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Heart of Palermo

Some good news

From The Guardian:

Eighty-two migrants have disembarked in Italy, marking a break from the era of hardline immigration measures pushed by the former interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

On Saturday night, the migrants were transferred from the Norwegian-flagged rescue boat Ocean Viking, operated by the French charities SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), to a coastguard vessel before being taken ashore on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.

The decision follows an agreement with other EU member states, coordinated by the European commission, and most of those onboard will be relocated to other countries, including France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg.

It is the first time this year that Rome has allowed passengers to disembark from an NGO rescue vessel.

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Looking for an agent to represent my third book.

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Madonie Mountains

The Masseria Susafa is in Polizzi Generosa.

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Dozens of emigrants drown off Libya

From The Guardian this afternoon:

Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images
Dozens of bodies have been recovered from the Mediterranean, a day after the shipwreck that caused the deaths of up to 150 migrants.

Eyewitnesses described harrowing scenes in the sea, in what a senior UN official called the "the worst Mediterranean tragedy" so far this year.

Fishermen told AFP they saw bodies as they waded through the wreckage searching for survivors: "There were bodies floating on the surface of the water where the boat went down."

One survivor, Abdallah Osman, said the boat making the perilous journey from Libya started to fill with water about 90 minutes after setting out to sea on Wednesday night. Then its engine broke down.

Over the following six hours, men, women and children began to drown.

"Shortly after dawn, fishermen came out with their small boats and started taking us to shore, five at a time ... That went on until nine in the morning," he told AFP.


'I saw hell': under fire inside Libya's refugee detention centres
 
 
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Dolce & Gabbana dance practice

Two years ago Dolce & Gabbana ( Dolce is from Polizzi Generosa) put on a fashion show in downtown Palermo. This was a practice session, the women in stilettos, to music from the soundtrack of Visconti's film, "The Leopard." I needed something light tonight.

 

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Rescue Ship Captain a Hero in Palermo

Click on the photo to be directed to an English-language podcast, an interview with the rescue ship captain Italian Interior Minister Salvini has called a pirate and Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando calls a hero, provided by the The Guardian newspaper.

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Palermo Mayor resists Salvini immigration law

From the New York Times:

By Jason Horowitz
Feb. 1, 2019
 


 

PALERMO, Sicily — Italy's populist interior minister, Matteo Salvini, celebrated Parliament's passage of his Security Decree to crack down on illegal immigration by assuring his supporters last year that "I won't stop!"

But stopping Mr. Salvini is exactly what Leoluca Orlando, the mayor of Palermo, the Sicilian capital, wants to do.

Passed with much fanfare late last year, Mr. Salvini's Security Decree was intended to make Italy more unwelcoming to migrants, not least by doing away with two years of "humanitarian protection" for asylum seekers, a status that allowed them to live in the country legally.

Far from adding to security, says Mr. Orlando, 71, a veteran mayor and constitutional law professor who came to prominence in the fight against the mafia, the law risks pushing migrants into the shadows and the criminal underworld by denying them legal status as well as access to health care and other social services.

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Sambuca di Sicilia sells homes for one euro

My cousin, Nella Cartafalsa, whom I wrote about in The Stone Boudoir, got married to a farmer from Sambuca and moved there. I have visited them in Sambuca. Lots of Maggios in Sambuca. Its name comes from the Arabic word Zabut, the Magnificent. North Africans settled there, close to S. Margherita Belice, in the eighth century.

From The Guardian:

 
Sat 26 Jan 2019 14.00 GMT
 
Darkness falls on the small town of Sambuca di Sicilia, where the council offices on Corso Umberto have been closed for more than three hours. And yet the phones keep ringing, hour after hour.

"They're calling from Sydney, London, New York," says the exhausted deputy mayor, Giuseppe Cacioppo. A week after the town announced it was putting up abandoned homes for sale at a euro each, he has fielded requests for information from all over the globe. By Wednesday last week the council had received more than 300 calls and 94,000 emails. Many prospective buyers, not wanting to miss out, grabbed the first available flight to Palermo.


Sambuca sits inside a nature reserve, surrounded by woods and mountains, about an hour's drive from the Sicilian capital.

In the town hall's minuscule waiting room there are not enough seats for the dozens of visitors who have come from as far away as Panama, London, Boston and Dubai to get their hands on one of these famed homes for the cost of an espresso. They're waiting anxiously for Cacioppo to take them on a guided tour of the ruins that are up for sale.

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Court rules Salvini stand trial for kidnapping migrants

From the Guardian:

Italy's deputy prime minister and interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is one step away from facing trial after a surprise court ruling today determined that he be tried for kidnapping.

In August, prosecutors in Agrigento, Sicily, placed Salvini, who is leader of the far-right party the League, under investigation for the alleged kidnapping and detention of 177 migrants whom he prevented from disembarking the Italian coastguard ship Ubaldo Diciotti.

The ship had been docked for six days at the Sicilian port of Catania as Salvini maintained a standoff with the EU in an attempt to push other member states to take in the migrants. The Catholic church, Ireland and Albania, which is not an EU state, eventually agreed to host the mostly Eritrean migrants.

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Trump in Italian pop art

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