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Out of Palermo

Libya says no to EU immigration centers

From The Guardian:
Libya has rejected a EU plan to establish refugee and migrant processing centres in the country, adding that it would not be swayed by any financial inducements to change its decision.

The formal rejection by the Libyan prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, is a blow to Italy, which is regarded as being close to his Tripoli administration.

In June, Italy proposed reception and identification centres in Africa as a means of resolving divisions among European governments.

The impasse came as the EU said it was willing to work as a temporary crisis centre to oversee the distribution of refugees and migrants from ships landing in Europe from Libya. Italy has said it is not willing to open its ports and may even reject those rescued by the EU Sophia search and rescue mission, a position that has infuriated other EU states. Read More 
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Salvini sues Saviano

Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is suing the country’s celebrated anti-mafia author Roberto Saviano for defamation over a tweet that described him as “minister of the underworld”.
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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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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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palermo: Trafficked sex slaves turn to her for freedom from curse

From The Guardian:
The abuse of religious and cultural belief systems in Nigeria has proved a deadly and effective control mechanism for traffickers involved in the recruitment of women destined for the sex trade in Europe. A hugely profitable and well-organised criminal industry has been operating between Italy and Nigeria for more than two  Read More 
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Sicilians Do It Better: Dolce & Gabbana Present Their Alta Moda in Palermo

From Vogue magazine:
The arrival of a sleekly suited and enigmatic-looking man flanked by three watchful, headset-wearing bodyguards whose hands hovered above the meaningful bulges beneath their jackets did not, at first, seem that remarkable.

After all, around 430 clients, many of them new, travelled from across the world to the Sicilian capital of Palermo to experience the 126-look swoon that was Dolce & Gabbana’s latest Alta Moda show last night. And at Alta Moda, personal security detachments are ten a penny: The wealth that enables these super shoppers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes considerably more, buying into this couture-but-beyond iteration of idealized Italian-ness comes with its own burdens.

Yet this new face was a man without a woman at a womenswear show who spent a great deal of time shaking hands with people he didn’t know. It seemed strange. When he shook my hand all became clear: This was no less that Rosario Crocetta, the President of Sicily, a son-of-a-seamstress communist anti-corruption campaigner who has been the target of at least three Mafia assassination plots. Wow. So why was he here? The president said: “As far as I am concerned Dolce and Gabbana are the best interpreters in Sicilian style. It is in their blood, and they do a lot for Sicily.”

Here is their high-fashion jewelry show at Palazzo Gangi, Palermo.

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in polizzi generosa the madonna wears Dolce and Gabbana

Mimi` Dolce, half of the designer team Dolce and Gabbana, was born in Polizzi Generosa, my favorite Sicilian mountain town, to a father who was a tailor there.
When the priest asked him to help repair the chapel in the chiesa madre, he paid for repairs willingly. He also designed a mourning cape worn by a statue of the Madonna during Holy Week.
To see a little taped interview with barber, priest,and old friend of Dolce in Polizzi, click on the caption and scroll down in this issue of La Repubblica. It is in Italian but you see the marvelous little town. Read More 
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Leoluca Orlando wins fourth term as Palermo mayor

Leoluca Orlando last night won his fourth mayoral race with 46 percent of the votes of those already counted, the largest margin in the nation where cities and towns held municipal elections yesterday. He won fame as Sicily's anti-mafia mayor and it is a miracle that he is still alive. He won his last election five years ago with more 70 percent of the vote.
Bad news: Giusi Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa who welcomed and aided African migrants, and whose name was bandied about for the Nobel Peace Prize, lost her bid for reelection, coming in third on the European island town closest to Africa. Her successor has said that everything has to change including the presence of NGO rescue volunteers. Read More 
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Pope Francis opens free launderette for homeless and poor in Rome

From The Guardian:
Pope Francis has opened a free launderette in Rome in the latest of a series of initiatives aimed at poor people that has included help with housing, showers, haircuts, meals and medical care.

Six washing machines and dryers were donated to the facility in the city centre. Detergent, fabric softener and a number of irons have also been provided.

The Lavanderia di Papa Francesco (Pope Francis Laundry) intended to “restore dignity to many people who are our brothers and sisters”, the Vatican said. It is designed to serve “the poorest people, particularly the homeless, who will be able to wash, dry and iron their clothes and blankets”. Read More 
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"The Bodies of the Migrants" photo project by Liu Bolin

Migrants themselves posed for the photographic work of Liu Bolin, the Chinese artist who from today until 17 March exhibits his project at Palermo's Cantieri della Zisa.
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