Maria Trecca

ROME– The British Second World War veterans' leader, Harry Shindler, has been made an honourary citizen of Porto d’Ascoli in tribute to decades of work toward Anglo-Italian friendship.

Mr Shindler, aged 90, born in the Lambeth district of south London, served with the British Eighth Army during the liberation of Italy in 1944, taking part in the Battle of Anzio.

15 Jul 2012

ROME- As bad puns go, this one is old and stale, I know, but the would-be seceders are not exactly fresh, some more than others. The Lega Nord (Northern League, LN) has for most of its 20 years aimed at an independent state of northern Italy, Padania. Roberto Maroni has just taken over from Umberto Bossi as secretary and immediately reiterated independence as the party’s strategic goal.

11 Jul 2012

It is a fantastic opening line: both frank and evasive, full of inquisition and thoroughly modern in scope and approach. We relax back into the chair and bash out the second, which follows neatly on from the first. Who was it that said that every line should either propel the story forward or else develop a character? Well there are no characters yet, so forget about it.

6 Jul 2012

ROME– FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva has strongly denied he is favouring Latin Americans since he took office at the food agency in January.

 “I assess managers and staff members by the work they do and not by the post they have,” Senior Graziano, a Brazilian, told a meeting of a recent FAO Council earlier this year.

“In the spirit of FAO’s global mandate I see no Brazilian, no American, no Italian, no French, no Chinese, no Canadian, but only International Civil Servants.”

6 Jul 2012
Gianfranco Nitti

ROME- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the United States will visit Finland
on today at the invitation of Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja.

The two foreign ministers will discuss current foreign and security policy
issues, including promotion of the position of women, Syria, Iran and
Afghanistan, the state of negotiations concerning the international Arms
Trade Treaty as well as the results of the Rio Conference on Sustainable

27 Jun 2012

 ROME– Christian Mersmann, the respected head of the UN’s Global Mechanism combating desertification, was sacked with two days’ notice by IFAD chief Kanayo Nwanze, UN sources said.

 Mr Mersmann, a German national with diplomatic status who previously worked at the FAO, had led the Global Mechanism for some six years. He was informed just two days before his existing contract with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was due to expire in May that the agency would not renew his contract.

1 Jun 2012
John Phillips

ROME– Kuwait is optimistic the Arab Spring will usher in political democracy throughout the Middle East with many countries following the Kuwaiti example of a parliamentary constitution and freedom of speech, Sheikh Jaber Dnaij Al-Ibrahim says.

 “We have had experience of democratic political life for 50 years,” the Sheikh, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Italy, told the Italian Insider. “We follow the situation in the Arab world, the Arab Spring, through the Arab League and we help Libya and Yemen through the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” he said in an interview.

31 May 2012

ROME– Aid to Ethiopia from donors and organisations including the UN World Food Programme “directly supports political oppression,” says a Human Rights Watch report.

 According to the report, the Ethiopian government conditions access to development aid on support for the ruling party, People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The international organisation urged foreign donors to ensure their aid is used in an accountable and transparent manner and does not support political repression.

28 May 2012

ROME– At least 900 staff walked off their jobs at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation last month in protest at redeployment policies by the agency's new director general, FAO sources said.

 The May 9 protest was timed to coincide with a tea break of 15 minutes but lasted longer with some sources saying many more than 900 people took part.

24 May 2012