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    Paolo Nespoli pictured ahead of the mission in July this year. Photo: Vyacheslav Oseledko/ AFP Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli returned to Earth on Thursday after 139 days in space. He landed at 9:38 Italian time in Kazakhstan, along with fellow crew members American Randy Bresnik of the United States and Russian Sergei Ryazansky. To celebrate the final day of his mission to the International Space Station, Nespoli -- who is the European Space Agency's oldest working astronaut -- shared an incredible timelapse video showing Italy lit up at night. The return journey took just three hours as the trio travelled at 28,000 kilometers per hour, and Nespoli used a typically Italian simile to describe the feeling of the impact with the ground. According to him, it felt just like "a Fiat 500 in a head-on collision with a large lorry". The landing capsule touches down in Kazakhstan. Photo: Dimitry Lovetsky/pool/AFP The Lombard astronaut first travelled to space in 2007, and this has been his third such mission. In total, he has now spent over 300 days in space – a new record for an Italian astronaut. READ ALSO: Italian astronaut has first espre
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    Christmas shopping in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP For many of us, Christmas is a time of the year to indulge and treat ourselves, spending extra time with friends and family and tucking in to plenty of delicious food. But it's also a good time to think about helping those who might be having a less than merry Christmas. As a foreigner in Italy, it can be difficult to find out about opportunities to volunteer locally, particularly if your Italian skills need some work, so The Local has gathered together a list of ways to donate your time and money for a good cause across the country. If you know of any other charities which are accepting help or donations in Italy this Christmas, get in touch at news.italy@thelocal.com READ ALSO: Six quirky traditions that make an Italian Christmas Rome In Ostia, you can leave a gift for someone in need under a tree set up in the main square of the Rome suburb by a local charity aiming to show resistance to the recent mafia violence in the area. You can put any gift there -- just write on it whether it's most suitable for a man, woman, or child -- and it will remain up until Epiphany on January
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    Italy has passed a law that will allow people to decide what medical treatment they receive at the end of their life. The Italian Senate approved the legislation on Thursday by 180 votes to 71, with six abstentions. The result, which gave the final green light to a measure that passed the Lower House in April, met with applause from senators and campaigners. The new law will allow people to choose what medical intervention they wish to receive – or refuse – at the end of their life, including whether or not they want to be fed and hydrated artificially once they can no longer eat or drink by themselves. No medical treatment can be started or continued without the patient's informed consent, and if they are not able to communicate, doctors will have to refer to the wishes set out in their "biological testament", or living will.  "The senate has cleared the way for a civilized choice," wrote Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Twitter. "It's a step forward for human dignity." Gentiloni's Democratic Party (PD), backed by other parties on the left as well as the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), passed the measure despite opposition f
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    Anti-mafia police in Sicily. Photo: DIA/AFP Italian police were searching the homes and businesses of known allies of mobster Matteo Messina Denaro on Thursday, looking for hidden bunkers where the fugitive godfather may be hiding. Two hundred officers were executing search warrants in farmhouses and warehouses belonging to some 30 suspected gangsters in and around Castelvetrano, the mafia boss' hometown in Sicily, police said. The suspects have either been named in wiretaps or singled out by mafia turncoats. Investigators were looking in particular for hiding places in "grottoes, caverns or even bunkers inside buildings" where the man nicknamed "Diabolik" may be concealed, La Repubblica daily said. Denaro – once a trigger man who reportedly boasted he could "fill a cemetery" with his victims – has been on the run since 1993 and is believed to come and go regularly from the Italian island. The 55-year old is considered the most powerful figure in Cosa Nostra, the real-life Sicilian crime syndicate depicted in the Godfather movies. He is wanted for a string of crimes including dozens of murders. Known for his ruthlessness, he al
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    A woman in Milan wears a Vladimir Putin T-shirt. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP There is no evidence of Russian interference in recent votes in Italy, Italian intelligence agencies told parliament, after former US vice president Joe Biden suggested otherwise. In a recent article for Foreign Affairs magazine, Biden and his co-author stated that Russia attempted to sway Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform last year. “A similar Russian effort is now under way to support the nationalist Northern League and the populist Five Star Movement in Italy’s upcoming parliamentary elections,” they wrote. Yet the heads of Italy’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, AISI and AISE, this week reported to the parliamentary intelligence committee that they had found no evidence to support that claim despite “attentive monitoring”, Ansa reported. A few months from Italy’s general election, the centre-left government has sounded the alarm about the spread of misleading news stories online, most of them highly critical of the ruling Democratic Party. Some demonstrably false stories have been shared by websites and Facebook pages run by supporters of the
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    Deckchairs by the Tiber in 2008. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP Rome will turn its riverside into an artificial beach for summer 2018, the capital's mayor has announced. Inspired by the French capital's long-running Paris Plage, Mayor Virginia Raggi plans to convert 10,000 square metres of the Tiber's banks into a sandpit for sweltering Romans. "The Tiber runs through Rome but sadly, unlike many European cities, the river isn't a living, vibrant part of the city," Raggi said at the project's unveiling on Thursday. The temporary beach, to be located near the Marconi Bridge, is an effort to change that.  It will comprise a sports area and other attractions that the mayor hopes will "make the banks usable to Romans again".  The banks of the Tiber are free of cars and, in central Rome, have a two-way bike path. In the summer months, cyclists and pedestrians are joined by a string of temporary outdoor bars. The new beach, which will lie south of Rome's main tourist areas, could provide a welcome space for Romans to cool off in summer temperatures that have been known to hit 40 degrees Celsius, given that frolicking in the city's famous fountain
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    After 120 years, Juventus Football Club -- also known as The Old Lady of Turin -- has finally opened its doors to an elite women's team, which is shaking up the world of women's football in Italy. Since September, Rita Guarino's Juventus women have swept aside their rivals with eight wins from eight league games so far, including the last two champions Brescia and Fiorentina. Now Juve look poised to follow the success of their dominant men's team in Serie A.Italian national women's team coach Milena Bertolini sees the arrival of the new team as a sign that things are changing in a sport that is seen as one of the last men's strongholds in Italy."The arrival of Juventus has given a strong impetus to the whole movement," Bertolini told AFP as the national side are also poised to succeed where their men failed and qualify for their first World Cup since 1999. READ ALSO: A nation mourns: The saddest reactions to Italy's World Cup flop "We have spoken more about women's football in the last six months since the arrival of Juventus than in the last ten years."Juventus -- winners of a record 33 men's league titles, including the last six, 12 Italian Cups and tw
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    A man casts his ballot during Italy's constitutional referendum last December. File photo: AFP Italy's parliament is likely to be dissolved between Christmas and New Year, with an election expected in early March. Here's what you need to know ahead of the campaign. 1. The timeline The date has not yet been formally announced, but according to Italy's two biggest dailies, Repubblica and Corriere, March 4th is the expected date and has been agreed on by the country's main parties. Reuters cited a parliamentary source as saying that March 11th was another possible date and that a final decision was due shortly. Those are both Sundays, as is usual in Italy, to allow the largest proportion of eligible voters to cast their ballots. Italian President Sergio Mattarella, the man whose job it will be to call the next election. Photo: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva / AFP And this timing means that parliament will be dissolved at some point between Christmas and New Year, most likely on December 28th after current Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni holds an end-of-year conference. Gentiloni will, however, stay on as PM until a new government is formed. Under I
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    A statue of poet Ovid in the city where he was exiled. Photo: Kurt Wichmann/Wikimedia Commons Rome's city council has called for Ovid to have his exile from the Italian capital revoked -- 2,000 years after the ancient poet died. The Five Star Movement (M5S), which has the majority in the council and has said it is committed to correcting mistakes made by previous administrations, put forward the motion to rehabilitate Ovid. Doing so, it said, would "repair a grave wrong". The council unanimously approved the motion, which calls for "necessary measures" to be adopted to repeal the exile order, Repubblica reported. However, only the M5S took part in Thursday afternoon's vote.  Rome's deputy mayor and councillor for culture Luca Bergamo said the decision was "an important symbol because it's about the fundamental right of artists to express themselves freely in a society in which the freedom of artistic expression is more and more repressed". Ovid has previously been acquitted by a court in Sulmona, the Abruzzo town where he was born, which passed its verdict onto Rome authorities.  READ ALSO: Mythbusting Ancient Rome: Did all roads actu
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    Ryanair desks at Rome's Ciampino airport. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP AFP news@thelocal.it @thelocalitaly 15 December 2017 13:42 CET+01:00 Ryanair pilots in Italy are to suspend their planned strike action scheduled for Friday afternoon after management of the Irish low-cost airline offered to recognize unions for the first time, unions said. Management's move was "a very important first step," the Associazione Nazionale Professionale Aviazione Civile (Anpac) said in a statement, calling on its members to "suspend the strike scheduled today at 1-5 pm" local time. Earlier, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary had announced a conditional offer to recognize pilot unions in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, saying that "Christmas flights are very important to our customers and we wish to remove any worry or concern that they may be disrupted by pilot industrial action." The Dublin-based airline said it would recognize the unions "as long as they establish committees of Ryanair pilots... as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for
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