A gay man who shrugged off three mafia plots to kill him is poised to become Sicily’s first homosexual governor in elections that show the center left advancing at the expense of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing party.
Representing a coalition of Italy’s center-left Democratic Party and the Catholic UDC party, Rosario Crocetta is leading against the Berlusconi candidate and a contender representing the maverick movement of comedian Beppe Grillo, who trailed in third place.
Crocetta, a devoted Catholic, has long claimed that southern Italy is surprisingly relaxed about gay politicians, once stating: “There is a great respect for the individual, making it less homophobic than the north.”
In August he told an interviewer: “After leaving prison in England, Oscar Wilde took refuge in Palermo. Seen like this, there is lot people have to learn about the south.”
As mayor of Gela, Crocetta persuaded local businesses not to pay protection money to the mafia and claimed that coming out gave him a sense of liberation that allowed him to understand how suffocated Sicily had become under the mafia’s yoke.
One mob boss, who hired a Lithuanian assassin for a failed bid to kill Crocetta, was less than tolerant of his sexuality than voters, describing him in a wiretapped call as “this queer communist.”
“The clans may ridicule Crocetta’s sexuality, but it’s the backing he gave businesses that refuse to pay the pizzo [protection payment] that really drove them mad,” a local magistrate said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year