This question is asked by Fergal Keane on the BBC web site in this article. This is the first two paragraphs.
What is it about the Italians? They smoke more than us, they earn less, their economy is in even worse shape than ours, they spend less on healthcare, and yet – they live longer. Not just a bit, but a whopping 18 months more on average.
They also have more years of good health before disease and disability set in.
Only speculation is offered as to the reeason of Italian longlivity. Although I do find this statement interesting.
There have been improvements in living standards here of course. But Alan Maryon-Davis, honorary Professor of Public Health at King’s College London suggests that Italy is a more cohesive and less divided society than ours. He said “There is a flatter social gradient – less difference between the haves and have-nots in Italy, and that is likely to play a role in health outcomes.”
He also speculated whether the British psyche was fatalistic when it came to illness: “I wonder if many people feel that they can ignore their health for decades in the expectation that the NHS will be there to bail them out when they get into trouble.”
Especially, as I had similar thoughts a week or so ago in this article.
It would be enlightening to see how long Italians, who have lived in the UK for some time, live! After all, if you are from an Italian family in the UK, you probably eat like an Italian, even if your family arrived here decades ago.
The article gives a lot of food for thought.
Knowing the Irish as I do, I think that they’ll have a good party.
This article on the BBC’s web site shows that nimbys get everywhere, even in Italy. But it is a fascinating article about a rail tunnel between Italy and France. Christian Fraser, the author, puts this case in favour of the tunnel.
The pro-tunnellers employ a mixture of hyperbole and hard-nosed economic home truths as they argue for the project. The Atlantic will reach out to the Urals via this new link, they cry. Freight trains will zoom to and fro, boosting the shambling economies of southern Europe. Of greater interest to British tourists – skiers like me – is that the journey time from London to Milan will be cut to just six hours.
With those against as follow.
The naysayers insist that the tunnel will be an ugly, expensive white elephant. They point out that the existing trans-Alpine road and rail routes seem to cope very nicely, thank you. They claim that projections of traffic were drawn up 20 years ago and are hopelessly out-of-date. And they are worried about potentially dangerous minerals that are buried underneath the mountains being released into the air and water.
Hand on heart, even the keenest of protesters would struggle to claim the Susa Valley was an area of outstanding beauty. A narrow pass, it is already crammed with the clutter of human development – a motorway stalks across the valley floor on gigantic stilts, elevated above railway lines, quarries and factories.
But he also describes the action taking place.
In Italy, they have lobbied tenaciously – and at times violently – in their fight against the rail link between Lyon and Turin. Some 400 people were injured in clashes with the police last year when the tunnel site was first fenced off.
I know that area reasonably well, as I’ve driven through it and flown over it in a light aircraft several times. It is one of those areas, where if asked to dig a tunnel, your first action would be to ask if there was an easier route.
I don’t know the economics of this rail route, but I suspect that in the future some route will be completed to allow passengers to take the train from London and Paris to Rome or Milan.
This article from the BBC’s web site, describes how the Italian tax man is getting to grips with the country’s tax avoidance.
The Italians are finding it all a bit intrusive and with an election coming up, the tactics of the taxmen are an election issue.
According to the article, the United States uses a similar system, which links the amount of expenditure you have, with the income you need to sustain that lifestyle.
I’ve met many people over the years, who seemed to live very well, with no visible means of support.
So perhaps we need that sort of system here!
I stayed there once on a visit to the Aeolian Islands. Everybody should try to go to these islands at least once in their life.
I haven’t been to Bologna for many years, but I enjoyed the food there. However, this lady, who is a vegetarian, finds the city difficult as she reports.
I suspect though, as it’s Italy, coeliacs get treated correctly.
Silvio Berlusconi has apparently got a new girlfriend according to this article in the Daily Telegraph and quite a few others.
The man’s rather a joke and let’s hope the Italian people see sense and keep him away from office. But they do seem to keep electing him!
I know it is a serious matter, but it is being reported that Spurs supporters have been attacked in Rome using iron bars. It’s here on the BBC web site. This is an extract.
The owner of the bar, Mario Manzi, told the BBC: “At 1am there were around 30 English fans here, plus some American students, and some Italians.
“At some point, from around the corner, some 40 guys, all wearing helmets, faces covered with scarves, came here, destroyed that window, and came in.
“The English people hid behind here, and everything was destroyed. There were rocks, iron bars, everything.”
He said: “The English fans were very calm, they weren’t even drunk, then these men with heads covered came barging in throwing cobblestones. They had clubs and metal rods. It lasted about 20 minutes.”
Now where do you get iron bars from? Not that I want to get any. But it does seem to be an expression used with violence.
Berlusconi has been found guilty and sentenced to time in jail.
Perhaps he should serve it in a womens’ prison.
Tower Hamlets council have a problem about what to do with a Henry Moore sculpture that they own. It’s all here on the BBC.
In some ways, the problem has been brought on, by the success of public statues. Look at most big stations these days and they have large sculptures. St. Pancras has two. So there are a lot of them about and because many are made from valuable bronze, they are just too tempting for thieves. But I’ve never heard of one being nicked in even a moderately-sized railway station, as the security is just too high. Or even it actually isn’t high, railway stations tend to be busy places with a good mobile phone signal and someone would probably call the police.
So perhaps, one of the first places to place a valuable statue is in a suitable railway station. but there are only four stations in Tower Hamlets. Only Shoreditch High Street station would probably be large enough. But it would probably be impossible to place a very heavy sculpture now, the station is built.
So it’s a real problem.
A practical idea might be to keep it indoors in a special museum, paid for by the money, that would otherwise be used for insurance. I have a feeling that some of the famous statues in Florence and other places in Italy have been moved indoors, not to protect them from vandals and thieves but the weather. This happened to Michaelangelo’s statue of David.
But whatever happens, we must make sure it is not stolen and melted down.