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La Stampa ("The Press") is a top Italian daily founded in 1867 under the name Gazzetta Piemontese. Based in Turin, La Stampa is owned by the Fiat Group and distributed in many other European countries.
Photograph of posters depicting children and relatives that have been kidnapped by Hamas.
FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War
Fabiana Magrì

Hostage Release: The "Psychological Terror" Of Awaiting Your Loved One's Return

Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to exchange 50 Israeli hostages held in Gaza for a four-day pause in fighting and the return of Palestinian prisoners. Orna Dotan, leading a team of therapists tasked with aiding these hostages and their families, takes us inside a uniquely charged personal and political situation.

TEL AVIV — Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to exchange 50 of the hostages held in Gaza for a four-day pause in fighting and the return of 150 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The families of the hostages, who have lived through the past seven fraught weeks, are now being thrown into a new experience as they await the possible release of their loved ones.

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They are living in a "state of psychological terror," one relative of a hostage said Thursday morning on Israeli radio after learning that there was a delay in the agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Volunteers have urged the media to handle the situation with respect and sensitivity as the next few hours are expected to be "exceedingly stressful" for these families. After six weeks without news of their children, husbands, wives, grandchildren, cousins, grandparents, and great-grandparents, these hours are the final barrier to embracing their loved ones.

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Inside Camp Jenin, Ground Zero Of The Simmering War In The West Bank
FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War
Francesco Semprini

Inside Camp Jenin, Ground Zero Of The Simmering War In The West Bank

A visit to so-called "Little Gaza," where destruction reigns and children roam with rifles in their hands. But the enemy isn't just the IDF, it is also the Palestinian Authority — and become prime recruiting territory for Hamas.

CAMP JENIN — Two horses stationed at the intersection of dirt roads mark the entrance to the Jenin refugee camp. "Welcome to Little Gaza."

An open-air powder keg, watched by Israeli drones from which Palestinians seek refuge by hoisting dark tents from one building to another. Macabre kites which draw a suffocating cover over the maze of alleyways and streets. There is no open space that isn't marked by debris left from the Israeli army's increasingly frequent raids.

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Raids which happened even before October 7, the day Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli civilians.

We enter Camp Jenin the day after one of the most intense clashes between the IDF and the internal resistance on this site.The Israeli forces penetrated the refugee camp, resulting in 15 casualties. "Why us, why here?" cries a woman sitting on a battered plastic chair while trying to cradle her toddler.

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Photograph of ​Omar Di Felice in Antarctica with his bike.
Andrea Joly

Meet The Italian Extreme Cyclist Set To Attempt Solo Antarctica Crossing

The Italian cyclist, Omar Di Felice, is setting out across Antarctica in the ultimate test of athletic endurance and mental fortitude. In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Di Felice shares how he keeps himself going during the endless hours of total solitude as well as the activism that fuels his extreme adventures.

TURIN — Designer. Writer. Graphic artist. Promoter. Video-maker. Activist. At 42, Omar Di Felice has done it all and continues to do it all. But if his profession had to be given a name, it would be this: "Superman on wheels."

"Extreme cyclist," he suggests, but that wouldn't do justice to the past six years in which his deep love for bicycles has become his full-time job.

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He has peddled 994 miles non-stop from Paris to Rome. He was the first person in history to cycle to Everest base camp. He completed the Arctic Tour in 2022 and won the longest and most iconic self-supported ultra-cycling race, the Trans America (4350 miles) last June.

His next great adventure began this week when he departed by plane for Chile, the first leg of a journey that will take him on the "most extreme and challenging adventure ever undertaken on a bicycle": crossing the Antarctic in winter, covering 963 miles of ascents, katabatic winds, and temperatures dropping as low as minus 40 degrees centigrade.

And to add to this: he's doing it all on his own.

Start of a journey

His passion for two-wheelers began at the age of 13: "I told my parents then and there: I wanted to be a cyclist. I had a bit of a shaky start, but in the end, I found my groove...".

Thousands of hours and miles later, in 2007, he turned professional: "But 'racing' wasn't for me: my true passion was endurance, covering long distances."

He left the pros and headed to university where he graduated with a degree in design, working in the field for some ten years: "I always did what I loved, even that job was very satisfying. At that time, I was training just for the pleasure of it, and perhaps to prove those people wrong who had told me, when I was a child, that my body wasn't suitable for cycling."

In 2012, he took five days off and cycled from Lourdes to Santiago de Compostela: "I made a small video of the experience, and Sky called me to ask if they could broadcast it. It was then that I understood what I was meant to be doing with my life."

Since then, Di Felice has accumulated thousands of miles worth of stories to tell, and has also found a way to raise awareness for an important cause.

"Climate change gave birth to the outreach project 'Bike to 1.5°C'. We go into schools, and we combine science and sports to send a clear, important message," he said.

"Every year, for example, I go to Iceland for a training camp. I train on the Forni glacier and, year after year, I see it shrink..."

\u200bOmar Di Felice looking at a map of Antarctica

Omar Di Felice charting his trip through Antarctica

Omar Di Felice/Instagram

Activism on wheels

Di Felice doesn't like the label "influencer": "I've got nothing against it, but that doesn't really capture what I am."

What about activist? "I suppose I am an activist , but not in the Italian sense. In Italy, we define 'activists' only as those who take to the streets, protestors: that's not how I raise awareness. Their form of protest is questionable, though it's done with the right spirit. I suppose we shouldn't judge young people fighting for a good cause: it's the politicians we should be berating."

When you spend so long in the middle of nowhere, totally alone, you learn many lessons.

Perhaps, he is both activist and influencer. "I set out, I pedal, I show those who follow me what I see," he says. "I highlight causes that, in my opinion, deserve more attention." Many of his stories seem to contain a fable-like moral, often directed towards societal issues.

"I got stuck in the Gobi Desert when the first pandemic broke out. Many families there live in tents and struggle to put food on the table for dinner, but they immediately offered me a bed and a meal. In Italy, we pick and choose who we care for: we should learn more from those who have far less."

He sends similar fable-like postcards back from India, Nepal, Greenland.

Photograph of Omar Di Felice cycling in the sunrise as he practices for his trip to Antarctica.

Omar Di Felice cycling before his trip to Antarctica

Omar Di Felice/Instagram

On solitude and failure

On November 12, he will attempt to cross Antarctica again, one year after his first attempt was interrupted due to personal reasons: "When you are there, in extreme conditions, you must not have negative thoughts. Otherwise, it's over."

His achievements have a lot to do with his athleticism — but even more to do with solitude and fear of failure.

"Today, no one spends time by themselves," he says. "Bombarded by the noise of the cities and always on the internet, we've lost the art of being alone. I simply do what humans have always done, in times when there was no technology. It makes me feel great."

And the fear of failure? "Some may say, 'A year ago, I failed, I gave up.' But I'm one of those people who thinks either I win or I learn. Young people, athletes and non-athletes, should erase this cult of wining and losing and talk more about the emotional journey of the challenges they go through. If I can't cross Antarctica this year, I will still have learned something new."

Ultimately, "it's about emotional growth," Di Felice says. "When you spend so long in the middle of nowhere, totally alone, only occasionally hearing the voice of your loved ones on the other end of a satellite phone, you learn many lessons. About life and about yourself."

Photograph of Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano
Federico Taddia

She's The Best Hope Of Knowing When Iceland's Most Dangerous Volcano Will Erupt

Originally from Tuscany, Sara Barsotti has spent the past decade leading the task force monitoring Iceland's major volcanic eruption threat, following all the warning signs as her family evacuates the small town they've been calling home.

Updated Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:40 p.m.

REYKJAVÍK — "We haven't slept since Friday; we're extremely tired. We look at each other, colleagues with red eyes and contorted faces, forcing each other to go home and rest for a few hours. But then the phone never stops ringing, the situation keeps changing, and our minds are always there, trying to understand what is happening and what will happen."

When Sara Barsotti speaks, it's clear that she hasn't lost her Tuscan accent. It's ever-present as she coordinates the volcanic hazard task force from the operational center of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) – Iceland's volcano observatory. It's the same accent with which she reassures her three children who have felt yet another earthquake in their Reykjavík home, advising them to go to the supermarket to get sushi for dinner because "mom will be very late, and the fridge is empty."

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While she communicates in English with other volcanologists, seismologists, and mathematical model experts in a seemingly endless series of meetings, she switches to Icelandic to update Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir on the evolution of the emergency.

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Closeup photo of a smartphone displaying the TikTok app icon
Sofia Li Crasti

Mob Influence? Italy's Mafia Is Turning To TikTok For New Recruits

Italy's highest-profile nemesis of organized crime networks, prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, discusses the mob's use of social networks, and how TikTok allows criminal organizations to advertise their lifestyle to impressionable viewers. Sound familiar?

NAPLES — "TikTok is the mob's most used social media platform. It is where the criminal world can showcase its wealth through golden watches and luxury cars, attracting ignorant young people who only want money, and are willing to put aside any ethics or morality."

These are the words of Nicola Gratteri, top anti-mafia prosecutor, now based in the southern city of Naples.

In an interview with La 7 television network, Gratteri analyzed the evolution of the mob's communication networks, which now leverage the influence of social media on the new generations to warp their perceptions of wealth and success.

Keeping up with new trends is not new for criminals. Gratteri explains: "the mafia has always behaved like a business, even a hundred years ago. For example, when mafia figures made substantial offerings to the church saint, in front of everyone, they were essentially engaging in advertising. It was a demonstration of power, similar to the acquisition, in the 1960s, of football coaches and teams, which then began climbing the competitive rankings."

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A photograph of a book about the importance of reading, held up against the tower of Capraia's library
Federico Taddia

When A Library Is Born On A Tiny Italian Island

Inside an old watchtower dangling over the crashing waves of the port of Capraia, dwell 6,000 books and their keeper: 33-year-old Viola, a librarian who took the time during the COVID-19 pandemic to ask herself, "What makes you truly happy?"

CAPRAIA — "The waves crashing loudly against the cliffs, the bad weather that prevents the ferry from arriving for days, the strong northeast wind making its presence felt... And then a handful of men and women, each with a kettle and their own cup of tea brought from home, protected inside the tower, reading a novel together: this, for me, is the library; this, for me, is building a community - building an identity - starting from books."

It almost seems as if, off in the distance, one can glimpse the Corsairs sailing on their galleys. Meanwhile, with the passionate gaze of someone who loves their land and the enthusiasm of someone who adores their job — actually, of someone who has realized their dream — Viola Viteritti, the librarian of Capraia, explains how the tower, built by the Genoese in 1540 to defend against pirates, is now home of what the Center for the Book and Reading has dubbed the most extraordinary library in Italy.

"I've spent four months a year on this island since I was born," she explains. "It's my home; it's the place where I feel good, where I am myself. As a child, I devoured books, but on the island, there was no place for books. When I chose to move here permanently, the library project started simultaneously. There couldn't have been a better cosmic alignment."

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Illustration of Antony Blinken speaking at a lectern with his face blurred, and a U.S. flag in the background
Alberto Simoni

Blinken's Faceless Diplomacy — A Secret Weapon For Post-War Peace?

Reserved, not accustomed to the spotlight, capable of taking a step back and not overshadowing the president. In this time of crisis, Antony Blinken navigates geopolitics with the president's full trust.


WASHINGTON — When he was Secretary of State, Colin Powell was famously reluctant to leave his office on the seventh floor of the Truman Building. In contrast, John Kerry had such a passion for traveling that he took 108 trips during his four years as the head of U.S. diplomacy.

Antony Blinken is clearly following in Kerry's footsteps. His shuttle diplomacy, with which he is trying to defuse the conflict in the Middle East — preventing it from spreading, protecting civilians, and projecting American leadership in the region — has so far tallied for 73 foreign stops.

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On Wednesday, he laid out his post-war vision of a united Palestinian state that connects Gaza and the West Bank. Earlier in the week, when reporters asked him if he had really achieved anything from his endless chain of meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Arab leaders and others, he qualified the current situation as a "work in progress"

It's a low-profile, cautious, and prudent expression for a reserved man, not used to the limelight, capable of taking a step back and not overshadowing the president.

Qualities for many, limitations for others.

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Photograph of a large explosion in the Susi mosque in the beach camp after it was bombed by Israeli planes.
FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War
Daniela Padoan

Why Hamas Aren't Nazis — Yet Israel's War On Gaza May Be Genocide

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have referred to Hamas militants as "the new Nazis." But as horrific as the Oct. 7 massacre was, what does it really mean to make such a comparison 80 years after the Holocaust? And how can we rightly describe what's happening in Gaza?

Updated Nov. 8, 2023 at 5:35 p.m.


TURIN — In these days of horror, we've seen dangerous equivalences, half-truths and syllogisms continue to emerge: between Israelis and Jews, between Palestinians and Hamas, between entities at "war."

The conversation makes it seem that there are two states with symmetrical power. Instead, on one side, there is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization with both a political and a military wing; on the other, a democratic state — although it has elements in the majority that advocate for a mono-ethnic and supremacist society — equipped with a nuclear arsenal and one of the most powerful armies in the world.

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And in the middle? Civilians violated, massacred, and taken hostage in the horrific massacre of Oct. 7. Civilians trapped and torn apart in Gaza under a month-long siege and bombardment.

And then we also have Israeli civilians led into war and ideological radicalization by a government that recklessly exploits that most unhealable wound of the Holocaust.

On Oct. 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to Hamas militants as "the new Nazis." On Oct. 24, he drew a comparison between Jewish children hiding in attics to escape terrorists and Anne Frank. On the same day, he likened the massacre on Oct. 7 to the Babij Yar massacre carried out in 1941 by the Einsatzgruppen, the SS operational units responsible for extermination. In the systematic elimination of Jews in Kyiv, they deceitfully gathered 33,771 men and women, forced them to descend into a ravine, lie down on top of the bodies of those who were already dead or dying, and then shot them.

The "Nazification" of opponents, or the "reductio ad Hitlerum," to use the expression coined in the 1950s by the German-Jewish political philosopher Leo Strauss, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938, is a symbolic strategy that has been abused for decades to discredit one's adversary.

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