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On travels….

John Steinbeck Quote

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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Wounds re-opened

It’s not my intention to offend anyone but there are too many questions left unanswered…….

Italian court orders new trial for Amanda KnoxItaly’s highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s  acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new  trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United  States

Italian court orders new trial for Amanda Knox Amanda Knox (afp)

by FRANCES D’EMILIO * ROME (AP)

Italy’s highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox’s acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United States.
Knox called the decision “painful” but said she was confident in the truth.
The Court of Cassation ruled that an appeals court in Florence must re-hear the case against the American student and her former Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher. The exact issues that have to be reconsidered won’t be known until the court releases its full ruling within 90 days.
Knox, now a student at the University of Washington, stayed up until 2 a.m. Seattle time to hear her fate and issued a statement through a family spokesman. “It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution’s theory of my involvement in Meredith’s murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair,” she said.
Knox said the matter must now be examined by “an objective investigation and a capable prosecution.” “No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity,” Knox said.
Kercher’s body was found in November 2007 in her bedroom of the house she shared with Knox and others in Perugia, an Italian university town where the two women were exchange students. Her throat had been slashed.
Prosecutors alleged Kercher was the victim of a drug-fueled sex game gone awry. Knox and Sollecito denied wrongdoing and said they weren’t even in the apartment that night, although they acknowledged they had smoked marijuana and their memories were clouded.
An Ivory Coast man, Rudy Guede, was convicted of the slaying in a separate proceeding and is serving a 16-year sentence. Knox and Sollecito were also initially convicted of the murder and given long prison sentences, but were then acquitted on appeal and released in 2011.
The high court’s ruling Tuesday overturned the appeals court acquittals. “She thought the nightmare was over,” Knox attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova said after the decision was released.
The court also upheld a slander conviction against Knox. During a police interrogation, Knox had accused a local Perugia pub owner of carrying out the killing. The man was held for two weeks based on her allegations, but was then released for lack of evidence.
Italian law cannot compel Knox to return from the U.S. for the new trial. The appellate court hearing the case could declare her in contempt of court but that carries no additional penalties.
Dalla Vedova said Knox wouldn’t come to Italy “for the moment” but would follow the case from home. He said he didn’t think the new appeals trial would begin before early 2014.
It is unclear what would happen if Knox was convicted in a new appeals trial. “If the court orders another trial, if she is convicted at that trial and if the conviction is upheld by the highest court, then Italy could seek her extradition,” Dalla Vedova said Monday.
It would then be up to the United States to decide if it honors the request. U.S. and Italian authorities could also come to a deal that would keep Knox in the United States.
Knox, now 25, and Sollecito, who turned 29 on Tuesday, were arrested shortly after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood.
The appeals court that acquitted them in 2011 criticized virtually the entire case mounted by prosecutors. The appellate court noted that the murder weapon was never found, said that DNA tests were faulty and that prosecutors provided no murder motive. It’s not clear what part of the appeals sentence was faulted by the high court in ordering a new trial.
Kercher’s family attorney, Francesco Maresca, said after Tuesday’s ruling: “Yes, this is what we wanted.”
Sollecito’s attorney, Giulia Bongiorno, noted that Tuesday’s ruling was not a determination of guilt but merely a need for further study of the appeals court ruling. “It’s a decision that cancels a verdict and orders a retrial,” she said. “I’m not concerned about a deeper reading of the documentation, because I know the documentation.” She acknowledged that perhaps the appeals court ruling had been “too generous” in ruling that the pair simply did not commit the crime, but was confident that Sollecito’s innocence would be affirmed.
In her statement, Knox took the Perugia prosecutors to task, saying they “must be made to answer” for the discrepancies in the case. She said “my heart goes out to” Kercher’s family.
After nearly four years behind bars in Italy, Knox returned to her hometown of Seattle after the 2011 acquittal and Sollecito resumed his computer science studies, following the degree he earned while studying in prison.
Italy’s judicial system allows for two levels of appeals, and prosecutors can appeal acquittals. Although the court on Monday heard gruesome details, including how Kercher choked on her own blood, it wasn’t ruling on the guilt or innocence of the defendants. Its sole task was to decide if the appellate trial was properly conducted.
Dalla Vedova had argued Monday that the slander verdict against Knox should be thrown out because she was questioned without a lawyer even though police essentially treated the student as a suspect in their 14-hour interrogation session. Because of time she served in prison before the appeals-level acquittals, Knox didn’t have to serve time for the slander conviction.
*Associated Press

Foreign Press here

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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New season, new bike, old driver

Not that old, but it’s a dejà-vu………. anyway, can’t wait for the new championship to start again…good luck!

and the new 2013  “soleluna” (sun/moon) helmet yet to be unveiled…..

 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Laura Boldrini, Congress President & Pietro Grasso, President of the Senate

Her installation speech (sorry, just in italian)

Care deputate e cari deputati, permettetemi di esprimere il mio più sentito ringraziamento per l’alto onore e responsabilità che comporta il compito di presiedere i lavori di questa assemblea.

Vorrei innanzitutto rivolgere il saluto rispettoso e riconoscente di tutta l’assemblea e mio personale al Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano che è custode rigoroso dell’unità del Paese e dei valori della costituzione repubblicana.

Vorrei inoltre inviare un saluto cordiale al Presidente dalla Corte costituzionale e al Presidente del consiglio.

Faccio a tutti voi i miei auguri di buon lavoro, soprattutto ai più giovani, a chi siede per la prima volta in quest’aula. Sono sicura che in un momento così difficile per il nostro paese, insieme, insieme riusciremo ad affrontare l’impegno straordinario di rappresentare nel migliore dei modi le istituzioni repubblicane.

Vorrei rivolgere inoltre un cordiale saluto a chi mi ha preceduto, al presidente Gianfranco Fini che ha svolto con responsabilità la sua funzione costituzionale.

Arrivo a questo incarico dopo aver trascorso tanti anni a difendere e rappresentare i diritti degli ultimi in Italia come in molte periferie del mondo. E’ un’esperienza che mi accompagnerà sempre e che da oggi metto al servizio di questa Camera. Farò in modo che questa istituzione sia anche il luogo di cittadinanza di chi ha più bisogno.

Il mio pensiero va a chi ha perduto certezze e speranze. Dovremmo impegnarci tutti a restituire piena dignità a ogni diritto. Dovremo ingaggiare una battaglia vera contro la povertà, e non contro i poveri. In questa aula sono stati scritti i diritti universali della nostra Costituzione, la più bella del mondo. La responsabilità di questa istituzione si misura anche nella capacità di saperli rappresentare e garantire uno a uno.

Quest’Aula dovrà ascoltare la sofferenza sociale. Di una generazione cha ha smarrito se stessa, prigioniera della precarietà, costretta spesso a portare i propri talenti lontano dall’Italia.

Dovremo farci carico dell’umiliazione delle donne che subiscono violenza travestita da amore. Ed è un impegno che fin dal primo giorno affidiamo alla responsabilità della politica e del Parlamento.

Dovremo stare accanto a chi è caduto senza trovare la forza o l’aiuto per rialzarsi, ai tanti detenuti che oggi vivono in una condizione disumana e degradante come ha autorevolmente denunziato la Corte europea dei diritti umani di Strasburgo.

Dovremo dare strumenti a chi ha perso il lavoro o non lo ha mai trovato, a chi rischia di smarrire perfino l’ultimo sollievo della cassa integrazione, ai cosiddetti esodati, che nessuno di noi ha dimenticato.

Ai tanti imprenditori che costituiscono una risorsa essenziale per l’economia italiana e che oggi sono schiacciati dal peso della crisi, alle vittime del terremoto e a chi subisce ogni giorno gli effetti della scarsa cura del nostro territorio.

Dovremo impegnarci per restituire fiducia a quei pensionati che hanno lavorato tutta la vita e che oggi non riescono ad andare avanti.

Dovremo imparare a capire il mondo con lo sguardo aperto di chi arriva da lontano, con l’intensità e lo stupore di un bambino, con la ricchezza interiore inesplorata di un disabile.

In Parlamento sono stati scritti questi diritti, ma sono stati costruiti fuori da qui, liberando l’Italia e gli italiani dal fascismo.

Ricordiamo il sacrificio di chi è morto per le istituzioni e per questa democrazia. Anche con questo spirito siamo idealmente vicini a chi oggi a Firenze, assieme a Luigi Ciotti, ricorda tutti i morti per mano mafiosa. Al loro sacrificio ciascuno di noi e questo Paese devono molto.
E molto, molto dobbiamo anche al sacrificio di Aldo Moro e della sua scorta che ricordiamo con commozione oggi nel giorno in cui cade l’anniversario del loro assassinio.

Questo è un Parlamento largamente rinnovato. Scrolliamoci di dosso ogni indugio, nel dare piena dignità alla nostra istituzione che saprà riprendersi la centralità e la responsabilità del proprio ruolo. Facciamo di questa Camera la casa della buona politica. Rendiamo il Parlamento e Il nostro lavoro trasparenti, anche in una scelta di sobrietà che dobbiamo agli italiani.

Sarò la presidente di tutti, a partire da chi non mi ha votato, mi impegnerò perché la mia funzione sia luogo di garanzia per ciascuno di voi e per tutto il Paese.

L’Italia fa parte del nucleo dei fondatori del processo di integrazione europea, dovremo impegnarci ad avvicinare i cittadini italiani a questa sfida, a un progetto che sappia recuperare per intero la visione e la missione che furono pensate, con lungimiranza, da Altiero Spinelli.

Lavoriamo perché l’Europa torni ad essere un grande sogno, un crocevia di popoli e di culture, un approdo certo per i diritti delle persone, un luogo della libertà, della fraternità e della pace.

Anche i protagonisti della vita spirituale religiosa ci spronano ad osare di più: per questo abbiamo accolto con gioia i gesti e le parole del nuovo pontefice, venuto emblematicamente “dalla fine del mondo”. A papa Francesco il saluto carico di speranze di tutti noi.

Consentitemi un saluto anche alle istituzioni internazionali, alle associazioni e alle organizzazioni delle Nazioni Unite in cui ho lavorato per 24 anni e permettetemi – visto che questo è stato fino ad oggi il mio impegno – un pensiero per i molti, troppi morti senza nome che il nostro Mediterraneo custodisce. Un mare che dovrà sempre più diventare un ponte verso altri luoghi, altre culture, altre religioni.

Sento forte l’alto richiamo del Presidente della Repubblica sull’unità del Paese, un richiamo che questa aula è chiamata a raccogliere con pienezza e con convinzione.

La politica deve tornare ad essere una speranza, un servizio, una passione.

Stiamo iniziando un viaggio, oggi iniziamo un viaggio. Cercherò di portare assieme a ciascuno di voi, con cura e umiltà, la richiesta di cambiamento che alla politica oggi rivolgono tutti gli italiani, soprattutto in nostri figli. Grazie.

Who she is here

His installation speech (sorry, just in italian)

Care senatrici, cari senatori,

mi scuserete, ma voglio rivolgere questo mio primo discorso soprattutto a quei cittadini che stanno seguendo i lavori di quest’Aula con speranza e apprensione per il futuro del nostro Paese.

Il Paese mai come oggi ha bisogno di risposte rapide ed efficaci all’altezza della crisi economica e sociale, ma anche politica, che sta vivendo. Mai come ora la storia italiana si intreccia con quella europea e i destini sono comuni, mai come oggi il compito della politica è quello di restituire ai cittadini la coscienza di questa sfida.

Quando ieri sono entrato per la prima volta da Senatore in quest’Aula mi ha colpito l’affresco sul soffitto, che vi invito a guardare. Riporta quattro parole che sono state sempre di grande ispirazione per la mia vita e che spero lo saranno ogni giorno per ciascuno di noi nei lavori che andremo ad affrontare: Giustizia, Diritto, Fortezza e Concordia.

Quella concordia, e quella pace sociale, di cui il Paese ha ora disperatamente bisogno.

Domani è l’Anniversario dell’Unità d’Italia, quel 17 marzo di 152 anni fa in cui è cominciata la nostra Storia come comunità nazionale dopo un lungo e difficile cammino di unificazione. Nei 152 anni della nostra Storia, soprattutto nei momenti più difficili, abbiamo saputo unirci, superare le differenze, affermare con fermezza i nostri valori comuni e trovare insieme un sentiero condiviso. Il primo pensiero va sicuramente alla fase costituente della nostra Repubblica, quando uomini e donne di diversa cultura hanno saputo darci quella che è ancora oggi considerata una delle Carte Costituzionali più belle e moderne del mondo.

Lasciatemi in questo momento ricordare Teresa Mattei, che dell’Assemblea Costituente fu la più giovane donna eletta, che per tutta la vita è stata attiva per affermare e difendere i diritti delle donne, troppo spesso calpestati anche nel nostro Paese, e che ci ha lasciato pochi giorni fa.

Siamo davanti a un passaggio storico straordinario: abbiamo il dovere di esserne consapevoli, il diritto e la responsabilità di indicare un cambiamento possibile perché in gioco è la qualità della democrazia che stiamo vivendo e che lasceremo in eredità ai nostri figli e ai nostri nipoti.

La crisi è a un punto tale che potremo risalire solo se riusciremo a trovare il modo di volare alto e proporre soluzioni condivise, innovative e, lasciatemi dire, sorprendenti che sappiano affrontare le priorità e allo stesso tempo avviare un cammino a lungo termine: dobbiamo davvero iniziare una nuova fase costituente che sappia stupire e stupirci.

Oggi è il 16 marzo e non posso che ringraziare il Presidente Colombo che stamattina ci ha commosso con il ricordo dell’anniversario del rapimento di Aldo Moro e della strage di via Fani che provocò la morte dei 5 agenti di scorta Raffaele Iozzino, Oreste Leonardi, Domenico Ricci, Giulio Rivera e Francesco Zizzi. Al loro sacrificio di servitori dello Stato va il nostro omaggio deferente e commosso. Oggi bisogna ridare dignità e risorse alle Forze dell’Ordine e alla Magistratura.

Sono trascorsi 35 anni da quel tragico giorno che non fu solo il dramma di un uomo e di una famiglia, ma dell’intero Paese: in Aldo Moro il terrorismo brigatista individuò il nemico più consapevole di un progetto davvero riformatore, l’uomo e il dirigente politico che aveva compreso il bisogno e le speranze di rigenerazione che animavano dal profondo e tormentavano la società italiana. Come Moro scrisse in un suo saggio giovanile «Forse il destino dell’uomo non è di realizzare pienamente la giustizia, ma di avere perpetuamente della giustizia fame e sete. Ma è sempre un grande destino».

Oggi inoltre migliaia di giovani a Firenze hanno partecipato alla”Giornata della Memoria e dell’Impegno in ricordo delle vittime delle mafie”, e mi è molto dispiaciuto non poter essere con loro come ogni anno. Hanno pronunciato e ascoltato gli oltre 900 nomi di vittime della criminalità organizzata. Nomi di cittadini, appartenenti alle forze dell’ordine, sindacalisti, politici, amministratori locali, giornalisti, sacerdoti, imprenditori, magistrati, persone innocenti uccise nel pieno della loro vita. Il loro impegno, il loro sacrificio, il loro esempio dovrà essere il nostro faro.

Ho dedicato la mia vita alla lotta alla mafia in qualità di magistrato. E devo dirvi che dopo essermi dimesso dalla magistratura pensavo di poter essere utile al Paese in forza della mia esperienza professionale nel mondo della giustizia, ma la vita riserva sempre delle sorprese. Oggi interpreto questo mio nuovo e imprevisto impegno con spirito di servizio per contribuire alla soluzione dei problemi di questo Paese. Ho sempre cercato Verità e Giustizia e continuerò a cercarle da questo scranno, auspicando che venga istituita una nuova Commissione d’Inchiesta su tutte le Stragi irrisolte del nostro Paese.

Se oggi, davanti a voi, dovessi scegliere un momento in cui raccogliere la storia della mia vita professionale precedente non vorrei limitarmi a menzionare gli amici e i colleghi caduti in difesa della democrazia e dello Stato di diritto che ho conosciuto. Non c’è infatti un solo nome e volto che può racchiuderli tutti e purtroppo, se dovessi citarli tutti, la lista sarebbe troppo lunga. Mi viene piuttosto in mente e nel cuore un momento che li abbraccia uno a uno ed è il ricordo della voce e delle parole di una giovane donna. Mi riferisco al dolore straziato di Rosaria Costa, la moglie dell’agente Vito Schifani morto insieme ai colleghi Rocco Dicillo e Antonino Montinaro nella strage di Capaci il 22 maggio 1992 in cui persero la vita i magistrati Giovanni Falcone e Francesca Morvillo.

Non ho dimenticato le sue parole il giorno dei funerali del marito, quel microfono strappato ai riti e alle convenzioni delle cerimonie:

«chiedo innanzitutto che venga fatta giustizia, adesso. Rivolgendomi agli uomini della mafia, perché ci sono qua dentro (e non), ma certamente non cristiani, sappiate che anche per voi c’è possibilità di perdono: io vi perdono, però vi dovete mettere in ginocchio, se avete il coraggio di cambiare…Ma loro non cambiano… […] …loro non vogliono cambiare…Vi chiediamo […] di operare anche voi per la pace, la giustizia, la speranza e l’amore per tutti»

Giustizia e cambiamento, questa è la sfida che abbiamo davanti. Ci attende un intenso lavoro comune per rispondere, con i fatti, alle attese dei cittadini che chiedono anzitutto più giustizia sociale e più etica, nella consapevolezza che il lavoro è uno dei principali problemi di questo Paese.

Penso alle risposte che al più presto, ed è già tardi, dovremo dare ai disoccupati, ai cassintegrati, agli esodati, alle imprese e a tutti quei giovani che vivono una vita a metà: hanno prospettive incerte, lavori, chi ce l’ha, poco retribuiti, quando riescono a uscire dalla casa dei genitori vivono in appartamenti che non possono comprare, cercando di costruire una famiglia che non sanno come sostenere.

Penso all’insostenibile situazione delle carceri nel nostro Paese, che hanno bisogno di interventi prioritari, a una giustizia che oggi va riformata in modo organico, agli immigrati che cercano qui una speranza di futuro, ai diritti in quanto tali, che non possono essere elargiti col ricatto del dovere e che non possono conoscere limiti, altrimenti diventano privilegi.

Penso alle Istituzioni sul territorio, ai Sindaci dei Comuni che stanno soffrendo e faticano a garantire i servizi essenziali ai loro cittadini. Sappiano che lo Stato è dalla loro parte, e che il nostro impegno sarà di fare il massimo sforzo per garantire loro l’ossigeno di cui hanno bisogno.

Penso al mondo della Scuola, nelle cui aule ogni giorno si affaccia il futuro del nostro Paese, e agli insegnanti che fra mille difficoltà si impegnano a formare cittadini attivi e responsabili

Penso alla nostra posizione sullo scenario europeo: siamo tra i Paesi fondatori dell’Unione e il nostro compito è portare nelle Istituzioni comunitarie le esigenze e i bisogni dei cittadini. L’Europa non è solo moneta ed economia, deve essere anche l’incontro tra popoli e culture.

Penso a questa politica, alla quale mi sono appena avvicinato, che ha bisogno di essere cambiata e ripensata dal profondo, nei suoi costi, nelle sue regole, nei suoi riti, nelle sue consuetudini, nella sua immagine, rispondendo ai segnali che i cittadini ci hanno mandato e ci mandano in ogni occasione. Sogno che quest’Aula diventi una casa di vetro, e questa scelta possa contagiare tutte le altre Istituzioni.

Di quanto radicale e urgente sia il tempo del cambiamento lo dimostra la scelta del nuovo Pontefice, Papa Francesco, i cui primi atti hanno evidenziato un’attenzione prioritaria verso i bisogni reali delle persone.

Voglio in conclusione rivolgere a nome dell’Assemblea dei senatori e mio personale un deferente saluto al Presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano, supremo garante della Costituzione e dell’unità italiana che con saggezza e salda cultura istituzionale esercita il suo mandato di Capo dello Stato.

Desidero anche ringraziare il mio predecessore, il senatore Renato Schifani, per l’impegno profuso al servizio di questa assemblea.

Un omaggio speciale indirizzo ai Presidenti emeriti della Repubblica, ai senatori a vita e a Emilio Colombo che ha presieduto con inesauribile energia la fase iniziale di questa XVII legislatura, lui che ha visto nascere la Repubblica partecipando ai lavori dell’Assemblea Costituente.

Chiudo ricordando cosa mi disse il Capo dell’ufficio Istruzione del Tribunale di Palermo Antonino Caponnetto, poco prima di entrare nell’aula del maxi processo «Fatti forza, ragazzo, vai avanti a schiena dritta e testa alta e segui sempre e soltanto la voce della tua coscienza».

Sono certo che in questo momento e in quest’Aula l’avrebbe ripetuto a ciascuno di noi.

Who he is here

I’m excited, we have two great persons leading our Parliament right now, and even if diveded, my country can rely on strong, driven and honest people like these two. Maybe we can hope for better time.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Booklist 2012

I realized today, reading Kelli post, that I dind’t update my reading list of last year. I was an avid reader (and I still like to read more than anything else) for so many years, my goal was one book a week, at least. In the last couple of years though, I found myself more and more willing to spend time otherwise, like be on line at home, at night, chatting with people around the world. Or watching over and over again my favourite tv show. Don’t, please….. I know, I’m weird…..

Last year I read a bit more than before, and even if I’m so far away from my best record, I found new books, new authors and new interests also thanks to new friends on line. Instead of a plain list of what got my attention in 2012, I decided to put up a “visual” one…. (sorry, long post….)

     ***/5 Two men of words…One seeking only peace.The other, violence. Tate Collier, once one of the country’s finest trial lawyers, is trying to forget his past. Now a divorced gentleman farmer, land developer, and community advocate in rural Virginia, he’s regrouping from some disastrous mistakes in the realms of love and the law. But controversy — and danger — seem to have an unerring hold on Tate. Even as he struggles to rebuild his life, his alter ego is plotting his demise. Aaron Matthews, a brilliant psychologist, has turned his talents away from curing patients to far deadlier goals. He’s targeted Tate, Tate’s ex-wife, Bett, and their estranged daughter, Megan, for unspeakable revenge. Matthews, ruthless and hell-bent, will destroy anything that inhibits his plans. When their daughter disappears, Tate and Bett reunite in a desperate, heart-pounding attempt to find her and to stop Matthews, a psychopath whose gift of a glib tongue and talent for coercion are as dangerous as knives and guns. Featuring an urgent race against the clock, gripping details of psychological manipulation, and the brilliant twists and turns that are trademark Deaver, “Speaking in Tongues” delivers the suspense punch that has made this author a bestseller. It will leave you speechless.

    **/5 Tough, book-loving homicide detective Cliff Janeway believes Jackie Newton is to blame for the recent murder of a down-and-out rare book hunter. And when Janeway treats Newton to a brutal helping of off-duty justice, it costs him his badge. But that doesn’t mean his investigation is over.

  ***/5 (Secrets of the Vatican)  In this new work are picked different stories, from the ancient epoch to our days, related to the Vatican. Starting from the Christians submitted to Nerone in the first century AC , to Costantino and his donation, for Marozia, the papal lover that has perhaps given origin to the legend of the female pope Giovanna, and facts and crimes that had as protagonists a lot of pontiffs.Then the books tells about more recent facts as of the triple homicide on May 4 th 1998 in Vatican of the colonel Alois Esterman, of his wife Gladys Meza Romero and of the vicecaporale Cédric Tornay, of the disappearance of Manuela Orlandi and the scandal of the Ior. Augias tries to give an explanation to the origin of all these events in a passionate and controversial novel and tries to clear  mysteries that never had a solution.

  ****/5  When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers–with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another. The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building’s other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin’s devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt’s neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including–perhaps–their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

   */5 (Italy on the front pages) The history of Italy told by journalist and newspapers.

   ***/5  (US Title:  The Dead Lie Down) Ruth Bussey knows what it means to be in the wrong – and to be wronged.  She once did something she regrets, and was punished excessively for it.  Now Ruth is trying to rebuild her life and has found a love she doesn’t believe she deserves.  Aidan Seed is a passionate, intense man who has also been damaged by his past.  Desperate to connect with the woman he loves, he confides his secret: he killed a woman called Mary Trelease. Through her shock, Ruth recognises the name.  And when she’s realised why it’s familiar, her fear and revulsion deepen.  The Mary Trelease that Ruth knows is very much alive…

  **/5  A shocking discovery has been made deep within Rome’s ancient catacombs. One that the Vatican is determined must never be made public – for the sake of all mankind. But there are others who want to keep the truth hidden for far more sinister reasons, others who believe that not only are the church and the faith of a billion at threat, but life as we know it is about to be destroyed – for ever. And only one woman – a young Italian nun – can save us…

  **/5 (Dictionary of lost things) An emotional and touching recollections of childhood memories and things far gone, by one of the most famous italian singer-songwriter.

  *****/5  This is an epic of love, hatred, war and revolution. This is a huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women. It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution. In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, “Fall Of Gaints” moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.

   */5  The tombs have always been there beneath the city of Jerusalem.  At first obscure, then hidden, then lost entirely, it was a place where death went about its business unseen.  Where the living had become the dead and their mourners had in turn been mourned.  And then, in 1968, a discovery is made that is so shattering that the reverberations echo through time.  For the tombs also guard a secret: a 2,000-year-old prize that men would kill- and die- for. In the same year, in Dublin, young Patrick Canavan experiences the intense passion of first love for Francesca Contarini.  But Francesca shares the secret of the tomb and her knowledge is deadly with repercussions that stretch far into the future.  More than twenty years later, Canavan finds himself prisoner of a KGB agent, being questioned about an ancient brotherhood: The Brotherhood of the Tomb.

  ****/5  In the seaside town of Scarborough, a student is found murdered.  No progress is made in solving the crime. When a second death ocurrs, despite the similar MO the police struggle to find a connection between the two victims. Ambitious detective Valerie Almond is convinced that the truth lies within the family of the second victim, but is in essence stabling in the dark, unaware of the dark secret that has been hidden for more than half a century. Although the story is set in 2008, the roots of the murder relate back to the evacuation of children from London to Scarborough in 1940, a time when there were no computers to keep track of the movement of these children, just people trying to do there best to keep the children safe from being killed by German bombs.  The description of the children arriving in Yorkshire which to children brought up in London must have seemed like another planet was heart-rending, particularly that awful selection process by the families who were taking the children in – selecting the strongest and best looking children, which eventually left a number of children no one wanted, must have scarred many of them for life.  That with hind-sight we now know that much harm was done in separating children from their parents, it was done with the best of intentions, but as the saying goes’ The way to hell is paved with good intentions’.

  **/5  On compassionate leave after the murder of his wife, Thomas Lynley is called back to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery. His former team doesn’t trust the leadership of their new department chief, Isabelle Ardery, whose management style seems to rub everyone the wrong way. In fact, Lynley may be the sole person who can see beneath his superior officer’s hard-as-nails exterior to a hidden–and possibly attractive–vulnerability. While Lynley works in London, his former colleagues Barbara Havers and Winston Nkata follow the murder trail south to the New Forest. There they discover a beautiful and strange place where animals roam free, the long-lost art of thatching is very much alive, and outsiders are not entirely welcome. What they don’t know is that more than one dark secret lurks among the trees, and that their investigation will lead them to an outcome that is both tragic and shocking.
   */5  Do I really have to say something about these?……
    */5  Jack Howard is about to discover a secret. Perhaps the greatest secret ever kept What if one of the Ancient World’s greatest libraries was buried in volcanic ash and then re-discovered two thousand years later? What if what was found there was a document that could shatter the very foundations of the Western World? What if you were the one who discovered this secret? And were then forced to confront terrifying enemies determined to destroy you to ensure it goes no further? This is the story of one last Gospel, left behind in the age
of the New Testament, in the greatest days of the Roman Empire, and of its extraordinary secret, one that has lain concealed for years. Follow Jack Howard as he discovers the secret and must prevent others from doing the same…
  */5 (The Segonzac secret) France.  Friday March 13th 1758. A young man is gallopping through the forest along the river. The house of his father his final destination, one of the most famous teachers of arme that France has ever had, and despite a woman, experienced in divinatory arts, has dissuaded him to embark on the trip in that gloomy day, the man proceeds calm. Suddensly a gun shot grazes him on the temple, the leap of the horse dashes him beyond the bridge and into the water. He hardly succeeds to rise, when the stain he sees two armed men coming out the stain. He knows he has no enemies, so who want him dead? In a up and down of traps and duels, fantastic escapes and overwhelming love stories, the young Segonzac has to deal with the perfidious Fabienne, powerful and cruel, for his life and happiness.
   **/5 The Unexpected Guest opens with a stranger, Michael Starkwedder, driving his car into a ditch and heading to a nearby house for assistance.  Entering the house when there is no answer to his repeated knocking, he discovers a beautiful woman, Laura Warwick, clutching a gun near the lifeless body of a man in a wheelchair, Richard Warwick, who has been shot through the head.  Although she quickly confesses to having murdered her husband, Michael Starkwedder, for reasons unknown, convinces her to allow him to manipulate the crime scene to make it seem as though someone else has killed Mr. Warwick.  Throughout the course of the investigation, at various points it seems as though multiple different characters could have been guilty of the murder, with the various characters attempting to take the blame in order to shield the person who they believe to have committed the crime.
  **/5  (My soul is wherever you are) The event starting it all, is a homicide of the wine producer Domenico Moresco, found dead on a date with depth religious and partisan symbolism, the Sunday of Easter of April 25 th 2011, and according to the best thriller tradition, a backtracking that will dig in the hidden and darkest secrets of the second postwar period. A plot of intrigues and corruptions in which will also participate clergymen and politicians, centered around a treasure,a beautiful unlucky girl and shades of betrayal.
  **/5  Isabel has been asked for her help in a rather tricky situation: A successor is being sought for the headmaster at a local boys’ school. The board has three final candidates but has received an anonymous letter alleging that one of them has a very serious skeleton in the closet. Could Isabel discreetly look into it? And so she does. What she discovers about all the candidates is surprising, but what she discovers about herself and about Jamie, the father of her young son, turns out to be equally revealing. Isabel’s investigation will have her exploring issues of ambition, as well as of charity, forgiveness, and humility, as she moves nearer and nearer to some of the most hidden precincts of the heart.
   *****/5  Rutherfurd celebrates America’s greatest city in a rich, engrossing saga that showcases his extraordinary ability to combine impeccable historical research and storytelling flair. As in his earlier, bestselling novels, he illuminates cultural, social, and political upheavals through the lives of a remarkably diverse set of families.  As he recounts the intertwining fates of characters rich and poor, black and white, native born and immigrant, Rutherfurd brings to life the momentous events that shaped New York and America: the Revolutionary War, the emergence of the city as a great trading and financial center, the excesses of the Gilded Age, the explosion of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the trials of World War II, the near-demise of New York in the 1970s and its roaring rebirth in the ’90s, and the attacks on the World Trade Center. Sprinkled throughout are captivating cameo appearances by historical figures ranging from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Babe Ruth.
   *****/5  Revealing and intimate, based on more than 100 interviews with key figures in his life, this is the definitive biography of Queen front man Freddie Mercury, one of pop music’s best-loved and most complex figures. In her journey to understand Mercury, Jones traveled to London, Zanzibar, and India—talking with everyone from Freddie’s closest friends, to the sound engineer at Band Aid (who was responsible for making Queen louder than the other bands), to second cousins halfway around the world, an intimate and complicated portrait emerges. Meticulously researched, sympathetic yet not sensational, Mercury offers an unvarnished, revealing look at the extreme highs and lows of life in the fast lane.
  *****/5  Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.
   */5  Behind the well-known U.S. security organizations– the FBI and CIA among them–lies a heavily guarded, anonymous government agency dedicated to intelligence surveillance and to a highly specialized brand of citizen protection. Shock waves of alarm ripple through the clandestine agency when Washington, D.C., police detective Ryan Kessler inexplicably becomes the target of Henry Loving, a seasoned, ruthless “lifter” hired to obtain information using whatever means necessary. While Loving is deft at torture, his expertise lies in getting an “edge” on his victim–leverage–usually by kidnapping or threatening family until the “primary” caves under pressure.
   ***/5  (Secrets of New York) So much has been told, seen and wrote about New York. But, behind the sparkling of the skyscrapers, a lot of stories still has to be told. It’s in the still intact corners , in the “accursed places, lost places”, that Augias finds the threads of the hidden story of the city and delineates a fascinating and unconventional itinerary through it.
 
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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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What were going on……….

……..while I posted about Boston & New York City! The following, a little bit at random…..

January, dinner out with husband’s cousin and his partner, just to wish me to have a good trip

a sunday with friends to wish me a very warm welcome back!

Dinner at some friends’ home before they left for a week of skiing….

February, heavy snow in my hometown….

Out with friends to celebrate Mardi Gras

Our Valentine dinner at home….daughter M cooked the fish, I made the pizza, my mom bought the cake and my husband…..eat it all!

 

Japanese lunch out with office collegues

All the girls out for lunch, celebrating friend R’s birthday

Sunday in Bologna, wandering around through a multiethnic and artisans fair

 

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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And then, it was over

The last full day we had in NYC was dedicated to Brooklyn

After a long subway ride we were finally there………

From Brooklyn to Manhattan through the bridge it’s about 2,50kms and the weather was good, the sun bright and shining, why not?

It was a “no way” considering that at 1.00pm it was -7C……….as you can see………..

So we took a walk to just the first arch………..

It was incredible to be actually there! We kept walking back to the mainland (see my daughter feet with her newly bought Hugg)

and we had lunch in a cozy and cheap place full of music just at the corner of the street they used as a set for Once upon a time in America…..

In spit of the cold wind, the sun invited for a walk, so we wandered through the area

till the neighborhood of Williamsburg where there’s a big Jewish community………..

The very best we saw there? This…..

Late in the afternnon, back in Manhattan, we had one last thing to look for, this one on the 6th Avenue….

Yes, New York City, it was such an amazing experience being there and walk through your streets, gardens and parks, meet your people, eat in your nice restaurants, visit your museums and buildings. We left you with such  heavy hearts, we knew there were so much more to enjoy………but we made a promise to be back someday, somehow………….

Yes, New York City………….we so much love you!

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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