudgeries , you want for the loss of interest owed to the employment of modern equipments that banalizzatas have him.

The ascent of "Granpa" a destination that you cannot miss in the carnet of a good mountain climber remains however. Gli stessi costituiscono in questa stagione anche, condizioni di neve permettendo, incentivo per belle escursioni con le racchette da neve. The best period to climb this peak is between June and September but during the spring is possible to practice ski-alpinism and arrive until few meters under the peak. It's necessary absolutely to use the crampons and the ice-axe.

It's also recommended to climb on the rope presence of crevasses on the path. There are several campings open during summer all along the road to Pont. If we need hurry in the morning the best camping is at the end of the road it is expensive and not well aconditioned but has a good situation. The rest of the camping are cheapest and has a better conditions. Refuge Vittorio Emanuele 2. Refuge Federico Chabod 2. I am indebted to my friend Osvaldo Cardellina for the detailed description of the routes, all texts and for the translation into English.

Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports. Toggle navigation. Gran Paradiso.

Save Add photos See all photos. Log in to vote. Both the one and the other, for the importance of their peaks and for the great ampleness of busy territory, they come in all the alpine publications, as well as in the most famous guides of mountain, you treat as to it self stale.

As it regards ours there is to say that it originates in narrow sense, with the motivations of which above from the Pass of the Arietta among the Valley of Cogne and the Vallone of St. Besso in the Valley Locana and it goes to finish in the great chain that from the Point of Galisia 3. Considering for good the artificial division effected in the Necklace Drives some Mountains of Italy C. From this point and verse If, the Valleys of Susa and the City of Turin the alpine area will be treated, always in the same necklace, from the Guide "Alpi Graie Meridionali" to work of Lino Fornelli and Giulio Berutto, in , while the sector Northwest of the Central Alps Graie actually to the Pass of the Seigne, hands of entry to the Chain of the Blanc, he will be compiled by Alexander Giorgetta in As it regards the first one he will be published in one "Guida del Monte Emilius" from the author-publisher Osvaldo Cardellina, sectorial job that stops him to the Pass of Saint Marcel; she will be taken back and widened to the other lacking zones from Giulio Berutto-Lino Fornelli in the Guide C.

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Avic", I edit in But coming to the Gran Paradiso , agreement as mountain in narrow sense there is to annotate as is forged in very particular way: not a pyramid or a slender top, not a crest jagged summital, not a "great bread" glacial, not a rocky buttress formed by numerous peaks, on the contrary some all of this, in a heap of rocks and ices I vary, variegated and complete, such to give the impression of a powerful person buttress that changes continuously its aspect, according to where you are admired her.

Its left side goes down with a splendid icy Wall NW intercalated by some rocky ribs of beautiful granite; that of right sinks wild with a seracs fall and rocks to form of "reeds of organ" in the superior part of the same glacier, where this goes to melt himself with that of the Gran Paradiso. Moving the cursor one can see the overall scene. XXXIX, page 54 , it results unknown. XXXIX, pagina 54 , risulta sconosciuto. Vittorio Emanuele II was 1 year old at the time.

He not only first became king of Sardinia-Piedmont, and in the first king of the united Italy, he was also a very keen hunter who used the area as his private hunting domain. After his death in , he was succeeded by his son Umberto I, and, after the latter was assassinated in , by his grandson Victor Emmanuel III, who resigned from office in when Italy became a republic.

It was Victor Emmanuel III, not much into hunting, who handed the area over to the Italian state in , which made it into Italy first national park. It borders the Parc National de la Vanoise, the first national parc of France founded in and with ha slightly smaller than its Italian counterpart. The first absolute ascension of the mountain happened the 4 Sep of , to work of the guides of Chamonix Michel Payot and Jean Tairraz , with the two clients English John J.

Aitken accompanied by the famous and renowned guides of Valtournenche Jean Joseph and Daniel Maquignaz , on Mar 02th, and always in the same route. Brosio and Ugo of Vallepiana; departing from the Farms of the Herbetet 2. And' a run that anchors today leaves surprised and it makes to consider of what tempering they were the mountain climber of the other epoch or classical. Men and Other similar enterprises are those completed by the English J. The itinerary was repeated, but in opposite sense, Sep 22th, from Luigi Bon and Renato Chabod, which departed however "only" from the Bonney Pass 3.

Pollastri and the two guides of Valsavarenche E. Through these great crossings and with the first beginning of the after war a gold epoch concludes him that sees to the work great mountain climbers of wrist of the classical mountaineering. Frassy and Eliseo Jeantet on Sep 15th, historical and important since they concern the two most beautiful icy faces from the Valsavarenche, and more in seen by Cogne, of the mountain , the most abundant contained underlying treatment is postponed to in the sundry "Approaches", with relative "Possible Routes", as well as in the "Standard Routes", with departures from the two huts and from the three bivouacs existing to the feet of the Gran Paradiso.

La prima ascensione assoluta della montagna avvenne il 4 Settembre del , ad opera delle guide "chamoniarde" Michel Payot e Jean Tairraz con i due clienti inglesi John J. La prima ascensione invernale della montagna avvenne per merito del biellese Vittorio Sella e dell'inglese S. Aitken accompagnati dalle famose e rinomate guide di Valtournenche Jean Joseph con Daniel Maquignaz , il 2 Marzo e sempre lungo la stessa via. Brosio ed Ugo di Vallepiana; partendo dai Casolari dell'Herbetet 2. E' una corsa che ancora oggi lascia di stucco e fa considerare di che tempra fossero gli alpinisti dell'altra epoca o classica.

Uomini e Altre imprese similari sono quelle compiute dall'inglese J. Pollastri e le due guide di Valsavarenche E. Con queste grandi traversate e con il primo inizio del dopo guerra si conclude un'epoca d'oro , tale da vedere all'opera grandi alpinisti, e di polso, dell'alpinismo classico. The alpinist-priest "Don Pierino Balma" is one of the promoter of the project. The "Madonna" was recently restaured in Florence. You can left your car in a free parking area, just at the begin of the path to refuge Vittorio Emanuele II. A - : first day: departing beforehand of Pont Valsavarenche alternative 1.

To again continue instead toward Southeast and, first with a brief diagonal, then to fury of hairpin bends, dominating as soon as from above the Torrent Coast Savatere and passing for the quotas 2. Between this last and the following 2. Through a last and longer diagonal toward East, with which the mule-track touches the stream, and a short gone up again final toward North and with a general gradient of around meters. Tardito on ;. Boggiatto Via of ;.

Viano Route on ;. A - primo giorno: partendo da prima di Pont Valsavarenche bivio 1. Continuare invece nuovamente verso SE e, prima con un breve diagonale, poi a furia di tornanti, dominando appena da sopra il Torrent Cote Savatere e passando per le quote 2. Tra questa ultima e la successiva 2. Tardito nel ;.

Boggiatto del ;. Viano del ;. From great ground park, nearby the Camping Pont-Breuil 1. Less banal than the Standard one and also more panning allowing the sight on two slopes of the mountain, but also very rarely follows;. Taylor, with the mountain guides G. Spechtenhauser, J. But we may have difficulties thinking this way in the light of the economic crisis…Meanwhile speaking of efforts to ignite intercultural hostilities in France: it must be pointed out that there may also be grievances beyond the immediate goals of terrorism.

National Doctors term hospital activity report 'partial' an World At least two people dead after coastal cycleway co World New virus outbreak in Australia can cause brain da Music Legendary artist Prince dead at 57The shadow home affairs minister Beppe Fenech Adami has called for better human resources to deal with applications for the renewal of eresidence cards for nonEU nationals like migrants who are seeking a work permit. The citizenship and expatriates department only sees a limited number of migrants on a Friday forcing them to wait outside as early as Thursday night braving the cold weather outside the office so that they can be first in line on Friday morning to access the service.

Fenech Adami said the situation was totally unacceptable. Government is to ensure that the proper infrastructure setup and human resources are in place to ensure that unnecessary hardship no longer persists. In March Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi had told the House in a PQ of the disorganisation at the citizenship and expatriates department at the Evans Building with queues lasting five entire hours. Then home affairs minister Manuel Mallia had told the House that the disorganisation stemmed from the previous administration when in January no new human resources were passed on to the citizenship department when it started issuing eresidence and identity cards to foreign residents.

Mallia had said that the ministry had provided modern offices for the department engaged new personnel and was considering hiving off certain services outside the department so that it can be more efficient and reduce queues. Once migrants qualify for protection the first thing they have to do is to apply for an eresidence card. Without it they cannot access public services such as benefits work permits or even open a bank account. But migrants are only being granted access to the service on Friday morning.

I have to renew my ID card and I only have one day to do that which is Friday and there are a lot of people here. Without it you cannot re new your working permit" Stephen Morphy a Liberian migrant who has been in Malta since told MaltaToday. It is not fair. Once we are working paying taxes we should be able to renew our document free and fair like the others. I have come and sleep in this weather just to be able to work to support my family. Carmelo Abela has dubbed the situation inhumane after having assessed the matter personally. The decision to allow migrants to apply on a particular day of the week was taken long before Identity Malta was established.

Since then the number of migrants applying at AWAS decreased significantly and eventually the service stopped being offered from their office. The service offered from the Refugee Commission is still ongoing he said. Lately for a number of reasons there was an increase in the applications at the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Valletta Abela said since expired documents were all being issued on the same date and therefore had to be renewed on the same date.

I was on my way to work 10 years ago to date when I got a phone call to alert me that detained migrants at Safi were holding a protest. I recall an asylum seeker telling me: Why are the soldiers holding sticks? Little did they know that their action would pave the way for a human rights crime committed by men who are meant to uphold the law. An hour or so later the soldiers marched towards them beating their shields with their truncheons in rhythm and within minutes it was a painful cacophony of screams protests and confusion. At a point up to six soldiers stood over a single floored protester while one beat him with a truncheon.

Many of the detainees clutched their heads and wriggled on the ground in an attempt to protect themselves. Dozens of migrants were hospitalised. But what was really shocking was the reaction and the aftermath. Many Maltese let their prejudices get the better of them and justified the force used refusing to even acknowledge the shocking pictures taken by our photographer.

If a Maltese man is holding down a black guy with a truncheon then he must be right. Within days we witnessed a series of arson attacks and threats against NGOs and journalists who denounced the heavyhandedness. It was not over. The subsequent inquiry into the Safi incidents was a major whitewash as it concluded that the force used to control the migrants during their protest was justified in the circumstances even if it took note of the fact the force used by several soldiers was exaggerated.

When I was grilled by the judge tasked with carrying out the inquiry I recall feeling as though I was in the dock. The judge appeared to be more concerned with knowing the identity of who tipped me off about the protest rather than what I had witnessed. But then again should we be surprised? For the last 14 years we have been told by governments that the detention system is a must even if it criminalises asylum seekers in the eyes of many. In the last 10 years we have seen deaths suicides and more riots inside detention.

We still see NGOs and journalists who analyse migration issues being threatened for doing their job. Because many of us still cannot differentiate between the terrorists that caused bloodshed in the streets of Paris last week and the asylum seekers fleeing the terror in their country. Ten years on none of us should turn a blind eye to the horrible actions portrayed in the picture above.

Comodini Cachia calls for better coordination of actions by Member States against human smuggling During a debate on the recent human smuggling incidents in the Mediterranean held during a Plenary Session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg MEP for Malta Therese Comodini Cachia said: Human smuggling attacks the dignity of those who fall victim to it and threatens Member States.

We have a duty to stand up against this illicit and immoral business. Comodini Cachia said that the EU had so far steered a strategy for the Mediterranean which involved border management. However this strategy did not reduce the number of smuggling incidents enough; hence proving to be insufficient. Comodini Cachia said that sporadic action is ineffective and called for a better coordination amongst Member States. This will require a mechanism that brings together representatives from the policy law enforcement intelligence and diplomatic areas ensuring a common approach to address the problem.

In his conclusive statement Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos supported these views and said: If decisive and coordinated EU action is not taken the flow [of migrants] will continue. The European Commission is determined to take action. Avrampoulos joined Comodini Cachia in calling for more coordination and solidarity from EU member states. He also stressed the need for more cooperation with Turkey and African countries and urged Member States to step up their efforts to enforce EU asylum rules and resettle refugees.

During this debate MEPs also discussed the new routes used by smugglers the role of the EU border agency Frontex legal channels of migration to the EU and a comprehensive approach to migration. Spanish police say they have arrested two Cameroonian migrants on suspicion of killing up to 10 other migrants by pushing them from a boat into stormy waters in a fight over a prayer session. The two were arrested after several of the 29 survivors of the African migrant boat crossing to Spain from Morocco told how a fight broke out when a Nigerian religious minister began praying that the boat would not sink police said.

The Cameroonians blamed the worsening weather on the pastor police said. The pastor and other Nigerians praying were among those allegedly pushed over board. Police say there were some 50 people on the boat but that around 10 other migrants also died when they fell into the sea on December 3. President MarieLouise Coleiro Preca focused on poverty migration and international terrorism when she greeted ambassadors accredited to Malta for the exchange of New Year Greetings today. She said the economic situation continued to show signs of cautious recovery last year. A solution must be sought urgently to this social scourge that is affecting the wellbeing of one in four Europeans and 1.

Turning to terrorism she regretted that during bloodshed continued to spill in Libya Syria and Iraq with conflicts in the latter two giving rise to the emergence of the Islamic State. One consequence had been the increase in the number of migrants. In her address the President condemned violence "from Gaza to Syria; from Iran to Afghanistan; from Pakistan to Libya; from Ukraine to Nigeria and now in Paris horrific scenes pools of blood human slaughter that terrify and sadden all those who believe in human dignity.

She looked forward tot he Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Malta this year hoping this event will lead to a roadmap that will kick start the shaping up of the Commonwealth of tomorrow hat have an effective voice and be a useful catalyst to influence change. Referring to the terrorism in Paris President Coleiro Preca said this was an attack on freedom and on democracy. Records revealed by Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela show that a whopping asylum seekers managed to escape from the Safi and Lyster Barracks detention centres between and Abela was responding to a series of parliamentary questions by Labour backbencher Anthony Agius Decelis pertaining to detention centres between and the final full year under a Nationalist administration.

The tabled papers show that irregular immigrant escapes were recorded in that same time period the largest getaway being on 4 May when 43 immigrants all made a dash for freedom.

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Interestingly a significant plummet in immigrant escapees was recorded in the numbers dropping to 12 when compared to the escapees in The escape numbers remained relatively low in and Abela said that no records could be found regarding how many escapees were eventually caught and returned to their detention centres. However the records definitely indicate that the vast majority of irregular immigrants who attempted to flee their detention centres succeeded in doing so.

Indeed only 46 asylumseekers were foiled in their freedom attempts between and with none at all recorded in and In response to another parliamentary question Abela revealed records showing that disciplinary steps were taken against 44 detention service officers between and most commonly for absenteeism leaving the workplace and insubordination. However no information on disciplinary steps taken against officers involved in violence against asylum seekers was tabled. This the home affairs minister told parliament was because no records were ever kept over cases of alleged violence against irregular migrants by detention services officers.

Moreover no records were ever kept of any disciplinary action that may have been taken against such officers in the past. This means that no recorded information of allegations made against detention service officers investigations that may have been carried out and the outcome of said investigations. The report carried out by retired judge Geoffrey Valenzia painted a grim picture of the conditions in detention centres and shed a particularly bad light on the track record of detention service officers. The inquiry revealed that Kamara had successfully escaped his detention centre only to be recaptured by detention service officers who proceeded to handcuff him dump him inside a steel cage at the back of a detention centre van and brutally beat him to death.

According to forensic expert Mario Scerri Kamara died from a heart attack as a result of blunt trauma. According to the former head of the detention services the soldiers that were deployed at the detention centres were the worst of the worst…soldiers refused by the army. Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gatt shockingly admitted that such soldiers included an officer who had usury problems and another who had been charged with shooting at a yacht during training.

I had a sergeant in Hal Far who used to prey on migrant women entering their rooms during the night and taking a woman back to his office with him Gatt told Valenzia. Even condoms were found in the room. The inquiry found that there was a kind of inappropriate relationship going on between some members of staff and migrant women being detained. It could have been consensual but given the context you question this consent…how real it is… because they are detained and there is a soldierdetainee relationship which renders the relationship inappropriate. Even this particular sergeant was never suspended but simply transferred to another section.

It also revealed that the detention services were severely understaffed especially with regard to female officers stationed with migrant women. At the time there was only one female detention service officer. This meant that male officers would walk straight into female migrants taking a shower for the head count and accompany pregnant migrants to hospital at times and sometimes even stay with them while they were being examined by the doctor. It is one of the most constructive and thorough reports to date joining so many other reports in unequivocally condemning a policy that seeks to deprive migrants of their very humanity by locking them away out of sight out of scrutiny and out of human rights protection the eight NGOs said in a joint statement.

Yet we are not shocked at any of the statements or findings in the Valenzia report. We are not shocked to read of sexual relations between a small number of Detention Services personnel and detained women. We are not shocked because we have been witnessing such incidents for several years. The MOAS migrant rescue mission is still millions of euros short of being able to set sail again but major benefactors could help get the show on the road by May.

Founder Chris Catrambone told Times of Malta that a number of possibilities were being considered. In the mission was completely funded by Mr Catrambone and his wife Regina. We have shown that operations like this can be done and can be done with a certain level of success. Although wary of commenting further as he did not want to scare potential donors away Mr Catrambone said one possibility being explored would be partnering up with other major humanitarian entities.

In fact Mr Catrambone said he had aspirations for the mission to branch out and see more newer boats carrying out wider operations. We need to give people dignity when they reach our backyard. The Migrant Offshore Aid Station operated for the first time last summer using a 40metre ship equipped with two camcopters and a professional crew including rescuers seafarers paramedics and humanitarians. Our focus is on saving lives and on giving survivors the dignity they deserve. We provide even the most basic forms of aid like blankets and baby formulas to the survivors of these terrible wrecks Christopher Catrambone said.

One boy an elevenyearold was sent to face the journey alone because his parents could only pay a oneperson passage. Among several difficult rescue operations Catrambone said on one occasion there had been people — crew excluded — on board the Phoenix. She called for a successful holistic approach to migration where any approach must start with saving lives.

Inaction risks further tragedies in our seas. EU States cannot shirk their responsibility just because they are not geographically in the Mediterranean she said. Zammit Dimech recently appointed spokesperson on migration reiterated the call for a European solution: Too many people have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean. This is a European issue that requires a European solution. As a privatelyrun mission MOAS needs to raise funds to continue its operation. Ebooks and Manuals

Although it is currently not in operation the team is working hard to raise funds. Our focus is on raising funds and finding the necessary partners to be able to ensure sustainable operation this year. Men had residence documents issued by Italian authorities and availed themselves of their right to free movement A police raid early this morning at 6: 30am led to the arrest of eight irregular migrants who were living out in the open in Hal Far using the huge asbestos pipes that have been for years out in the nearby fields as their shelter.

Police said that the men had official documents issued by the Italian authorities and had travelled to Malta via catamaran from Sicily. Because they were living close to the Hal Far open centre it is understood that the migrants living at the centre may have also provided them with food. Five men were of Ghanian nationality and two others were Togo nationals. Another man was a Spanish national. Their documents were verified by the police. They are currently in police custody. The recent announcement that this year the Maltese government will be launching a national policy on the integration of migrants is very welcome.

The commemoration aims at increasing awareness of the phenomenon of migration as contemporary movements represent the largest movement of individuals if not of peoples in history. Indeed in our time one person in seven is an international million or internal migrant million. Not all of them escape lifethreatening conditions but many of them do. Having faced ever new and challenging situations during its millennial history the Church knows that migration poses fresh challenges not only on account of its magnitude but also for the various social economic political cultural and religious problems it gives rise to.

This role includes the duty to make efforts to ensure that the dignity and the centrality of the human person is protected to actively promote more creative and concrete forms of solidarity acceptance and protection and to encourage effective dialogue between peoples.

With this in mind the Church continues to strive to understand the causes of migration to work towards overcoming its negative effects and to maximise its positive influence on the communities of origin transit and destination. As the surge in the number of recent conflicts has produced new waves of asylum seekers and displaced people there is an increasingly urgent need to intensify the efforts to promote a gradual reduction in the root causes of migration that cause entire peoples to abandon their homelands.

States and their people cannot risk becoming indifferent to human tragedy Forced migration due to persecution conflicts terrorism and other tragedies takes the form of fleeing for salvation often involving dangerous or lifethreatening journeys which may nonetheless offer the only option for reaching a country where protection and the possibility of a dignified life can be found. The Church is therefore appealing to States to respond effectively to the recognition of the need for protection to restore human dignity to those who need it and to treat the causes of forced mobility by cooperating in a spirit of international solidarity.

In the social doctrine of the Church the theme of human dignity derives from the recognition that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. Religious ethnic social or cultural variables citizenship or lack of it do not change this fact that gives any individual an inherent and immeasurable worth and dignity to the point that each human life is considered sacred. Emigration when it is a response to the need of survival from extreme poverty and hunger from threats to life from generalised violence and similar conditions cannot be prevented.

States and their people therefore cannot risk becoming used to or indifferent to such human tragedy. The principle of human dignity implies that the vital needs of the person have to be assured. Pope Francis said that migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having but above all for being more.

In this context the recent announcement that this year the Maltese government will be launching a national policy on the integration of migrants is very welcome. Such a policy should prove to be another important step in the solidarity response our small nation has endeavoured to design build and sustain over the past years to provide international protection to those who need it and reach our shores.

Another 20 reported dead and thrown at sea during crossing. The migrant was among a group of eight who were transferred to Mater Dei Hospital. Three of the migrants were in critical condition. A spokesperson for the health ministry has also confirmed that ebola tests carried on three migrants at Mater Dei Hospital came back negative. The third result was confirmed late in the evening. A dinghy carrying 87 subSaharan migrants arrived at Haywharf this morning at around 10am after it was intercepted by the Armed Forces of Malta off the coast of Malta.

The migrants who are claiming to be from Burkina Faso Mali the Ivory Coast and Guinea are all male and are believed to have departed from Libya before being intercepted off the east coast of Malta. According to information relayed by the migrants the dinghy had originally been carrying around people on board but 20 are feared dead. In a tweet Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the dead are said to have been thrown at sea during the crossing. Addressing a press briefing this afternoon at Mater Dei Hospital Charles Mallia Azzopardi who heads the Ebola Response Unit explained that even though the risk of Ebola is extremely low all precautionary measures were taken.

Azzopardi explained that 84 migrants have been quarantined at Hal Far detention centre to be treated for Ebola. An additional three migrants have been hospitalised where they were certified to be suffering in critical condition due to severe dehydration. They were also tested for Ebola. Mallia Azzopardi explained that Ebola screening was carried out after one of the migrants declared that he is from Guinea. In addition he explained that authorities could ignore claims by the migrants that 20 others had perished.

The migrants who arrived this morning at around 10am after spending an unspecified amount of days crossing the Mediterranean Sea appeared weak as they disembarked off the AFM vessel. Despite arriving at Haywharf at around 10am safety precuatons meant that the disembarkation had to wait until 30pm. For the first time since the deadly Ebola outbreak across West and Central Africa the migrants were screened by health authorities. AFM personnel wore full Ebola protective suits while a decontamination tent was also set up. A spokeswoman for the home affairs ministry underlined that these were only precautionary measures and that there was no cause for alarm.

Members of the media are also being kept away from the ordinary safety distance as a precaution. Migrants were provided with blankets and water while on board the AFM vessel. An AFM vessel has towed the migrants' dinghy to shore while additional vessels have been deployed in search for any bodies in the area. AFM personnel remained in constant contact with the Italian military and the health authorities on safe distance procedure.

The AFM had been monitoring the situation for the past hours and after ongoing communication with their Italian counterparts it was decided that due to their safety the migrants should be brought to Malta. A migrant has died at Mater Dei Hospital hours after being rescued this morning. The man was in a group of 87 migrants picked up from a drifting dinghy some miles off Mellieha. Three were found to be in critical condition having swallowed sea water after suffering dehydration.

They were rushed to hospital where one of them passed away. Another five migrants were also taken to hospital for urgent medical care. The migrants all men said their group had originally consisted of people but 20 perished during the voyage. No bodies were found on the boat or at sea. They said they started their trip from Libya and had been at sea for days. After rescue by a patrol boat the migrants were taken to Haywharf the AFM maritime base where they were received by AFM personnel in biohazard suits because of the risk of Ebola.

Disembarkation started about three hours after the patrol boat arrived with officials having awaited the arrival from Mater Dei Hospital of a decontamination tent which was set up purely as a precaution. A Health Ministry spokeswoman insisted that there was no cause for alarm. The migrants have now been moved to Safi Detention Centre where they are being held in quarantine monitored by the AFM and public health authorities. Those in hospital were immediately tested for Ebola.

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The tests were negative. Ebola has a threeweek incubation period and the risk that the migrants carry the disease is low especially considering that the migrants spent time in Libya before heading over to Malta the spokeswoman said. The rescue was the first in several months and came at a time when the number of migrants in detention had slipped to a low of just At one time there were over Concern on petrol prices increases by 10 points Despite a lull in migrant arrivals before last Thursday concern on immigration has risen by four points since November.

Despite decreasing numbers immigration has overtaken traffic which was the top concern in the November survey. Respondents were asked to mention the two main problems facing the country. The biggest percentage point increase over November was registered by respondents mentioning petrol prices as a major concern. Concern on petrol prices is just two points lower than that on the cost of living. Despite the absence of any boat arrivals in the past months concern on migration has gone up by eight points since March The survey shows that concern on traffic has gone down from the record levels registered in November but remains substantially higher than in March.

This suggests that most Maltese do not consider unemployment much of a problem reflecting statistics showing an increase in employment figures. Concern on the environment mostly on development issues has remained stable at five points slightly higher than in November but three points lower than in March Labour voters are more likely to be concerned about traffic and immigration but are less likely as PN voters to be concerned with petrol prices. Immigration tops the concern list of both PN and PL voters.

Concern on traffic is also six points higher among PL voters. One reason for this could be that PL voters are less likely to mention problems which can be blamed on the government of the day. Problems like roads traffic and to a certain extent migration are not directly attributable to the present government. But the percentage rises to 18 points among PN voters.

This suggests that PN voters are more susceptible to PN propaganda on this issue. Respondents with a post secondary level of education those who continued studies after secondary level but did not go to university are the most likely to be concerned by rising petrol prices. Disgruntlement among this category may be bad news for the government. For it was within this category that a major shift towards the PL occurred before the general election.

Methodology respondents were contacted by telephone between Wednesday 7 and Tuesday 13 January. The survey was stopped when a quota sample was reached. Respondents were told that MaltaToday was conducting the survey. Its results were weighted to reflect the age and gender balance of the population.

Respondents were asked how they voted in the and elections. The minister referred to the recent terrorist attack on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and said that instability in the Mediterranean led to a threat to European security. The ministers also discussed migration flows particularly in view of the challenges posed by the emerging trend of smugglers using larger vessels to transport migrants. Mr Abela emphasised Malta's role on the issue of irregular migration starting from search and rescue and stressed the need for EU states to work together including in the return of irregular migrants.

He also underlined the need for relocation of beneficiaries of protection. The ministers agreed to intensify the implementation of already agreed measures while also identifying additional measures that would contribute to the fight against terrorism. The training is aimed at facilitating social inclusion and employability and it will focus on teaching residents how to use the internet prepare a CV and look for jobs.

Education projects within the Open Centre had started over four years ago and they included courses in Cultural Orientation English Language First Aid and Food Handling and Hygiene which aimed to provide migrants with the necessary skills to enter the workforce. Dr Ahmed Bugri Managing Director of FSM said: The Marsa Open Centre is a transitory place for asylum seekers and refugees needing temporary assistance until they are able to move in the community and access mainstream services.

Bugri said that the centre which has a bed capacity of residents is focusing on offering residents with the necessary support including educational courses and health and psychological support to be able to integrate with society. The FSM believes that education is an important tool for the personal development empowerment and social inclusion of migrants into Maltese society and in Europe at large he added.

Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Jose Herrera said that integration for good quality of life is "essential". He added that it is a two way struggle with society and the government being obliged to do their best to integrate migrants into society and migrants needing to try their best to follow courses to enter society. We need to look into the respective niches of our society and address these on a case by case basis in order to address their individual requirements. Our immigrants are but one niche which we are targeting. Italy's Mare Nostrum operation which ended some weeks ago had served as a deterrent to terrorists wanting to enter Europe by posing as irregular migrants Italy's under secretary responsible for intelligence Marco Minniti told a parliamentary committee yesterday.

Mare Nostrum had been blamed by critics in Italy for encouraging the flows of migrants from North Africa and increasing the risk of Islamist terrorist being among them. Ansa however also quotes a report appearing in unidentified Libyan media saying ISIS is focusing on Libya as a means to get to Europe among irregular immigrants. ISIS is reported to have said If we can take advantage of this channel the situation in these countries will turn into a living hell. The report has yet to be verified as authentic. Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges.

The shortterm gains of undermining core values of freedom and nondiscrimination are rarely worth the longterm price Roth said. The horrific attacks of January 7 to 9 in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo police officers and people in a Kosher supermarket that left 17 people dead heightened concerns about terrorist attacks in Europe as well as new counterterrorism measures that restrict freedom of movement association and expression. The antiSemitic nature of the supermarket attack a subsequent wave of Islamophobic violence in France and rampedup rhetoric from rightwing parties in a number of EU countries underscored rising intolerance in Europe and its manifestation in violence and discrimination against Muslims Jews and other minorities Human Rights Watch said.

A May gun attack at a Jewish museum in Brussels that killed four people was part of a disturbing pattern of antiSemitic violence and hate speech in the EU in Other EU member states criticized Italy for rescuing tens of thousands of boat migrants in the Mediterranean. Its massive naval operation was replaced by a much more limited operation by the EU external borders agency Frontex at the end of the year. This raises concerns that the death toll in will surpass the estimated people who perished in the Mediterranean in HRW said. While the EU is a key humanitarian donor to the Syrian crisis with the exception of Germany it showed little willingness to resettle significant numbers of refugees from Syria.

Asylum seekers generally faced significant gaps in protection including substandard reception conditions in Italy Greece France and Bulgaria and routine detention of migrants and asylum seekers including children in some cases. There were reports throughout the year of summary returns and excessive use of force by border guards in Bulgaria Greece and Spain. Computer literacy courses are being offered to migrants living at the Marsa Open Centre in a bid to help them enter the local job market. The courses are being coordinated by the Malta Communications Authority in collaboration with the Foundation for Shelter and Support of Migrants which runs the Marsa centre.

Ahmed Bugri who heads the foundation said some students were currently participating in ICT courses which ranged from a basic introduction to IT skills to advanced ecommerce. Computer literacy Dr Bugri said was an essential tool for helping migrants enter the Maltese work force and improve their quality of life. This he added would ultimately benefit Maltese society at large.

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Educational programmes at the Marsa centre started four years ago and include courses in cultural orientation food handling which is aimed at helping migrants enter the tourism sector and English language. We all have the responsibility to help migrants form part of our society. This needs to be reinforced if the situation is to improve he said. Dr Herrera was making a call for renewed efforts to educate migrants on what it means to be Maltese in an attempt to bridge the gap between Maltese society and the migrant population. I am sure that if we teach migrants about Maltese culture — what it means to be Maltese who our forefathers were what a festa is how our political system works and so on — we will bridge the gap that is stopping many migrants from integrating he said.

Dr Herrera was speaking during a press conference unveiling new computer literacy courses being offered to migrants at the Marsa Open Centre.

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