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LA STAMPA

When It Comes To Power, Italy Is Truly The 'Old Country'

A new report found that Italy suffers an acute shortage of young people in positions in power. The first place to look is inside the ruling cabinet of (69-year-old) Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Mario Monti (far left) and Giorgio Napolitano (far right) (Presidenza Della Repubblica)
Mario Monti (far left) and Giorgio Napolitano (far right) (Presidenza Della Repubblica)

ROME - In Italy, power is certainly not child's play. In fact, it's also kept mostly out of reach even for 40-somethings. From banks to universities, from town halls to the economy, and, of course, national politics, the Italian ruling class is the oldest in Europe, according to a new report of age in the workplace.

The profession where leaders are the oldest are bankers and bishops, who on average are 67 years old. Then you have the ministers of the current government headed by Prime Minister Mario Monti: average age 64. University professors (63) and managers of public companies (61). The private sector does a better job: top managers of companies on the stock exchange are 53 years old on average.

Prime Minister Monti is 69, and the youngest ministers of his government, Renato Balduzzi and Filippo Patroni Griffi, are 57. In comparison, in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron took office at the age of 43, and predecessors Tony Blair did so at 44, John Major at 47 and Gordon Brown at 50.

The average Italian senator is 57, while the typical member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies is 54. Out of 630 Italian representatives, only one is under 30. The President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, is a healthy 86 years old, having succeeded another 80-something, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

Read more from La Stampa in Italian.

Photo - Presidenza Della Repubblica

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation

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Green

Did Climate Change Cause The Fall Of The Ming Dynasty?

In the mid-17th century, the weather in China got colder. The frequency of droughts and floods increased while some regions were wiped out by tragic famines. And the once-unstoppable Ming dynasty began to lose power.

Ming dynasty painted ceremonial warriors

Gabriel Grésillon

The accounts are chilling. In the summary of his course on modern Chinese history at the Collège de France, Pierre-Etienne Will examined journals held by various individuals, often part of the Chinese administration, during the final years of the Ming dynasty. These autobiographical writings were almost always kept secret, but they allow us to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the first half of 17th-century China.

In the Jiangnan region, close to Shanghai and generally considered as a land of plenty, the 1640s did not bode well. The decade that had just ended was characterized by an abnormally cold and dry climate and poor harvests. The price of agricultural goods kept rising, pushing social tension to bursting points.

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Writing contest - My pandemic story
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