Thursday, 13 March 2008

Tengo famiglia

Three short updates on Italy. (Spot the link.)
  1. Salvatore Ferranti, jailed for presumed association with the Mafia, has been granted house arrest because he's just too fat for his cell. The bed won't take his weight, the door's too narrow for his 210 kilos (that's 452 lbs), he's had to be helped, day and night, by a guard assigned to assist with his physiological needs (don't even think about it). According to the judges who made this decision, none of the local jails was able to guarantee the prisoner a level of treatment that would protect and respect his human dignity. It isn't clear how much human dignity a grossly obese Mafioso actually has, but, as the Pope would say, these things aren't quantifiable. The divine flame burns in everyone, including Ferranti, though clearly not regularly enough to consume a few thousand calories.
  2. Eight years after being sentenced to spells of 24 years in jail, two Mafia bosses have been released. Why? Because the judge presiding at the trial hasn't found time to write the motivation of the sentences, without which they become invalid. Edi Pinatto, the judge responsible, says he's been very busy. In the meantime, the Mafiosi walk the streets of Gela, Sicily, where it's business as usual.
  3. Clemente Mastella, the man who shopped the Prodi government for a promised role in the new government, has been dumped by pretty much everyone. Berlusconi isn't answering his calls, his party 'colleagues' are scattering like hungry rats from the wreck of the UDEUR to seek refuge with anyone who'll offer them a place in the next parliament, his brother-in-law is calling him names. Basically, the trough in which he's been happily guzzling for the past few decades has blown up in his face. All is not lost, of course; he'll still get millions of euros simply for participating in the elections. Plus, if he's lucky, one of those cushy EU jobs too often used to reward the faithful and console the faithless. Still, in a country and political culture in which impunity is the general rule, it's nice to see someone suffer as a direct result of his acts.

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