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Two Italian Ideas For Fixing The Economy: No Ambulances For Tax Dodgers, Selling Sicily



ROME - An economic crisis makes creative thinking an imperative. And in Italy, there are always political leaders out there thinking creatively.

Here's one recent thought from Pier Luigi Bersani, head of the center-left Democratic Party (PD): "I say that someone who pays their taxes has the right to have an ambulance, while someone who doesn't, I'm not sure," Italian website Cado In Piedi reported. He pointed out that not paying your taxes is not only an act against the State but also against other citizens: "For every individual escaping tax, there is someone else who pays taxes." He added "We pay too much tax because we are not enough people paying them."

Meanwhile, across the political spectrum there is Mario Borghezio, a member of the populist Northern League. He used a radio show to offer some advice for Prime Minister Mario Monti's looking after Italy's public coffers. "One of the solutions could be that Monti sold Sicily and Campania to a foreign country or to some billionaire," Diritto di Polemica reports, referring to two poor southern regions. Saying there was "no hope" for these parts of Italy, he imagined hocking one of the regions to Barack Obama: The United States could "add a star to their national flag."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

War, Corruption And The Overdue Demise Of Ukrainian Oligarchs

The invasion of Russia has forced Ukraine to confront a domestic enemy: corruption and economic control by an insular and unethical elite.

Photograph of three masked demonstrators holding black smoke lights.

May 21, 2021, Ukraine: Demonstrators hold smoke bombs outside the Appeal Court of Kyiv.

Olena Khudiakova/ZUMA
Guillaume Ptak


KYIV — Since Russia’s invasion, Ukraine's all-powerful oligarchs have lost a significant chunk of their wealth and political influence. However, the fight against the corruption that plagues the country is only just beginning.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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On the morning of September 2, several men wearing balaclavas and bullet-proof waistcoats bearing the initials "SBU" arrived at the door of an opulent mansion in Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth largest city. Facing them, his countenance frowning behind thin-rimmed glasses, was the owner of the house, the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

Officers from the Ukrainian security services had come to hand him a "suspicion notice" as part of an investigation into "fraud" and "money laundering". His home was searched, and shortly afterwards he was remanded in custody, with bail set at 509 million hryvnias, or more than €1.3 million. A photo of the operation published that very morning by the security services was widely shared on social networks and then picked up by various media outlets.

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