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This Happened

This Happened—​November 21: IRA Strikes The Pubs Of Birmingham

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out numerous terrorist acts against Britain through the 20th century, but among the bloodiest were the Birmingham Pub Bombings in 1974 at the height of The Troubles.

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What were the Birmingham Pub Bombings?

On Nov. 21, 1974, 21 people were killed and 182 more were injured after concealed bombs were left off at two separate pubs in the city of Birmingham, England.

For 30 years, the British territory of Northern Ireland was consumed by sectarian violence known as “The Troubles”. In 2014, a senior officer of the Irish Republican army, one of the main factions in “The Troubles”, confessed to his role in the Birmingham bombings. He said the bombers hadn't intended to kill any civilians, but they were unable to phone the police in time to have the locations of the concealed bombs cleared after they were dropped off.

Who was responsible for the Birmingham Pub Bombings?

Six men were quickly arrested for the bombings, though little evidence was presented in the case against them. The men maintained their innocence, claiming that they were intimidated and beaten into signing false confessions. They served 16 years in prison before their convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeals in 1991.

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Society

Not Your Grandma's Nonna: How Older Women In Italy Are Reclaiming Their Age

Women in Italy are living longer than ever. But severe economic and social inequality and loneliness mean that they urgently need a new model for community living – one that replaces the "one person, one house, one caregiver" narrative we have grown accustomed to.

Not Your Grandma's Nonna: How Older Women In Italy Are Reclaiming Their Age

Italy is home to many elderly people and few young ones.

Barbara Leda Kenny

ROMENina Ercolani is the oldest person in Italy. She is 112 years old. According to newspaper interviews, she enjoys eating sweets and yogurt. Mrs. Nina is not alone: over the past three years, there has been an exponential growth in the number of centenarians in Italy. With over 20,000 people who've surpassed the age of 100, Italy is in fact the country with the highest number of centenarians in Europe.

Life expectancy at the national level is already high. Experts say it can be even higher for those who cultivate their own gardens, live away from major sources of pollution, and preferably in small towns near the sea. Years of sunsets and tomatoes with a view of the sea – it used to be a romantic fantasy but is now becoming increasingly plausible.

Centenarians occupy the forefront of a transformation taking place in a country where living a long life means being among the oldest of the old. Italy is the second oldest country in the world, and it ranks first in the number of people over eighty. In simple terms, this means that Italy is home to many elderly people and few young ones: those over 65 make up almost one in four, while children (under 14) account for just over one in 10. The elderly population will continue to grow in the coming years, as the baby boomer generation, born between 1961 and 1976, is the country's largest age group.

But there is one important data set to consider when discussing our demographics: in general, women make up a slight majority of the population, but from the age of sixty onwards, the gap progressively widens. Every single Italian over 110 years old is a woman.

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