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Extra! Sarkozy's Republican 'Hold-Up'


"Scandals, lawsuits, and bankers chase him. What of it!" writes French news weekly Marianne in its cover story this week.

"Nicolas Sarkozy has but one goal: take back ultimate power on the "Republican" ticket."

The former president of France has rattled observers across the political spectrum with his initiative to rebrand his center-right party, the UMP, the "Republicans". The name-change was approved in a party assembly last weekend.

The French frequently refer to their country as simply "the Republic," and to be "Republican" usually means to exemplify French values. Marianne calls the move a "hold-up" on the French political system.

But the magazine also notes the hurdles Sarkozy faces in his bid to win back the presidency in 2017, from the allegations of corruption and abuse of power in his inner circle to the centrist challengers for the party's nomination.

Some have speculated that the name-change was less about PR to sway voters than a way to solidify his authority within the party. With the creation of the Republicans, Sarkozy enjoys the advantage of being both the founder and only chief.

The former president's push to reclaim power has been anything but subtle -- and neither has the coverage by Marianne, a longtime opponent of Sarkozy. When he launched his comeback in September, Marianne mocked the move as a veritable horror fim, "Sarko II: The Return."

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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