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Early Christmas For Italian Man As Vespa Turns Up 35 Years After It Was Stolen

When his shiny new Vespa was swiped off the streets of Milan in 1976, its owner figured it was gone for good. And then last week, a call arrived from the police in Sicily. A nice holiday surprise, but at 84, the reunited owner may have to let someone else

Classic Vespa 50 Special (Jen Camera)
Classic Vespa 50 Special (Jen Camera)


MILAN - Just in time for the holidays, an 84-year-old Milan resident has been reunited with his…Vespa.

The classic Italian scooter, a Vespa 50 Special, which had been stolen in Milan 35 years ago, was found in Sicily (more than 900 miles to the south) on a routine police roadside check near the village of Buccheri.

The man was 49-years-old when he bought the white 50 Special, among the most popular models of the 1970s, still considered an icon of Italian design with its long saddle for two seats, and the box on one side. The recovered vehicle was in surprisingly good condition, despite a bit of rust and part of the box missing.

Police called the home of the registered owner, whose son answered. "My dad will be happy," he said. Indeed the holiday reunion story has one last serendipitous nugget: though he's lived in Milan since his youth, the victim is a native of the Sicilian city of Catania, just up the road from where his long-lost scooter was found.

Read more in Italian from La Stampa

Photo - Jen Camera

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The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.

People on foot, on bikes, motorcycles, scooters and cars navigate through a flooded street during the day time.

Karachi - People wade through flood water after heavy rain in a southern Pakistani city

Xinhua / ZUMA
Axel Bojanowski


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

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