Friday, 15 February 2013

Italian translation 4. February 15, 2013

Confirmed: disappearance of the dinosaurs was caused by an 
asteroid collision

Study by an international research team shows how an impact with a celestial object - that took place in the Cretaceous period in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico - and the demise of these prehistoric animals would have happened almost simultaneously.

WASHINGTON - The latest study on the topic seems to dispel all doubts: it really was an asteroid that sent the dinosaurs to extinction from our planet, and not violent, volcanic eruptions or climate change, as supposed instead for years by scholars. The confirmation comes in a study published in the prestigious periodical Science, by a team lead by the American geologist Paul Renne, of the Geochronology Center of the University of California, Berkley.

The scientists have demonstrated convincingly the theory that the dinosaurs' extinction was caused by an asteroid. An innovative research method shows how the impact from a celestial object - and the demise of these prehistoric animals - took place almost at the same time. Since the 1980s, American researchers have linked the giant reptiles to an enormous asteroid impact, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. However, this hypothesis has never been proved. "Up till now, the problem was that the method of calculation had a margin error one in a hundred. In a period of 66 million years, that means 660 thousand, which is rather vague," stated the professor of paleo-oceanography Heiko Palike, from the research centre Marum at the University of Bremen, one of the authors of the publication in Science.

From 'La Repubblica', 7 February, 2013
PW 15/2/13

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Italian translation 3. February 14, 2013

Photos of Kate in bikini and pregnant in Chi. London threatens action against Mondadori

The princess could have been immortalised during a recent visit to the Caribbean island of Mustique. Entries in the weekly publication of Berlusconi firm. St James's Palace speaks of violation of privacy. Royal Family 'very annoyed'
By our correspondent Enrico Franceschini

London - A new episode for Kate has erupted, and this time the target of the protests is entirely Italian, the weekly Chi, property of Berlusconi's Mondadori group. The magazine could be about to publish photos of the bikini-clad princess - in the third month of pregnancy - taken a few days ago by a paparazzo in the Caribbean island of Mustique, where the princess is spending her holiday together with her husband, William. 'It's a clear violation of the couple's privacy', read a statement from St James's Palace, the official residence of the second in line to the throne and his consort. The Royal household is said to be 'very annoyed' and has expressed its total 'disapproval' at the images, albeit admitting they were taken 'from a distance', and therefore without the photographer having to approach the youngsters.

Last year the French magazine Closer, also belonging to Mondadori, generated controversy by publishing topless photos of Kate, then republished in Italy in Chi. The images had been taken using a powerful telescopic lens, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (their official titles) were on holiday in an exclusive hotel in Provence belonging to their relations. The Windsors, who since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, have taken legal action against any media intrusion into their private lives, had responded by suing the French newspaper with the court ruling in their favour. It stopped Closer from publishing any more photographs taken in Provence and forced it to hand over the images of Kate. According to rumours, William - who considers the paparazzi responsible for the death of his mother in a controversial incident in a Parisian tunnel - was furious. The photos of Kate topless did however circulate on the internet, but the family hoped that the legal victory served as an example to the international media, and to keep them at arm's length. This has become the norm in Britain, where with the exception of Prince Harry (seen half-naked at a Las Vegas party), Kate and the other members of the Windsor Family are now generally accorded respect.

But the warning has evidently not worked - that is, if Chi tries again. Now we'll see what the reaction will be: if there'll be a lawsuit from the Royal Family against the weekly owned by the Berlusconi family. Kate and William have been in Mustique for a few days. The island is famous for the parties in the 1960s held by Princess Margaret - the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth - with Mick Jagger and other stars from the world of music and cinema. It's one of the most expensive islands for celebrities in the Caribbean, with dozens of de luxe villas. The one which the two royals are renting costs 30,000 euros a week: the British tabloids reporters were in evidence in recent days, but left before the arrival of the Royal couple. It's not however clear if William and Kate will pay for their holidays, or if they are guests of the owners of the magnificent residence.

From 'La Repubblica', 12 February, 2013
Translated by Patrick West, 14-2-13

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Italian translation 2. February 10, 2013

Pacifism on the streets
The case of Syria and Israel

In Syria there have been found dozens of bodies of dead civilians, murdered and thrown into waterways with their hands tied behind their backs. It's been calculated that more than 100,000 civilians have been murdered (not to mention the innumerable displaced - men, women and children - forced to take refuge, at the risk of their own lives, in Turkey, Libya, etc). It's been calculated that, on average, every day the Assad regime kills 200 civilians. I ask myself: where have gone our so-called pacifists, always ready to demonstrate violently against Israel for episodes infinitely less grave? Why aren't they marching on the streets, burning Syrian flags, etc? It raises a suspicion: isn't it the case that our 'pacifists' are simply anti-Israeli, and Israel being by definition a Jewish state, simply anti-semitic?
Franco Cohen

Dear Mr Cohen,
I've often had the impression that many pacifists are wolves in sheep's clothing. Bertrand Russell, president of CND, followed a profound conviction, but when marching down the streets of London against nuclear weapons he found himself against many people who condemned American weapons much more than they were condemning Soviet weapons. More or less the same happened at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, when there were large demonstrations against the instillation of American weapons in some NATO countries. Many of these demonstrators evidently considered Cruise and Pershing missiles from America more dangerous than SS20s from the USSR.

In the case of Syria I believe pacifists are understandably uncertain and confused. It is said that the victims, from the outset of the insurrection, amount now to 100,000 (60,000 according to the UN negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi), but nobody is able to say from these figures the exact amount who are Syrian military, resistance fighters or civilians. The photographic and cinematographic evidence isn't verifiable or precise, and much is unclear. Foreign journalists present in Damascus and Aleppo are few and can move around only with great difficulty. The resistance seem to consist of a galaxy of groups and groupsicles of diverse extraction with a strong component from Al-Qaeda. When the leader recognised by the West, sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al Khatib, proposed to start a dialogue with the Damascus government, his own words were immediately repudiated by radical elements in the movement. In addition, recent events in Egypt in the past weeks have taught everyone a lesson in prudence. It's not easy in this circumstances to stage demonstrations of 'pacifism'.

In the case of Isreal, it is somewhat different. There is certainly an considerable section of European public opinion that supports the Palestinians against the Israeli government, most of all when the problem in discussion is  the settlements in the occupied territories. But these criticisms aren't fundamentally different from those which many Isrealis have directed in the last few years towards the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

'Risponde: Sergio Romano', Corriere della Sera, February 7, 2013. Translated by Patrick West, 9/2/13

Friday, 8 February 2013

Italian translation 1. February 8, 2013

Gramsci goes to school in England
Model for Gove, Tory Minister
by Fabio Cavalera

If he weren't already famous for being on the Right of the Conservative Party, Michael Gove could pass today as a dangerous subversive, in view of his declaration of sympathy for Antonio Gramsci, one of the founding fathers of Italian communism.

Speaking to the audience from the think-tank, Social Market Foundation, the much-talked-of Education Minister of Her Majesty's government revealed that an inspiration for his education reforms for the UK's schools (more discipline, more selection) was  Antonio Gramsci, as he had the courage to confront the so-called "theory of progressive education" of the New Education Movement that "passed off as equality" - which emphasised the need to stimulate growth among children in their "natural" practical ability, rather than promoting their cultural development through traditional teaching and learning the Classics.

Gramsci's intuition warned of such a pedagogical approach (the theory of "progressive education"), superficially attractive but "far from being democratic" in reality, which would deprive "the working class of the instruments they need to emancipate themselves from ignorance" (Gove's words). In his position as Education Minister, the Conservative spokesman has taken a lesson in pedagogy, recalling the work of Gramsci, that "I hope will be read accurately". He has made it the reference model, as the communist intellectual said, with the aim of "carrying the young up to the threshold, transforming them into people able to study, to control - and to check those who are in control." 

It's truly unforeseen. These British conservatives are an interesting political phenomenon. Cameron wants gay marriage and confrontation with Tory traditionalists. His minister Gove, certainly no progressive, celebrates with conviction the thoughts of a great Italian Marxist. In London there is a centre-Right party divesting itself of old taboos.

'Corriere della Sera', February 7, 2013. Translated by Patrick West, 8-2-13