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Out of Palermo

Christmastime in Palermo

The marble bandstand in the piazza across from the Politeama theater.
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on the road

A documentary from The Guardian



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Italy and self-esteem

From The Guardian:
Millions of Italians have been understandably despondent for the past few days. The results of the regional elections in Sicily proved that former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is back in the big time. With a face that looks more sinister with each passing year, the 81-year-old politician took the credit for  Read More 
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Man fom mali

Amadou Sumaila was one of 118 people rescued from an inflatable boat drifting 20 miles off the Libyan coast on a clear, calm morning in August last year. The kind of day for which people smugglers hope and their passengers pray.

The young Malian and more than 363,000 other migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to reachEurope in 2016. Like many of them, Sumaila had never seen the sea, never imagined that so many people could be crammed into a small boat and never thought it would be so hard to breathe.

They were starting to think about death when dawn came, followed by a boat from the German NGO Jugend Rettet. The crew of the Iuventa had come to save lives, but one of its passengers, the Spanish-Iranian photographer César Dezfuli, had come determined to preserve faces.

Once the 118 were safely aboard, Dezfuli asked if he could take their pictures.  Read More 
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Capo dei capi dead

The Gua dian

First published on Friday 17 November 2017 03.06 EST

The former “boss of bosses” Toto Riina, one of the most feared godfathers in the history of the Sicilian mafia, has died in hospital while serving multiple life sentences for masterminding a bloody strategy to murder Italian prosecutors and law enforcement officers trying to bring down the Cosa Nostra.

Riina, who is thought to have ordered more than 150 murders, had been in a medically induced coma after his health deteriorated following two operations for cancer.

He died in the prisoner wing of a hospital in Parma, in northern Italy, just before 4am local time on Friday, a day after he turned 87, according to the country’s main dailies and the Ansa news agency.

Nicknamed “the Beast” because of his cruelty, Salvatore “Toto” Riina led a reign of terror for decades after taking control of the Cosa Nostra in the 1970s. Read More 
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Palermo police reveal secret symbols used by thieves to mak houses

Palermo police warn of an uptick in house break-ins, with the elderly being targets.
They published a lexicon of symbols thieves use to mark prospective houses for a hit.

Meanings of symbols, top to bottom, left column first:
Good target
Very good house to rob
Don't touch, house of friends
Dog in house
Dog
Police active
Danger or Always at Home
Night is the best time to strike here.
Rich people here.
Women willing to give money
House just hit
No use trying
Not interesting
Public official
Avoid this town
Here they give work (Company or home not to be touched)
Sunday is the best day
Morning is the best time
House with alarms. Read More 
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26 Nigerian girls found floating dead in the Sea

From NPR:
The bodies of 26 Nigerian girls and women were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, and Italian prosecutors are probing whether their deaths are linked to sex trafficking.

"Salvatore Malfi, the police prefect of the southern town of Salerno, said the 26 [victims] may have been thrown off their rubber dinghy into the waters ofthe Mediterranean," NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome. "The cause of death appears to be by drowning."

Cantabria, a Spanish warship, brought their bodies to Salerno, Sylvia adds. That ship had carried out other Mediterranean rescues and had 374 rescued migrants on board.

According to the BBC, Italian authorities are questioning five migrants. The broadcaster adds that "twenty-three of the dead women had been on a rubber boat with 64 other people."

Agence France Press reports that a spokesman for the EU anti-trafficking force Sofia said "another three bodies had been discovered during other life-saving operations in the Mediterranean this week."

Italian media outlets are reporting that the deceased females were mostly between 14 and 18, Sylvia adds. "Police Prefect Malfi called this a human tragedy and said his office has appealed to neighboring towns to provide dignified burial for the Nigerian women."  Read More 
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Outgoing governor of Sicily to give Rolex to Fra Biagio Conte's mission

Outgoing Sicilian Governor Rosario Crocetta was cleaning out his office and packing up mementos while La Reppublica photographer Igor Petyx was there with his camera. Crocetta picked up the bauble and said, " This gold Rolex encrusted with 60 diamonds has been my torment for the last five years. It was given to me by the last governor, Raffaele Lombardo who in his turn had received it as a gift from the Sultan of Oman. I have finally decided to get rid of it. I will give it to Biagio Conte. The diamonds will turn into loaves of bread for the poor of Palermo."
Fra Biagio Conte is a self-made monk who, with hundreds of volunteers and benefactors, feeds and houses more than a thousand homeless people every day in Palermo through his Mission of Hope and Charity. Read More 
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