In 2004 a new European Commission had to be nominated. José Manuel Barroso was going to be the President while Italian Government (back then ruled by President Berlusconi) proposed Rocco Buttiglione for the Justice, Freedom and Security portfolio. Unfortunately, Buttiglione’s view on sex, family and homosexuality was so fundamentalist conservative that after just a couple hearings the Parliament was totally upset with him and the entire Commission was at risk of a rejection (something unheard of). Read the rest of this entry »
My mother is a self-employed artisan 56 years old and happy Linux user. She pays taxes in multiple tranches every year and so far never had problems, but this year is different.
Italian Minister Bersani recently issued a decree mandating use of on line tools to pay social security taxes (F24 form). This means, starting from Oct 1st you either go to very expensive authorized 3rd party tax professional accountants, or you buy a very expensive on line bank account from one a few authorized banks, or you go to the ministry web site and download an application they provide for free.
She asked to her bank, but they said they’re not authorized. Of course nobody wants to waste lots of money in accountants (their services cost typically around €1000/yr) or in additional bank accounts (€200/yr), therefore she tried to download the on-line software. Problem is, the ministry web site says this application is only available for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac. What if you run Linux or any other operating system of your choice? Well, you are on your own, you moron, just waste your money buying a copy of Windows and shut up. At this point, my mother was desperate and asked for my help.
Former Italian Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni joyfully declared he illegally downloads copyrighted music from the Internet. Of course this shaked the parliament and the music industry. Several Members of Parliament declared music should be sold at lower prices and taxation. A few of them even admitted they download illegally as well. It’s ironic our severe legislation against p2p has been approved by the former government, the same where Maroni was Minister, but then again…
I think it was quite some time this topic needed a serious discussion. There are sovereign states where privately exchanging copyrighted material without profit is considered legal (fair use) and legislations (e.g. in US) where copyright is just an temporary monopoly granted by the State for the sake of the public good, not a human right. I agree we need to remunerate artists to guarantee healthy culture production environment, but in the Internet era do we still need the music industry? For the sake of our society, don’t we have any better way of producing culture and entertainment?
Recently I’ve had the possibility to buy music directly from the artist (Mayday) and paid just €5 for a good quality CD (btw: thanks guys, your music is great!). How come an independent artist can produce a few hundreds CDs and sell them at €5 while record labels produce same quality in zillion of pieces (at much lower costs) and sell it at €20? Do they waste most of that money in advertising? Or do they make unreasonable margins?
Anyway the most interesting comment came from Bobo Craxy, son of former prime minister Bettino. He said downloading music from the Internet is stealing. Well, his family certainly knows what qualifies as stealing and what not.
After a good kickstart, lately our government has been busy at creating laws that make me uneasy. First they cut three years jailtime to almost everybody who committed crime before May 6th, including killers. They made instantly free about 13k people, one third of the jailed population. This is supposed to make us save a lot of money (they say billions, but there’s no account for the added expenses on social security) but frankly speaking I saw no urgency for this act, I felt like we’re already tolerant enough, expecially after the last government ruled by Berlusconi almost legalized financial crimes.
Now, they want legal immigrants to be allowed to bring their relatives in Italy and to apply for citizenship after just five years they lived here. Apparently this is strongly pushed by the catholic movement. Now I’m OK with this, I love melting pots, I think italian culture is more in danger because of mcdonalds and american movies than because of immigration, but I don’t see what the hell they’re trying to achive. Don’t they have anything more urgent and useful to work on? Can they please explain what’s the deal? And what impresses me the most is that people most upset by immigration are also the most integralist catholics. Totally schizophrenic.
Lately, every time we Europeans speak about international policy with people living in the USA, we always end up discussing on the same topic.
Usually we tell them that we care a lot for civil rights and sovereignty; that we see the USA as a dangerous country because of Guantanamo bay and all the laws they passed to cut civil rights in favor of security; that nobody is allowed to invade a foreign country not even when it’s ruled by a cruel dictator or there are false claims about unexisting WMDs.
At this point, instead of answering to the above claims, they repeat endlessly that UN is just a waste of money (but hey, they don’t pay that much anyway), a paralized agency that actually can’t do anything useful to contrast international terrorism, and we’re lucky because at least the USA do something, they defend themselves and the rest of the world.
Your speed limit is 30Kmh. It’s a restricted area and you can’t enter on workdays from 7:30 to 19:30, except that trucks can’t enter from 8:30 to 20:30 all the week, motorcycles non compliant to european standard CEE 97/24 can’t enter on workdays from 10 to 12 and from 15 to 17, cars non compliant to CEE 91/441 are always forbidden, authorized people for sectors B and C can always enter, authorized people loading/unloading can enter from 7:30 to 9:30. Read the rest of this entry »
Before second world war, Italy used to be a monarchy ruled by the Savoia dynasty. After the war, on June 2nd 1946 Italians voted in a referendum and chose republic for their new government. It’s not been a large majority: republic won for just two million votes and the country was split with a republican north and a monarchic south. On June 13th, King Umberto II finally decided to leave the country, heading to Portugal. Italian parliament then enacted a law that forbade ex-Kings and their sons to enter the Italian territory. This law lasted until 2002, when it’s been removed and Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Umberto’s son, eventually had permission to return to Italy.