Italian cows finish summer vacation

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019   •   170

It is the end of summer holidays, not only for children but also for cows who have been vacationing in lush green alpine pastures in the mountains of Italy’s northern Trentino region.

As the temperature begins to drop, farmers bring their livestock back down from the mountains in order to return them to their stables on the farm where they will spend the winter.

Known as the ‘Desmalgada’ or return from the alpine pasture, the tradition has been turned into a local day of festivities.

In the town of Cogolo in the Peio area of Trentino, some 1,170 metres (3838 feet) up in the Alps, cows are dressed in their best cow bells and collars and brought down for a fashion parade through the center of town.

“We are putting on their bells for the parade, we are getting their party clothes on,” said farmer Stefano Benchimol holding onto a cow as a floral head-dress was being attached to it.

“These animals in June went up the mountain in order to eat the sweeter grass and herbs, now they have to return to their homes,” explained Tourism Official Viviana Marini.

“This is a big party because the cows are returned to their owners, who accompany them on their dissent and then show them off in a parade through the town to show how strong and beautiful these animals have become during their time in the alpine pastures,” she said.

It is difficult to miss the animal parade as a cacophony of bell ringing fills the town. The only disgruntled participants appeared to be the herds of goats bringing up the rear of the parade, with only tiny bells and not a head-dress in sight. (REUTERS)

(Production: Antonio Denti, Eleanor Biles)

Italy to block weapon exports to Turkey

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

(L-R) Italian Minister of Public Administration Fabiana Dadone, Italian Parliamentary Relations Minister Federico D’Inca and the Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio in parliament during the Government’s urgent information on the military operation undertaken by Turkey in the north-east of Syria, in Rome, Italy, 15 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MEO

Italy will ban arms export to Turkey, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday (October 15) after Ankara launched a military attack in the Northern part of Syria against the Kurdish fighters.

“There is no military solution to Syria’s problem, on the contrary, we can find a stable and long-lasting composition only through diplomacy and political dialogue,” said Di Maio.

European Union countries agreed on Monday to limit arms exports to Turkey over its offensive in northern Syria, prompting condemnation from Ankara, even as they stopped short of a bloc-wide embargo against a NATO ally. (Reuters)

Production: (Cristiano Corvino, Alessandro Felici)

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Rome metro offers trash-for-tickets to tackle plastic pollution

Jeck Deocampo   •   October 1, 2019

 You don’t have enough money for a metro ticket in Rome? No worries, just collect a few plastic bottles and you’ll be able to ride for free.

Italy’s capital is offering travelers a way to exchange their waste plastic bottles for tickets on the eternal city’s public transport system.

In San Giovanni metro station, commuters were queuing holding bags full of empty bottles to experience the program “+Ricicli +Viaggi” (the more you recycle, the more you travel) that allows passengers to return plastic bottles in exchange for a 5-cent credit that could be accrued and spent to purchase digital tickets.

Through the MyCicero app, users can scan their personal barcode on a special recycling machine, insert empty plastic bottles inside a compactor and digitally buy rides.

A standard ticket – valid for one metro ride or 100 minutes on all buses allowing transfers – costs 1.50 euros so 30 bottles are enough to afford it.

And Romans are enjoying this new way of saving cash.

“If you use money to involve people (in recycling), even those who have no civic sense will recycle,” Rome resident Claudio Perelli told Reuters.

“Finally, plastic bottles are being recycled in Rome,” Luca Alberto Di Lauro added. “Instead of being thrown around, bottles are put inside into a special (recycling) machine because the situation of differentiated waste collection is problematic in Rome.”

But it isn’t all good news.

Rome is spiraling into decline with rubbish spewing out of bins and, after decades of neglect, tourists and residents can literally smell the problem affecting the city.

Rubbish litters the ancient streets of Rome with hundreds of tonnes of garbage lying uncollected, with flies dining on rotten food, often in front of ancient monuments.

“The situation is quite disastrous,” President of environment group Legambiente, Stefano Ciafani, said. “Rome has failed to create an efficient system for differentiated waste collection, as Milan has done, and it has not built the recycling plants that are fundamental for a city where three million people live. If the waste treatment plant is closed and no recycling plants are created on the territory, the waste will continue to be exported outside the region as it is today.”

The eco-friendly trash-for-tickets initiative was launched by Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi on behalf of Rome’s transport network Atac. The recycling machines will be in placed in three metro stations for a 12-month testing phase.

But the capital has a long way to go before it catches up with other cities in recycling initiatives even if the new recycling program is a small step in the right direction. (REUTERS)

(Production: Antonio Denti, Fabiano Franchitti)

Chile withers as 70% of the country stricken by drought

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019

Chile is drying up and the problem is getting worse. A drought currently affects over 70% of the country according to the country’s climate change office and the previous decade has been the driest on record.

Sabina Martinez is the local secretary for potable water of the municipality of Runge, a rural area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the capital, Santiago. She says it has barely rained at all this year, the town’s reservoir is dry, and the summer – with its higher level of water usage – hasn’t even begun yet.

Runge’s human population isn’t alone in feeling the effects of the drought, and a program is underway to transport over 3,000 domestic animals from the area around Runge 400 kilometers (248 miles) south to an area that isn’t quite so parched.

Estefania Gonzalez of Greenpeace Chile says the government should enact policies to both combat climate change and regulate the use and abuse of local water.

Gonzalez notes that Chile will be in the spotlight on climate change given it will host the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, in Santiago, from December 02 to 13 this year. (REUTERS)

(Production: Jorge Vega)

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