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Bella Italia?
Bella Italia?

TAORMINA — This picturesque seaside Sicilian town has the honor to host next month's crucial G7 summit of top global leaders, which will also be the first major world gathering for newly installed U.S. President Donald Trump.

It is also a unique opportunity, as then Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pointed out last October, for the entire island of Sicily to revamp its sometimes troubled image as the birthplace of the Mafia and highlight its history as a unique cradle of civilization and high culture. Apparently someone forgot to mention that to the public relations office of the summit.

Rome-based daily La Repubblica reports Tuesday that the photograph accompanying the digital press accreditation for foreign journalists for the May 26-27 meeting features a shady-looking young man in a traditional coppola hat, with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth and a sideways look fixated on a young woman under a parasol.

"G7, controversy over photo of man with coppola (hat)"

Giovanni Ardizzone, president of the Sicilian regional assembly, called for the immediate removal of the image. "Feeding the usual stereotypes about Sicilians serves no one, especially an Italy that is looking to relaunch itself." By late Tuesday, the image had been removed.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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