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Heart of Palermo

Funeral for 13 immigrant women at Lampedusa

From La Repubblica:

"Ogni volta che trasformiamo il mare in muro qualcuno muore. Siamo tutti responsabili", esclama don Carmelo La Magra, dando l'ultimo saluto alle 13 vittime del naufragio del 7 ottobre."

"Every time we turn the sea into a wall somebody dies. We are all responsible," exclaims Father Carmelo La Magra, giving the final goodbye to the 13 victims of the shipwreck of October 7.

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13 migrating women drown, 8 children missing during sea rescue operation

Lampedusa in the immigration news again now that ships are again allowed to land immigrants. This is from The Guardian:

At least 13 women have died and eight children are missing after a boat capsized in rough seas off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday night as a patrol vessel attempted to save it.

Italian authorities have rescued 22 survivors from the boat, which was carrying about 50 people. Only four of the 13 recovered bodies have been identified by surviving family members, including that of a 12-year-old girl.

According to an initial reconstruction of events, all the people onboard moved to one end of the vessel as the rescue boat arrived, causing it to overturn. The boat, carrying mostly people from sub-Saharan Africa, had initially left Libya before sailing along the coast to reach the city of Sfax, in Tunisia, where another 15 people boarded before they continued their journey to Sicily, according to survivors.

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Opera about immigrants debuts in Palermo

From infomigrants.net

 

By ANSA Published on : 2019/10/04
An opera titled "Winter Journey" tells the story of a migrant who leaves his family in Africa to board one of the many boats from Libya to follow his dream of working in Europe and sending money back home.

The new opera titled "Winter Journey" had its world premiere in Palermo on the island of Sicily. It recounts the story of a migrant who has to leave his family in a war-torn African country behind.


Commissioned by the Massimo Theatre in Palermo, the opera was written by Ludovico Einaudi and Colm Toibin and directed by Roberto Andò.


The production is loosely inspired by Franz Schubert's "Winterreise," which also served as the basis for the title.

 

A city of culture and of cultures


Italian theaters are gradually returning to the age-old practice of commissioning works directly from playwrights. For writers Ludovico Einaudi and Colm Toibin, it was a first to have a theater approach them directly.


Massimo Theatre superintendent Francesco Giambrone said the theater chose the topic of the opera to celebrate "Palermo as a city of welcoming and emphasize attention on the contemporary language of the stage."


Ludovico Einaudi meanwhile stressed that the music in the opera is a mix of different traditions, not focusing on any particular style or school. The singers are not classically trained tenors nor sopranos either, but rather African performes who speak and sing in their own national languages, while the rest of the show takes place in English. The main characters are played by Badara Seck from Senegal and Rokia Traoré from Mali.


The show will be performed through October 8. 

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Sicily's "King of Wind" guilty of bankrolling top mafioso on the lam

The Guardian has been keeping a close eye on Sicily these days. (Wind turbines now ruin the spectacular, cinematic views of mountain ridges all over the island.) Here is a story from Today, Tuesday.

A Sicilian windfarm businessman, known as the "king of wind", has been sentenced to nine years in prison for bankrolling the No 1 mafia fugitive, Matteo Messina Denaro.

Vito Nicastri, a former electrician from Alcamo in the province of Trapani, was one of the key funders of Denaro's long spell on the run, a judge in Palermo ruled on Tuesday.


In Sicily, on the hunt for the last mafia fugitive
 
 
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In 2013, Nicastri, who was under house arrest, lost his companies, property, cars and boats after anti-mafia investigators ordered the definitive confiscation of his assets worth €1.3bn (£1.1bn).

Among the assets were 43 companies, 98 properties, 66 bank accounts, credit cards, investment funds, cars and boats. Most were located in Sicily and Calabria.

Investigators said Nicastri, who made his name as an alternative energy entrepreneur, had invested money made from criminal activities and had "high-level" contacts in the mafia and "close ties to Matteo Messina Denaro".

 

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Palermo's "Kidnapped" Caravaggio

From The Guardian:

"..."The letter was accompanied by piece of the painting, a tiny piece of the canvas, which was intended to make clear to me that they really had the Caravaggio in their possession," Benedetto told his interviewer. "I went straight to the superintendent and informed him of what was happening. I left him the letter and the piece of canvas."

"The mafia was doing with the painting what they normally do with kidnapping victims", says D'Anolfi, who, at 45, is now an acclaimed director and will be screening the full interview next month in Palermo. "They had sent a piece of the painting just like they normally send a finger or an ear of a kidnapping victim."

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Mafia at its weakest now

From The Guardian...

by Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo
Sun 22 Sep 2019 09.36 BST
 
I remember the day as if it was yesterday – 23 May 1992, the day that changed Sicilians' lives for ever. I remember my mother's tears as she sat glued to the TV, watching what looked like an earthquake. Cars buried in rubble, streets ripped open, dozens of photographers and police officers on the scene of what in my mind could only have been a natural disaster.

I quickly realised that wasn't the case – that a terrible murder had been committed. The white Fiat Croma buried in the dirt was carrying Cosa Nostra's number one enemy, the anti-mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone. Mafia bosses had placed 300kg of explosives under the motorway between the airport and Palermo. As the convoy of cars surrounding the Fiat got closer, the bomb was detonated, killing Falcone, his wife and three members of his police escort.



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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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