Slow, Expensive and Unpredictable Italian Law System to be Abolished

Young Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that to restore world confidence in Italy’s economy, the country’s legal system will require reforms. He said bureaucracy had become a great obstacle to international investments. Renzi indicated that his series of “reforms” will help speed up civil and corporate cases.

In Italy, eight years is needed to resolve a civil case as trials drag on and on with continuous appeals. Business contracts take three years to get a verdict, which is driving away foreign investment as Italy’s economy declines. Renzi intends the improvements to cut the legal backlog in half.

Court summer holidays would be cut short, new systems for court settlements is expected to make things easier and speed up company and family legal disputes.

Previous governments have attempted the same reforms, but to no positive results. According to Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, the move is highly ambitious because of budget constraints.

The Italian government also intends to introduce an “Unblock Italy” decree that would speed up infrastructure projects in Naples, Bari, Palermo and Catania.

Meanwhile, Renzi is scheduled to attend a European Union Summit in Brussels. Being in office for six months, the country has yet to see what Renzi can do, but his work had been highly criticised by the media, business groups and trade unions.


UK Foreign Office Called Out By Rome Mayor Over Pickpocketing Announcement

Rome city Mayor Ignazio Marino said that “London is worse” following the UK Foreign Office’s travel advisory regarding the increasing number of pickpocketing cases in the city. According to Marino, the advisory is “misleading and false” as he insisted that the situation in London is worse.

According to analysts, Marino is defending the city’s primary source of capital as having an image of a premier tourist destination. Marino claimed the advisory had the “whiff of inexistent superiority” and it was an insult to the locals of Rome. He pointed to international data regarding pickpocketing and other crimes in London being more severe than how Rome is.

The Foreign Office announced in its website acknowledged the low crime rate in Rome. In its advisory it said that coordinate gangs that included minors were very common in the big city centres. The FCO had announced particulars, including overcrowded buses, trains and main airports in Italy.

They warned that the gangs make use of hassles or jostling to distract their prey as their belongings are snatched away.

In the previous week in Rome, 32 suspected pickpocketers and snatchers have been surprised in action and had been arrested. According to local police, the tourists are the main victims of Rome’s gangs.


Rome’s High Tourist Prices Continue to Spark Disappointment From Visitors

An American couple staying in Rome had called the police after they were charged for €13 for an ice cream in a local store. James and Marian Luciani, travelling with a friend, had bought their ice creams at the Bar II Caffe. They were charged €42 for the three ice creams and a bottle of water they purchased.

According to James Luciani, they initially paid €59 for their dinner but € for an ice cream was too much. They thought it was a scam, so they called the police. Returning with the police, the menu clearly stated the price of the ice cream, which left them without any case.

Tourists in Rome had repeatedly been disappointed with the tourist prices in the country. In May the previous year, four British tourists were charged for €16 for ice creams near the Spanish Steps. The Roman Mayor had apologised to them and had given them a proper tour of Rome.

In Rome, different cafes serve different types of ice creams made from Gelato. While there is no shortage of ingredients for creating the sumptuous sweet, prices continue to rise. Most cafes also put the prices in small print, according to James Luciani.

Italian tourists have often complained about Rome’s prices. The Rome City Council had said that bad publicity could be the undoing of Rome and its tourism sector.


Pope Francis Praying for Iraqi Christians Trapped in the Ongoing Conflict

After the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS had invaded the northern regions of Iraq, Christians from Mosul were forced to flee. Iraq’s second largest city is home to many Christians, and Pope Francis had expressed them in his prayers during his Angelus blessing on Sunday. The Iraqi Christians “were persecuted and chased away” by the Muslims, who never took any possessions with them.

The semi-autonomous Kurdistan in Iraq had also chased away Christians in Iraq. According to reports, they were issued an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a high tax or be killed and executed. The Iraqi Christians were forced out of the community.

The Pope had also called for negotiations to finally end the conflict all over the world. He said that violence is not overcame with violence, but peace.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had also condemned ISIS for targeting Iraq’s Christians. He had compared them to the Daesh Terorrist Gang in Iraq’s Ninevah Province. He expressed that the terrorist group’s activities reveal the true nature of the ISIS.

Meanwhile, ISIS had issued complete control over Mosul, and exporters from Turkey and Germany express their concern regarding the invasion of the Turkish Consulate General with its staff taken as hostage.

The Turkish border trade with Iraq, amounted to $12 billion in the previous year is threatened, had 30% lower exports to Iraq from June 15 to July 15.


Pope Francis Leads Hectic Schedule

Pope Francis had cancelled his hospital appointment to say mass after an ‘unexpected disposition’. He cancelled to make way for his ‘intense schedule, as mentioned by the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

He elaborated that the Pope’s schedule begins at five in the morning, local Roman time, and has a full schedule for religious and diplomatic meetings.

Roman media had said that the Pope had a smile on his face despite looking tired. They verified that the pope was suffering a headache due to the heat wave in Rome this season.

He had received the President of Madagascar with a 10-minute audience and had delivered a speech to a Orthodox church delegation flawlessly. Therafter, his schedule was to meet two more Vatican cardinals.

Lombardi made it clear that the Pope has no health troubles and that his hospital appointment was routinary. The Pope is 77 years old and only has one full lung, which explains the concern over his health. Being one of the most important figure for the Catholic Church, the concern also increased after he was unable to complete his schedule in the previous weeks due to a stomach problem and extreme fatigue from his engagements.

The staff of the Gemell Hospital in Rome had banners prepared for Pope Francis should he had attended his appointment.


Sectarian Divisions May Make it Difficult for US to Support Iraq

US Secretary of State John Kerry will need to ensure that the US’ intention of supporting Iraq against the swiftly-progressing insurgency of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria does not clash with the Middle East’s sectarian divisions, including its ethnic and tribal components.

The Iraq crisis had also seen the US draw closer to Iran. The intention of Iran and the United States to create a security cooperative for Iraq has disappointed Saudi Arabia, who still fears that the latter may develop nuclear weapons technology, which could harm the entire region.

US President Barack Obama had said on US news media that the militant group ISIS may evolve into a global scale terrorism act. The Obama administration had ensured that Iraq will have the support of 250 military advisers and supplementary military supplies such as communication equipment. However, the US does not intend to directly involve itself in any military attack in Iraq.

John Kerry had travelled to Cairo and other areas of the Middle East to help stabilise the situation in Iraq. However, Sunni Arab leaders that Kerry met told him that the situation was not only about ISIS, but about the Sunni Muslims, which the ISIS is a part of, fighting back against the injustice of Shia Muslims, which many are political figures.

According to political analysts, if the US does not consider the possible impact of a military manoeuvre could do in Iraq carefully, then it could mean the overpowering of another side in the sectarian divide in the area.


Pope Francis Declares “Zero Tolerance” Against Paedophile Priests

Pope Francis said he will visit a group of Clergy sex abuse victims at the Vatican next month. He also said that three bishops are currently under investigation by the Vatican for sex-abuse related cases.

According to Pope Francis, he and the Catholic church will not give privileges to the Clergy in terms of committing crimes. He said the Church must go forward with “zero tolerance” against paedophile priests.

Francis will be celebrating with the half-dozen clergy victims a mass at the Vatican hotel he resides in. Sources said that the Pope has not yet confirmed any final date or the details of his meeting with the abuse victims.

However, support groups for Clergy abuses, including Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests Executive Director David Clohessy, said that the Pope’s meeting with abuse victims was very meaningless. He pointed out that it was only another gesture, a public relations improvement act, but it will bring no real reform to the Church or change its tolerance against paedophile priests.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian sees otherwise and said that the Pope’s meeting directly with the victims can be powerful because the Pope himself has the power to authorize changes in the clergy. Seeing firsthand the effects of these scandals can definitely help show the horrors faced by victims.


Prince Harry Surprises Colosseum Tourists as He Joins the Tour

His Royal Highness Prince Harry, in Rome for royal duties for two days, had many tourists surprised as he appeared in a casual outfit wearing a pale blue checked shirt and normal jeans. The young royalty arrived for a tour of the Colosseum’s amphitheatre in Rome.

He asked tour guide Barbara Nazaro if the Coloseeum’s tours were also open at night. Tourists were surprised to see the young prince among them in the crowd. Along with them, he listened to the guide, who told the story of the Colosseum and Rome’s emperors who watched gladiator battles, dramas and animal hunts.

A Canadian tourist, Wanda Quenneville, said that she was in shock and was excited at the same time. She considered it a highlight of their visit in Rome. The tourist, who came with her middle aged husband and children, said that she was jittery. Her children said that it was crazy and unbelievable that it was better than the Colosseum visit itself.

According to Royal Aides, Prince Harry requested to see the sights of Rome and do some tourism after his duties were over. He visited the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery and met veterans at a reception before he went on the tour.


St. Peter’s Square Crowded With Catholics Upon Canonization of Two Popes

Pope Francis’ canonization of two predecessors marks one of the biggest events in the Catholic Church. Hundreds of Catholic faithful from Rome and all over the world have gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were canonized during the weekend.

International media had dubbed the event “the day of the four Popes” because Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was the first Pope to resign from the position the previous year, had attended the canonization proceedings.

Thousands of pilgrims slept in St. Peter’s Square and they had surrounded the streets overnight to secure their ceremonial spots. The ceremony began at 0900 Saturday and lasted for about two hours.

Catholic faithful from Poland had worn their traditional national dress. Polish guides, priests and nuns were waving the red and white flag of Poland walking towards St. Peter’s Basilica. International media estimates that billions of Catholics have gathered for the ceremonies.

To ensure security during the ceremonies, 10,000 members of the security forces had been deployed for the event. Chilean priests had also carried two large cardboard cut-outs of the two Popes to be canonized to allow people to take pictures and post their photos on social media.


Presidential Election Will Push Through Despite Civil War in Syria

The Syrian Regime had announced that the June 3 Presidential Elections will push through despite the increasing violence and chaos in the country. According to Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham, the constitutional court will begin accepting presidential nominations on Wednesday. However, political analysts said that the elections will do nothing but change the name of the Syrian regimes leader, but make no new political improvements for the country.

Over 100,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war from 2011 up to present. Many of the casualties were civilians, who were victims of bombing and covert chemical attacks denied by both the Syrian Regime and Rebels. Upon the announcement of the election date, Syrian opposition activists reported barrel bombs raining all over neighbourhoods across Syria.

The elections may also prove troublesome given that millions of Syria’s population had taken refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Some of them had also migrated illegally to Europe.

Recently, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had visited a Christian village, which political analysts see as a campaign to help improve his chances of winning the upcoming elections on June 3. According to local media, Assad had promised the small Christian population of 10% will be defended by the Syrian military against foreign fighters joining he Syrian Rebels, namely Islam extremists.