De Magistris teams up with Varoufakis

published earlier today in the Italian Insider.


De Magistris teams up with Varoufakis

By Florence Brock

NAPLES – As De Magistris increases in popularity as General Secretary of the DemA party founded earlier this year, despite his insisting he will not step down as current mayor of Naples before the end of his mandate to run in the 2020 race for Campania Region governor, he seems to have his eyes set on Europe.

With Germans at the voting booths this past weekend to elect their political leader for the next four years, Italy wasted no time in interrogating itself on what kind of Europe is at the door.

In her season premiere Sunday, In mezza’ora, now entitled Mezz’ora in più for this year’s supplementary broadcast time, host Lucia Annunziata moderated a varied panel discussion on Europe that included former Greek Minister of Finance Janis Varoufakis.

Expressing a clear need for transnational democratic unification if Europe intends on securing a future for itself, the Greek politician mentioned Naples mayor De Magistris as a fervent embracer of his new political movement.

With growing consensus, DemA party has been forging its way towards the convergence of local independent movements that in other parts of the world have been demonstrating there is indeed a different and effective way of conducting politics.

Networking similar global movement beliefs, DemA adhered to DiEM25 movement founded by the Greek economist in 2016.

“Along with many other European travel companions, our political will to build a European list for 2019 is very strong,” stated De Magistris last week in reference to Varoufakis and his upcoming visit to Naples.  Scheduled for September 30 in the southern city, the mayor will meet with the former Greek Minister of Finance where they plan on laying the foundation of an administrative process. “We are going to form a list against the oligarchs and new forms of Fascism. It will be a people’s Europe based on rights, social justice, common good, the environment, peace and a Mediterranean area no longer stained with such a vast extension of blood,” he went on to say.

This is not the first time Europe has heard the Greek politician’s words echo across borders. Varoufakis was nominated Minister of Finance under the Tsipras administration in 2015 and was a key figure in Greece’s fight against continued European austerity toward his country debts.

At the time, he sustained that placing European partners under pressure would lead to more favourable conditions for Greece. While his openly declared “Grexit” failed to receive votes of confidence among fellow cabinet members and, in turn, forced him to step down, the Greek politician has continued his battle for a cohesive Europe.

While Varoufakis would soon resign from his position in the Tsipras government, in order to facilitate degenerated relations between Greece and its creditors, he founded DiEM25, a political movement for the transformation of a democratic European Union, just a short time after in February 2016.

To panel surprise during the show, Varoufakis announced that he would even welcome the fourth and final term of German Prime Minister Merkel, hoping in her driven desire to really unite the continent without imposition.

With growing questions plaguing European people, big issues such as inequality, multinational tax evasion, migration and the launching of a new ecological productive system have gone much beyond national borders.

As politics has been unable until now to cross such borders and respond with effective policies, DiEM25 has begun to invite Europeans to join together.

From September 27 to October 1, the political movement takes its tour to Italy and will face some of the big questions present today and define a concrete way of getting out of the mire.

DiEM25 plans on travelling to five Italian cities, stopping in Milan Turin, Ferrara, Bologna, Palermo and in Naples where the movement is scheduled to hold its first national assembly.

“Transnational lists will give people the opportunity to vote for a true democratic Europe,” confirmed Former Prime Minister of Italy Enrico Letta, equally a guest on last weekend’s show. “Now European elections are held only on a national basis. Either Europe heads towards a cross-border democratic Europe and takes a step forward or it will remain at a standstill,” he added.

With 70,000 members, DiEM25 has taken on the challenge, including mayors across the continent such as activist and mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau together with global public figures such as Brian Eno and philosopher Noam Chomsky already on the bandwagon.

By the next European elections in 2019, the movement aims at successfully building a real rupturing force, capable of driving forward an innovative and breakthrough campaign from Portugal to Poland…passing through Italy.


Solfatara crater swallows mother, father and elder sibling



Solfatara crater swallows mother, father and elder sibling

By Florence Brock

NAPLES – Tragedy touches a small town just north of Naples as three tourists on vacation from Turin lose their lives at Solfatara of Pozzuoli, when a crater opened up at their feet.

Almost an entire family was destroyed Tuesday in an accident involving a 45 year-old man, his 42 year-old wife and their 11 year-old son. Their other son, who just turned seven, is the only immediate family survivor.

Firemen and authorities arrived immediately at the scene and have closed off all access to the crater.

At the moment, authorities are trying to reconstruct the scene of the terrible accident that took the tourists’ lives. It is still unclear if the three deceased died as a result of the almost five foot fall or if they fell to their death following strong gas inhalations.

According to the civil defence squad, the elder son of the Turin couple apparently crossed over into an off-limits area where there was quicksand and crumbly soil. Over-powered by gas inhalations, the boy lost his senses. In an attempt to reach him, both his parents seemingly fell into the crater that had newly opened under their feet, all dropping in together in boiling mud three metres deep. In an attempt to pull up the boy, the father was sucked down and the mother as well when she, in turn, tried to help her husband.

Firemen extracted the three bodies from the chasm.

“I saw a boy crying as he was running away. I had no idea I was dealing with the worst tragedy of my life,” states Neapolitan pizza maker Diego Vitagliano present during the tragedy.

“I have been here for 40 years and I have never seen an incident like this,” says coffee bar owner Armando Guerriero just outside the geyser grounds. Just after the accident, the younger surviving sibling was brought into his establishment. “We tried to calm him down as he was clearly very shaken up. He kept asking for his family,” explained keeper.

Solfatara, from late Latin Sulpha Terra meaning land of sulphur) is a site where you can visit boiling water up close with its vapours and steaming mud and is one of the main attractions of the Phlegrean Fields. Known for its characteristically strong rotten egg-like smell, the earth, tormented by fire, creates surreal scenes of unimaginable colours displaying dramatic geysers, springs of gas, and bursts of hot mud and seismic tremors.

Ryanair chooses Naples for nine new routes

Published earlier today in the Italian Insider.


Ryanair chooses Naples for nine new routes

By Florence Brock



NAPLES- Ryanair plans to attract 500,000 new passengers by 2018 by adding nine new route connections for Capodichino International Airport, Naples. While holding up a flashy sign at a meeting Wednesday morning, CEO Michael O’Leary boasted the latest company expansion, to be added to the 19 destinations already departing from the southern Italian airport.

Estimating a total of two million passengers within 15 months, the Irish low cost airline will now fly to Bologna, Budapest, Brussels Charleroi, Dublin, Cracow, Malta, Porto, Thessaloniki and Wroclaw.“What is particularly important for us are the new flights planned for the winter season, confirming Capodichino as key for the Ryanair network,” declared Gesac CEO Armando Brunini with satisfaction at the morning meeting. “Even with assured success, we did not imagine we would reach 2 million users so quickly,” admits O’Leary.

While the low cost company continues its expansion, rumours of the possible acquisition of Alitalia has also been in the air.

“By October 2, Ryanair will present a bid offer for Alitalia”, the CEO communicated just days ago in a press conference at the Bologna airport. “We see a very interesting long-term future for Alitalia. If it were to become part of our group, it would remain separate from Ryanair and continue as a competitor. We do not want to transform it in a low cost company, subsidiary of Ryanair,” he affirms, insisting they would keep on most of the pilots, cabin crew and engineers.

Mounting as a possible solution to airline and its economic troubles, the desire to purchase a mere fleet of 90 aircrafts appears as going clearly against the wishes of the Italian government.

Identifying any dismemberment of the former Italian flagship company as unacceptable, commissioners are not in favour of “slicing-up” the company. “Cutting up Alitalia would be a serious mistake and I am saying this as Minister of Culture and Tourism, underlining the position of the government,” voiced Dario Franceschini to Sole 24ore. “Besides the value of its property, Alitalia is nonetheless the first glimpse travellers have of the country when arriving from all parts of the world: aircrafts are the first place where people can begin appreciating Italian food, cinema, art, beauty and style. That’s why slicing up the company would be a big mistake,” he concludes.

In the meantime, Ryanair has also announced it will not bid for any assets of insolvent German airline Air Berlin, calling the process “a stitch-up”. Although the Irish company had expressed real interest in the acquisition of the German airline, O’Leary has complained that its bankruptcy was engineered to help strengthen Lufthansa, number one airline in Germany.

“If there were a fair and equal opportunity, we would get involved, but it’s a stitch-up” and they are not letting us participate,” affirmed the Irish CEO at a news conference in Berlin last month.

While Germany’s economy ministry rejects Ryanair’s claims that the insolvency was staged, the low cost Irish company has asked German and European anti-trust authorities to probe into what he said was a “conspiracy” between Air Berlin, Lufthansa and the German government which would lead to higher prices for consumers.

President Mattarella helicopters to Ischia

Published earlier today in the Italian Insider.


President Mattarella helicopters to Ischia

By Florence Brock

NAPLES –  Italian President Sergio Mattarella landed on the Island of Ischia to applause from locals late Tuesday afternoon in support of the green island that suffered a devastating earthquake eight days ago.

“We are here to help you,” declared the head of stsate as he arrives to Maio Square in the heart of the island red zone hit by last week’s tremor. “Do not worry. Have faith in the state. We will not abandon you,” said the president to some women left without a home in Casamicciola.

“I no longer believe in the government,” calls out another woman enraged and pained. “You must believe in us, you must,” replies the head of state, quick to add: “ You will get back on your feet soon and I will stand by your side.”

Walking around the earthquake epicentre, Mattarella met with the family whose three children were buried under rubble for hours before being pulled out to safety.

Speaking with journalists at the close of his visit on Ischia, the president made it a point of emphasizing how the island has nonetheless managed to maintain its order and efficiency despite the recent island disaster. “The tourism present now is the guarantee of Ischia and its extraordinary beauty,” he insists, underlining the welcoming capacity of the southern location.

Earlier today, the Council of Ministers met upon Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s request and deliberated a state of emergency for the island caused by the seismic event that took place on August 21. The small towns of Casamicciola Terme, Forio and Lacco Ameno are the objects of the seven million Euros allocated by the government out of the National Emergency Fund.

Currently, there is a CFS task force (Formation and Security Centre) from Naples are busy at work to furnish free consultation to ensure the security of the damaged buildings from the earthquake and the proper removal of rubble and debris.

As debate ensues over possible abusive construction at the bottom of the disproportionate damage for the light 4.0 quake, the INGV (National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) has released a report from samples taken August 23 from the heart of the earthquake devastation. Most of the buildings involved in the damage were well made in brick, rock or tuff, but deprived of simple anti-seismic protection that can be found, for example, in many homes located in the Appenines.

Governor Vincenzo de Luca and Perfect Carmela Pagano were equally present to welcome President Mattarella.

Flames devastate Scampia Roma camp, 700 evacuated

published yesterday in the Italian Insider.

3206136_0839_scampia.jpg.pagespeed.ce.XjpWMPmduMFlames devastate Scampia Roma camp, 700 evacuated

By Florence Brock


NAPLES- Since the fire involving the approximately 700 all-Syrian resident community camp caused hours of fear and panic Sunday was tamed, authorities have begun thorough inspection of the devastated Scampia area for a culprit.

While the origins of the fire are still unknown, witnesses in the area point their finger at a farmer who apparently set fire to some brushwood in a nearby field. Members of the Roma community in via Cupa Perillo could do nothing as immense flames spread throughout the area, trapping everything in its path.

In a brief time, the camp full of barracks, campers and, above all, tons of easily inflammable rubbish was all aflame.

Authorities and firemen arrived almost immediately, in time to help the many children still surrounded by high flames and toxic smoke. Amidst panic and screams, bystanders could here volatile explosions of gas tanks as rescuers worked against time to pull the trapped children out to safety.

Luckily, one of the potentially worst tragedies was avoided as a gas tank warehouse in the proximity was saved from the flames.

Political reaction to the incident was immediate. “My solidarity goes to the citizens of Scampia who were forced to stay locked in their homes due to the toxic fumes,” announces National Forza Italia Representative for Southern Policy and Regional Council member. “This episode is a mirror of the degraded and abandoned state in which tens of thousands of people in this district live in. With out services, assistance, being held under seizure by all the criminal activity and the out of control illegal aliens, Scampians are a living monument of complete institutional and city disinterest,” he concludes.

Verdi party Regional Council member Francesco Borrelli also demonstrates party concern referring to “yet another fire that only a miracle stopped the episode from causing human casualties. Considering the combustion of plastic and dangerous waste, the population both within and outside the camp will nonetheless end up being poisoned.”

While the now tamed fire involving the approximately 700 all-Syrian resident community camp caused hours of fear and panic, all the inhabitants are safe.

As another human disaster involving immigrants has been avoided, the area remains under inspection as to the origins of the fire.

“Obviously, the arson at the base of the flames that invested the Scampia Roma camp is a very serious matter. That vast area includes a car park that belongs to ASIA – our city sanitary truck company which was hit very hard by the fire, destroying about twenty vehicles,” states Mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris. “As the Cupa Perillo street has been in the limelight these passed weeks concerning some keys city and social programming, I find it uncanny that there have been several fires involving separate hotspots. We absolutely must catch the criminals in these areas who have caused such environmental and material damage; they could have even been guilty for having taking the lives of innocent adults and children,” emphasizes the mayor.

Ischia shakes as more than a thousand flee island

img_0268Ischia shakes as more than a thousand tourists flee Island
By Florence Brock

NAPLES – An earthquake shook the island of Ischia just north of Naples Monday evening at 8:57, sending thousands of tourists in a frenzy.
Registering 3.6 (shortly re-calculated at 4.0 ) on the Richter scale, trembling was most felt in the small district of Casamicciola located on the northwest side of the island.
With two people deceased and 41 wounded, firemen miraculously extracted a seven month toddler before ensuing an all-night race to dig out the infant’s two brothers who remained trapped under the rubble.  Numerous firemen and volunteers almost immediately established contact with the 7 and 11 year old boys and found a way to lower some bottles of water down to them just after dawn. The siblings were pulled up to safety around 1pm this afternoon.

As a highly equipped ship left the mainland with over 1000 fireman and specialized staff to assist in the earthquake aftermath, droves of tourists had already started packing their bags and making their way to the extra boats available for passengers wishing to leave.

Reports claim that approximately 2500 people were evacuated from endangered buildings and approximately 1100 tourist have already fled the green oasis.

“We were happily dining in our vacation rental when we heard a roar. I swear it sounded like a terrorist attack,” stated a father at Porto present with family and luggage after deciding to cut his holiday short and get off the Parthenope isle.

Until present, one superficial earthquake localized at five kilometres below sea level and 14 settling earth movements have been registered.

“After just a year from the last seismic emergency located in the centre of Italy, we are once again re-living a new earthquake tragedy,” declares President of of National Geologists Francesco Peduto. “It is puzzling how an earthquake of such light magnitude can provoke such damage and victims in our nation; it is frankly unbelievable that people continue dying for quakes of such small entity. Our country is very vulnerable,” asserts the geologists in a clear reference to inadequate steps taken by the government for prevention. “Government and Parliament: assume your responsibility and decide what to do such as obliging building dossiers, without being conditioned by various lobbies. Informing the public on the state of security of where they live is first and foremost a question of ethics, a moral obligation even higher in priority than safeguarding and civil defence,” he goes on to conclude.