Selected Works

Nonfiction
A look at life in little-known mountain towns of the Sicilian hinterlands.
A true account of the last years of an ancient Sicilian giant bluefin tuna trap.






Tags

Out of Palermo

Migrant boat traffic from Libya to Europe is surging — and turning deadlier

November 30, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

From the Washington Post:
By Michael Birnbaum November 30 at 1:00 AM

BRUSSELS — Migrants heading to Italy from Libya in leaky boats and inflatable dinghies have broken an annual arrivals record, Italian authorities said this week, underscoring the rising popularity of an increasingly deadly journey that nowadays aims not for land, but for a frigid mid-sea rescue.

The number of boat migrants reaching Italy from North Africa this year surpassed 171,000, topping the previous record of 170,100, set in 2014, the Italian Interior Ministry said Monday. But 2016 is also the most lethal year for those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. So far, 4,690 people have died en route, compared with 3,771 deaths for all of last year, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

A big flop: Black Friday sales in Palermo

November 26, 2016

Tags: Palermo, sales, black friday, bust, flop

No one showed up. They don't have Thanksgiving so there was no starting line impetus, IMHO. La Repubblica says the discounts were not low enough to bring in customers.

Happy Black Friday. These immigrants used as slaves in Sicily

November 25, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy, slave, labor

From The Guardian:
"You can smell the camp before you see it. The stench of rank sewage cuts through the crisp morning air in this quiet corner of western Sicily. From a distance it looks like an open-air dump, festering amid the olive groves. Men emerge from flimsy tents pitched amid piles of rubbish and ramshackle huts made of cardboard and plastic sheets.

This makeshift and filthy encampment is home to 1,200 people. All African refugees and migrants, they are desperately competing for the opportunity to work long hours in the fields as illegal agricultural workers for paltry, exploitative wages. It is autumn in Sicily. There is olive oil to be made...."

Happy Thanksgiving. These immigrants rescued today.

November 24, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

Save the Children's rescue ship Vos Hestia arrived Trapani, Sicily this morning bearing 400 migrants saved off the coast of Libya. Among them many children and women. One woman gave birth on the rescue ship. Another 641 disembarked at Catania, Sicily from the ship Aquarius run by the rescue group SOS Meditteranee.


If Berlusconi is like Trump, what can America learn from Italy?

November 21, 2016

Tags: berlusconi, trump, politics, italy, usa

From The Guardian:
Among the political figures who congratulated Donald Trump on his surprise election victory was the politician to whom the billionaire real estate mogul and reality television star has most often been compared: Silvio Berlusconi.

The rightwing former Italian prime minister and billionaire media mogul, who was dogged by claims that he (more…)

In one week, 240 feared dead

November 16, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

About 240 people are suspected to have drowned this week in four separate incidents in the Mediterranean, raising the total annual death toll to an unprecedented 4,500.
From The Guardian
About 130 asylum seekers are missing after a rubber boat capsized on Sunday night, while another 100 are thought to have drowned on Tuesday night in a separate (more…)

550 saved today in the Mediterranean

November 14, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

From ANSA:
550 people were saved in five distinct rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea today. The rescues were coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard headquarters in Rome. In the course of the day, five corpses were also recovered from the waters.


Mother drowned, father found, his number written on their pants

November 13, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

From La Repubblica Palermo on line:
When they pulled them from the bottom of a that rubber raft about to go under their mother had just died, overcome by the mix of diesel fuel and sea water from which she tried to protect her two children. For the entire voyage of the ship Vos (more…)

Hundreds of rescued migrants made to wait standing in cold rain at Palermo's port

November 8, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

From La Repubblica Palermo today:
"As the rain fell tensions rose," wrote Repubblica reporter Claudia Brunetto.
Disembarkation operations yesterday for hundreds of newly rescued boat people were only half done by 6 p.m.. The remaining hundreds were left on the ship's deck in the cold rain to await processing: a sandwich to eat, clothes (more…)

16 rescue operations in Mediterranean yesterday

November 6, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

From The Guardian:

"More than 2,200 people have been rescued in the Mediterranean as they tried to reach Europe and 10 bodies recovered, Italy’s coast guard has said in a statement.

They were picked up from 13 rubber dinghies, two small boats and one large vessel in 16 separate rescue operations on Saturday.
Rising death toll in (more…)

Another 668 immigrants saved by Doctors Wihout Borders ship Argos

November 5, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

Four newborns, including one baby just months old, were among the 668 immigrants on 5 Zodiac rubber rafts saved this morning between 4 and 9 a.m. Italian time by the ship Bourbon Argos leased by Doctors Without Borders.
"It took us at least ten hours to save all of them. By luck the calm sea facilitated the (more…)

Hundreds drowned

November 3, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

Frmo The Guardian today:
"At least 240 people are feared to have drowned in the southern Mediterranean, bringing the annual total to 4,220 – the highest in the Mediterranean on record.

About 100 people drowned when an inflatable dinghy capsized shortly after leaving the Libyan coast on Wednesday, some of the 29 survivors told the UN refugee agency. A (more…)

Halloween and anti-halloween parades intersect in Palermo

November 3, 2016

Tags: halloween, anti-halloween, parade, palermo

Sicilians have really taken to the American celebration of Halloween, but not all Sicilians. Several religious groups got together and formed an anti-Halloween parade in which everyone dressed in white and you were invited to carry images of saints. A wooden crucifix led the cortege through Palermo's new pedestrian malls and through back streets (more…)

of 140 aboard overturned raft, only 29 saved, 12 bodies recovered

November 2, 2016

Tags: immigrants, boats, mediterranean, rescue, ships, fear, drowning, trouble, africa, sicily, Italy.

From La Repubblica Palermo online: 12 cadavers have already been pulled from the sea in the Strait of Sicily after a rubber raft went down 25 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast because of force 4 high winds and waves. As of this writing 29 people were saved. Rescuers came on five ships coordinated by the Rome (more…)

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