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  • Too Much News to Fit
    A crazy week in Italy makes it tough for this journalist to decide what to cover first
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    March 4, 2007 - There's so much going on in Italy right now that I'm not sure where to begin with this column. In the last week, Prime Minister Romano Prodi's government collapsed and was put back together, the country broke ratings records when tuning into the annual Sanremo music festival, and Inter put itself into position to actually win the scudetto. I guess I should just try and give you the highlights of each bit o' news. Here goes:

    A Political Drama -- Anyone who watches RAI International will tell you that the Italian Parliament has been hijacking the news and regularly broadcast programs to debate ad nauseam about whether Romano Prodi is fit to serve the people. This happens in Italy - it used to happen a lot more often - anytime there's a conflict between what some of the people want and what the leading party in government wants.

    Basically, to make a long story short, folks weren't thrilled with Prodi's relationship with the United States in the wake of the Iraq war or his desire to tax everyone and their mother to pay for stuff that Italy needs (like support from the European Union, which is perturbed by Italy's tremendous debt and inability to pay off any of it). Prodi's government briefly collapsed and there was even talk about having former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government take over again. In the end, however, Prodi convinced Parliament that he could handle the job. Word on the street is that his government is no longer at risk, and we can resume regularly scheduled programs - at least for this week. And maybe, just maybe, Italians will have to start paying taxes once and for all. Sorry fratelli!

    Song of Our Life -- Sanremo Music Festival is an institution in Italy - and my house. Every, some of Italy's most promising musical talent and often even established artists head to Sanremo to give it their all in a music competition for best song. I remember my Nonno Giovanni watching the festival with an espresso in hand shouting at the screen whenever he didn't agree with the voting, which was most of the time. This year, my parents and boyfriend Antonio kept up the tradition. Devastated by the news that Simone Cristicchi won with "Ti regalerò una rosa," they jumped out of their seats at the dinner table and cursed the television. It completely outdid their happy reaction to the news a day earlier that Fabrizio Moro's "Pensa" won the youth competition with a piece that captured the hearts of the public and the Sanremo judges. The eruptions at the table and lively discussion that the festival sparked proved once and for all that Sanremo truly always is Sanremo as the theme song tells us.

    Wild Night -- Inter is finally on the way to winning a scudetto. Most Juventus fans will tell you that this is probably only happening because last year's soccer scandal sent the winning Juventus squad down to Serie B and put A.C. Milan at a points disadvantage in Serie A. Still, Inter fans will take whatever they can get. And they seem to be enjoying this moment of glory. But they haven't won anything yet. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut for now. Mums the word!

    For more information about the author, visit www.francescadimeglio.com.

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