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TOPIC: sicily


Can The Sicilian Mafia Keep Up With Cocaine Warlords Of Neighboring Calabria?

After the fall of the Sicilian Mafia boss of bosses Matteo Messina Denaro, it's time for Cosa Nostra to rebuild, and they'll be taking inspiration from their own past, but also must face the rising power of the 'ndrangheta in the neighboring region of Calabria

PALERMO — How is Cosa Nostra doing without its king?

Palermo prosecutor Maurizio Delucia takes a moment before offering his view on where the Sicilian Mafia may be heading. It's been a complicated period since even before — and especially after — the January arrest of the last top boss Matteo Messina Denaro, as the legendary Cosa Nostra clan has fallen behind the neighboring 'ndrangheta from the region of Calabria, in both wealth and power.

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Ambush Kills Niger Troops, Drones Hit Ukraine Grain Silos, Harrison Ford Snake

👋 Adishatz!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where at least 17 Niger soldiers are killed in an attack by suspected jihadists near the border with Mali, Russian drones strike grain silos along the Danube River and, yes, Harrison Ford, it had to be snakes. For our special Summer Reads edition of Worldcrunch Today, we feature an article by Jan Schulte in German daily Die Welt — and three other stories from around the world on architecture.

[*Occitan, France]

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Sicily, My Sicily — A Lament From Inside The Inferno

Segesta, Sicily is in flames, with fires spreading throughout the region. A local author describes scenes of apocalypse, which although not unusual on the wildfire-prone island, grow worse every year — and nothing is done about it.

SEGESTA — It's very early in the morning, 7 a.m., when I receive a frantic phone call from my sister in San Vito Lo Capo, in the northwestern part of Sicily, near Trapani. She tells me that a part of her house and all the surrounding land are on fire. She’s been there since four in the morning, she said, and has been helping the firefighters keep the fire under control.

I'm in my car and on the way to help her before she can finish speaking. On the way, the lady that helps me keep my house in Palermo calls me. She tells me that nobody can hang laundry on the balconies because they are covered in ash. Everything is covered with a thick black veil that dirties everything — cars, houses, people. What she describes is something that I imagine people must have experienced during major volcanic eruptions.

The whole of Sicily is burning. Segesta and the archeological park area are on fire. The woods around the ancient abbey of San Martino Delle Scale, Monreale and the Ficuzza forest nature reserve — they’re all burning.

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The 'White Lotus' Effect? Tourism Is Booming In Southern Italy

Madonna, the TV show The White Lotus, fashion shows, weddings — little by little, the beauty of neglected regions like Sicily and Puglia has rightfully emerged in the algorithm of digital desire. Finally, the secret power of Southern Italy has gained a global audience.

The trend began with British aristocrats who, at the end of the 17th century, embarked on what was known as the Grand Tour. Then, in the 18th century, this fashion extended to the courts of Northern Europe, as rumors spread about the fascinating Italian Peninsula. In the 19th century, it was all about Byron, Shelley and Keats – the rebellious rockstars of romantic poetry – who added their celebrity stamp of approval before the arrival of the American nouveaux riches (including Mark Twain).

What started as an English fashion has long since become a global tradition: after France, the U.S. and Mexico, Italy was the 4th most visited country in the world in 2022. Now, there’s a new twist in the digital age: Italy’s global allure is updating and focusing on the South.

What’s different is that in the last decade or so – slowly at first and then with a sudden surge – foreign tourists, who used to concentrate on breathtaking destinations in the northern “Portofino” of Italy, now venture throughout the entire country. Not long ago, Naples was seen merely as a gateway to Capri or the Amalfi Coast – long established luxury spots – rather than the unmissable destination it is today.

Puglia, long frequented by only a few pioneers, has been the talk of the town for years now. And today, the desire for Sicily is surfacing all over the world. But what is the reason behind this boom? And how has the international perception of Southern Italy changed?

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Niccolò Zancan and Giuseppe Legato

"Here, He Wasn't Hiding" — How Mob Boss Messina Denaro Defied His Fugitive Status

Italy's most-wanted fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro lived in the open in a small town in Sicily, near his birthplace, thanks to widespread silence and complicity from his neighbors. It was essential to evading police for more than 30 years.

CAMPOBELLO DI MAZARA — Matteo Messina Denaro certainly wasn't hiding down at the bottom of some well.

Arrested in January at a clinic in Palermo, Italy’s most-wanted mob boss had been living freely and openly in this small Sicilian town, surrounded by neighbors who somehow never saw him.

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Micaela Gómez, Esteban Fuentes, Mailén Ruiz and Martín Scarfi

Pizza And Maradona: Full Circle From Naples To Buenos Aires

The Maseiantonios, whose roots are in Naples, left their native Italy in search of opportunities and, like so many other Italians, found Buenos Aires. There, they offer the native Neapolitan recipe of pizza to the country that offered Naples its most delectable sports star.

BUENOS AIRES — With the soft-rock Italian crooner Renato Zero sounding in the background, Paola Maseiantonio kneads the dough in one of two pizza joints her family runs in Buenos Aires. She prepared the dough early that day, using a recipe brought over from her hometown of Naples, Italy. Her youngest son, Kevin, looks on. The 30-year-old is the pizza chef at this branch of Maldito Tano, where the menu includes the Maradona, a rectangular pizza to honor the late soccer legend.

Fans of the sport know that Maradona played for the Napoli club in Naples between 1984 and 1992, where his magical skills on the pitch made him a cult-like figure in the city, no less than in his native Argentina.

Years later, in 2019, the Maseiantonios left Italy to escape its "economic crisis," though many Argentines will wonder how they could end up picking an even more dysfunctional economy. The first to "flee" was Paola's spouse Carlo Primo, who toured the continent looking for a place to open a pizzeria. After Canada, the United States and Mexico, he arrived in Argentina, which he decided was the perfect spot.

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Carl-Johan Karlsson

How The Mafia Is Moving Into Renewables And Other "Clean" Sectors

Mobster shootouts may be a thing of the past, but organized crime is still Italy’s biggest business. And the Mafia has changed its business model, expanding into cybercrime, cryptocurrency and even renewable energy.

As mobster shootouts and drug cartels have gravitated from the top of the evening news to bingeable series on streaming services, it could seem that traditional organized crime networks are in terminal decline. Even on the Italian island of Sicily, where Cosa Nostra essentially invented the modern mob, the attention garnered by high-profile murders in the early 1990s, and the subsequent arrest of some 4,000 mafiosi since, have given way to a lower-profile, less violent Mafia era.

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Clémence Guimier

Sicilian Mafioso Teaches 9 Year-Old Granddaughter To Count Dirty Money

Grandpa, pass the unmarked 20s....

There are countless ways to teach a kid mathematics: fingers, peas in bowls, catchy songs — or, like this Italian grandpa from Partinico, Sicily, by counting dirty money.

As Italian daily La Stampa reports, after taking his nine-year-old granddaughter to school or to the swimming pool, the suspected mobster would sell cocaine. Later, after the deal was done, he would turn to the girl to help tally up his daily gains, using her as his personal cashier-in-training as he taught her to count bills.

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Jacopo Lentini

The Solitude Of Sicily's Tunisian Wives And Widows

Most Tunisian men in the Sicilian port town of Mazara del Vallo work in the fishing industry. But while they're out at sea, their wives stay home, where the rules of tradition leave little room for integration.

MAZARA DEL VALLO — In her home in this historic fishing port in western Sicily, Habiba Harrazi prepares three different types of makroud, the typical sweets of Tunisia. "Dates, chickpea flour and sorghum," she explains to those who want to place an order.

Cooking used to be a pastime, but since her husband, Salem Alilou, died in 2018, it became much more than that. Her son is a college student in Siena, and Habiba's monthly income consists of her 500-euro survivor pension. And so, to make ends meet, she cooks. "I also embroider clothes for weddings," she says in her blue and white tiled living room, which overlooks the street.

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food / travel
Alessio Perrone

Summer Holiday Can’t Quite Escape The Virus, Or The Office

Earlier this week, as I packed my things for my first post-pandemic vacation, my eyes and mind dwelled on the object I spend more time with than any other: my laptop.

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Bertrand Hauger

Sicilian Smiles

Our trip to Sicily came just as legendary Italian magistrate Giovanni Falcone was launching the widest-ranging anti-Mafia probe ever. This light-hearted moment in Palermo reminds me of the famous photo of Falcone and fellow magistrate Paolo Borsellino, each assassinated soon afterward by the Mafia.


Watch: OneShot — Open-sea Rescue Of Immigrants

OneShot — Open-sea rescue of immigrants, 2015 (©Francesco Zizola/NOOR)

OneShot is a new digital format to tell the story of a single photograph in an immersive one-minute video.

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