Montrealer to Represent North Americans in Italian Senate
Montrealer Basilio Giordano, 56, was elected to the Italian Senate in general elections that were held last April. Italian law allows Italian citizens living abroad to elect representatives to both the Italian senate and legislature. In all, 12 seats in the legislature and six seats in the senate are set aside for the 60 million Italians said to be living abroad. Giordano, who is the publisher of the Montreal Italian-language weekly Cittadino Canadese, ran under Silvio Berlusconi’s right wing coalition. Torontonian Gino Bucchino was re-elected to the Italian lower house under Walter Veltroni’s left-wing coalition.
Organized Crime Buster Saviano in Canada
Author of the controversial international bestseller Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano was in Canada recently to promote his book. A play on the word Camorra, which is the Neapolitan underworld equivalent of the Sicilian Mafia, the book exposes the corrupting influence of Italian organized crime, which seems to have a hand in all aspects of daily life, from construction to garbage collection (or lack thereof). Dubbed the Italian Salman Rushdie, Saviano was surrounded by bodyguards during his appearance at Montreal’s Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival. Said the 29-year-old of the threats to his life and his round the clock protection, “in a way the Camorra has already succeeded in killing me. The inability to move about freely and without fear is a form of death.”
Rome Boasts Biggest Mosque in Europe
On the northern outskirts of Rome, not far from St Peter’s Basilica sits the Grand Mosque of Rome, Europe’s largest mosque, and the third largest mosque in the world. The idea of a Roman mosque began in the 1960s with a group of Arab ambassadors, but was met with fierce opposition by the Italian government. This changed after 1973, when King Faisal of Saudi Arabia visited Rome. Completed in 1995 with Saudi money, the Grand Mosque of Rome occupies three hectares of land donated by Rome’s city council and can accommodate over 2000 worshippers. Nearly two million people in Italy are believed to be Muslim. In the city of Mecca, the birthplace of the prophet Mohammed and Islam’s holiest site, it is prohibited to build churches under Saudi law.
Event to Focus on Impact of Italian Canadian Writing
The Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW) will join forces with the Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto for its biennial conference on November 14-16, 2008. The scope of this national event is to assess the function, influence, and visibility of Italian Canadian writing both within the Italian Canadian community and on the Canadian literary landscape. Open to the public, the conference will also host literary readings and a display of works by visual artists of Italian origin. For more information go to www.aicw.ca
Italy's Gay Mafiosi Afraid of Coming Out, Prosecutor Says
The Italian Mafia's gay bosses are afraid of coming out because they would get tossed out of the organisation, said Palermo prosecutor Antonio Ingroia. Ingroia told the YouTube show Klauscondicio that the Italian Mafia is an “archaic organisation” which still discriminates against gays. “Being gay is still a taboo for Italian society in general, let alone the Mafia. These bosses have to cover their homosexuality; they're afraid because they risk being tossed out.” Ingroia said the Italo-American Mafia had “a more broad-minded attitude towards gays and so gay bosses can come out.”
New Library for Books by Italian Canadians
The Oshawa Italian Recreation Club (OIRC) of Ontario has invested in a long-term literary project which bridges generations. The OIRC has started a library dedicated to books by Italian Canadian writers, thus making a body of literature available not only to Club members, but to the public at large in the City of Oshawa. Gina Valle and the Association of Italian Canadian Writers facilitated the acquisition of books from across Canada and the library now has works in Italian, English, French and in multiple dialects.
Windsor’s Tour di Via Italia
This coming Labour Day weekend will mark the fiftieth year for the Tour di Via Italia in Windsor, Ontario. Such longevity is a milestone for any sporting event. The first organizers of that street race in 1958 set the stage for North America’s glimpse at this exciting sport. Who could have predicted that, in time, this continent would produce Tour de France winners such as Greg LeMonde and Lance Armstrong, as well as countless other Olympic and world champions. Only twice in the history of this race have Windsorites won the event: Aldo Sfalcin raised his hands in victory 43 years ago and Daniele De Franceschi did the same in 2006. Since the inception of the Via Italia race, hundreds of cyclists have come to Windsor for this exciting Criterium. Frankie Andreau, for instance, a nine-time Tour de France competitor and Armstrong’s team-mate, has raced the pro event for years and plans to help with the commentary this year. The main event, however, is certainly not the only event of the day. Children’s fun races, as well as junior men’s and women’s races, and various other categories for all ages will take place prior to the final pro event. For more information, go to www.tourdiviaitalia.com.
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