Thursday 24 December 2020

Crowds of Christmas

While the epidemic is still spreading, the Winter holiday season may bring risk of increased Covid-19 transmission, mainly through the Northern hemisphere. According to the WHO,  there is an high risk of a new wave of Coronavirus infections in the first three months of 2021. This year has changed a lot our behaviors, as some EU countries, such as France, Spain and Italy, will replace lockdown with a curfew from 22:00 to 06:00.

Although new lockdown measures will be in place in Europe until the first week of January, many people would like to enjoy Christmas time and New Year's Eve with their parents and friends. Actually, since 20th December we have seen big crowds of Christmas shoppers mainly in Italian towns.

The safest way to spend Christmas time this year is with our own household in our home. 🎄

Friday 18 December 2020

Expiry of post-Brexit transition

Do I need a passport to get the UK? Unfortunately, yes! From January 1st,  2021, free movement of people between the UK and EU will end. And from 2022 British people must pay for an electronic authorisation to travel to the EU countries.

Actually, it seems the UK and EU might find themself in a "no-deal" situation on January 1st. As a consequence,  from January 1st  Brexit will change many things. For instance, to visit Britain we have to make sure we have at least six months left on our passport. In addition,  importers and exporters have to label many goods, such as meat, fish, and plants in specific way. Food products shipped from the UK have to comply with EU standards. 

The good news is that lorries can continue to drive across the border between the Republic of Ireland (which remains in the EU Single Market) and Northern Ireland (which leaves the EU, as part of the UK).

The five pictures below taken in 2018 show some places in London. I have been to the UK three times without a passport, as there wasn't any restriction of free movement of people in Europe.


The last time I went to London I saw the roads covered with show ❄☃️

Monday 14 December 2020

Winter is coming

While Fall is going to an end, we continue to enjoy its colours. In Italy the main Fall colours are brown and yellow. It is unusual to find red and orange leaves as we see in North America. The wonderful Quercus Rubra, the northern red oak, is a native of Eastern United States and South Canada. 

It is also easy to see many red berries through the Italian forests in late Autumn.

So winter is coming, bringing cold nighttime temperatures.

The two pictures below show the environment where there are around 8000 last "maremmana" cattles. Those extraordinary strong and hardy animals live in Central Italy, between South Tuscany and Rome. 

In terms of EU legislation, the basic protection of those cattles falls under the " General Farm Animals Directive". According to the directive 98/58/EC, member states shall make provision to ensure the welfare of animals under their care ... cattles should be allowed to go outside, preferably every day.

Sunday 29 November 2020

It's a nightmare for both tourists and companies

While many tourists were demanding their money back between January and July, seven and half millions of flight were cancelled.

Since the second quarter this year there have been fewer jobs in the companies that design, manifacture, and sell airplanes, and some big companies based in the Middle East, such as Emirates,  Etihad, and Qatar Airways, have announced job losses and pay cuts of up to 50%.

The last three pictures I took while I was travelling by plane last year:

                                           Stromboli island (South Italy)

                               Bracciano lake (Central Italy, 30 km north from Rome)

I love travelling by plane above the clouds. Plane pilots sometimes do so because of less resistance in the atmosphere.

Saturday 21 November 2020

It's time for us to make olive oil

It's time for us to make olive oil. With an average production of more than 560,000 Tons, Italy has the second biggest production of olive oil in Europe and the world. The olive trees are manly diffused in the hills (53%), and a large percentage of olive oil production in Italy occurs in the Southern regions, combining traditional, intensive and super intensive groves.

In November the countryside in some parts of Italy still shows signs of the traditional farming methods related to olive oil production, including the involvement of donkeys, which are useful when olive trees are located in the hills.

The EU with its roughly 67% of the world's olive oil is the leading producer. Other olive oil producers are in California (US), Argentina, North Africa, and Middle East.  

And last but not least, olive oil can lower our "bad" (LDL) cholesterol level while leaving our "good" (HDL) cholesterol intact.


Tuesday 17 November 2020

Food and drinks on the cobblestones

With regards to the coronavirus epidemic, the Italian Government has recently issued a new legislative measure, which allows coffees and restaurants owners to put their tables and chairs on the cobblestones. According to social distancing rules, entrepreneurs will serve drinks and food along the streets, alleys and squares, if their coffees and restaurants are located in pedestrian areas. 

I hope this new legislative measure may help both employers and employees. 

Saturday 14 November 2020

Human trafficking and migrants smuggling

This week I was sorry to hear, once again, that many migrants from Africa died in the Central Mediterranean. All this took place just a few miles from European countries. Instead of helping African underdeveloped economies, they continue to steal young people from Sahel countries, pretending not to see the cemetery that the Mediterranean sea has become. Not to mention of human trafficking and migrants smuggling. 

Since 2013 some EU leaders have issued political asylum to African migrants who are not forced to escape armed conflict or persecution. This is a crime against humanity, as those governments are stealing young men and women from territories who would need economic support, because of drought, climate change, flooding, epidemic, etc. 

As it is known, illegal immigration can help developed countries, as many of them are now grappling with the challenges posed by rapidly aging population. Actually, the share of older persons in the EU's total population will increase in the coming decades. This will, in turn, lead to an increased burden on those of working age to provide for the social expediture required by the people aged 65 and over for a range of related services. 

That's the main reason why EU leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand.

Sunday 8 November 2020

The nightmare has gone to an end

The American electorate has spoken! Huge congrats to the US people on such great political choice. The nightmare has gone to an end, and once again the values of democracy and the principles of the American Constitution will be among the US.

According to the US Supreme Court, the 290 democrat members of the Electoral College will have no choice but to vote for the Presidential Candidate they promised to support. In this perspective, thirty-two states and Districs of Columbia have laws requiring electors to vote as they had promised.

As it is known, on July 6, this year, the US Supreme Court stated that states are entitled to remove or punish electors who changed their votes. The bad news is that in states without such penalties, electors remain free to change their votes.

The picture above was taken by a friend of mine who went to NYC last year. That's why that image shows people who are not wearing masks. 

Saturday 31 October 2020

US electoral college system

In almost every US Presidential Election, the winner of the national popular vote also won the Electoral College. What happened in 2016 was extremely rare, as while Clinton received 2.87 million more votes than Trump did, Trump received the majority in the Electoral College. Actually, in the 2016 US Presidential Election, ten members of the Electoral College voted for a candidate different from the one to whom they were pledged. 

This happened just five times in American history, but twice in the last 16 years, the other time being George W. Bush's Electoral College defeat of Al Gore in 2000. In the US Electoral College system, each state gets a certain number of electors based on the total House and Senate representatives in each state's congressional delegation. According to many political experts, the problem is that the Electoral College weights the election in favor of small, rural states. The picture above shows that smallest-population states have three elctoral votes, while California, the largest, has 55. 

With regard to US popular vote, which will be held next week, the poll found that Joe Biden hold an 8-point lead over Trump nationwide, 52 % to 44 %:

As it is known, Russia's intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US Presidential Election.

(source: )  

I do hope this time Russian Government doesn't order an influence campaign aimed at 2020 US election. 

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Naples' aerial images

Since Sunday, 25 October, people in Italy haven't been gatherings along the streets to protest against new lockdown measures. Actually, entrepreneurs, retailers, and representatives associations are still afraid they couldn't be able to reach their goals in order to maintain employment. 

Here below there're two aerial images of Naples, the Italian town most hit by COVID-19 second wave. Although Naples is located in a developed country, it is a town where there are many informal labourers, who are suffering the most. 

Many people around the world have been displaced, and many of them have been living in countries that are suffering from conflicts. We also have in some places a combination of drought related to climate change, conflicts and economic crisis. In this context, lockdown measures, closed borders, curfews, and travel restrictions have disrupted global food supplies and incomes. I Hope the number of new infections will decrease soon, because it is not something the poorest communities can deal with.

Saturday 24 October 2020

Naples' young people protest to lockdown measures

Many young people took Naples' streets on Friday night to protest new COVID-19 restrictions. They disagreed on new lockdown measures issued by the Local governor. They also said that those COVID-19 measures are typical of authoritarianism. But I would like to remind them the article 16 of the Italian Constitution, that allows the Government to adopt such restrictions: "Every citizen has the right to reside and travel freely in any part of the country, except for such general limitations as may be established by law for reasons of health or security. No restriction may be imposed for political reasons. Every citizen is free to leave the territory of the republic and return to it, notwithstanding any legal obligations." 

Unfortunately,  Italy's opposition parties are so able to manipulate young people. 

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Moving to rural villages

While we are still seeing detrimental COVID-19 effects on the towns worldwide, the number of new infected people continues to rise in my country. Today, on October 21st, there were 15,911 new COVID-19 cases in Italy. In terms of new infections, it is the Italian record in one single day.

In this perspective, many people, who have the opportunity to work remotely, are moving to rural villages to stay safe and live healthier lifestyles. Actually, If I had the opportunity to live in a rural village, I would leave the big town.

A friend of mine, who had left a big city one month ago, sent me a picture of two young donkeys. Since he has been living in a small rural village, he has had the opportunity to enjoy things like that in the picture below.

I have heard that donkey milk has been successfully with regard to children with cow's milk protein allergy, as its composition is more similar to human milk than ruminant milk.

Safeguarding native donkey breeds represents an opportunity for the development of rural and marginal areas, given that donkey milk is now appearing on the market due to its potential benefits for human health.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Remote working: boundaries between work and personal life


The image above shows a view of Naples, South Italy, where there have been about 700 new coronavirus cases a day since the first week of October. With over one million deaths and 37 millions infections, the virus is still spreading rapidly worldwide.
While countries across the world impose new restrictions and struggle to tackle a new surge of infections, many companies and institutions are pushing their employees to adopt remote working model. Governments across Europe are also issuing measures with the aim of encouraging remote jobs, which are on the rise all over the world. Actually, many companies had already adopted remote working before the epidemic began to spread in early 2020.

In this context, people who work remotely have to build their mental structure related to the new working model, considering that sometimes there is no clear end to the workday. Actually, many psychologists see that one of the most important issue for employees is that a clear disconnection is needed. And with regards to mental structure, it is essential to switch working from home, because work time tends to extend in private life.  

The problem is that many people, who have been working remotely since Covid19 began in early 2020, are still unable to create boundaries between work and personal life. For instance, people shoudn't cook or deal with their dishwasher while they are sending emails or reading documents related to their job. 

On the contrary, rather than attempt to reconcile work time and private life, we  have to establish boundaries between them. In this perspective, it may be helpful dressing for the office, instead of working in pajamas or replacing the shift that happens when workers commute to and from the office.




The four pictures above show places, located in small villages, where I would like to work remotely, from home.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Fighting economic decline and unemployment

While the global cruise tourism market is expected to decrease sharply in the aftermath of the Coronavirus epidemic, lands of wellbeing and wine and food tours can be powerful tools in the fight against economic decline and unemployment in Italy. Actually, last month I was so delighted to see many tourists from Germany and Northern Italy while they were enjoying whirlpools and cascades of hot thermal waters in Central Italy's old villages. Despite social distancing rules, they were also tasting wine and extra virgin olive oil through local historic cellars. 

In Central Italy, from October until the beginning of December is time of olives' harvest. The grapes of "Chianti" are also ready for harvesting in Autumn. That's perfect for tourists, who may have the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience together with the winemakers of Tuscany. It's truly authentic way to discover Italy's landscape.