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North Korea

Joining Richardson, Google's Schmidt Begins "Personal" Visit To North Korea



PYONGYANG - Google Chairman Eric Schmidt became the highest profile American corporate executive ever to visit North Korea, arriving Monday on a mission led by former US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, the Associated Press reports.

Richardson, also a former governor of the state of New Mexico and frequent diplomatic "firefighter," has visited North Korea many times in the past; thus it is Schmidt's presence that is garnering much attention, though Google presented it as a “personal” visit, not directly linked to the Internet search giant. Still, there have thus far been no further details about why Schmidt has made the trip.

Richardson said in an interview on Friday that he had contacted the family of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour guide detained in the country, and promised them he would discuss his situation with the North Korean authorities.

Bill Richardson interviewed on CNN From Youtube expand=1]

Washington was not pleased with the mission. Reuters quotes an anonymous official as saying the always tense relations between the two countries were worse than usual following North Korea's recent missile test: “We are in kind of a classical provocation period with North Korea. Usually their missile launches are followed by nuclear tests.”

Pyongyang's view on the standoff, as reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap news, were summed up in a North Korean newspaper articles that stated: “Washington will use the invasion of North Korea as a springboard for its broader plan to conquer the world.”

Still, the same source noted that the North Korean Central News Agency overhauled its propaganda website in anticipation of Schmidt’s visit. Perhaps North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a geek at heart.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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